St. Brigid's, a Roman Catholic church on the Ridgewood-Bushwick border, was named in 1887 for a patron saint of Ireland, and in the early years of the 20th century it came to serve a largely German-American congregation. Today many congregants and neighbors are Ecuadorian, judging by the abundance and pedigree of the street food nearby on a recent Sunday.
This plate of mote pillo ($5) has its roots in Cuenca, a city in Ecuador's southern highlands also famous for fanesca. At the simplest mote pillo consists of eggs and hominy scrambled in the presence of onion, garlic, cilantro, and (for color) achiote. A few members of our scouting party suggested that meat would improve it, and indeed in Cuenca a related dish, mote sucio, also includes kernels of hominy (mote) that have been sauteed with pork, or in pork gravy, so they become "sucio" ("dirty").
The question then arises: What is "pillo"? The only translations I've been able to find suggest "rascally" or "roguish," which is a stretch for a dish that is not even very piquant (at least in this instance). If you can supply a better etymology for the pillo in mote pillo, please do.
On the side: quaker (Quack-air, not shown, $3), a beverage that smoothly blends oatmeal, name-brand or not, with a little orange juice. In Ecuador, quaker traditionally includes naranjilla, also known as lulo; the O.J. is a U.S. substitution. This quaker was also flavored with apple and cinnamon (nicely noted, missmasala!), giving the impression, in the best possible flashback-to-childhood sense, of packaged instant oatmeal, now in drinkable form.
Street cart on St. Nicholas Ave. between Linden St. and Gates Ave., Ridgewood, Queens
Friday through Sunday, early afternoon till early evening, year-round