Most people know chicharrones as twice-fried pigskin, but there are also chicharrones de harina, or wheat, which fry up just as magically into airy, crunchy snacks. These are the ones that El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette chef Gerardo Gonzalez grew up eating in San Diego, where the local ice-cream man would douse them with hot sauce and lime juice. In homage, Gonzalez has concocted a newfangled version for his inaugural dinner menu: a bowl of wheat puffs tossed with crunchy raw vegetables and garnished with fresh herbs and three sauces for a multitextured sweet-and-sour Indian-chaat-like effect. The chef’s most distinctive addition might be nutritional yeast, that health-food-store staple cherished by vegans for its uncanny ability to pass for tangy grated cheese.
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On the menu at El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette, $10; 100 Stanton St., nr. Ludlow St.; 212-260-3950
Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine
*This article appears in the February 9, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.