New Colombian Food Truck Brings Quinoa Arepas to Astor Place

palenqueChristine Jenkins

After quietly hitting the streets of Williamsburg a few weeks ago, the Palenque Homemade Colombian Food truck made its Astor Place debut for lunch today. Nena Sierra, 42, said she and her partner Viviana Lewis, 47 (both natives of Colombia) plan to park across from the Walgreens at Astor and Lafayette from 11:30 a.m. till 6 p.m. daily, while continuing to put in nightshifts on Bedford Avenue across the river.

The truck is an offspring of Hecho en Casa, the catering company that Ms. Lewis opened in Williamsburg four years ago after her career as a restaurant owner in Colombia. In June, the company was tapped to serve arepas at the Renegade Craft Fair in McCarren Park. Ms. Sierra, a filmmaker who has produced commercials for the Colombian market (she teamed up with Ms. Lewis after hiring her as a caterer), said they went through 3,000 of them over the course of the two-day event. That’s when they decided to start building out a truck.

Of course, the East Village is already home to some wildly popular arepas, but these are a bit different – inspired by a Colombian organic supermarket, they’re made either with the traditional corn or with ingredients like quinoa and flax, and they can be stuffed with everything from beef to seitan. Ms. Lewis says that 80% of her ingredients are organic, and many of them are sourced from Ace Natural, a local organic and natural food wholesaler.

“Our mission is to make people eat healthy with our Colombian original flavors,” she said. “We don’t fry anything – everything is made on the grill.”

Here’s the menu as chalked onto the side of the truck today:

Choose your arepa:
1. Corn (original)
2. Quinoa
3. Brown rice and sesame seeds
4. Brown rice and flax seeds

Cheese – $5
Hogao – $6
Chicken – $7
Beef – $8
Shrimp – $9

Seitan – $8
Organic Italian chorizo – $8
Organic chipotle chorizo – $8

Obleas – $2