Bandeja Paisa – A Traditional Hearty Colombian Midday Dish

Bandeja Paisa pic
Bandeja Paisa
Image: foodnetwork.com

Assad Boulos is a longtime Houston entrepreneur who has managed a number of convenience stores and shopping centers over the past three decades. Assad Boulos has also spearheaded several restaurants, including Juan Parilla, which features a Latin-fusion menu and is situated in the popular Galleria area.

Juan Parilla’s chef is a native Colombian and highlights the unique flavors of his native country in dishes such as ceviche and bandeja paisa. Literally meaning “people’s plate,” bandeja paisa is traditional in coffee-growing regions, where plantation harvesters would come down from the steep hillsides at midday seeking a hearty meal.

While actual components vary, depending on what is fresh and available locally, bandeja paisa incorporates ingredients such as steak, French fries, a fried egg, chicharron (fried pork belly), rice, and beans. It may also be accompanied by tajadas de plátano, or baked sweet plantains. Lime is served on the side to squeeze on top, as well as sliced avocados. Bandeja paisa is often served with mazamorra, a drink made of milk and maize grain.

New Colombian Restaurant in Houston’s Uptown District

Juan Parilla pic
Juan Parilla
Image: yelp.com

Assad Boulos, a restaurateur in Houston, Texas, has used his extensive management experience to oversee business operations at a number of restaurants and retail ventures across Houston. Juan Parilla, a smart Colombian restaurant located in the heart of Houston’s Uptown District, is Assad Boulos’ current venture.

The Uptown District in Houston was established in 1987 when major development projects were initiated less than ten miles from the city’s center. The thriving area quickly grew into one of the nation’s largest business districts. Located along Westheimer Road and Post Oak Boulevard, two of Houston’s main thoroughfares, the area welcomes more than 200,000 people each day to its businesses, restaurants, and high end shops.

Uptown is known for its many options for fine dining and sophisticated shopping. Along with numerous upscale boutiques, the district houses the state’s largest shopping mall, the Galleria.

Visitors and residents of Uptown also enjoy the area’s green spaces, particularly Hines Waterfall Park, which features a 64 foot tall architectural fountain. The park, owned by the city of Houston, is a popular community gathering place.