Barranquero Café Delivers Delicious Colombian Cuisine
Barranquero Café, a locally-owned Colombian coffee shop, opened last week on Calder Way. The restaurant promises authentic Colombian coffee and food, so we sent two of our writers to check out the newest downtown eatery.
When I studied abroad in Spain (yes, I went to Spain), I lived on café con leche. If you speak even the tiniest bit of Spanish, you know that café con leche translates to “coffee with milk.” But oh, café con leche is so much more than a cup of coffee from the Keurig with a splash from the carton — it takes strong, bold coffee and pairs it with scalding hot milk. A rich froth forms on top, making the café con leche creamy and delectable. The drink is basically the Spanish cousin of a latte, made with coffee instead of espresso shots.
I went through at least two cafes con leche every day when I studied abroad, so you can imagine my dismay when I came back to State College and could not find a café con leche…anywhere. There’s nothing wrong with a brown cow from Webster’s or a plain old cup of coffee from Irving’s, but I missed the bold, but never bitter, café con leche.
Nearly two years later, my café con leche craving in State College was satisfied by Barranquero Café. When I walked into the tiny place on Calder, I was amazed at how open the space felt. I was even more amazed by the eclectic furniture and decorations, which reminded me of my favorite coffee spot at home. But what truly amazed me was the café con leche. It took me back to Spain, where the weather was far nicer and I was far less stressed. I paired the drink with a coffee brownie, which was quite delicious, but the café con leche was the real star.
Barranquero Café is a one-minute walk from my apartment, so if you’re looking for me tomorrow, I will most likely be nestled in one of the restaurant’s armchairs sipping a café con leche. Come find me, and try one for yourself.
As I walked past Taco Bell and made my way to Barranquero Café, I became aware of the need for real Latin food in State College. Sure, there are places like Mad Mex and Qdoba that attract patrons day-in and day-out, but downtown State College deserves an authentic restaurant that recreates the most delicious Latin food there is to offer. Luckily, Barranquero Café offers Colombian coffee, a delicious variation of empanadas, and fresh juices that satisfy my need for traditional Latin food.
I started with the empanadas, served with fresh-sliced limes and salsa.The restaurant offers six beef, pork, or chicken empanadas for $7, which seemed like a bargain to me. I expected the outside of the pastry to be more flaky, but instead, it was hot, fried, and unbelievably delicious. I took a second to enjoy the empanadas before I began to dissect the assortment of meat and veggies inside. The beef empanadas were more savory and more meaty than chicken empanadas, which were slighty more tangy. Honestly, I couldn’t decide which variety I enjoyed more, and I practically inhaled the plate.
In addition to the empanadas, I ordered a strawberry juice to wash down the savory flavors. The juice didn’t have much flavor, but was still rather refreshing. The drink was somewhere between a juice and a smoothie, but it was clearly made with fresh ingredients, which made up for the bland taste.
Barranquero Café not only served incredible food, but presented a welcoming atmosphere and adorable decor. In the upstairs space, the café provided plenty of comfortable seating, board games, and books on Colombia that enhanced the experience. It took everything in me not to play Scrabble with Anna, and I would definitely return if simply for the ambiance and the incredible service.
Barranquero’s plans to expand its new menu promises, which just gives me just another reason to return.
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