You may know Sara Markel-Gonzalez from her Queens roundups and Taco Thursdays. She'll be introducing you to Mexican specialties and helping you find where to try them around the borough.

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[Photo: Sara Markel-Gonzalez]

This week's special is costillas de puerco en salsa verde con verdolagas. Translation: pork ribs in salsa verde with purslane. Tender pork ribs, the meat nearly falling off the bone, swimming in a spicy tomatillo salsa, complemented by the slightly sour, fresh, green flavor of purslane. It's the kind of dish a grandmother would make—simple, hearty, and comforting. Scoop up the sauce in warm tortillas with a bite of red rice and a spoonful of creamy beans. Stewed meat in a warm, green chile-flecked sauce—perfect for a cold winter night.

I found this particular version at the tiny, mostly take-out restaurant and bakery El Cilantro on Broadway in Elmhurst. El Cilantro, aside from their small menu of tortas and tacos, has daily steam table offerings of Mexican home-style dishes, such as the costillas, at a much lower price than many neighborhood spots (around $6.00 for specials, as opposed to $11.00 or even $12.00) although the portions are much smaller. Still, the specials come with rice, beans, and tortillas. And for an even smaller, cheaper option, the items are offered as taco fillings as well. A good way to try something new. Next week: tortitas de queso.

El Cilantro

81-10 Broadway, Elmhurst NY 11373 (map)

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