SeriesLIVE

Casa Adela

What's Good In Your Hood
This legendary NYC restaurant has been serving authentic Puerto Rican food for nearly 50 years! Actor Luis Guzman explains how to dig in and takes us dancing.
Show transcript
00:00
We know she's watching.
00:01
We're gonna prove her.
00:03
Yes, you taught us well.
00:04
And later, Les Legend Luis Guzman will share the hood that
00:08
forms him can do it real people cooking that we are our way up
00:17
in the seven.
00:19
Laugh like your finger is good cause we're about to see what
00:22
good, what's up?
00:31
It's and I'm in the lower East side NYC at Casa De.
00:34
It's an iconic neighborhood spot that's been making authentic
00:37
Puerto Rican food forever.
00:39
Let's check it out.
00:41
What's good in your hood is what happens when you put your life
00:44
story on a plate and then share it with the world.
00:46
And today we're in the city of Hustlers NYC in the Lower East
00:50
side to meet a family that has brought joy to their community
00:54
for decades.
00:55
At the center of the Lower East side is this tiny five table
00:58
restaurant that's been sharing its home cooked meals since
01:01
1976.
01:03
And if you're from Puerto Rico, chances are you've visited
01:06
Casa De on the lower East side.
01:09
This place is synonymous with Puerto Rican food in New York
01:12
City.
01:13
And the uncommon ingredient is love and lots of it here's a
01:17
place where you can actually taste it.
01:19
This place reminds me of my grandmother in Puerto Rico when
01:24
she was cooking.
01:26
I come over here to eat because it's the only place left in Manhattan
01:32
that you can find good authentic Puerto Rican food.
01:38
Since passing, the police has been passed on to a new generation
01:42
aiming to keep her legacy alive.
01:44
She came to New York from Puerto Rico back in the early seventies
01:48
she opened her first restaurant in the same area on the corner
01:54
And then we moved over to this side and we've been here since
01:57
78.
01:58
She had her routine 4 a.m. was the shower, do her prayer.
02:02
Of course, she lived right above and she was here at five o'clock
02:05
every morning.
02:06
Well, my mom was a person that felt that everyone that came
02:10
to the business should at least with or without money, have
02:13
a great meal and that's what really kept her going.
02:20
Most of the people here, you just, you know, they're from the
02:22
neighborhood, you know.
02:23
So it's like you're eating with your family.
02:27
Our best sellers are chicken are next.
02:30
Our who are supposed to pork.
02:33
And then we got a and then we got a on the, the, we got a lot of good
02:38
food here, man.
02:42
What makes art history chicken so amazing family secret.
02:49
I can't say, I can't say honestly, but I must just put it this
02:53
way.
02:53
A lot of love and a lot of passion and respectively, you just
02:55
always know how much to put Mama Adela, a mother figure to the
03:01
neighborhood and a pillar for generations has left a void
03:05
Since her passing.
03:06
When she first passed, it took me like four days to come back
03:10
in here.
03:10
I couldn't.
03:11
And it was hard.
03:12
Her passing was very hard, but I'm not gonna get emotional
03:16
But I, I miss her when I spent that morning with her.
03:21
I had breakfast with her.
03:23
I helped out with a, she even gave me the phone and said, take
03:26
a picture.
03:26
I'm like, OK, it's so weird and she ended up having a stroke
03:31
here that same morning, but I was here till the end.
03:34
So I started with her and I ended with her.
03:37
She was the quintessential cooking for the neighborhood
03:41
A heavy torch proudly being carried by the family.
03:45
Ok, guys don't go anywhere because when we come back, we're
03:47
gonna learn how to put the fun in Ma Fungo.
03:59
OK, guys, I'm in the kitchen with, she's gonna teach us how
04:02
to make my favorite Puerto Rican dish of all time.
04:06
Ok?
04:06
Step one is taking, cutting them and we're gonna throw them
04:10
in the deep fryer.
04:11
We'll fry them at 3 50.
04:12
Just test it to make sure that they're done.
04:15
So what do you just make sure they're nice and soft on the inside
04:20
that tells us they're done.
04:21
Now you're gonna take the and we're gonna throw them into the
04:24
and the important question is what's in the, oh, that's garlic
04:32
Yeah, I saw, I saw some spices, some spices and a little bit
04:36
of butter.
04:37
And we start, we start to smash once it's smashed, we take our
04:44
fresh pork and the crackling and we add it with a little bit
04:49
of gravy.
04:49
Then we take it and we mold it and this is how the molding happens
04:55
This is the sauce we use.
04:58
It's from the and we use it to pour it over the and give it that
05:03
flavor.
05:04
So I call it because to me it's like it's soupy and when you pour
05:09
it on top, it adds that little bit of liquid against the crunchiness
05:12
of.
05:12
Do you like to take a little bit of the and dip it in the or do you
05:17
pour it all on top?
05:18
I prefer dipping it.
05:19
I'm gonna do it that way.
05:23
Oh Go.
05:26
You guys do it right.
05:28
There's so much garlic.
05:29
Like I said, the crunchiness of the chiron which let me just
05:32
exacerbate that situation.
05:35
Uh Puerto Rican.
05:37
Perfection.
05:38
Thank you.
05:39
Seriously.
05:41
Super flavorful that melts in your mouth.
05:43
The crunchiness of the the sauce.
05:46
You guys, I would like to bathe in this one day pro tip.
05:51
This food will make you extremely sleepy because it's so good
05:54
You wanna continue eating after you're full.
05:56
So a piece of advice from yours, truly make sure you get some
06:00
of the, I used to take out, we used to go to the library, take
06:06
out reading books on books.
06:08
So one day my grandma was like, hey, come over, I'll teach you
06:10
how to do it from there.
06:11
That's where my passion for cooking came from.
06:13
But she always told me when you're cooking, just cook with
06:16
love.
06:16
Because at the end of the day, who was always gonna come back
06:18
for the food and love you cooking with love and passion and
06:20
you put your hard work into that one meal.
06:24
So I went to college, I went to Johnson and Wells University
06:26
in Providence, Rhode Island.
06:28
And I studied there for five years and I came out recently with
06:31
my bachelor's in food service management in New York.
06:34
My grandmother, hopefully she's looking down, she's smiling
06:37
so it's always good coming up next.
06:40
Don't go anywhere.
06:41
The challenge casa de is the type of restaurant that's a dying
06:45
breed in neighborhoods that are quickly changing by an influx
06:48
of new residents and businesses.
06:50
It's a place where the food is at the center and at the core of
06:53
the ingredients is family and love.
06:55
A love that makes for the ultimate spice.
06:58
Now today's challenge, you have to make a dish that is nuwave
07:04
OK.
07:05
Oh Yeah, I'm up for the challenge.
07:07
I'm thinking I'm starting a sandwich sounds like you know
07:09
it's not traditional, something can't go wrong.
07:11
Um It's gonna be a fake version of from my own twis.
07:16
OK?
07:16
So this will be the of the sandwich.
07:18
Put it that way.
07:19
A little bit of mayo ketchup, lettuce got some tomatoes.
07:26
Now, this is the only twist on it.
07:27
I'm adding sweet plantains.
07:29
So it's like double block.
07:31
You got double blocking, you got the crispy ones as well as
07:35
the sweet one.
07:35
That's gonna be crazy, crazy.
07:39
This right here.
07:40
I think my grandma is gonna be proud.
07:42
I'm adding.
07:44
Can't go wrong.
07:45
So let me get a little cut right here.
07:48
The lo lo I gotta get down to the floor to try it.
07:58
Oh Yeah.
08:01
OK.
08:03
What can I dip it in the sun like you were doing?
08:09
I'm gonna just dip it.
08:12
This is crazy.
08:15
You why you put this on the menu?
08:18
OK.
08:19
You are, you are uh let's get it.
08:22
This is the, what's good in your hood sandwich?
08:26
Great job.
08:27
Thank you.
08:28
Great job.
08:32
The les is a better place because of mama.
08:35
Her plates made with love have fed generations of artists
08:38
musicians, activists and everyday neighborhood folks
08:42
all who she treated like family.
08:45
When the five Puerto Rican nationalists were released from
08:49
prison after serving 27 years for fighting for the liberation
08:54
of the island.
08:55
The first place we brought them to was for more insight on Casa
09:00
de in the neighborhood.
09:01
I broke bread with native Les Son and New York legend Luis Guzman
09:07
So look, people just so you see this is how you do it, you go,
09:11
you dunk, you look, you go and you know what this is right here
09:18
The best part of life, not the best part of life, baby.
09:22
That is, I wanna see more of the neighborhood honey.
09:26
What we need to do is dance.
09:27
OK?
09:28
Say no more.
09:31
The lower East side or as warmly called by its Puerto Rican
09:35
residents is part of a bigger shift happening in New York City
09:39
This part of the neighborhood from Avenue A to the FDR, from
09:44
the street to 14th Street, we call this because we gave ourselves
09:51
in this neighborhood an identity.
09:53
This neighborhood always had a spirit about itself.
09:56
You know, we had the best black parties, man.
09:59
Uh We used to have block parties and which is a nice street Avenue
10:04
C it's traditionally been an immigrant working class neighborhood
10:08
that quickly began gentrifying in the mid two thousands,
10:11
prompting the National Trust for historic preservation
10:14
to place the neighborhood on their list of America's most
10:17
endangered places.
10:19
It's been a struggle but it's been a worthwhile struggle because
10:23
again, we fought real hard to keep the wild community, what's
10:28
left of it intact, you know, and like I said, we became the the
10:32
warriors for this neighborhood, right to die.
10:35
You know, that's who we are.
10:37
That's beautiful, amazing.
10:57
You.
11:08
What is the festival?
11:10
It's like a block fair, a street fair and it starts from here
11:15
all the way down to 12th street.
11:17
It's cultural.
11:18
They bring in um vendors, they bring in music.
11:22
And every year we do our own.
11:24
This year was a little bit extra special because they were
11:29
dedicating it to a and they presented her with this amazing
11:34
big head sculpture that was done of her.
11:37
And then they took it through the whole lower East side and
11:40
then they ended up in a park and they had her in front of a big
11:44
bowl of Yeah.
11:46
So it was out, I'm going to dedicate my heart and soul to make
11:59
sure that this restaurant continues its location.
12:03
And what we started out to do, which was feeding people.
12:09
We're pushing and we know she's watching, but we're pushing
12:13
further to keep it going because that's our strongest point
12:16
We're gonna prove her.
12:17
Yes.
12:17
You taught us well, the generations that pave the way the,
12:22
that raise our families and in turn our communities, the sacrifices
12:27
made.
12:27
And the years spent sharing conversations over food and simple
12:31
meals.
12:32
Like the proud Puerto Rican flags flying in Casa A is a true
12:37
symbol of a changing neighborhood full of stories that unite
12:41
us through a common denominator family and love.
12:47
Thank you so much to the familia and of course to Luis Guzman
12:50
for talking to me about the Les and everything that is and that's
13:01
next time on what's good in your hood.
13:03
We're heading to Miami where we'll dive into a neighborhood
13:06
seafood icon with 305 native a.