Quesito (Colombiano) la Finquita is arguably the best queso fresco I have ever had comes from Mi Casita Colombiana in Bayonne, NJ. Although I adore aged cheeses, there is a special place in my heart for fresh (unaged) cheeses. White and young, these cheeses brighten the day, like a breath of fresh air for the palate.
Jorge Guerra, chef y dueño (chef and owner) brings Quesito in from Stanford, CT where his cousin, also Colombian, makes it fresh. It’s a simple cheese, but it’s so fresco, like a jar of milk. Unlike the grocery varieties vacuum packed for an unnaturally long shelf life, Quesito behaves as a young cheese should. Like milk, it is best within the first five days. This is a cheese meant to be eaten “in the now.” The texture is right in between that of a regular, firm queso fresco and a spoonable ricotta. It is soft and spongy with fluffy granules.
Jorge shares my love of cheese. His menu offers many “con queso” dishes and appetizers: Platano Maduro con Queso (sweet fried plantain with cheese), Arepa con Queso (corn cakes), Aguapanela con Queso (cane sugar drink with cheese), and last but not least, small Colombian cheese breads, Pandebono and Buñuelos.
He bakes them fresh every day and seems very proud of them. He should be. They are excellent! Chewy, fluffy, hot, and cheesy, made with a young Colombian white cheese, like a very firm, tightly knitted queso fresco, different from Quesito.
Quesito can be sliced, but it also gives way to a fork with ease. I like to eat it plain, especially when it is high quality like this Quesito, but it is good for fillings, too. It adds extra creaminess to shredded cheeses in Latin dishes. Try it in chiles rellenos, quesadillas, salads, pupusas de queso (cheese-stuffed tortillas), arepas con queso (corn cakes filled with cheese, but why not put extra on top?!), and more. Although it doesn’t exactly melt, I use it crumbled as a topping over anything and everything. It heats up nicely as a finishing cheese and keeps its shape. ¡Perfecto!
Mi Casita Colombiana offers antojitos (snacks), desayunos (breakfast foods), platos tipicos (traditional dishes), ensaladas, comidas rapidas (fast food, both American and Colombian style), sandwiches , pastries, and specialty drinks, non-alcoholic. Check it out!
Elizabeth Bland, The Cheese Mistress