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Puerto Rican flavor served up at Gali's

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  • Robert Schmidt
    http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080925/GPG 03/809250656/1247 Puerto Rican flavor served up at Gali s Restaurant recently
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 25 3:35 PM
      http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080925/GPG
      03/809250656/1247

      Puerto Rican flavor served up at Gali's
      Restaurant recently opened on Packerland Drive

      By Richard Ryman • rryman@... • September 25, 2008

      ASHWAUBENON — Tamar Cornelius visited Puerto Rico and fell in love with the
      food. She's betting others in Northeastern Wisconsin will like it, too.

      Cornelius and her fiance, Jorge E. Soto Colon, opened Gali's restaurant on
      Packerland Drive three weeks ago.

      "My goal is to bring something to Green Bay I never encountered," she said.

      Key ingredients include pork, beef and chicken, rice and beans and
      plantain, which resembles a banana but does not taste like one and is used
      more like a potato. Meats are often marinated.

      Puerto Rican recipes resemble Spanish and Mexican fare but have other
      influences as well, including African and Amerindian Taínos.

      And, no, the food is not spicy. (That's the first question everyone seems
      to ask.)

      "We get that a lot," Cornelius said. "It's got a lot of flavor, but it's
      not spicy."

      Examples of Puerto Rico-specific items include tostones (twice-fried
      plantains) and mofongo (fried green plantains, seasoned with garlic, olive
      oil and pork cracklings, then mashed and served with a fried meat and a
      chicken broth soup).

      Cornelius said they will offer specials daily and always have roast pork
      available.

      They serve Café Cibales Puerto Rican coffee and espresso.

      The restaurant came about through a seemingly fateful series of events,
      Cornelius said. In short order, her mother asked her if she would take over
      her business, Dragonfly Books & Brew; she went to Puerto Rico with Soto
      Colon and loved the food, talked to his father about whether he might like
      to cook for them and soon was in business.

      "It all just kept falling into place, and we went with the flow," she said.

      Jorge W. Soto Colon, the father, has been cooking for 35 years and, with
      his other son, Jorge W. Jr., provides the expertise in the kitchen.

      Jorge W. Jr. arrived recently to bolster the cooking staff because even
      with only word-of-mouth promotion, they found themselves so busy the first
      two weeks it was hard to keep up at lunch, she said.

      "With another cook, we hope to increase turnaround time," Cornelius said.

      The restaurant has 30 seats but will add more tables, Cornelius said.

      She got financing from Oneida Small Business Inc. She is an enrolled member
      of the tribe.

      "If not for that, I wouldn't have been able to get a loan," she said.

      She said there is a surprisingly strong Oneida/Puerto Rican connection.
      English and Spanish will be spoken at the restaurant.

      She will use her Oneida connections to promote the restaurant. They will be
      advertised at the Oneida-owned Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, and
      her friends and relatives working at the Oneida Casino will spread the
      word, she said.

      The restaurant is named after Cornelius' and Soto Colon's 13-month-old
      daughter, Galilea.
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