Is Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde the Best Brunch in NYC?

We had the great pleasure of finding out for ourselves. Join us as we regale the tale of the very indulgent culinary journey we took to find out if the new Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde is the best Sunday brunch you will ever experience. If you are not yet familiar, Vida Verde is a Mexican-inspired cocktail bar tucked away in the sometimes stiff neighborhood of midtown west. To say it is a colorful and most welcomed oasis in the middle of a concrete desert is an understatement. Honestly, you can get lost in the eye-catching colors and striking artwork that makes up the decor. Let’s put it this way, imagine walking into a secret room of a grey house filled with every bold color imaginable……that is what we thought when we arrived at Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde Cocktail Bar.

The Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde promised a fantastic line up of specialty cocktails by Vida Verde’s star bartenders, a Mezcal tasting, an amazing taste of their brunch specialties menu including tacos, tortas, small dishes, and desserts. It did not disappoint! First up was delicious cocktails that celebrated the colors of the rainbow. We indulged in the Mango & Habanero Margarita, Paloma de Tamarindo, Classic Frozen Margarita, Red Sangria, and the amazing Juna Punch Wonder Punch Bowl which is as delicious as it is vibrant. We enjoyed these wonderful libations with a round of light bites including Chips, Salsa and Guacamole….to start.

After we were properly soused with our starter cocktails, it was time for the Mexcal tasting. We learned all about the cultivation, harvesting, cooking, fermenting, and distilling processes of some of Mexico’s leading Mezcal brands. Some of which we got to sample. Vida Verde actually offers classes on spirits daily, so if you’ve ever wanted to learn more about your favorite alcohol or get to know a new one, Vida Verde is the place to be.

After the Mezcal Tasting, we went into full-on brunch mode. The Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde menu is decadent. You will enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless brunch and a pinata at two price levels. For $40.00, you can enjoy a brunch entree and bottomless Bloody Marys, Mimosas, Beer or Cava. For $50.00, you also get a brunch entree and bottomless Margaritas or Micheladas, and Palomas. Speaking of entrees, the choices are vast for Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde. Feast your eyes on some of what’s available to enjoy:

The extensive brunch menu features so many choices. Some of Vida Verde’s Boozy Brunchacha brunch menu items we enjoyed included Chilaquiles, Mexican Poutine, Grilled Steak Fajitas, Huevos Rancheros, Breakfast Torta, Avocado smash on Tortilla, and Garden Frittata, many of which are pictured above and below. Our most gluttonous moment came when we first laid eyes on the Aztec Pancakes. The word divine doesn’t begin to do justice to how delicious this banana, brown sugar, cocoa, and whipped cream delight, so we’ll just let you droll over the below photo and tell you to visit Vide Verde to experience it for yourself.

As we previously stated, your boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde experience comes with a pinata, making your time there even more wonderful.

While you are no doubt enjoying your boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde surrounded by the amazing artwork, let the spirit of Frida Kahlo inspire you to explore Vida Verde’s newly opened Rooftop Margarita Market. This hidden oasis boasts a stunning handpainted mural by renowned artist, Victor “Marka27” Quinonez, wonderfully colorful decor and a menu that promises 10 flavor varieties of margaritas. This is no surprise since Vida Verde is known to have the largest Mezcal and Tequila selections in NYC.

So to answer our question, there is no doubt this is the best brunch we’ve experienced. But don’t take our word for it, try it for yourself.

Restaurant Review: Bagatelle New York’s French Mediterranean Cuisine

New York has changed so much, and while the foodie in us does appreciate every new restaurant or eatery opening, the love for staple neighborhood eateries will never change. One such staple is French Mediterranean bistro,  Bagatelle New York. The French word Bagatelle means “a trifle or a little nothing”, but there was nothing little about our culinary journey there. We had the delicious opportunity to feast at their flagship location in the Meatpacking District in New York.

The esteemed restaurant’s menu has brought a European flair to the now, very modern MeatPacking District for years, with their outstanding seasonal cuisine. Their over-the-top-brunches, recurring musical tribute events Whitney Houston, Madonna, or Michael Jackson dance party, anyone?), perfect balance of flavors of their popular signature dishes make Bagatelle New York a New York institution. So, of course, we jumped at the opportunity to partake in this culinary journey.

STARTERS

Salade Bagatelle

We started off our Bagatelle New York foodie adventure with this simple and leafy delight which features butterhead lettuce, fresh garden herbs, Parmesan cheese, and Dijon mustard vinaigrette. We usually go for salads that are layered in lots of different flavors and textures (there’s usually about 8-9 ingredients in our salads); but we were pleasantly surprised when we found ourselves going back for more of this 4 ingredient treat.

Pizza à la Truffe Noire

Next up was a delicious thin crust pizza that boasts crème fraîche, black truffle oil, and smoked mozzarella cheese. The smoking of the delicious, milky mozzarella gave the pizza a crisp aroma and an abundance of flavor, and the crust with perfect crunchy without being too hard.

Tartare de Thon Bagatelle

Possibly the best tuna tartar we’ve ever devoured. The multi-textured, layered, multiflavored starter dish features yellowfin tuna tartar, topped with perfectly seasoned and creamy avocado with a slight kick, a lime soy vinaigrette, and taro chips.

MAIN COURSES

Saumon d’Ecosse

While every dish was superbly delicious, our favorite Bagatelle New York dish was the Saumon d’Ecosse……you can say it was our hero dish. We loved the rustic look and feel of this dish which boasted Scottish salmon, cauliflower, baby spinach, brown butter, pine nuts, and grapes. Each mouthful was a dance of savory, sweet, and earthy flavors that kept us reaching for more.

Poulet Rôti Entier à la Truffe

Continuing the rustic French Mediterranean journey, we dug right into the next dish, a tasty half chicken dish that was tender and homey. This assemblage of country style potatoes, caramelized cipollini, and thyme chicken jus (since we’re allergic to mushrooms, we enjoyed it without the button mushrooms and truffles), was an elegant take on roast chicken and quite delicious.

Le Steak Au Poivre

A succulent 12oz black Angus NY strip steak, topped with a cognac peppercorn sauce, and served with crispy Belgian french fries. The layers of condensed flavors in this mouthwatering steakhouse classic danced in our mouths. Boasting a light char and flavorful browning on the outside, the seared steak was perfectly highlighted by the creamy peppercorn sauce.

Another dish presented to us was the Gnocchi Truffés à la Parisienne de Nicolas, but because of the truffle sauce, we were unable to enjoy. This dish consisting of homemade choux pastry gnocchi truffle sauce and Parmesan is a restaurant favorite that many diners order daily.

DESSERT

Bagatelle Mega Sundae

The final indulgence and we do mean indulgence of our Bagatelle New York culinary journey, was this massive ice cream sundae. We highly recommend not trying to eat this by yourself, it is made to share between 3-4 people minimum, especially when you factor in all the glorious courses you will enjoy before this. This sinful decadence consists of granola, ice cream, brownies, cookies, popcorn, gummy bears, and strawberries with drizzles of chocolate and caramel sauces. This behemoth will definitely bring out your inner child but like they say at Bagatelle New York, Joie de Vivre!!

 

 

 

 

 

Bagatelle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream: No Bowls or Spoons Needed

On a hot and humid day like today, nothing beats snacking on some delicious cold ice cream. The problem is, hot days means ice cream melts quickly. This leaves you with melted ice cream either running down your hands and arms leaving a sticky mess, or a bowl of ice cream soup, as you try to eat it quickly. Thankfully there’s a way to enjoy delicious premium ice cream without the melting scoops, or the need for bowls and spoons – Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream.

Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is rich and creamy slow-churned, bite-sized ice cream wrapped in mochi, a sweetened rice dough. This bite-sized frozen delight is the perfect, soft, chewy, creamy treat to indulge in on a hot day. The regular Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is currently available in 19 multipack flavors (including the new Triple Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream flavor – pictured below); 28 single serve flavors, including new flavors – Blood Orange and Red Velvet, and seasonal flavors – Pumpkin and Peppermint Candy. Bubbies Hawaii also recently introduced 4 new vegan ice cream flavors – Vegan Cherry, Vegan Mint, Vegan Vanilla, and Vegan Mango.

The Triple Chocolate Mochi recently won a Sofi Awards 2018 New Product Award in the ice cream, gelato, and frozen treat category. When you try the smooth, sweet, chocolate ice cream with premium chocolate chips encased in chocolate mochi dough, you’ll see why. Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is Gluten Free, Kosher, Non-GMO, and rBST-free (cows have not been treated with the synthetic rBST hormone). Most of the Mochi Ice Cream flavors are 100 calories or less, and all are made from the highest quality ingredients. Trust us when we say, one bite of this creamiest, most decadent sweet treats and you will be hooked. Are you ready to eat ice cream with your fingers?

Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is available nationwide Whole Foods Market, Albertsons, Balducci’s, Morton Williams, Brooklyn Fare, Fairway Market, or you can buy it online at www.buy.bubbiesicecream.com.

Explore the Tastes of the World with Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends

We always say the best way to experience a country’s culture is to dive right into their local cuisines. Sadly not all of us can afford to travel around the world indulging in international foodie fantasies. However, there is a way you can enjoy these culinary delights, especially if you’re not blessed enough to have access to international chefs and restaurants. What do we mean? Cooking with international spices and seasonings of course. Pereg Natural Foods & Spices, the people who brought you fiery Harissa from Tunisia, exotic Moroccan Ras Al Hanout, and the bold flavors of Cajun country, has launched two new international spices, Chinese 5-Spice Seasoning, and Latin Adobo Blend. Let’s get to know Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends.

Pereg’s ever-growing selection of international ingredients now includes 5-Spice Seasoning, an aromatic anchor of Chinese cuisine, and Adobo Blend, a zippy mainstay in kitchens from Spain and Peru to Mexico and the Philippines. These two spices join the wide range of Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends.  Pereg’s Chinese 5-Spice mix, a happy marriage of sweet, salty, pungent, sour, and bitter has the power to elevate dishes of all kinds.  With its balanced blend of cinnamon, anise, fennel, black pepper, and cloves, it delivers an intriguing, pan-Asian complexity to braises, soups, stir-fries, and sauces. It pairs beautifully with lamb, chicken, and duck. You can even use it in cocktails!

Adobo, which originated in Spain and Portugal, wears many hats. Latin adobo usually refers to a sauce or marinade typically made from paprika and stewed chipotle chilies. However, some Latin and Caribbean countries think of adobo as a seasoning mix, either wet or dry, to rub on meat before cooking. And in the Philippines, where adobo is the national dish, it’s a style of cooking in which meat, fish, or vegetables are marinated in vinegar, salt, and spices, browned in oil and then simmered in the marinade. Adobo seasoning is endlessly versatile. It adds a rich dimension to chicken, turkey, burgers, and your favorite chili. Use it as a dry rub for steaks and whole fish. Mix it with quinoa, add it to fish tacos, spice up your guacamole, or sprinkle it on popcorn.

Are your ready to bring international cuisine to your life and kitchen? What are your thoughts on Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends? Will you start cooking more international dishes?

Health & Nutrition: The New Hummus Shake from The Hummus & Pita Co.

Once in a while, there’s a new item launch that completely blows us away. While we have enjoyed many a delicious beverage, nothing has caught us by surprise as much as the new Hummus Shake from The Hummus & Pita Co. In all honesty, while we love chickpeas, we’re actually not fans of Hummus (it’s a strange predilection). So when we attended a tasting of The Hummus & Pita Co.’s new Hummus Shake, which launches on National Hummus Day, we did so with some trepidation. After one sip, all our apprehension was gone. To say we were pleasantly surprised by how delicious and amazing the thick, creamy drinkable dessert is an understatement.

The Hummus & Pita Co. is known for bringing healthy, homemade Mediterranean cuisine all made-from-scratch on in-store using only the freshest ingredients. The addition of their new Hummus Shake continues that healthy practice.

The Hummus Shake is vegan, FREE of dairy and gluten, and packed with good-for-you ingredients that are high in protein, fiber, and vitamins, but low in calories. This guilt-free dessert starts with just FIVE all-natural, simple ingredients (chickpeas, tahini, banana, dates, and almond milk) that are perfectly blended for a sweet treat that tastes decadent and indulgent, all the while regulating blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and providing anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy effects.

The Hummus Shake is available in five flavors: original, chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, and butter pecan. Just in time for National Hummus Day, The Hummus & Pita Co. will be offering free samples of this innovative, guilt-free drinkable dessert at all Hummus & Pita Co. locations on Sunday, May 13. To keep celebrations going all week long, The Hummus & Pita Co. will be offering a buy one Hummus Shake, get one free promotion from the May 13th launch date through Sunday, May 20.

A 12 oz cup of the innovative Hummus Shake will be available for $5.00 at all Hummus & Pita Co. locations nationwide, both currently in operation and those slated to open in the coming months. The brand has partnered with Taylor Machines to develop a batch recipe and machine dispenser to ensure the Hummus Shake is replicated perfectly each and every time.

Cantina Rooftop Kicks off the Season w/ Contemporary Mexican Menu

We don’t think we’re the only ones who’s noticed that New York City has become frustratingly crowded with everything from people to scaffolding to traffic jams. For this reason alone, seeking an oasis to escape the honking, the service delays, the sidewalk snail-paces and the Pac-Man-like meandering through the concrete and steel has become a welcomed respite. If you’re anything like us then your oasis must have something savory to nosh, a bartender who gives good pours and a feeling of welcome while you escape the city’s oftentimes unwelcoming disposition. For us, that oasis is the Cantina Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge. Join David and I as we journey through Cantina Rooftop’s new contemporary Mexican menu from Chef Saul Montiel and new cocktails from mixologist Miquel Sanchez.

GLASGOW: Welcome to the Mexican garden of earthly and intoxicating delights! If you’re looking for authentic Mexican fare that seamlessly combines old world tradition and modern touches, Cantina Rooftop should be your to-go. Thanks to its retractable roof, you and your party can celebrate everything…..rain or shine. As someone who has visited this location, I am never disappointed and their new contemporary Mexican menu was everything my appetite craved.

Every bite was a musical of incredible color, texture, and flavors. It was as if I was consuming the country itself through my palate. The menu, created by Executive Chef Saul Montiel, was wonderful. You will delight in the assortment of flavorful seafood Tostadas, Botanas, robustly textured Guacamoles (it’s heaven), the juiciest Beef burger we’ve had (you’ll love how the Chipotle Aioli elevates the burger), and an amazing Crispy Pork Taco.

Dessert was truly a revelation. Get ready for some creamy decadence. Whether you indulge in the Fudge and Raspberry Chocolate Mousse desert or the incredible Strawberry Shortcake Tres Leches (our first time seeing this favorite in this flavor variety – we highly approve), you will leave deliciously sated and wonderfully happy. Of course rooftop celebrations are nothing without cocktails, so keep reading for David’s take on the must have cocktails (we’re still thinking of that Guava Sangria) at Cantina Rooftop.

DAVID: I’d like to focus on the bartender who at the right establishment is also as good as the mixologist who suggests. That’s when I think of Cantina Rooftop. Located in the west side of Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen nestled inside one of the city’s popular event space/club shrines, Stage 48 and Level 3 Loft, Cantina Rooftop completes the trinity by being a fabulous Mexican restaurant whose seasonal newly-reopened rooftop dining space aims to make your oasis festive and relaxing, tequila included. I got to experience the magic of their reopening last week at the kick-off event. Boasting a nicely cultivated drink menu with several cocktails from renowned mixologist Miquel Sanchez, the Cantina Rooftop offers up a sweet selection of wines, spirits like premium mezcals and tequilas, as well as a host of refreshing beers.

What struck me as comforting about the drink menu was that it wasn’t fussy but certainly wasn’t tame. The balance of notes and flavors in each drink were evident as described and left me with a feeling of satisfaction and not like I was part of some mad mixologist’s experiment. Sanchez’ ‘Spicy Summer’ is not to be missed as it takes a key fun fruit of the season, watermelon, and brings out the sweetness with the presence of heat and the tango of fresh lime & agave syrup. What’s also nice to note is the nicely done margarita and mezcal-rita menu utilizing smoky mezcals and fresh ingredients with the Caribbean kick.

The Cantina Rooftop with their impressive outdoor space that allows you to look at the thick of the city without besides nestled too deep in it is now open for business at 605 West 48th Street and 11th Avenue. In addition to the specialty cocktails from Mixologist Sanchez is the new debut of a flavorful menu of interesting traditional and contemporary Mexican fare from Executive Chef Saul Montiel (the spicy guac is NOT to be missed). With the weather spinning in a more favorable direction, it’s the perfect time allow Cantina Rooftop to end your search for that welcomed oasis.

Vina Croatia: A Croatian Wine Region Tour in Midtown

Croatia may be a country known for its gorgeous coastline and striking Game of Thrones–inspiring structures, but its vineyards and wineries, steeped in tradition and history are also a huge part of its charm and appeal. Its dramatically diverse regions from the Alps to the Danube provide a variety of wines that can please every type of oenophile. Recently, a dinner held by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce at Midtown’s Brasserie 8 ½ gave us a taste of what the Croatian wine region has to offer.

Ten flights of wines from light whites and a rosé to deep full-bodied reds were expertly paired with a citrus shrimp appetizer, a choice of filet mignon or a rack of lamb, and warm pear with maple ice cream.

The introductory wine came from the Istria region— where the cold of the Alps mixes with the warmth of the Mediterranean, producing interesting wines such as the 2016 Kozlovic Malvazija (not pictured). It is a dry golden white with notes of fruits and spices and a slight hint of saltiness – which poetically sums up the melding of the coast and the mountains.

The next wine we tasted is a must for every rosé lover. The Erdutski Rosé is made from the Pinot Black grapes of the Slavonia region and has a warm blush pink color. It’s a refreshing medium body selection with a hint of cherries.

Staying within the Slavonia region, our next white wine on the Croatian wine region tour, the Vezak Graševina was a fine example of Croatia’s principal grape variety, the Graševina. The color of this dry white echoes the colors of the golden fields that are characteristic of the Croatian valleys. Its flowery aroma mixed with a fruity bouquet with a slight mineral aftertaste will compliment a seafood meal or a white meat platter.

A different take on the Graševina came in the form of a 2016 Riesling from Vina Antonovic. This wine is an earthy blend of green apples and floral blossoms with a similar mineral taste (albeit a little sweeter than the last white); this seems to be the recognizable trait of the Slavonia region and the Croatian Danube.

 

To say that the next white wine was blessed with the sweetness of citrus, peach, and roses would not be a stretch. The Žlahtina sv. Lucija (not pictured), named for the church of St. Lucy on the island of Krk, is a golden mix of yellow-greenish hues that pair well with meat, fish, rice, and polenta dishes. It certainly enhanced the taste of our rack of lamb.

The Miraz Graševina has won multiple awards for its dry but creamy taste. The vineyard’s wine fermentation process includes extensive supervision and temperature control. Smooth and full-bodied with deeply aromatic notes, this white wine with an enchanting green-yellow hue goes well with just about everything from poultry, to seafood, and pasta dishes.

During the second half of dinner, we were introduced to some very fine red wines. First up was the award-winning Dingač Berba 2015 from Dalmatia — a region known not only for those firehouse dogs but also for the Plavac Mali grapes. The variety is grown in the sun-drenched slopes and coasts of Dalmatia and produces full-bodied reds. This black dry wine had a berry aroma with a hint of a chocolate aftertaste. It brought out the spices in our main course but can also be enjoyed with mature cheeses.

The next Croatian wine region red wine was another award-winning Plavac, the Zlatan Plavac Grand Cru. The grapes, organically grown in the picturesque slopes of the island of Hvar, come from 35 to 50-year-old vines. The wine is then aged in French barrique barrels for two years and 6-12 months in the bottle. It’s a dry red with hints of leather, pepper, chocolate, and prunes. Its earthy quality is best paired with steaks and lobsters or both for a delectable surf and turf option. Depending on how big of a company you are having or how much you can consume (no judgments), there is small, medium, and large bottles available.

The third red wine was the Ivan Dolac Barrique, named for the aforementioned French barrel it matures in, 1also hails from Hvar. It’s a dry robust wine with a berry and almost floral aroma. It’s smooth and easy on the palette and makes a nice compliment to any roast game or grilled fish.

The final Croatian wine region wine of the night was the Kabola Muškat Momjanski, a perfect ending to our Croatian wine introduction. It went well with our warm pear and maple ice cream dessert. It’s a refreshing and medium-bodied white with notes of peaches, rose, and honey with a slight mineral quality that gives it a lingering taste. This is our pick for an ideal summer wine.

You can tell a lot about a country by its wines. The wines were a spectacular representation of the different regions that make up such a fascinating country. From the Mediterranean to the Alps, each wine embodied a distinct characteristic specific to the climate and the area they came from. Based on what we’ve tasted, we’re ready to spend a lot of time in Croatia! Are you excited to visit the Croatian wine region?

Spice Up Your Life: Spice Islands Spices, Herbs, and Seasonings

Repeat after us – when it comes to cooking, spices, herbs, and seasonings are absolutely needed. We love food, that’s why we do restaurant reviews and eat out as much as we can. The best thing about being a foodie is enjoying the various flavors, so we need our meals to be seasoned to perfection. We need much more than just salt and pepper. If you have less than ten varieties of spices, herbs, and seasonings (not including salt and pepper) in your kitchen cupboard, you’re not properly seasoning your food. But worry not, we, and Spice Islands, are here to help you. We are here to introduce you to the vast variety of Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings boasting rich flavors and premium quality. Get ready to amp up your spice rack and cooking with an amazing array of wonderful flavors.

Whether you’re cooking something savory or sweet, Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings have exactly what you need. They search the world for spices and herbs of the highest quality. Then they craft and package them to deliver the most authentic and intense flavor possible. It’s as if you sourced these spices and herbs out of your own garden.

Spice Islands offers everything from A to V – Allspice to Vanilla, with many spices available in multiple forms (think whole, ground, and organic). They go far beyond the basics like chili powder, basil, cayenne pepper, chives, cilantro, etc and offer gourmet options like Jamaican jerk seasoning, Louisiana Cajun, Garam Masala (a hot spice blend of Northern Indian spices), a flavorful blend French countryside blend of spices, extracts, and panko mixes.

It’s a fact that cooking with the right spices can turn any recipe from okay to absolutely mouth-watering and that’s exactly what you get with Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings. Another thing we love about Spice Islands is their recipes. They offer lots of entrees, appetizer, bread, soup, salads sides, sauces, beverages and dessert recipes. They provide the level of difficulty, prep and total time, and of course the correct spices, herbs and seasonings to use for each recipe. Spice Islands is here to make cooking fun and to wow your family and friends with your cooking skills. What more can you ask for? To learn more about Spice Islands and their variety of spices, herbs, and seasonings, visit www.spiceislands.com.