Bantam Bagels Opening

Breakfast Changer: Bantam Bagels NEW Bleecker Street Shop

Over the last few years, we’ve heard so much about portion control and enjoying food in moderation. Especially with the studies that show childhood and adult obesity is on the rise. Because of this, many people have cut out a lot of their favorite foods and snacks; but this drastic change is not really necessary. Everything can be enjoyed in moderation. While attending the Summer Fancy Food Show, we were introduced to one food brand that is “changing the way you breakfast”, Bantam Bagels.

Bantam Bagels on Bleecker Street Bantam Bagels on Bleecker Street

What are Bantam Bagels? These “mounds of heaven” are mini filled bagel balls with cream cheese on the inside. It’s truly the most unique and exciting way to eat an authentic New York bagel. Founded by husband and wife team, Nick and Elyse Oleksak, Bantam Bagels come in all your favorite bagels varieties and a few new ones.

Bantam Bagels Bantam Bagels Bantam Bagels

The varieties include Plain, Sesame, Onion, Everything, Cinnamon Sugar, Pizza Seasoned, Cinnamon Nutmeg, and Pretzel. The fillings include plain Cream Cheese, Cinnamon Swirl Cream Cheese, Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese, Veggie Cream Cheese, Maple Cream Cheese, Marinara Mozzarella Cream Cheese, Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese, Scallion Cream Cheese, and Cheddar Dijon Cream Cheese.

Bantam Bagels OpeningBantam Bagels

These delicious homemade bagels, which originated in the couple’s Brooklyn apartment, has made appearances on ABC’s Shark Tank and QVC; and now you can enjoy to your heart’s content at their wonderful flagship at 283 Bleecker Street in New York. As we mentioned before, we were first introduced to Bantam Bagels at the Summer Fancy Food Show. It was love at first bite when Elyse invited us over to her booth to indulge. We’ve been addicted ever since.

Bantam Bagels Shop Elyse Oleksak of Bantam Bagels

From the moment you step inside the store, you’ll be treated like family by Elyse and her amazing team. You’ll also delight in the newest additions to their product line, Breakfast Bagels, an egg bagel stuffed with cheddar cheese cream cheese, Egg Bites, and Bantam Pancakes.

Bantam Egg Bites Bantam Pancakes

We can’t sing the praises of these delicious, fun-size bagels enough. Trust us when we say once you take one bite of any of the varieties of Bantam Bagels products, you’ll never go back to regular-sized bagels again.

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

Restaurant Review: Demarchelier Summer 2019 Menu

Summer is sadly slowly coming to an end but there is still some time left to enjoy a few of what makes summertime a wonderful season. The fall season is still a month away, so there’s plenty of time left to partake in a fantastic summer menu. We had the pleasure of doing just that when we journeyed back to experience the Demarchelier Summer 2019 menu. We were once again welcomed by Emily Demarchelier, for an evening of gourmet dining that captured the essence of authentic French cuisine.

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

For the summer season, Demarchelier features many signature dishes including Pate De Campagne, Filet of Herring with Potato Salad and Moules Mariniere (which we enjoyed on our last visit), for an appetizing start to a full course dinner. Delicious entrees transporting you to France include the succulent Duck Confit with white beans (another favorite from our last visit), Rainbow Trout Meuniere and Filet Mignon. The dessert menu boasts an assortment of sweet treats including the Crème Caramel (Flan), Profiteroles with chocolate sauce and Crepes Suzette with Grand Marnier. While there were dishes were already familiar to our palates, we opted for the Demarchelier summer 2019 menu items we hadn’t experienced before. Here is our summer menu journey.

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

Surrounded by the paintings of Eric Demarchelier, we were ready to traverse the Demarchelier Summer 2019 menu and surrender ourselves to the wonderful French flavors.

COCKTAILS

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

We started our review with a bang of a cocktail, a drink to remind us that the fall season is approaching. The second cocktail was more along the refreshing and sweet side, thanks to its unconventional flavor. Check them both out below:

Le Normandie – vodka and Père Jules Pommeau shaken with a dried apple garnish. Bold and potent, this cocktail is perfect for brandy lovers.

Kumquat Margarita – Casamigos Tequila Blanco, fresh lime juice, and Kumquat liqueur. If you’re a fan of Limoncello, you will love this cocktail; it’s refreshing, vibrant, and sweet.

STARTERS

QUICHE OF THE DAY – GOAT CHEESE & ARUGULA

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

GLASGOW:  We love a good savory pastry and Dermarchelier’s the daily Quiche offering hits the spot every time. Tonight we dined on a Goat Cheese and Arugula Quiche sitting on a bed of fresh greens. It’s a meal in pie form but not too filing that it would prevent you from enjoying your full course.

PATE DE CAMPAGNE

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

LUCIANA: Its combination of pork and beef, rustic texture and rich flavors were sublime. Every bite melts in your mouth. It forces you to pause a few times to appreciate the beautiful assault on your palette. Served with a fresh salad and creamy sauce, I found myself eating slowly hoping this culinary experience would last forever. This tender, French country style pate is a definite must to try.

MAIN COURSES

BISON BURGER ON A BAGUETTE

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

LUCIANA: I’ve wanted to experience the bison burger, and this was my first time doing so; and what an introduction I received! I was not at all disappointed with this distinct cheeseburger. What I discovered was a delicious, succulent burger charred to perfection. Served on a crispy baguette (a lovely change from the traditional bun), and topped with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, onions and your choice of cheese. I especially love the fact that this meat is lower in fat than traditional beef but still tastes so incredibly good. I would recommend this dish over and over.

WHOLE BRANZINO WITH MEUNIERE SAUCE

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

GLASGOW: Great food is my weakness and this superbly prepared whole Branzino with an amazing Meunière  (lemon butter) sauce hit every tastebud with strategic levels of mindblowing flavor. Whether you’re a seafood lover or not, this cooked-to-perfection mild-tasting and versatile fish is an absolute win.

SIDES

POMMES FRITES

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

GLASGOW: I was in the mood for a bit of British influence, so naturally needed these Pomme Frites to go with my branzino. The fresh-cut Frites were wonderfully crisp and soft at the same time, and there was a very faint sweetness to the flavor. The result was an empty plate.

MIXED VEGETABLES – BEETS & GRILLED POLENTA

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

GLASGOW: Since we paired a carb side with our Branzino, we opted for an equally rustic side of vegetables. In this case, beets and grilled Polenta. The beauty of polenta is its mild enough to mix beautifully with stronger-flavored foods; perfect for my branzino.

DESSERTS

PROFITEROLLES w/ Chocolate Sauce

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

LUCIANA: I love chocolate but melted chocolate drizzled over ice cream sandwiched between French choux pastry balls are heavenly. The semi-sweet puffs, vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce made for a decadent combination of texture and taste. Every bite to the last was exquisite.

TARTE TATIN w/ Vanilla Ice Cream

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

GLASGOW: Some may say there’s nothing like a warm slice of apple pie but one bite of Demarchelier’s Tarte Tatin would change their minds. It may be a simple dessert but its flavors are anything but. This is definitely one of the most hedonistic a la mode desserts I’ve enjoyed.

Emily Demarchelier at Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

There’s also about Demarchelier to love besides the art and wonderful summer 2019 menu.  The wonderful hospitality from Emily Demarchelier is unsurpassed. You really feel the family warmth, tradition, and generational pride as soon as you step foot into its homey ambiance. Whether it’s your first, second, or fifty-first visit to the Demarchelier French Bistro, you’ll always want to come back.

Demarchelier Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

Restaurant Review: Chef Terrance Brennan’s Côte Médi at Chefs Club NY

A little less than a year ago, we had the wonderful pleasure of experiencing an exquisite culinary journey when Fat Rice’s Chef Abraham Conlon participated in Chefs Club New York’s Chef-in-Residence series. We recently returned to Chefs Club New York to experience the amazing Mediterranean fare of Chef Terrance Brennan. This highly-accomplished chef, restaurateur, consultant, and entrepreneur has enjoyed a renowned 40-yr culinary career. During his Chef-in-Residence at Chefs Club New York, he brought a bit of his amazing menu comprising of new dishes and a few favorites from Picholine. Keep reading for our superb culinary experience of Chef Terrance Brennan’s Côte Médi at Chefs Club NY.

Chefs Club NY Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

We didn’t know it yet, but we were in for a night of culinary divinity to remember. His three-month residency at Chefs Club NY will serve as a preview of his forthcoming seafood-forward concept celebrating the “Cuisine of the Sun,” inspired by his time spent in coastal France, Italy, and Spain.

Chef Terrance Brennan at Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

We had the pleasure of seating at the special guests’ tables, right in front of Chef Terrance Brennan. Chef recommended and kept us informed on all the delicious dishes we enjoyed that night. Chef Terrance Brennan’s menu is perfect for a single or more as the menu features small plates that are meant to be shared amongst tables of friends. Our evening consisted of three amazing cocktails which we will highlight in a bit. While all three were delicious, the stars of the evening were the wonderful dishes. Let’s dive right in.

Smoked Salmon Rillettes

Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

What a way to begin! Our palette was thoroughly sated and awakened with this wonderfully salty, multi-textured opener. You could taste the freshness of every bite of the salmon; on its own, it was divine, but when mixed with the Wild American Caviar and scooped with the crisp, olive oil-soaked, bread? Pure perfection. Not a crumb was left in the bowl.

Live Sea Scallop Crudo in Shell

Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

If there ever was a dish to remind you of the fresh seafood you can enjoy in the Mediterranean, this is it. It was amazingly fresh and my Santeria Sour cocktail (more on it below), added a nice peppery layer to the dish. I did stop drinking it to fully experience the natural flavors of the truffle salt (slight throat itch but so worth it). The scallops practically melted in my mouth.

COCKTAILS

Chefs Club NY Côte Médi Cocktails

The New Wave – I enjoyed this sweet citrusy cocktail with my first dish. The freshness of the Calamansi and sweetness of elderflower was a wonderful and sweet compliment to the saltiness of the Salmon Rillettes.

Santeria Sour – This is a wonderful kick of spice with a peppery finish that lingers a bit. Hence why I enjoyed it so much with the Live Sea Scallop Crudo in Shell. I liked the addition of jalapeno to enhance the tart taste of the tamarind and green chili vodka. These wonderful flavor kicks complimented the natural smokiness of the mezcal.

There’s a Beach in Queens –  Our third cocktail tasted a lot more tropical than the other two. It boasts a subtle sweetness with the flavor of banana shining through.

Cucumber Gazpacho 

Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

I admit I wasn’t sure what to expect with this dish but my goodness, I left the bowl clean. The small melon balls were a wonderful surprise addition of subtle sweetness to the creaminess of this creamy cucumber dish. The crab added a nice level of salt for a wonderful combination of flavors.

Sea Urchin Fondue

Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

Hope you are ready for this very fresh dish. I thank my Caribbean roots for already being familiar with eating sea urchin. I’m used to enjoying it roasted in its shell but I love Chef Brennan’s take. The contrast of the freshness of the raw sea urchin paired with the creamy, tapioca fondue and seafoam produced by plankton truly highlighted the essence of the Mediterranean diet.

Wild Striped Bass

Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

The Chorizo Emulsion (sauce) and the black rice paella Socarrat (the caramelization of the bottom layer of paella) gave this dish a rustic element. I love anything made with black squid ink; it adds a natural saltiness, oiliness, and savory component to anything it’s added to. It gives the paella rice another layer of distinct flavor. The Striped Bass was perfect. I loved that it wasn’t prepared with too many seasonings, so its naturally mild flavor wasn’t overpowered.

Grilled Langoustines

Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

If you’ve never experienced what it’s like to enjoy freshly-caught seafood that is perfectly seasoned, and roasted right on the beach in an open fire pit, this is the closest you’ll come to doing so. The superb garlic herb butter enhanced the grilled flavors of it, which although grilled, it tasted very much roasted. Amazingly delicious!

Squab Magret

Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

I loved the variety of flavors in this dish. The Japanese turnips added a crisp fresh texture, almost like an unsweetened melon. The foie gras added another layer of savory flavor and creamy texture, the fig jam was the perfect addition with its seedy sweetness, and the tiny grapes added a refreshing crunchy texture.

DESSERT – Olive Oil Ice Cream

Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

Last but certainly never least – dessert. The Olive Oil ice cream immediately jumped out off the dessert menu. It was an unexpected delight. I wasn’t sure what to expect but eating it was like a rollercoaster of various layers and textures. The smooth vanilla ice cream, sweet crunch from the candied fennel brittle, and the rich, nutty flavor of olive oil all came together to create a distinct, multilayered flavor profile I haven’t experienced before. I have had the please of enjoying olive oil in a cocktail but this was my first olive oil ice cream. It’s a great option for those who love savory and sweet.

Chef Terrance Brennan at Chefs Club NY Côte Médi

Thus ends our culinary journey with Chef Terrance Brennan but hopefully the beginning of yours. You have until September 28th to partake in some or all of these sumptuous small plate meals. Chefs Club NY is located at 275 Mulberry Street. Book your reservation by calling 212-941-1100.

 

Chefs Club NY Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hard Rock Cafe Welcomes The 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger

Every day we, as humans, strive to be successful; to enjoy and celebrate the benefits of hard work. Unfortunately, sometimes the uneven levels of wealth prevent us from enjoying some of the indulgences we strive for……but only sometimes! Take for example the truly gluttonous practice the wealthy has of devouring edible gold. To the average person, that experience is an impossible desire. But not everything is impossible. Thanks to the Hard Rock Cafe’s new 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger, one of more than 20 new items joining their menu this summer, that impossible indulgence is a reality.

While all the items on the menu would leave any foodie very sated, the 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger is the star of this show. While you can purchase edible gold online, you’ll want to experience this deluxe burger for yourself. This first-of-its-kind burger will have you “living your life like it’s golden”. Here’s what to expect from its affordable decadence – a ½-lb. fresh Steak Burger topped with 24-Karat edible gold leaf with Tillamook cheddar cheese, leaf lettuce, vine-ripened tomato, and red onion.

Aside from this blingy burger, the Hard Rock Cafe’s extensive menu innovations include more award-winning steak burgers, Instagram-worthy boozy milkshakes, sliders, and shareable meals. The steak burger highlights include the Original Legendary Burger, boasting applewood bacon, Tillamook cheddar cheese, crispy onion ring, leaf lettuce, and vine-ripened tomato served with Hard Rock’s signature steak sauce on the side; the Big Cheeseburger, with three slices of Tillamook cheddar cheese, melted on a 1⁄2-lb. fresh Steak Burger served with leaf lettuce, vine- ripened tomato and red onion; the Double Decker Double Cheeseburger, a tribute to Hard Rock’s 1971 “Down Home Double Burger” and the iconic double-decker buses London is known for (a nod to Hard Rock’s roots); and the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, a 1⁄2-lb. fresh Steak Burger seasoned and seared with a signature spice blend, topped with house-made barbecue sauce, crispy shoestring onions, Tillamook cheddar cheese, applewood bacon, leaf lettuce, and vine-ripened tomato.

The over-the-top milkshakes, the Boozy Cookies & Cream Milkshake and Boozy Strawberry Cheesecake
Milkshake, deserve their over-the-top labels. The Cookies & Cream milkshake is made with Absolut Vanilla Vodka blended with vanilla bean ice cream, white chocolate, and Oreo cookies finished with fresh white chocolate whipped cream, and a chocolate Oreo Churro. The Strawberry Cheesecake milkshake features Absolut Vanilla Vodka, creamy vanilla bean ice cream blended with the flavors of strawberry cheesecake, finished with white chocolate whipped
cream and frosted animal crackers.

Last but certainly not least, the Hard Rock Cafe’s sliders and shareables join the 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger and the other menu items highlighted above. Available are the One Night in Bangkok Spicy Shrimp, All-American Sliders, Whiskey Bacon Jam Sliders, and Three Cheese and Roma Tomato Flatbread.

All these adventurous menu items became available on the Hard Rock Cafe’s Founders Day, June 14, 2019, with proceeds from the sale of the 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger benefiting Action Against Hunger.

Of course, great food is not all you can get from the Hard Rock. Why not go home with one of their iconic Hard Rock tees. For those celebrating Pride, the Hard Rock has got you covered (literally) with pride tees just in time to celebrate all love.

Ready to make your reservation to experience the Hard Rock’s new menu items, visit www.hardrockcafe.com.

 

 

 

 

Que Viva Brunch: Rosa Mexicano’s New Bottomless Brunch

If you haven’t been lucky enough to enjoy an authentic Mexcian breakfast, we have the next best thing – Rosa Mexicano’s new bottomless brunch menu. The famed restaurant’s new bottomless brunch begins Saturday, May 18th; and we don’t think the great weather we’re going to have tomorrow and the rest of the week is not a coincidence. We think Mother Nature is also excited about this amazing and flavorful brunch. We’ve enjoyed quite a few brunches and while several have been good, most focus on the drinks, rather than the food. The result is usually good cocktails and “okay” food. With Rosa Mexicano’s new bottomless brunch, the food is amazingly delicious and the cocktails are equally divine. We sat down to experience the flavorful feast and we can tell you, every bite and sip is sensational. Let’s begin with the bottomless options

Rosa Mexicano’s New Bottomless Brunch offers unlimited servings of six cocktails, red or white sangria, beer, and wine. As much as you can enjoy in an hour and a half. These are so delicious, it won’t be surprised by how fast some of these go down.

MORNING GLORY – A frozen Mexican twist on an Aperol spritz
LA TRADICIONAL MARGARITA – Frozen or rocks, Blanco tequila, lime, organic agave
FROZEN POMEGRANATE MARGARITA -Blanco tequila, triple sec, pomegranate, lime
FROZEN LIME – Lime, Blanco tequila, triple sec, organic agave, flor de sal rim
BLOODY MARY OR MARIA – Choice of vodka or tequila, tomato juice, horseradish, Cholula, pickled jalapeño, jicama, chicharrón
MANGO MIMOSA – Cava, mango and fresh squeezed orange juice

We started with the Morning Glory, a superb creation that combines an Aperol Spritz with a margarita. Even if you’re not a huge fan of Aperol, you’ll love this absolutely amazing frozen delight; not just for its Instagram-worthiness but it’s taste. Fair warning, this goes down very quickly. We also predict the massive Frozen Pomegranate Margarita and refreshing Frozen Lime cocktail will also dominate during brunch. For those who want to drink less, the Mango Mimosa is a terrific option.

The Rosa Mexicano’s New Bottomless Brunch specials start with Cornbread With Buttered Agave-Lime. It’s available to every table and it amazing. Spread the buttered agave-lime over the warm cornbread to fully appreciate the flavors. We cut our cornbread before slattering it with the butter so it would melt beyond the crust – we highly recommend doing this.

Rosa Mexicano Bottomless Brunch

Up next was the Sopa de Frijoles, a hearty Black bean soup with poached eggs and roasted jalapeño with flour tortillas. This vegetarian dish can be made non-vegetarian with the addition of chorizo. It’s a mild soup that can be punched up a bit when you break into the roasted jalapeno pepper….so those who love to up from mild flavors.

Rosa Mexicano Bottomless Brunch

The Huarache Con Carne Asada is definitely not your typical steak and eggs. The gluten-free, Mexico City-style huarache is served with marinated skirt steak, fried egg, queso fresco, salsa Norteña, and guacamole. Your tastebuds won’t know what hit them.

Rosa Mexicano Bottomless Brunch Rosa Mexicano Bottomless Brunch

Want an even more international touch to your brunch eats? The gluten-free Sopes Benedict Traditional features poached eggs served over corn masa cakes with Canadian bacon (yes Canadian bacon) and Hollandaise. We love the surprising addition of the sweetness the Canadian bacon adds to this dish, and you will too.

Rosa Mexicano Bottomless Brunch

We live for anything with pork belly, so of course, seeing the Torta de Desayuno on Rosa Mexicano’s New Bottomless Brunch menu brought us extreme joy. This succulent pork belly sandwich is served with a fried egg, Menonita cheese, avocado, and black beans. You can request it with a side of potatoes or fresh tropical fruit.

Rosa Mexicano Bottomless Brunch

Last but certainly not least of our journey of Rosa Mexicano’s New Bottomless Brunch was the Tacos de Huevos. Also gluten-free, this dish features scrambled eggs a la plancha, rajas, bacon and queso Chihuahua. It is finished with chile de árbol salsa, onion and cilantro. We could survive on this all week and be very happy.

Rosa Mexicano Bottomless Brunch Rosa Mexicano Bottomless Brunch

Of course, that’s not all that’s available on the Rosa Mexicano’s New Bottomless Brunch menu. Other dishes include the gluten-free Huevos Josefina (named for its Founder) and Huevos Rosa (not pictured), as well as the vegetarian Churros French Toast.

Rosa Mexicano Bottomless Brunch

Enjoy Rosa Mexicano’s New Bottomless Brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am – 3pm for $20.00 per person with the purchase of an entree at all Rosa Mexicano locations, except for Boston. Happy brunching!

Rosa Mexicano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Game Night: Tuesdays Are Backgammon Night At The Playboy Club NYC

For many, having bragging rights of attending exclusive events and places is the stuff of legends. We all want to wow friends, family, and strangers with our own inside tales of things and places not accessible to us mere mortals. One of those places is the Playboy Mansion, many have dreamed of getting access to what’s behind those famous doors. While the mansion may not be available to you, the Playboy Club NY is and it promises continuous nights of fun. We had the pleasure of attending one such night – Backgammon night.

There are many things we’ll never know about Hugh Hefner. We do know he was an iconic figure. We know he was groundbreaking, and we know he changed men’s lives forever. But we also found out one more thing, Hugh Hefner was a passionate Backgammon aficionado. Not only did he play the game, but he also held numerous backgammon parties at the Playboy Mansion during the 1960s and 1970s. His son, Cooper Hefner honors that tradition with the time-honored tradition of Backgammon night at his new Playboy Club NYC.

Tuesday nights are Backgammon nights. Members (you can join for exclusive experiences) and attendees can relax in the Lounge where Backgammon games are set up. You can either play and enjoy specialty cocktails and light bites or not play at all. If trying your hand at one of the oldest known board games is not your strong suit, you can head over to the restaurant to enjoy the Playboy Club NYC’s weekly Jazz Dinner Party, with music curated by the Diego Campo Quartet.

We had a wonderful time getting to know the Playboy Club NYC cocktails. Some of these cocktails, created by Mixologist Fred Dex, included A Bunny Thing, Hefe, Honey Ryder, and Decadence; as well as enjoyed Crispy Shrimp with spicy yuzu & cilantro, and Truffle Fries with white truffle & chives.

The Playboy Club NYC Appetizers

As previously mentioned, you can become a private member of the Playboy Club NYC. Your membership allows customized and curated experiences, as well as exclusive access and VIP Treatment synonymous with Playboy. The Playboy Club membership is organized in four membership tiers. It includes access to private areas of the Club, luxury concierge services, invitations to Members-only events, and access to worldwide events.

Mondays are also a great night at the Playboy Club NYC; every Monday is Playboy Live, where New York’s rising Broadway stars and vocalists perform the songs that inspire them on stage. For those looking to indulge, the Playboy Club NYC is located at 512 West 42nd Street.

Honoring A Legend: Josefina Howard And The Origins Of Rosa Mexicano

Cuisine is culture! Whether you’re in Japan indulging in sushi or the heart of Tuscany savoring truffle pasta, you’re experiencing the life of another nation through the foods, spices, and cooking styles they’ve perfected over the centuries. Unsurprisingly, it is much harder to bring those along if you move abroad; when Josefina Howard introduced fine-dining Mexican fare to the New York restaurant scene with Rosa Mexicano in 1984, she succeeded where so many others had failed.

Despite being born in Cuba, her love of Mexican cuisine allowed her to develop her own authentic recipes and techniques that are still used at Rosa Mexicano today. Her style, class, joy for life, and passion for the flavorful dishes — and the culture they originated from — gave her the opportunity to share that passion with those who might not have ever experienced it otherwise; through her food, she shared her love of Mexico and Mexican culture.

This impressive feat earned her the recognition of the New York City Council: on March 4, 2019, Josefina Howard was honored with a moving proclamation and newly commissioned portrait.

“WHEREAS: Ms. Howard truly distinguished herself as an immigrant, a woman, an entrepreneur and an incredible champion of Mexican culture and cuisine, and she will always be worth the esteem of her fellow New Yorkers,” the proclamation stated. “BE IT KNOWN: That the New York City Council honors the incredible life and indelible legacy of Josefina Howard for her extraordinary achievements and her enduring contributions to New York City and the nation.”

As we wrap up Women’s History Month, it’s vital that we not neglect those who contributed to our great nation in small ways as well as the big. Josefina Howard founded a restaurant that continues to thrive in the bustling metropolis of New York City; her drive, courage, and strength of character allowed her to push past the criticisms and discrimination to create something truly remarkable. As a nation that loves wine (we consume 949 million gallons of the stuff on average every year), let’s raise a glass to Josefina Howard and her legacy.

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

Battle for Cassoulet Supremacy: D’Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

Some foods fill you with joy, some excite you, then there are the ones that bring you back home. For us, it’s Cassoulet; the hearty, slow-cooked casserole-like meal traditionally made with gamey meats, pork skin, and white haricot beans. Everything about cassoulet is a delight for the senses. It looks, smells and tastes divine, like home. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity to attend the D’Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War. What better way to try as many Cassoulets as our stomachs would allow. There’s a great quote by Chef Andre Daguin that perfectly describes our Cassoulet adventure,

“Cassoulet is not a recipe; it’s an argument between villages.”

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

The culinary event, which anyone who purchases a ticket can attend, boasted 30 notable chefs who battled it out for cassoulet supremacy. So while there is a classic method and recipe to this traditional southern French dish, it can have many interpretations. And that’s what the Cassoulet war is about, honoring those interpretations. While we grew up enjoying a thicker Cassoulet, the D’Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War allowed us to enjoy varieties we never anticipated. We’d love to say we tried all 30 but even with the small portions we were served, we barely made it to 13. If we haven’t mentioned before (and if you’re unfamiliar), cassoulet is very filling.

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

If you’re looking to enjoy the fare of esteemed chefs from some of the US’s most renowned restaurants, this event is for you. We enjoyed Cassoulet from the chefs from Bar Boulud, Gramercy Tavern, Untitled at the Whitney, Gaby Brasserie Française, Fond, Ardyn, Villanelle, and much more from around the US. There were two Cassoulet categories in the war. One pitted the chefs take of the traditional recipe and ingredients; the other allowed the chefs to be adventurous with the ingredients and format in the “Revisited” Cassoulet category. For example, instead of the traditional white haricot beans, we saw Black Eyed Peas and Sea Island Peas; andouille sausage, brown sugar baked ham, and bacon replaced a few gamey types of meat; and in one instance, the traditional Cassoulet was reimagined as Beef Wellington.

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet WarD'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

During the war, each attendee had to vote for their favorite. As you can imagine, this was quite difficult. We had several favorites but narrowed it down to the following Cassoulets: Phillippe Lievre of Le Rendez-Vous Bistro, Ryan Lory of Ardyn, and Dieter Samijn of Bar Boulud as out top three out of the few we tried. I’m sure if our appetites were bigger, we’d absolutely have more on our list.

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

Judges for the war included Philippe Bertineau, David Campigotto, Erwan Caradec, Christian Constant, Jean-Louis Dumonet, Elizabeth Falkner, Christophe Fazan, Sara Moulton, Andre Soltner, Jean-Jacques Rachou, Jean-Pierre Xiradakis, and Antoine Westermann. Winners of the Cassoulet War included Chef Andy Knudson of Marc Forgione, winning the best “revisited” category;  Phillippe Lievre of Le Rendez-Vous Bistro, winning the People’s Choice, and Dieter Samijn of Bar Boulud, won the judges’ decision.

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

As if the D’Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War couldn’t get more amazing, D’Artagnan showed support in ending world hunger by making a donation to Action Against Hunger, a charity organization that helps to eradicate hunger worldwide.

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

Although we could barely move, we fully enjoyed attending the D’Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War. We highly recommend you attend next year’s battle.