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Holiday Sneak Preview: The 2018 Holiday Menu at Rosa Mexicano

Rosa Mexicano knows how to create a perfect celebration menu for each and every event in your life. Which is GREAT – because every month brings forth a new exciting reason to celebrate!  December is flush with holidays with meals suited for gatherings of friends and family, and Rosa is fully prepared for you to leave the meal planning up to them this year! You may recall the beauty of their Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) menu we highlighted back in October. Those rich flavors! The aromas! The bright florals decorating every course of the meal! The deliciously spooky and flavor-packed punch! If you liked that menu, you will love that we were invited to a very first taste of their December Holiday Menu – at my very first and most-favorite Rosa Mexicano location – Lincoln Center!

I love the Lincoln Center location so much because it was my very first Rosa Mexicano experience. It was here that I first fell in love with Rosa Mexicano. The restaurant is beautifully and classically designed with a modern, colorful twist. Large portrait windows on both floors let the bright light of the Lincoln Center area in. Framed by a beautiful staircase connecting two floors with ceramic divers leaping from 30-foot iridescent water wall. The ambiance is absolutely everything when it comes to holiday dining experiences. We had the pleasure of meeting Rosa Mexicano’s Regional Executive Chef Joe Quintana whose holiday menu was a delight to enjoy.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

The Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu is designed to feature the authentic flavors of Mexico around holiday time. Pulling traditional Mexican meals from local areas, that will delight your guests whether they be friends in town or visiting family joining you for the holiday season in New York City.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

This special menu begins with one of the best holiday punches I have had in some time. Ponche de Granada is an incredibly flavorful sangria-style punch that mixes smoky mezcal with pomegranate,  a touch of vermouth, a generous dash of Campari for a citrusy note, and cava wine. The spotlight of this cocktail comes in the form of a glass generously rimmed with avocado leaf salt. Avocado leaf salt has so many interesting additional notes of citrus and exotic spices well-suited for the pomegranate and mezcal that the punch is a firework of flavor that carries you throughout every preceding dish offered on the menu.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

Our first course – a zesty Pozole Rojo – features a delicious braised pork and Hominy soup in a clear tomato broth base, infused with chile, green herbs, and roasted garlic. The clear tomato broth is poured onto the hominy and pork after it’s placed at your table. For those not in the know, Hominy is a type of corn that I found was the perfect showcase item in this soup. As a hominy first -timer, I was pleased. It added a hearty level of comfort to the soup without taking away from the robust pork, chile, and tomato flavors.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

Crunchy El Jefe Fish Tacos were the up next – a promised crowd favorite – Mini tacos featuring a White flake fish sprinkled with the most flavorful bits of bacon, tiny chunks sweet potato, topped with mildly pickled, not-too-intense red onion that adding sweetness and crunch to each bite. Perfection with a squeeze of lime.

As we continued to the third course, sampling of each entree, we were impressed with how distinct and delicious each was.  Each complimented the next. You’ll want to try a bit of each yourself, and your friends and family will definitely want to share in the experience!

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

The first entree, Filete con Hongos, is a perfectly prepared Filet Mignon, served on a bed of mushrooms sauteed in a tequila cream sauce. Our knives sliced effortlessly through the filet with each bite; sizzling on the outside and a warm and rosy pink center.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

If poultry is your preference, the Mexican style achiote rubbed half rotisserie chicken Medio Pollo Pibil is for you. Generously rubbed with smoked paprika and achiote, a red seasoning traditionally used in Mexico, throughout South America and the Caribbean.  The results were so juicy and tender that I very boldly asked the chef for his secrets! Served with a side of A-MA-ZING paprika dusted roasted potatoes in a cream sauce, and an ample amount of habanero red onions for every bite of the meal, made this a hearty and flavorful option.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

This final entree is a personal favorite because It reminds me of many family gatherings in seasoning and presentation. A delicious fish dish, Pescado a la Veracruzana. Featuring a generous amount of pan seared white fish, smothered in a classic sauce of tomato, fried capers,  garlic, and roasted peppers. It is so good. Paired with grilled asparagus, this dish hits all the right notes of Old World, and New World – savory but not too heavy, with a bright snap of grilled greens and olive oil.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

For dessert, Mexican Cookies and Milk; featuring traditional house baked Polvorones, traditional Mexican cookies in two flavors, Pomegranate and Chocolate, paired with chilled Horchata, a delicious nog-like Mexican drink sprinkled with cinnamon and vanilla!

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

Since we enjoyed the Ponche Granada so much, we had to pay our compliments to Courtenay Greenleaf, the Master Mezcalier who curated the exotic punch. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa or year’s end victory, Rosa Mexicano wants to put the ‘Feliz’ in your celebration.  Happy Holidays Ahead!

The Rosa Mexicano 2018 holiday menu is available exclusively on December 24th and 25th, from  12-9pm.

 

 

 

 

 

EDITED BY GLASGOW SKINNER

Friendsgiving with Basil Hayden’s: An Asian Twist to the Traditional Thanksgiving

There’s been a slight shift in how we celebrate Thanksgiving. While many still travel to spend the holiday with their families, there’s a growing few that celebrate the traditional holiday with friends. With economic challenges, family feuds, and sometimes, a lack of family, quite a few will celebrate Friendsgiving instead of Thanksgiving. We had the opportunity to attend two Friendsgiving with Basil Hayden’s events with the culinary twist. This will be about the first one, a preview of what was to come later on. Hidden away in the heart of NYC’s Chinatown, is an amazing cocktail bar called Peachy’s. Located right below Chinese Tuxedo, a contemporary Chinese restaurant set in a former opera house on historic Doyers Street, this was to be the location of our first Friendsgiving with Basil Hayden’s bourbon whiskey.

Partnering with a local Chef Paul Donnelly, Basil Hayden’s put a Chinese cuisine twist on the traditional holiday meal and created a unique menu for the evening. We were truly in for a treat of small and large dishes, sides, and dessert that would make anyone pass on the traditional turkey dinner. With a trio of delicious Basil Hayden’s cocktails to compliment the evening’s meal.

In order of appearance, the small dishes included Tuxedo BBQ Pork Buns, Pan Fried Tuxedo Dumplings, King Prawn Spring Rolls, and Strange Flavor Buratta. The large dishes included Hamachi sushi, Chili Crab Rice, and Crispy Lamb Ribs. Sides included Spicy Cucumbers, Roasted Golden Beets, Salad of Watercress, and Stir Fried Iceberg Lettuce. Dessert was a delicious Chocolate Mousse.

SMALL DISHES

LARGE DISHES

SIDES

To commemorate the Friendsgiving with Basil Hayden’s event, Basil Hayden’s had Calligrapher Nancy Moy on hand to create personalized coasters perfect for serving Friendsgiving cocktails. We can’t wait to use these wonderful keepsakes during and beyond the holiday season.

It was an evening of wonderful food, drinks, and conversation with old and new friends. We love the Asian twist on the traditional holiday menu. We can’t wait to repeat this night with Basil Hayden’s. We know what we’re doing for Thanksgiving, what about you? Will you be enjoying a Friendsgiving or traditional Thanksgiving?

Rosa Mexicano Celebrates Day of the Dead with a Special Menu

Tomorrow is more than just Halloween; it is the beginning of the Day of the Dead, also known as Día de Los Muertos. In honor of Mexico’s holiday remembering and honoring the dead, we partook in Rosa Mexicano’s Night of Spirits; a special evening of savory food, exotic drinks paired with desserts, with entertainment by Agave L’Amour and DJ jojoSoul. Known for serving New Yorkers authentic and innovative Mexican cuisine since 1984, we were beyond excited to enjoy an evening at Rosa Mexicano Union Square, where they are serving a special Day of the Dead menu at all 11 locations nationwide from Oct. 31st through Nov 4th. The menu will not only honor your loved ones, it will celebrate the memory of Rosa Mexicano Founder, Josefina Howard.

We had the chance to preview the featured menu which boasted a traditional Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) feast, prepared by Joe Quintana, Regional Executive Chef for Rosa Mexicano. We began with the very special and delicious Maravilla Punch, a blend of Hibiscus and Mezcal, served in a traditional handmade Mexican punchbowl (featured above). Foodies will love the Roasted Bone Marrow, a Chipotle-piloncillo sauce, grilled jalapeño , and toast; the Estofado De Cordero, a Lamb shank stew with roasted vegetables and epazote gremolata; and the Costillas A La Barbaco, a Tequila-pomegranate BBQ ribs served with charro beans and jalapeño cornbread.

 

The evening celebrated the powerful rituals of Mexico’s Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which included the Ofrenda, an altar where you may display portraits of your departed loved ones, in a moving ceremony of remembrance. Four desserts were paired with a unique variety of four Agave spirits: Mezcal, Raicilla, Bacanora, and Sotol.

All four spirits have been specially curated by Rosa Mexicano’s Courtenay Greenleaf, one of New York City’s few Master Mezcaliers. Agave Spirit Sponsors For Night Of Spirit Events + Calavera Cocktail included Montelobos Mezcal, Casa Noble Tequila, Bacanora Rancho Tepúa, Fidencio Mezcal, LA HIGUERA. la Venenosa raicilla, Ancho Reyes, Tromba Tequila, Derrumbes Mezcal and Milagro Tequila).

 

The Rosa Mexicano Day of the Dead menu of meals include:

Appetizers:
Empanadas de Camote (Corn and sesame empanadas, stuffed with sweet potato, peas and spiced pecans). Served with chipotle sauce.

Roasted Bone Marrow (Served with chipotle-piloncillo sauce, grilled jalapeño and toast) – see second food photo
Paired with: Tromba Añejo tequila.

Entrees:
Estofado de Cordero (Lamb shank with roasted vegetables and epazote gremolata)  – see first food photo

Trucha a la Parilla (Whole grilled trout over pumpkin seed pipián, topped with citrus salad)

Costillas a la Barbacoa (Tequila-pomegranate BBQ ribs with charro beans and jalapeño corn bread) – – see last food photo above

Dessert:
Tamal y Camote (Roasted sweet potato and cajeta tamale served with pomegranate sauce and vanilla ice cream).

Rosa Mexicano’s Día de los Muertos meal will be available at these locations:

  • New York City: First Avenue, Lincoln Center, Union Square, Tribeca
  • New Jersey: Riverside
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Washington, DC: Penn Quarter
  • Maryland: National Harbor
  • South Beach, Miami
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco

RESTAURANT REVIEW: La Pulperia Upper East Side Rustic Latin Cuisine

Three years ago, blogger buddy, Christine Ongsueng, an I had the pleasure of reviewing La Pulperia Hell’s Kitchen. It’s only fitting that we return to experience the menu of the La Pulperia Upper East Side location. Seafood savvy Upper East Siders have known about La Pulperia Upper East Side for four years. Now that the 2nd Avenue line is in full swing, it’s easy for everyone else to get to the restaurant– it’s right off of the 86th St. stop. Join us as we share our second experience from Chef/Owner Carlos Barroz and Victor Medina.

Atmosphere

Unlike its sister location, the La Pulperia Upper East Side is spacious and airy, yet inviting and cozy. Named and designed after the general stores or pulperias of South America, the decor features accents of reclaimed Brazilian wood and handcrafted tiles from Mexico lining the bar floor.


The front and bar area is a great meeting place for friends while the tables in the back make for a great date night option. The staff is as attentive as they are beautiful but you won’t have to worry about them hovering. Dining at La Pulperia assures you for a night of complete sensory satisfaction. Our dining experience consisted of wonderful libations, delectable starters, and mouthwatering entrees. Unfortunately, we were too full for dessert

Cocktails

The Coquito Passion


Christine: For something refreshing and lightly fruity, you can’t go wrong with The Coquito Passion. Made with Bacardi Silver, Don Q Coconut Rum, passion fruit puree, agave nectar, and topped off with a sprig of mint, it’s like a tropical paradise in a glass. I can’t ever resist anything that mixes up rum, passion fruit, and agave. It was the perfect drink to imbibe on a balmy September night.

Upper East Side Lady

Glasgow: In celebration of the ending of summer, we wanted a cocktail that was slightly sweet yet a bit tart. The elegant Upper East Side Lady cocktail was a perfect choice. Featuring Strawberry infused gin, Elder Flower liquor, lavender nectar, and Gold flakes, this lightly floral cocktail was a great choice to start our evening.

Starters

Lobster Taquitos


Christine: I usually shy away from things that are described as spicy but the operative, and convincing word here, was lobster. I love lobster and I was eager to try it enveloped in a crispy wonton taquito with some avocado cream and grilled pineapple. There is a bit of a kick to these due to the spicy Kewpie mayo. However, the citrus juices from the pineapple along with the equalizing and smooth avocado cream helped to offset the spiciness.

Glasgow: The seafood lover in me was in pure bliss. The combination of creamy avocado and spicy Kewpie mayo, the smoky sweetness of grilled pineapple, and fresh lobster was divinely enhanced with a generous squeeze of lemon. Although this starter was delicious on its own, the zest of lemon added another dimension to its flavor.

Fried Oysters


Christine: Determined to train my palette to more spicy dishes, we ordered this appetizer containing 5 black ink tempura-covered oysters that sit on top of a small dollop of spinach cream and topped with chipotle mayo, blue cheese, and scallions photogenically cradled in a shell-shaped serving dishes. Who would have thought that oysters would go so well with an almost mousse-like spinach topping? Be forewarned that the lightness of the spinach cream and mayo can be a bit deceiving. While contemplating the complex mix that overwhelms the blackened oysters, the spiciness permeates your taste buds and lingers long after you’re done. For my next helping, I made sure to squeeze some lemon on top to cut back on the spicy mayo’s attack… then again I could be just a wimp.

Glasgow: I have to admit that I had never tried fried Oysters before but I am so happy that La Pulperia Upper East Side was my first foray into this delicacy. As a fan of spice and spicy foods, every bite was bursting with the right amount of heat and flavor. The flavor and texture layers of Black ink tempura, cream spinach, blue cheese, and chipotle mayo is an exciting feast for your taste buds. I must also comment on our slight addiction to the amazing cream spinach the fried oysters are plated on. I can enjoy it on and with just about everything.

Entrees

Mocqueca Mixta


Christine: If you’re like me and you tend to have a problem deciding what to get, then this bowl’s for you. It’s a little bit of everything– mussels, squid, shrimp, white fish, bacalao, chorizo, soybeans, and green coconut rice mixed with dende oil and all cooked to perfection in a creamy curry. This flavorful dish is the heart of La Pulperia, seemingly simple but refined. Every dip into the bowl will find your utensil of choice (be it a fork, spoon, or bread) with a generous helping of any of the main ingredients swimming in the coconut milk based curry. Though the green coconut rice is a side, it is very much worthy of praise all on its own. I could have eaten an entire big bowl of it. It’s the best compliment to the stew, bringing out the unique flavors of both the seafood and the chorizo.

12oz Hanger Steak w/ Spinach Mac & Cheese & French Fries

Glasgow: Since our starters were seafood, I decided to switch it up and try the La Pulperia Upper East Side 12oz Hanger Steak. This succulent and mouthwatering steak comes with great rustic sides including spinach mac & cheese, grilled broccoli rabe, and chimichurri sauce. The spinach mac & cheese was so amazing we ordered another and paired it with a side of french fries. Every bite a foodie’s dream. The variety of aromas, flavors, and textures tantalizes and hypnotizes you before even taking a bite and I happily surrendered.

Much like the Hell’s Kitchen location, our experience of La Pulperia Upper East Side was a dream. From the ambiance, staff, cocktails, and food. We were in culinary heaven from start to finish. We highly recommend treating yourself to this great rustic Latin restaurant.

 

 

La Pulperia - 2nd Ave Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Review: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

Restaurant Review: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

A little over a year ago we had the pleasure of attending the opening of Chefs Club Counter, the first “fine-fast” concept. Recently, we enjoyed dining at its counterpart, Chefs Club New York, an innovative restaurant concept which features a rotating cast of chefs as part of their Chef-in-Residence series. We love this concept because it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the culinary talents of multiple chefs without having to travel all over the country. Chefs Club New York is currently on its fourth Chef-in-Residence, Abraham Conlon, co-owner of Chicago-based Fat Rice. We had the pleasure of experiencing the menu from this casual eatery (founded in 2012) that focuses on a global food exploration of the modest traditions of Macau and prepared with a respect for ritual, custom, and technique. So join us as we explore the wondering cuisine of Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York.

Fat Rice at Chefs Club New YorkRestaurant Review: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

For those of you not from Chicago, Fat Rice explores and shares interpretations of heritage recipes from Lusophone cultures found along historic spice trade routes of the maritime Portuguese. To enjoy the full menu you’d have to go to Chicago but there are lots of delightful options to indulge in at Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York. to start things off, we found our way to The Ladies Room, an intimate setting where you can indulge in a unique drinking experience. This completely red room features cocktails that highlight both global and Midwestern flavors through house-made infusions, elixirs, and potions. You will find dishes from Macau, Malacca, Azores, Portugal, Goa, and Madeira.

The Ladies Room at Chefs Club New York The Ladies Room at Chefs Club New York The Ladies Room at Chefs Club New York

This gorgeous red room at Chefs Club New York offers a variety of creative cocktails, rare wines, and decadent sipping spirits. We love their concept of cocktail sharing between two and four people. The single-serve cocktails on the menu include Moonshoes (Ford’s Gin, Umeboshi Vinegar, Elderflower Tonic),  Side Hustle (Ming River Baijiu, St. George Terroir Gin, St. George Rye Gin, Punt e Mes), and O’Porto (Quinta do Infantado 10 year Tawny, House made Ginjinha, House made Shiso-Cumin Bitters). The large format (sharing) cocktails include the Thunderdome For Two (Cruzan Blackstrap Rum, Two James Dr. Bird, Allspice Dram, Fernet Branca, Gingerbeer) and the Burning Bird For Four (Santa Teresa Anejo, Cruzan Blackstrap Rum, Plantation Pineapple Rum, Contratto, Amaro Lucano). Since we were not a quartet, we decided on the Thunderdome (pictured below)

It was the perfect way to awaken our taste buds for the meal that would soon follow. Check out our Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York Instastories for more behind the scenes of The Ladies Room and this cocktail. We couldn’t help but think of (and sing) that 1980’s song “Meeting in the Ladies Room” by Klymaxx. You may be wondering why is it called the Ladies room, it turns out at the Fat Rice Chicago location, this not-so-secret room is right by the ladies room. It’s a fact that we women do go the ladies room in packs, so why not create a true escape, with cocktails, when we need one. Because this is a limited run Chef-in-Residence, the entire Fat Rice menu wasn’t available but we promise you will love the options.

APPETIZERS

Bacalhau da Vovó

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

This divine combination of house-cured salt cod (many know this as salt fish or bacalao) spread, topped with black olives, chili and mint, and served with Papo Seco (Portuguese bread) was something we were anticipating ever since we first laid eyes on the Fat Rice menu. And it did not disappoint! Every bite was a memory of growing up near the beach, carefree days in the Caribbean and home cooked meals. Seasoned to perfection, we hope to find a way to talk Chef Abraham Conlon into offering this as a main dish because we could have happily wolfed down a second or third helping.

Presunto + peaches

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

Don’t let the simplicity of this dish of Fermin Iberico ham, basil, and burnt vinegar fool you. It is bursting with a wonderful combination of sweet, juicy, and slightly salty flavors that both delight and entice your palate. Trust us when we say this will go down quickly.

MAIN ENTREES

Pork Cheek

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

If you’re a fan of Vindaloo, the Indian curry dish, you’re going to love this spicy vindalho eurasian achar with charred scallions. We paired it with the delightful coconut rice (see below) and every bite of this staple pork dish was delicious and wonderfully peppery. This is what our palettes were waiting for. If you love your meals with a kick, this is a must. We also loved the resulting flavor from eating it with the raba raba.

Po Kok Gai

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

If you are ordering this, make sure you order a side or two of the Portuguese bread to go with the coconut rice. Dipping that delicious warm bread into creamy, savory decadence is almost life changing. Those of you who don’t like spicy foods will be happy to hear it isn’t spicy although we’d love if it had a little kick. This dish boasts fall-off-the-bone chicken thighs with chouriço, potatos, tomatoes, a hen egg, coconut curry, sao jorge, and topped with black olives.

SIDES

Coconut Rice

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

The mild flavor and touch of slight sweetness of this rice, topped with fried shallots and sesame seeds, is a wonderful base to enjoy the multilayered flavors of Fat Rice’s dishes. The best part,it literally goes with everything.

Raba Raba

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

This earthy side dish boasts a collection of stir-fried mixed seasonal greens, balichāo, and trumpet mushroom (although we skipped on the mushrooms). Believe it or not, it’s is incredibly flavorful on its on but doesn’t compete with the flavors of the main dishes. Definitely a must. Vegetarians will especially love it.

DESSERT

Chocolate Mousse

Food Photography: Chocolate Mousse Dessert: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

There’s nothing about this dessert that we can tell you that this above photo doesn’t showcase. It is as delicious as it is beautiful. If you’re a fan of coffee-based desserts, this is for you. The mousse features single origin são tomé beans, coffee streusel, and madeira gelée. It’s one of the most popular desserts at Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York. You can clearly see why.

Bebinca

Food Photography: Coconut Custard at Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

We couldn’t go to a restaurant with a Portuguese influence without trying the traditional baked coconut custard. Every spoonful divine (and licked clean). This is another dish you may end up getting two of. It is just that creamy and delicious.

DECOR

Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

Located in the iconic Puck Building, Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York is located in Nolita. In three months, another out of this world chef will take over the kitchen for several months to offer everyone a unique culinary experience.

Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

One of our favorite design details of Chefs Club New York (aside from the breathtaking Ladies Room) is the humongous Pink Himalayan salt boulder encased in glass above the bar and the map showcasing all the territories that has inspired the Fat Rice menu. For more information about Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York, visit www.chefsclub.com and definitely make a reservation to indulge.

 

 

 

Chefs Club by Food & Wine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

The Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass is Back and Better Than Ever

It’s back again pasta lovers and this time, it’s bigger than ever. We’re talking about the annual Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass of course. Once again Olive Garden fans and pasta lovers will get the opportunity to enjoy eight weeks of unlimited pasta, homemade sauces, and toppings, and of course soup or salad and Olive Garden’s famous breadsticks. This time around the revered Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass comes with a bigger and better option. Read on to find out more.

Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

The available pasta varieties include Fettuccine, Spaghetti, Rigatoni, Angel Hair, Cavatappi, Gluten-Free Rotini, and Whole Grain Linguine. The homemade sauces include the New! Creamy Spinach & Artichoke, Creamy Mushroom, Traditional Marinara, Five Cheese Marinara, Traditional Meat Sauce, and Alfredo Sauce. The toppings include the New! Garden Veggies, Meatballs, Italian Sausage, Crispy Chicken Fritta, Grilled Chicken, and Crispy Shrimp Fritta.

Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

This year, 23,000 $100 Never Ending Pasta Passes will be available for purchase, 1,000 more than last year, but as we’ve all seen in the past, the Never Ending Pasta Passes sell out as FAST! For the first time ever, Olive Garden offers an opportunity to enjoy unlimited pasta for an entire year. That’s right, in addition to the regular 8 weeks of never ending pasta, Olive Garden has introduced the new Annual Pasta Pass. The first-of-its-kind Annual Pasta Pass includes all of the benefits of Never Ending Pasta Pass for all 52 weeks of the year, which is less than $1.00 a day. 1,000 superfans will get the opportunity to buy the exclusive Annual Pasta Pass for only $300.00.

The countdown is on so make sure your clicking finger is properly prepared. The Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass and the NEW Annual Pasta Pass go on sale Thursday, Aug. 23 at 2 pm. If you’re not lucky enough to get one of these pasta passes, you can still enjoy the Never Ending Pasta Bowl with unlimited pasta starting at $10.99.

For more information about the Annual Pasta Pass, Never Ending Pasta Pass, and details, visit www.PastaPass.com now.

French Restaurants

Eat, Drink, Be French: French Restaurant Week Kick Off at Cafe Centro

We were invited back to French Brasserie-styled, Cafe Centro, to celebrate the kick-off of the 9th edition of French Restaurant Week New York as part of the Bastille Week festivities. From July 2nd to 15th in New York (and July 9th to 22nd in Chicago), participants will experience masterful cuisine and gastronomy while honoring French culture and history. For two weeks, selected French restaurants will offer prix-fixe menus at $17.89, $25, $38, and $178.90 to commemorate the French Revolution in 1789.

Participating New York restaurants: AOC East, AOC L’aile ou la Cuisse, Bistro Vendome, Bistrot Leo at the Sixty Soho Hotel, Boucherie , Boucherie Park, Brasserie 8 1/2 Patina Group, Cafe Centro Patina Group, Cafe du Soleil, Deux Amis, Dominique Bistro, Excuse My French, Fig & Olive, Jubilee, La Sirène, Le Bateau Ivre, Le Rivage, Maison Harlem, Match 65, Pardon My French, Perrine at The Pierre Hotel, Troquet.

French Restaurant Week continues to partner with OpenTable where diners can easily book their reservations online throughout the event. At Cafe Centro, known for French favorites with a Mediterranean twist, Executive Chef Christine Towers offered up a great selection of hors-d’oeuvres paired with two appropriately selected rosé wines (‘Tis the season for Pink Drink!):  Jalliance Cremant de Bordeaux (Brut and Rosé) and Chateau Pourcieux Rosé 2017.

Chef Towers utilizes her French-focused menu to masterfully play with Mediterranean, Italian, Japanese, Peruvian and Mexican techniques on your plate together. We sampled a beautifully refreshing Leek Terrine in champagne vinaigrette, a vibrant red Tuna Crudo (with watermelon beet and citrus), and an AMAZING Beef Tartare Crostini, which we very graciously went back to for seconds and thirds because it was THAT delicious.

Chef Towers was also very interesting to briefly chat with! Not only because of her amazing Michelin-studded resume, but her proven leadership abilities as an executive chef in a notoriously male-dominated industry. I am certain she has a lifetime of stories and pearls of wisdom to share with aspiring top chefs from all walks of life.

Cafe Centro, you have made a new friend in me.  And as the French saying goes,  “Que les invités qui entrent dans cette maison, repartent en amis.”  We will be back to embrace you at your Wine Bar series this Summer!

A New Pop Up Wine Bar Series at Café Centro sees Chef Christina Towers transforming Café Centro’s outdoor patio on 45th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue. On Monday evenings this summer, the French brasserie turns into a wine bar devoted to French pairings. Dubbed Monday Mariage, a nod to the French definition of “Mariage,” meaning “a blend of 2 things”, the wine bar runs from June 18th through September 10th, 2018 every Monday night. Each night will feature a different pairing, starting with Champagne, Provencal rosé, and Armagnac.  For $25.00 – $30.00, guests can enjoy expert pairings featuring French food and beverage menus that highlight a classic French beverage (i.e., Champagne) matched with 1-3 of its perfect counterparts (i.e. caviar). The rotating schedule kicked off on Monday, June 18th with Lanson Champagne paired with Crab Salad, CroqueMadamee with Quail Eggs and Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. The full calendar is available on www.cafecentrowinebar.com.

ALL of the French Restaurant Week participating menus were so promising to the senses. I’ve already made my reservations for Le Bateau Ivre for lunch, Excuse My French for their Bar Menu offerings, and Cafe du Soleil for Dinner….stay tuned for reviews…

 

Will you be partaking in French Restaurant Week?

 

 

Edited by Glasgow Skinner
All untagged photos provided by Cafe Centro
NYC Mexican Restaurants

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.