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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
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

Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Rose and Crudo Pairing

The Perfect Pairing: Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro

We had so much fun the first few times we dined at French Brasserie, Cafe Centro (especially during French Restaurant Week), that we wanted to indulge one more time in the talents of Executive Chef Christina Towers. Which is why we were really excited to hear about the Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro. In French, “mariage” means a “blend of two things”, so every Monday night this summer Executive Chef Christina Towers is featuring a menu of perfectly crafted food and beverage pairings.

Food Photography: Cafe metro Monday Mariage Rosé and Crudo Pairing

The Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro begun on July 9th with an Oysters and Sancerre pairing and will end on August 13th with what we’re sure will be an amazing pairing of Rosés and Duck and Chicken Rillettes. We had the pleasure of experiencing the July 16th pairing of a trio of Rosés and Crudos (pictured above). All wonderfully priced at $30.00 per person. From right to left you will find the Domain de Cala Classic Rosé paired with Scallops with grapes, verjus and lavender; the Domaine de Cala Prestige Rosé paired with Tuna with watermelon, citrus vinaigrette, and black radish; and last but not least the Bouchard Aine & Fils Rosé paired with Branzino and bell pepper, basil, and rosemary. Here are the bottles featured below:

Wine Photography: Cafe metro Monday Mariage Rose and Crudo Pairing

We were quite pleased with the results and our favorite pairing was a tie between the Domaine de Cala Prestige Rosé with Tuna and the Bouchard Aine & Fils Rosé with the Branzino. Not that we didn’t like the Domain de Cala Classic Rosé paired with Scallops, we very much loved it as well. Prices for the Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro range from $25.00-$30.00 unless otherwise specified on their menu. Please note that this menu is offered in addition to their a la carte menu, but is one-night-only for that Monday evening. Because of this, we enjoyed the wine pairing as our appetizers and ordered the Roulade de Saumon (a perfectly grilled Salmon with a lovely char, with watercress, roasted fingerlings, set in the most delicious Riesling sauce), and the Poulet Basquaise (a hearty braised chicken with piperade and pureed potatoes).

Food Photography: Cafe metro Monday Mariage Salmon Entree
Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Poulet Basquaise

Chef Towers also surprised us with side orders of Macaroni Gratin with Boursin cheese and tomato (this was swiftly devoured), Hand-Cut Pomme Frites with truffle and parsley, and succulent Green Asparagus with garlic and lemon. Sadly there was no room for dessert.

Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage French Macaroni and Cheese
Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Truffle French Fries
Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Green Asparagus

Upcoming Monday Mariage Wine Series pairings at Cafe Centro include:

JULY 30 | LANSON CHAMPAGNE PAIRING | $25.00
back by popular demand! all 3 pairings are included in the price
BLACK LABEL BRUT NV + COMPOSED CRAB SALAD
granny smith apple, hearts of palm, avocado
ROSÉ LABEL BRUT NV + CROQUE MADAME
quail egg, Parisian ham, gruyère
WHITE LABEL SEC + PORTOBELLO-STUFFED MUSHROOM
short rib, fourme d’ ambert

AUGUST 6 | RIESLING + SLIDERS | $25.00
1 glass of Riesling + 3 Sliders
FOIE GRAS SLIDERS
truffle honey, Asian pear

AUGUST 13 | ROSÉS + RILLETTES | $25.00
2 glasses of Rosé + Duo of Rillettes
DOMAINE DE CALA PRESTIGE + DUCK RILLETTE
cornichons, whole grain mustard, baguette
DOMAINE DE CALA CLASSIC + CHICKEN RILLETTE
cornichons, whole grain mustard, baguette

Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Wine Series Pairing

We highly recommend experiencing this wonderful wine pairing series. We promise it will make your Mondays anything but mundane. As always, it’s always a pleasure to speak directly with the Chef. We loved having the opportunity to praise Executive Chef Christina Towers (pictured above) on the success of the Monday Mariage Wine Series pairings at Cafe Centro.

Please be sure to check back for updates as Cafe Centro announces new menus.

 

 

 

Cafe Centro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

Food Photography: Entrees at Bagatelle

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

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.

The Tuck Room’s Twelve Heizenbergs of Christmas Cocktail Experience

The holiday season is a time of boundless festivities and activities to celebrate. While there are several childhood activities we have enjoyed as an adult during the holidays, none was as amazing as enjoying the Twelve Days of Christmas as told through specialty cocktails. We were back at our favorite modern Speakeasy, The Tuck Room for their Twelve Heizenbergs of Christmas cocktails. You may remember we celebrated National Doughnut Day with an evening of their Drunken Doughnuts, an experience you can enjoy every Thursday night, and one we highly recommend.

The Tuck Room NYC’s Twelve Heizenbergs of Christmas cocktails (there are actually fourteen because The Tuck Room give you three options for Three French Hens) includes (feel free to sing along). Our livers wouldn’t allow us to partake in all, but we did enjoy quite a few:

DAY 1: Partridge in a Pear Tree – St George ‘Terroir’ Spruce Tip Gin, Heirloom Pears, Genepy Alpine Liqueur

DAY 2: Two Turtle Doves

Sour Mash Bourbon, Deconstructed Turtle Chocolates

DAY 3: Three French Hens

Calvados, Cognac, Armagnac, Almond Financiers, Bouche de Noel, Coconut Rochers

DAY 4: Four Calling Birds – Wild Turkey 101, Redbreast 12 Year Irish Whisky, Eagle Rare Bourbon, Whistle Pig Rye (when pigs fly), Crispy Duck Skin, Quatre Epices

DAY 5: Five Golden Rings – Homemade Goldschlager

DAY 6: Six Geese a Laying –  Grey Goose, Nutmeg, Almond Eggs

DAY 7: Seven Swans a Swimming – Seagrams 7 Crown Whisky, Smoked Salmon, White Grapefruit, Fennel, White Pepper

DAY 8: Eight Maids a Milking – Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka, Buratta, Pesto

DAY 9: Nine Ladies Dancing

Appleton Female Master Distiller Year Rum, Ron Zacapa Female Master Blender Rum, Grenada Three Sisters Distilled Rhum Agricole, Nine Exotic Citrus

DAY 10: Ten Lords a Leaping – Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Scotch, Laird’s 100 Proof Apple Brandy, Honeycomb, Winter Spices

DAY 11: Eleven Pipers Piping – Balsam Rose Vermouth, Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Syrup, Rhum, Cherries

DAY 12: Twelve Drummers Drumming

Dewar’s 12 Year Old, A Dozen different Holiday Treats

Our journey through the Twelve Heizenbergs of Christmas started with The Tuck Room’s Adam Seger having us experience the very essence of each specialty blend via liquid nitrogen. Check out our reaction to DAY 5: Five Golden Rings, made with Homemade Goldschlager (di you see the beautiful golden shimmer?)

Before all this begun, Adam and his amazing team warmed us up with three delicious libations, the DrinkupNY cocktail, a blend of Balsam white Magnolia Blossom Elderflower, New York Aperitif wine, and a housemade tonic; The Kiss cocktail, featuring House-infused lemon berry vodka, rare tea cellar lemon berry tea, Aperol, fresh lemonade, and naughty mint; and lastly a not-so-classic Mulled Apple cider (check them out below):

In between cocktails, we feasted on Reuben Croquettes, “K-Town” Short Rib Sliders, and Brioche Crusted Crab Cakes.

Last, but certainly not least, because all of this happened on a Thursday night, that only meant one thing – DRUNKEN DOUGHNUTS!!!! Our already decadent night of Twelve Heizenbergs of Christmas cocktails ended with indulging in Underwest Donuts Lavender, Chocolate, and Peppermint donuts. These donuts were accompanied by Bourbon Dulce de Leche, Boozy Chocolate Sauch with Dark Rum and Red Wine, Beth’s Black Raspberry Jam spiked with Campari, and Boozy Whipped Cream with Cardamon Syrup, Boyd & Blair 151 proof.

It was the perfect ending to an almost indescribable and incredibly wonderful experience. Although Christmas has come and gone, there is still time to enjoy The Tuck Room’s Twelve Heizenbergs of Christmas cocktail experience, but once the limited edition blends are gone, those curated cocktails are gone. And of course, Drunken Doughnuts can still be enjoyed every Thursday.  For more information, visit www.thetuckroom.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Review: Calle Dao Chinese-Cuban Restaurant

A Journey through the Unique Fusion of Cuban and Chinese Cuisine 

Hello fellow NYC foodies and fusion food enthusiasts, there’s a new restaurant we’d like to introduce you to. Nestled in the vibrant location in Chelsea, NYC, is Calle Dao, the second location of the popular midtown foodie haven which offers a fusion of Chinese-Cuban cuisine. Calle Dao is the brainchild of Restaurateur Marco Britti who follows the Bryant Park location of this critics’ favorite and highly popular dining destination with the Chelsea opening. The name Calle Dão, a mix of Cuban and Mandarin, is a nod to Havana’s Chinatown, where Britti first discovered this unique culture and cuisine.

We had the pleasure of experiencing the delicious combination of the two cultures in a multi-course sit-down dinner, which included cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, appetizers, entrees, and dessert. While we couldn’t sample everything, we enjoyed the dishes that we tried. Our journey began with cocktails; four intoxicating concoctions handcrafted by Mixologist Joy Daniels (pictured below).

Calle Dão Handcrafted Cocktails

From left to right, the evening’s cocktails included:

  1. Macau – made with aged rum, fresh lime juice, and a sweet spiced syrup (demerara sugar, star anise, ginger, vanilla bean, black peppercorn, Chinese cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peels). A great balanced drink – not too sweet, tart, or spicy.
  2. Revolucion! – made with habanero infused tequila, ginger liqueur, absinthe, sweet corn kernels, pineapple, agave, and lemon. (**This was our favorite cocktail, it’s sweetness paired wonderfully with the savory passed hors d’oeuvres we enjoyed).
  3. MaxVer – made with gin, elderflower liqueur, white peach, shiso leaves, agave, and lime. If you’re looking for a cocktail that’s not at all sweet, this is the one for you.
  4. Flor de Oro – made with vodka, rose and vanilla infused dry vermouth, cherry jam, and fresh lemon juice. This was my least favorite and the only one I didn’t finish (mainly because I’m not really a fan of Vermouth).

Calle Dão Cuisine – Passed Hors D’oeuvres

The menu’s next offerings were a delight to our palate. Thanks to Chef Bradley Warner, we enjoyed some very exquisite hors d’oeuvres including Oxtail Croquettas with mango chutney and saffron aioli, Cuban Sandwich Spring Rolls, Double fried crispy plantains, and Duck Empanadas

We highly recommend that you treat yourself to all three dishes as they are superb, rich in flavor, perfectly seasoned, and the ingredient combinations…….amazing. The Oxtail Croquettas boasts a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth meat interior and a crispy exterior. If you love Cuban Sandwiches, you’ll love this bite-size version, and you will never go wrong if you order the empanadas. We were then seated to enjoy almost everything on the restaurant’s menu.

Calle Dão Cuisine – Appetizers and Entrees

We were in for a night adventurous delights (featured in order in the slideshow below):

  1. Ma-Po Maduros spicy pork, Sichuan peppercorns, toban-djan, and scallions
  2. Double fried crispy plantains
  3. Crispy Pig’s Ear with cilantro and sesame chili
  4. Charred Octopus in Mojo Verde with Chorizo Oil, Capers, Pimeton, and Olives
  5. Crispy Whole Fish marinated in Mojo Rojo
  6. Smoked short Rib & Chinese broccoli over classic la meìn noodles which predate ramen
  7. Spiced Goat Neck braised in House Spice Blend with Cilantro and Baby Bok Choy
  8. 14-Hour Char Sui Pork marinated and glazed Pork Tenderloin with plum onion escabeche and puré de batata
  9. Peking Style Roast Chicken over yellow Arroz Amarillo with chorizo
  10. Pato Frito Sour Orange Glazed Duck over fried rice with sunny side up egg.

We had several dish favorites from the dining experience. We approached this foodie journey with an open mind knew not every dish was going to be a hit with us. While some at our table weren’t so open, we left the restaurant quite satisfied with the entire experience. Our favorite entrees included the Crispy Whole Fish, Crispy Pig’s Ear, 14-Hour Char Sui Pork, and the Pato Frito Sour Orange Glazed Duck. The fish was exquisite. If you’ve never experienced freshly caught fish being cleaned and cooked right on the beach, this dish is the closest to it. We didn’t think we would really enjoy the Crispy Pig’s Ear but this was delicious. I loved the texture and lightness of it…..sort of like a very elevated pork rinds. We definitely enjoyed nibbling on these ears. The pork and duck were sublime. Both of the meats were succulent and were favorites of many at our table. Almost favorites included the Charred Octopus, which I wish has more of a crunchy texture; the Spiced Goat Neck I wished had a bit more kick to it; and while the Peking Style Roast Chicken itself was flavorful, the flavor of the rice was tame by comparison.

Calle Dao Desserts

At the time of our final course, we were so full but we tried to sample each of the following desserts. Crafted by pastry chef, Kate Holowchik (winner of the 2015 Vitamix Challenge dessert competition), the decadent Calle Dao desserts we enjoyed include:

  1. Matcha Tres Leches with chocolate crumb, chocolate sesame tuile, and mango coulis. As a fan of matcha, we loved this Asian incarnation of Tres Leches. The cake was moist and we loved the combination of the matcha and mango coulis.
  2. Chocolate Arroz Con Leche with ginger gelato, cashew sesame crumb, sweet sesame wontons, passion fruit caramel. Chocolate, passion fruit, and ginger superbly excite your taste buds.
  3. Bunuelos with Chinese five spice sugar, chocolate coconut sauce. Another favorite of ours, the sauce was rich and accented the Bunuelos nicely but we admit, we also dipped it in the pineapple jam.
  4. Coconut Rum Flan with pineapple jam, passion fruit caramel, and crispy rice noodles. We’ve never been a fan of flan but we do like this tropical version.

The wonderful cuisine plating won’t be the only feast for the eyes. Passionate about art, culture, and heritage, Britti (pictured below) has added many finishing touches to Calle Dao to ensure real flavor in the interior as well as the food.

Taking inspiration from traditional Cuban colors, the walls are adorned with vintage Chinese smoking adverts with Cuban touches throughout. A rare last edition of Cuba’s only Spanish and Chinese written Newspaper, Kwong Wah Po, hangs on the wall to welcome all who walks through the door. You will also find authentic cigar boxes decorating the rafters, as well as Cuban cigars at the hostess table. One decoration that also stood out was the giant Call Dao logo (a Chinese Chef’s knife) made up of several very real Chinese Chef’s knives.

We invite you to check out this Chinese-Cuban food fusion for yourself. We are looking forward to experiencing Calle Dao Chinese-Cuban Restaurant again soon.

Calle Dao Chelsea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato