Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mesa Coyoacan

So tonight Ry and I decided to try a new edition to the neighborhood: Mesa Coyoacan. Now, the name is totally impossible- I had to google it to remember it even after being there- so from now on, I"m just calling it "that mexican place". It was delish! And seeing how my last review was of Rosa Mexicano, it was prime for comparisons.

The outside is an uber-modern building, nothing special. We were pleasantly surprised by the interior, sort of a family kitchen look, with two large communal tables. Not expecting that, in a good way. We sat at the bar and had some cocktails to start. Ryan tried a habanero margarita: grapefruit, habanero-infused tequila, and lime, for $9. Now, as a good friend of mine pointed out, this is half price from the pomegranate margaritas at Rosa mex, so was it as awesome at half the price? Ry gave it two thumbs up. It had a tart and fruity start and a fiery finish, and the heat built as he continued to drink it. I'm not a fan of spicy beverages (which is ironic, as I like all my food covered in hot sauce), but I thought the sip was pretty tasty. The drink was garnished with a nice big slice of grapefruit, which was a refreshing treat. I opted for the strawberry sangria. Very strawberry, although the champagne did not bubble through as promised.

For dinner, we started with a quesadilla appetizer. We tried two: one was mushroom, and another chorizo. The mushroom had a nice earthy flavor, but needed salsa. The chorizo was really yummy and nice, with a little smoke and spice.

For my entree, I went with the enchiladas verde with chicken. The meat was tender and flavorful, and the green sauce was tangy, not as citrusy as the one at rosa mexicano, but very tasty. However, the stars of the show were the three salsas. A smoky red, a medium-spice green, and a blazing habanero. By mixing the three into the verde sauce, wow. The dish was totally awesome! A small side of black beans and avocado as a garnish was delicious as well.

Ryan ordered the carnitas tacos- berkshire pork, a little sweet. He was a little surprised that his tacos, unlike the portions of almost everything else, were quite pequeno. They were bite sized, but amazingly flavorful. We saw salads and soups that came out rather large, so I think next time we might get the tacos as an appetizer to split, and try more of the entrees. The Carne Asada looked great, with a grass-fed marinated skirt steak, and I would like to try the tilapia.

We tried two other drinks, a glass of spanish white, which was ok, and Ryan tried a chile margarita, still spicy, but this time with pineapple and a little bit of smokiness.

For dessert, we ordered the coconut flan, which was just the right size, and had clean, light flavors. Ryan doesn't usually like coconut ("Tastes like sunscreen"), but there was none of that to be found. Just a really nice vanilla and hint of coconut, with sliced almonds on top. Strawberry and mint garnish added to the flavor.

Overall, we were really impressed with the intensity of flavor in each bite. Usually this is my biggest complaint about mexican food: it's bland. But that was not the case at "The new mexican place". Compared to Rosa Mex?? At half the price, it really gave them a run for the money. (The service was attentive, and we thought we did pretty good with 5 drinks, an appetizer, two entrees, dessert, and a cappuccino for $85 before tip...)

My only wish for the future was that the salsas appear immediately to be enjoyed throughout the meal. Next time I will be requesting them. Also, they do serve chips with the salsa, but only by request and for a small fee. This is always BS to me. Give me the chips, and forget the charge. Alas. It would be worth it to smother myself in the salsa goodness. Finally, as we mentioned, the waiter did not warn ry that the tacos were more appetizer than entree sized, and as we noted, the salads and soups seemed larger than appetizers, so some unexpected portion sizes. Glad to welcome a gourmet mexican option to the 'hood, and looking forward to our next trip south of the border.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Williamsburg: A back log

So, I tend to eat and drink out far too often. I can't keep up- so I'm going to use the next two weeks to try my best to catch up on some not-to-be-missed venues. The following was a sequence of bars and restaurants we hit up a few weekends ago with Sarah & Eric. There's actually a bar missing, it was random and I can't remember its name, so... not gonna review it.

Radegast Beer Hall

We love this place! I remember waiting for Radegast to open! Now, almost two years later, the cat is out of the bag. But I still love it! There are tons of German and Czech beers on tap, not to mention even more by the bottle. I can't comment directly on the beer other than to say they only serve it in either 1/2 or liter glasses, european style, and everyone else always seems to be enjoying their Gosser or whatnot. I stick to the wine- They have several rieslings and gewurztraminers that are fantastic. I GET that beer is the thing here, but I just can't get into it- so thank you, radegast, for stocking some regional white wines that are delicious. It goes a long way toward making the evening enjoyable!! I wish more bars would get the hint!

As for food, the grill serves up several different types of sausages, including kielbasa, as well as burgers, fried, and sauerkraut. Hits the spot, especially after a long night!!

Our second stop for the evening...

Monkey Town

Some friends were playing in a band in the backroom. Never been before, have to admit the screens made my eyes go a little fuzzy. Way too much TV, way to close to my head. And LOUD. The wine here was palatable, but not good. The mixed drinks seemed fine. The front room, which I really only got a glance of, looked kinda neat. They serve food as well, though I did not sample. I can't say I'd be driven back here, but next time I'm in the neighborhood, I might stop by...

Stop 3- dinner:

So, this was my second trip to Relish, and both my husband and I really liked it this time. The first time around was several years ago, and we weren't particularly inspired to go back. But this time, I'm not sure what it was, but it definitely stood out to us. I had a pasta dish- rigatoni with mushrooms, sage, and spinach- and it was delicious. Ryan opted for a chicken club sandwich that had lots of flavor. Our only complaint was that we both had terrible glasses of wine. Now, talk about baffling. How hard is it to buy a decent bottle?? They sell so many good wines now for around $10, and at the outrageous markup price of $8-$9 a glass, they could still triple their monies worth.... I just don't get it. I want to go on a campaign to get people to stop selling crap ass wine.

Last stop:

So, at this point, it was probably around 1 in the morning. I should warn you, this joint is jumping late at night, to the point where it is almost hard to move. So, if that is not your scene, try and hit it up earlier in the evening. I've been coming here for several years now, and I always have a great time. I also always get irreparably drunk, as they serve all these concoctions featuring rum. I'm a fan of the capeta, a drink made with coconut, guarna, and rum. If you like pina colada's... then I highly recommend. They also have capirhinas, which are just sooo tart, and vodka served from a watermelon. They also make homemade rum punch in a jar on the bar, which the bartender will continually add vodka to as the evening progresses. You've been warned.

The atmosphere is great. Lots of dark wood, candles, incense, wrought iron- and bongo drummers! They play along to a DJ, usually reggae and latin. Downstairs in the basement is a salsa dance floor, but last time I was there I couldn't even make it down the steps as it was so crowded. On slower nights, they hook up hammocks by the bar that guests can recline in. Totally different feeling to it.

Either way, Always a blast!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rosa Mexicano

So I had the good fortune to have dinner with a wonderful friend at one of my favorites, Rosa Mexicano. This was now probably trip 5 or so for me, and I have to report, I just love this place. I like to start with the house special, a pomegranate martini that is delicious, and usually a little stiff. I love the smoky red salsa, and I like that the chips are still free. That is for sure one of my biggest pet peeves. Chips and salsa in a mexican restaurant should always be free!

I have to admit being stuck in a wonderful rut when it comes to entrees- I always order the chicken suiza enchiladas. The chicken is served in an amazing cilantro sauce, with rice and black beans. Lots of flavor. Rosalia had the same thing, damn.

There are several locations throughout manhattan, I've been in 3 and ate at 2. I have to admit, the meal I had at the mid-East side location was disappointing, and the environment isn't nearly as snazzy as the Lincoln Center spot. The new one- at Union Square, is loud, but looks like fun. I still vote for the one right across from the met. Three times I've gone pre-show, and they've always done a bang up job of getting us out for our curtain, without feeling rushed. This last time, we cut it super close, and got there just an hour before the show. We let the waiter know, and our entrees were out within 15 minutes- Ole!

Pumpkin Pie

I love pie. I make my own crusts, which can be used with any fillin'. It is super easy to make, not sure why people make such a big deal outta crust. So if you are still buying it from the store, stop!! Try this:

1 and 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter ( 1 stick)- softened
5 tblsp ICE water

Put the flour & salt in a small bowl, whisk. Cut the butter into little squares and mash into the flour with a fork. Add in 5 tblsp of water, slowly, then start using your hands to kneed the dough. Collect it into a ball, should be a little moist, so not crumbly, but not wet. Wrap in saran and refrigerate for 1/2 and hour or until you need it!!

Now, for the fillin'.

I've made the pie both ways, by buying sugar pumpkins and roasting them and scooping out the flesh, and by opening up a can full of pumpkin pie filling. I hate to admit this, but having done it the labor-intensive way, there was really very little difference in final product. So, I'll tell you how to do it, in case you have some extra time to kill, but in this one instant, I'm gonna advocate for the canned goods.

1 medium-size sugar pumpkin

carefully cut pumpkin in half. discard seeds and stringy bits. Save seeds for roasting if that's your thing. Lightly oil baking sheets, either one large one that will fit both halves, or two smaller ones. also lightly oil the halves themselves, then place face down, with the fleshy parts exposed. Bake @ 325, until flesh is tender when poke with a fork. scrape the warm flesh from the peel. mush or puree in a blender.

Go buy a can of Libby's pumpkin pie filling. open and pour into bowl. Add:

1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp crushed cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg/ allspice
1 tsp salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
8 oz honey- warm in boiling water in the jar, then pour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Beat ingredients with a mixer on low. This will make a ton of batter, might be enough for a deep dish pie or two smaller ones.
Bake @ 400 for 50-55 min until fork comes out clean from center

Fresh whip cream to dress it up, and serve!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Shallot, and Rosemary

This is a dean & deluca inspired recipe:

1 roaster- we went for 6.5 lbs (organic! antibiotic free!)

3 tblsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper

12 shallots, peeled
20 cloves garlic, peeled

for the jus:
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine

Bed of Veggies:
fingerling potatoes

Preheat oven according to bird weight/ approximately 350 degrees. Prep the veggies. Mix the rub in a small bowl. Clean out the giblets, wash and pat dry the chicken. Place veggies in bottom of roasting pan, then the chicken, making sure there is enough room for air to circulate. Disperse the shallots and garlic in the pan. Rub the olive oil mixture all over the chicken, the veggies, the garlic and shallots. Be heavy handed. make sure to get inside the cavity, coating every surface. Roast the bird, basting every 20 minutes. Add a little water and white wine to the pan juices. Turn the bird belly side up for about 15 minutes, then back over. After about 2-2.5 hours, test to see if bird is done. While resting, prepare the au jus: scrape the pan juices into a small pot, add in 1 cup stock and 1/2 cup white wine. Reduce to 1 cup. Serve over chicken.

Notes: The veggies carmelized and were amazing!! The garlic was sweet enough to eat whole...And this really was tender, flavorful chicken!

Monday, December 14, 2009


So, it was a special occasion, and we went all out. For our second anniversary, Ryan and I went to Daniel Boulud's flagship, Daniel. We sorta had a chef crush on him to begin with, and we got to see him in person, which was amazing!! As for the food...


The amuse bouche were amazing. The size of pinheads, but more flavor packed in one personal favorite of the 3 was a leek and mushroom, super creamy soup-type thing. It was basically served in a thimble, but oh what a thimbleful!

For appetizers, we had the artichoke soup with foie gras and sunchoke, and a lobster foie gras in consomme with small strips of duck prosciutto. I thought they were both very delicate and delicious. We also went with the wine pairings, Ryan had some crazy riesling that smelled like a mechanic shop. Ryan swears it tasted good...

For my entree I had a killer piece of lamb. The sauce was... very rich, creamy, and flavorful. Don't ask me what all was in it. There was also a bed of garbanzo beans that were nice and crunchy, which really added to the dish. Ryan had the beef two ways. The short rib was melt in your mouth goodness, and the filet was tender and really flavorful.

For dessert, I had a cheese plate, and Ryan had a chocolate peanut butter ganache, and we have no complaints.

Overall, the setting was gorgeous, the service was great, the food was delicious- and the wine was both wonderful and palate- pushing. Our only complaint was that the pours were a bit small! We will definitely be back someday soon!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Food, Inc.

So, as this blog is devoted to our culinary delights, both homemade and found out and about, I felt I had to talk about the movie I watched today, Food, Inc. If you haven't seen it, please do. Not because it's amazing (which it is) but because it is essential. Ryan and I are your typical food consumers- we buy what we see in the store, and we trust that our food is safe, regulated by the FDA- but it's not. Exposing the corruption and deregulation, the mass industrialized production of food- and the dehumanizing work practices- I think we're going local, and I think I'm ready to make some long-lasting changes. Between what I've learned about climate change of late- and food production- I think it's time to make a commitment to long-standing sacrifice and change for sustainable eating.

1. I'm willing to eat meats less frequently, pay a little bit more when I do, and KNOW that the product is high quality, from a REAL farm and not a factory, and produced by workers who are treated with respect.

2. I'm willing to go local, and eat seasonally.
It's not gonna be easy. I like bananas. I LOVE tomatoes. But I think it might be time to admit that the winter tomatoes I get- from halfway around the world, grown in hothouses, not in soil, and ripened chemically. They never taste like a good ol' jersey tomato anyway.

3. Farmer's markets RULE.
So how come I don't shop them more often? I want to support the ma's and pa's, sustainable agriculture, and the local economy. And they are SO fun.

4. I haven't been feeling good lately about what I've been putting into my body.
Weight watchers? Lean cuisine? All these companies are marketing "healthy" food- but let's read the labels. It's all chemicals. Blech. I'm done with those! I want to make my "vote" count- and use my power as a customer to show the food industry the type of food I want!

See Food, Inc.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Amazing "Italian Flag" Sandwich

Ok, so these sandwiches are a total addiction. You will love them too!!

Ciabatta rolls
olive oil
fresh basil
italian seasoning
prosciutto, speck, etc as desired
Buffala Mozzarella
roasted red peppers

Heat up the ciabatta rolls, drizzle on the olive oil and vinegar. It really makes it better if you spring for imported buffalo mozzarella.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alibi @ The Liberty Hotel

So Saturday night we got our shi-shi on at a Boston bar. It was Ryan's 10 year high school reunion, so my plan was to a) look like a hottie and b) get really, really drunk. Let's just say, mission(s) accomplished. The Liberty Hotel, ironically, opened in what used to be a jail- and the architecture hints playfully at its origins. "Alibi" is dark and dungeon-y, with arrest photos of famous folks hanging on the walls. The drinks were NOT cheap, and we dropped some dough, but they have a nice wine selection and mixed a good cocktail. Don't go by the picture above, they practically had the lights off inside. The hotel itself deserves mention, there is a second bar upstairs, and a restaurant named clink, which looked great. I'd come back for dinner and another round!