Category Archives: Food & Drink

#ALifeInTheDayinBelize: Simple Pleasures, Food, & Drink In Caye Caulker

The motto of the island, “Go Slow”

In my previous post on Caye Caulker in my #ALifeInTheDayInBelize series, I discussed the stillness of the island, and how much I believe it is a great place to unwind and reflect. In addition to its stillness, Caye Caulker is a wonderful place to enjoy a true Belizean culinary experience.

The entryway of Tropical Paradise

I’ve been spoiled growing up with the food of the women in my family, who put their all into Belizean cooking, never skipping a beat. Whenever I return, aside from the beautiful sites, I am very much focused on finding great food that is reminiscent of my family, if not better. Tropical Paradise is a hotel and restaurant that rings true to this.

Breakfast favorite, Lobster Scrambled Eggs w/ Fried Jacks

I’ve visited Tropical Paradise a few times in my years, but on this occasion I was truly set on good meals. Whenever you are out at caye, it is always suggested that you eat some lobster, and the restaurants in Caye Caulker have been making a breakfast of Lobster Scrambled Eggs with Fried Jacks for years now, the offering at Tropical Paradise being the most popular.

I ordered this breakfast my first morning at caye, and it was everything that I had expected. The lobster was fresh and sweet within the eggs, so minimal seasoning was added. The fried jacks, which in short are triangular pieces of fried bread, was the perfect density and flavor that I had expected. I finished my meal off with a fresh lime juice to keep it light, to truly savor in all the flavors I had consumed. My belly was full and happy.

Lazy Lizard, in all of its glory

At The Point of the island, there is a lovely beach bar called Lazy Lizard which is popular both with locals and visitors. The open air space takes up the end of the island with a two-story palapa bar and two piers in which guests can lay out and chill throughout the day.

The view from the point

I visited with a few family members, and we were lucky to get a little table by the water. We ordered buckets of the local beer, Belikin and Lighthouse, which offer six bottles for $20-$25, which is a pretty consistent figure throughout the country. I myself ordered Rum Punch, as I am not much of a beer drinker, and was pleasantly surprised that their main ingredient was watermelon juice. Not to worry, the punch still packed a kick, which I am all for.

A bucket of local Lighthouse Beer

In between drinks and stories, I made it my job to take a little swim in the water. Caye Caulker has great swimming grounds, but do be warned that the areas to swim near The Point are quite rocky, so keep your eyes open! The water is also quite salty, so I would recommend you bring goggles if you visit.

I would definitely recommend Caye Caulker to those that love an authentic experience with a small town vibe. With great food, drinks, and friendly locals, it is an awesome place to experience Belize in a relaxed setting.

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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#AlifeinthedayinBelize: Art & Sweets In San Pedro Town

Last night I dreamt of San Pedro….

Does that little tune by Madonna sound familiar? Did you know she was referring to San Pedro town in the beautiful land of Belize in “La Isla Bonita”? Well if you don’t know, now you know. In staying true to the beauty of San Pedro (aside from its gorgeous beaches and resorts), I wanted to share with you some local gems that are both creative and sweet.

Belizean Melody Art Gallery as seen from the street

As San Pedro is such a huge tourist destination, catering mainly to the tastes of North American visitors, it is easy to get caught up in the hype; the shoreside karaoke joints, restaurants, hair braiding, etc. Having visited numerous times, and no longer considering myself a tourist, I have discovered that the beauty of San Pedro is deeper in town, starting as close as a few streets away from the sea.

Being a lover and consumer of art, I always make it my duty to purchase artwork/crafts from local Belizean artisans on all of my trips. I’m reminded of such by my grandfather’s late wife, Miss Shirley, who always told me to “support your Belizean brothers and sisters”. Staying true to these words, I stumbled across the Belizean Melody Art Gallery on Barrier Reef Drive while perusing the streets with my mother, and decided to stop in.

A bevy of works inside Belizean Melody

Once stepping through the threshold, I was transformed in a space filled with artwork solely from local artists, which was refreshing. There were reminders around the space that mentioned that none of the artwork/souvenirs were made in China. Kind of cheeky, huh? Mom and I sifted through the pieces and ended up in a corner that housed homemade spice blends and freshwater pearl rings.

Mom near the spice blends

It was in this corner that we decided on our purchases. My mother got two spice blends to bring back home, and we both purchased delicate, freshwater pearl rings. You can see mine in the photo below.

My freshwater pearl ring

After admiring the local art and chatting with the sales associate at the gallery, it was time for ice cream, because it’s always time for ice cream! Directly across the street was the famous Manelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, a San Pedro staple since 1985.

Signage for Manelly’s

As this was a repeat trip to Manelly’s, I wanted to try a new flavor. The ice cream joint sells Belizean favorites in Soursop (Guanabana), Craboo, Strawberry, Mango and more, but on this day I wanted to try the Belizean Fudge flavor. Belizean Fudge refers to a dessert made with sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and butter, that is often mixed with nuts or raisins. The ice cream flavor was vanilla with generous chunks of peanut fudge throughout.

My Belizean Fudge ice cream cone

Disclaimer: this cone is EXTREMELY sweet, but it was such a treat. I’m really picky when it comes to fudge, but to have a great piece of fudge with peanuts (my favorite) in this cone was a delight! Can you sense my happiness whilst writing this? I hope it radiates throughout the computer screen. Along with ice cream cones and cups, Manelly’s sells fruit paletas, milk shakes, and waffle cones.

Full menu at Manelly’s

The ice cream really perked me up, and prepared me for the rest of my exploring that day. This is just the beginning of my series on Belize. Look out for more posts covering different locales and spots in the country!

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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Foodie Friday: Mexican Eats + Street Art At La Gringa Taqueria in BK!

The view from inside La Gringa

For those of you that have been checking out the blog on the regular, you know that we are huge fans of Mexican cuisine here at A Life In the Day of Andrea, so much so that we take opportunities to try out new spots on the fly. The evening before I jetted off to Belize, my homeland and neighbor to Mexico, I was invited to try the eats at La Gringa Taqueria in BK.

The full menu consisting of burritos, salads, quesadillas, and tacos

Located on 800 Grand St., steps away from the L-train stop at Grand St, La Gringa is a quaint taqueria that serves up Cali-Mex fare with a twist of the Caribbean; all plates come with fried plantain in the mix. Being a lover of all things plantain, I thought this was a cool little addition to a burrito or taco. I was quite hungry when I arrived, and scanned the menu for the plate I imagined would be most filling. I was advised by Mitch, who was preparing my food, to try the quesadilla with chicken, with a side of guacamole and chips.

My meal: A chicken quesadilla (rolled) with a side of chips and guacamole

I found it interesting that the the quesadilla came rolled instead of served flat in quarters. I guess when it is served this way, it is easier to eat while on the run. My quesadilla was stuffed with cheese, chicken, fried plantain, pico de gallo,  sour cream, and picante pepper, made from my favorite, habanero. The guac  was smooth with chunks of tomato, which I like. Not pictured was my favorite Mexican soda, Jarritos in the Tamarind flavor.

As I did not expect the pepper to be that hot, I failed in my soda pairing as it made the pepper spicier! I know for next time not to be so bold, or to pair my meal with water instead. The plantain mellowed out my otherwise super spicy meal.

Commissioned “La Gringa” graffiti in the back patio

I was informed after my meal that the restaurant had a back patio, so I took a walk to check out the space. In my short walk, my eyes were treated to lots of hand-painted murals in the hallway, and all throughout the patio area. This piece above is what you see above the doorway, looking back into the restaurant.

Aztec-inspired mural in the back patio

The patio is spacious, but I spared my photo of it as it was quite rainy on the evening that I visited. There is ample space to sit and eat, and chill back to play table tennis as well. The image above is of one of my favorite murals, which appears to be in the likeness of an Aztec deity. The colors are so vibrant and brighten up the space in a lovely way.

La Gringa is definitely for those that like to experience Mexican eats in a cool colorful space. As it is Cali-Mex, the flavors are bit milder, and all options are offered in Veggie, Chicken, Grilled Tilapia, and Beef. I would definitely recommend you stop in if you are in the area!

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

 

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#AlifeinthedayinToronto: Coffee Goodness at Rooster Coffee

The entryway of Rooster Coffee

A trip in the life in the day of Andrea is not complete with necessary amounts of caffeine, so I wanted to share a cute coffee joint in Toronto with you all. Located on King Street E near the corner of Berkeley St., Rooster Coffee House is an understated yet super cool coffee shop that is filled with all the caffeinated beverages your heart could ever dream of. We passed the location on the way back to the apartment, and as I was in need of a serious caffeine fix, I ran in once I saw the word “coffee” on the business’s sign.

Art displayed throughout the shop by local artists

Upon entering the doors of the coffee house, we were greeted by a warm environment, filled with various canvases of original artwork from local artists, as seen in the photo above. The shop’s menu was displayed on chalkboard with all offerings handwritten in a artistic manner.

Full view of the space, including the super chic bar area

As we moved up in line, I decided to order one of my favorite coffee drinks, an Iced Red Eye, sweetened with half and half. My wait was short, and I was able to better view my surroundings, and get the password to the WiFi, which was written on another chalkboard further back in the cafe.

The goods

A few minutes later I received my seriously caffeinated beverage, and was quite pleased with the outcome. The photo above shows my drink and the “coffee condiment station” (I just made that up). My drink was a perfect caffeine pick me up for the night I had ahead, which included a concert and more. Definitely a great place to meet up with friends, work, or just chill out.

 Rooster Coffehouse

343 King Street E.

Toronto, ON

416-995-1530

I would most definitely recommend Rooster Coffee to my friends in caffeine and open work spaces. They have good hours and sell pastries and sandwiches alongside their coffee beverages, which is also a plus. Definitely pass by if you are in the area, and be sure to check out all my favorite spots in Toronto on my TripleSpot list.

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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#AlifeinthedayinToronto: Take a Bite & Sip at 416 Snack Bar

Real wine, real candles

I hope you have been enjoying my Toronto tales! I wanted to circle back to my first evening. As I had mentioned in prior posts, my first food stop was Patois. After this, my friend and guide Jahmal had to leave me, and gave me detailed directions of where to walk to get a real taste of the city, along with the location of one of his favorite spots where he would meet me later on in the evening; 416 Snack Bar.

Korean Fried Chicken

Located on Bathurst Ave, steps away from Queen Street E, 416 Snack Bar totally felt like home when I walked in. The lights were dim, soul music played in the background (from a DJ in the back right corner), and the crowd was eclectic and calm. Since I had some time to kill, I figured I would have a little drink, and a small bite from their food menu. I kept it simple and ordered a cider, and the Korean Fried Chicken (pictured above). The restaurant used chicken thighs for their recipe, as opposed to white meat, and seasoned generously with soy, ginger, sesame seeds, chives and other flavors.

Tourist Photo :)

In my time at the bar, I made a few new friends, and was really able to take in the atmosphere as I had gone there solo. It was kind of a big deal for me, because I had never really gone to a bar/restaurant alone before, especially not in another country! Just goes to show that we live and we learn, right?

Once we exited, I asked Jahmal to take this lovely tourist photo of me, seen above. As someone who takes photos, I’m never in much photos, so I made sure that I got snapped in front of as many cool spots as possible during my trip.

416 Snack Bar

181 Bathurst Ave (near Queen St. E)

Toronto, ON

Phone: 416-364-9320

info@416snackbar.com

Be sure to check out 416 Snack Bar if you are out and about in Toronto. Also, check out all my spots in detail via my TripleSpot list, Enjoy Toronto w/ AKC!

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo & Jahmal Sang

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#AlifeinthedayinToronto: Take a Sip at The Beaconsfield

A view of the bar, fully stocked with top-shelf everything

Located on the corner of Queen St W and Beaconsfield Ave, stands a bar unlike any other, aptly named The Beaconsfield. The bar and restaurant is steps away from the famed Drake Hotel, and boast a beautiful exterior, housed in the historical Molsons Bank, with a cobblestone patio hugging the space’s perimeter. We stopped by the watering hole to end off a chill evening with friends.

Crystal chandelier, that added to the old-school vibe

Upon entering The Beaconsfield you are immediately transformed into a space that is both luxurious and inviting at the same time. Crystal chandeliers hung from high ceilings, and all the attention was on the bar, fully stocked with various spirits, bottled beers, and fine wines; they are known for their impressive tequila selection.

My drink of the evening, dark rum with a splash of pineapple

Soon after our arrival and my admiration of the space, we all ordered drinks. I kept it simple and ordered a dark rum with pineapple on the rocks. The guys had beers and vodka drinks for the most part, and we sat back to unwind with great tunes in the background (lots of Drake and Majid Jordan on the playlist to be exact). I had an unfortunate encounter with a man whose horrible “I like the way you drink your drink” pick-up line scarred me for the rest of the evening. Thankfully, I was diverted by friends who conjured up aimless conversation to save me. Phew!

I would definitely recommend The Beaconsfield for groups of friends who want to chill out, or even a date as there are some super low-key tables in the back of the space. I found out after that they have a full food menu, which you can view here. I will definitely be back!

Beaconsfield
1154 Queen St W
Toronto, ON M6J 1J5
(416) 516-2550
Be sure to check out more of my favorite spots on my Enjoy Toronto w/ AKC TripleSpot list!

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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#AlifeinthedayInToronto: Take A Bite at Patois

“Juicy Jerk”, the crafty sign behind the counter at Patois

As promised, I am here to share bits of my recent trip to Toronto with you, in a weeklong series entitled #AlifeinthedayInToronto! If you have come accustomed to the topics that I cover on the blog, you would have noticed that I am a huge foodie, and I love to discover new eats everywhere I go. Aside from spending time with friends both old and new, a big part of my Toronto experience revolved around food.

Fresh off the plane, my first stop was Patois, a Jamaican-Chinese fusion restaurant on Dundas St., in close proximity to the park, nightlife, and other cute restaurants.

Pineapple Rum Punch, quite refreshing

Upon entering the space, I noticed how inviting it was, having extended bar seating for groups, as well as a good amount of tables in front, and towards the back of the space. I went with my Toronto guide Jahmal, and we took a seat at the bar as it was quite busy at that time (after-work/dinner hours). We started off with drinks, I had the special which was Pineapple Rum Punch, seen in the photo above. The house rum for Patois is Gosling, a famous dark rum from Bermuda, which the restaurant uses in all their rum beverages. The punch was refreshing, but it could have used a bit more of a kick (I’m not a lush, I promise).

Jerk Chicken Chow Mein, spicy yet mild

Next up was our meal. Jahmal ordered the Jerk Chicken, and I ordered the Jerk Chicken Chow Mein, as seen in the photo above. The jerk chicken was shredded and marinated in jerk sauce and seasoning, placed over a bed of chow mein. You could taste a bit of soy sauce, and shallots were mixed in to fuse both Jamaican and Chinese flavors. Overall, a good mix. I cleaned my plate.

Bread pudding, a treat!

As Jahmal had to leave, I decided to stick around and chat with my new friends at the bar, and try a dessert. As with my prior two choices, I went with the special, which was Bread Pudding. What made this bread pudding special was that the raisins were soaked in rum, and it was served with a dollop of fresh cream on top to balance tastes. This was a great treat and wonderful way to finish off my meal.

I would definitely recommend Patois to anyone interested in a good meal and cocktail in downtown Toronto. Be sure to check out my full list of spots in my Enjoy Toronto w/ AKC TripleSpot List!

 Patois

794 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M6J 1V1

Just East of Palmerston Ave

Phone: 647.350.8999

Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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MANday Feature: Father’s Day Gifts For The Budget-Conscious Feat. Cultivate Wines, HIT E-Cigars, & British Sterling Colognes

On June 15, 2014, we celebrate Father’s Day. Known as the day to give thanks and commemorate the fathers in our lives, folks often give elaborate gifts and experiences. But what about those that are a bit strapped for cash? We’ve rounded up a few affordable gifts that Dad is sure to appreciate. As  a note, all gifts on this list are under $25, so let’s get to it!

 

“The Gambler” Malbec 2011 by Cultivate Wines

A bottle of wine is always a nice treat for Dad. Cultivate Wines offers up a bold Malbec in “The Gambler”. The 90% Malbec, 10% Bonarda blend has a deep red color with a purple center, with a nose of olives, leather, strawberry. “The Gambler” can be purchased directly from the Cultivate Wines website.

Cost. $14.99


HIT Bold & Mild E-Cigars

Cigars, through the years, have been paired with men of a certain stature, encompassing the must lusted after leisure life. With varieties of Cuban cigars costing approximately $20 each, where is the alternative for those who want to treat Dad, but are strapped for cash? Enter HIT E-Cigars, an electronic cigar that fulfills the cigar smoking experience in a vape. Offered in a Mild variety containing 16 mg of nicotine, and a Bold variety containing 24 mg of nicotine. HIT E-Cigars can be purchased directly from the company website.

Cost: $21.oo


British Sterling H.I.M. ‘Private Stock’ & ‘Reserve’ Colognes

When it comes to a gift for Dad, or any other man in your life, you can never go wrong with a fragrance. Heritage brand British Sterling has revamped their image, and has launched a new a collection of colognes called “H.I.M.”. The ‘Private Stock’ and ‘Reserve’ fragrances are served up in sleek silver packaging, that Dad will appreciate. Here is the lowdown on the scents:

  • British Sterling H.I.M. ‘Reserve’ — a provocative oriental blend of fresh citruses, bold spices and sensual woods
  • British Sterling H.I.M. ‘Private Stock’ — which showcases fresh citruses  combined with crisp woods, aromatic spices and rich undertones

British Sterling H.I.M. colognes can be purchased at Walmart, in-store, or online here.

Cost: $24.99


We hope you dig our suggestions, and we wish the fathers in your life a very Happy Father’s Day in advance!

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Celebrate National Cognac Day With D’USSE De Leche Ice Cream by Mikey Likes It @ W Hotels New York!

Today, June 4th, is National Cognac Day. In celebration of the occasion we wanted to suggest a summer treat that blends the adult beverage with an unlikely sweet treat; ice cream! If you are in New York City, stop on over to one of the W Hotels where they have partnered with local ice cream company, Mikey Likes It Ice Cream, to offer patrons D’USSE De Leche ice cream all summer, through Labor Day.

“W is all about bringing its guests insider access to exclusive offerings they can’t experience anywhere else,” said Patrick Horstmann, General Manager of W New York – Downtown.  “We’re honored to offer D’USSE de Leche, combining our passion for cocktails and the finest luxury products into one delicious indulgence.”

Sounds yummy right? Head on over to W Hotels for more info, and enjoy today with a cognac sip, or in this case, bite. :)

*Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schwartz (JDC)

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#FoodieFriday: FOUR Magazine, “The World’s Best Food Magazine”, Launches #FOURUSA Edition

In the realm of food, it is so important to get an inside peek behind your favorite restaurants by learning the tales of the chefs themselves. FOUR Magazine, an international publication headquartered in the UK, touts themselves as “The World’s Best Magazine”, telling unique stories from the culinary field. The biannual publication currently has International, Germany, Italy and UK titles, and is on the heels of launching their inaugural US edition, #FOURUSA.

“At a time when the industry is rapidly evolving and pushing the boundaries of modern cuisine, #FOURUSA will deliver an insight into the best chefs, restaurants and cuisine across the country…” — Kerry Spencer, Editor in Chief of FOUR USA

The premiere issue of the mag features a profile on chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, NYC, “the US’s highest ranking chef on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Guide, appearing at No.4 in the 2014 list”, along with many other features to delight the discerning foodie.

Print edition available across the US from June 16, 2014.

Cost: $15

Digital edition available to download from iTunes now.

Pre-ordered copies of #FOURUSA can be purchased from FOUR’s subscription page.

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Take A Bite: Trust the Mustache, Otto’s Tacos are “Otto” This World

Tacos are such an interesting yet necessary delicacy, aren’t they?  When you find your favorite taco spot, that’s it.  There is no budging; that is your go-to destination when you are in a taco mood, day or night.  Oddly enough, after a few years as a New Yorker, I had yet to identify my own… until I got swooned by the tasty creations that are Otto’s Tacos.

Mushroom & Carnitas Tacos

Mushroom & Carnitas Tacos

Simplistic in description and boasting with originality, Otto’s Tacos takes the cake in taquerías.  All tacos offered are not more than a few bucks (maximum price is only $3.50!), and rightly so– two or three get the job of curbing hunger done.  The Mushroom (seen above) taco is topped with onions and cilantro, paired with their house-made marinade on a fresh corn tortilla they roll hourly themselves.  You can witness daily tortilla making in their open kitchen while you are at the cash register!  In case you are more of a carnivore, they offer Shrimp, Carne Asada, Chicken, and Carnitas (seen above) tacos that are all invigorating to the tastebuds.  The Carnitas (pictured above) taco is paired with their house made guacamole, which excites your tongue leaving you wanting more!

Ottos Tacos House Made Horchata

Ottos Tacos House Made Horchata

Not only do they offer some of the tastiest tacos in NYC, they also offer refreshers to quench your thirst including their signature Horchata.  Made fresh daily with the subtle spice you’d expect, this little #taquería is big in flavor and easy on the budget.  You can also round out your meal with a traditional Mexican treat– their house made Churros, which pair awesomely with the milk-based bebida.

Otto’s Tacos is a snack-lovers’ paradise hidden in the East Village, and well worth the travel.  A few blocks from the Astor Place (6) train stop, Otto’s Tacos also offers delivery and catering options.  Next time you are in a rush for a quick bite, treat yourself to this amazing LA-inspired taqueria!

*Visit them on TwitterFacebook, and share your favorite taco flavors on Instagram!*

Otto's Tacos Website

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MANday Exclusive: Frank Billini of La Lucha Chats Life, Business, & Mexican Food!

Frank Billini of La Lucha

Frank Billini of La Lucha in the restaurant

Growing up in a family with a background in entertainment, and following that in many aspects of his life currently, being a partner in an increasingly popular Mexican restaurant in New York City’s East Village neighborhood may not have been the expected route for Frank Billini.

We stopped by La Lucha to chat with our friend Frank, to get the lowdown on the story behind the eatery, and what we can expect in the not-too-distant future.

Tell us about the story behind La Lucha, and the wrestling theme of the restaurant.

My dad was a wrestler, and from the age of eight years old he used to lie to his family to be in this wrestling league. He really loved it and was really good at it. He used to fight older people. Imagine being 8 and fighting 13-year olds?

He recently got re-married, and we opened La Lucha in 2008. His wife is from Mexico City, so she has this very rich Mexican culture, and this appetite for Mexican food that didn’t exist in New York [at the time].  For her, there is a flavor that she is expecting when it comes to Mexican food, so we really tried to touch that and keep it semi-traditional, and cool…it’s just a  reintroduction to Mexican food.

What are some plates that set La Lucha apart from its counterparts?

Honestly, I don’t think there is a plate that separates us from other restaurants. I think what makes us different is the experience when you come to our restaurant. We want to create intangible experiences where people can come here and be like, “Wow! I don’t remember where this sh*t was located…I was really drunk, whatever,  but I remember that they brought that ring when they brought the check. That was magical for me. I took a photo, and I remember that.”  

We have some very good vegetable options, that’s something we are trying to highlight more now along with gluten-free options,  because people are becoming more health-conscious. I think there is no other Mexican restaurant with as many vegetable tacos as we have. Like the Hibiscus Taco; amazing.

An example of the "Luchador" theme in the restaurant, via a wallpaper effect of wrestling posters.

An example of the “Luchador” theme in the restaurant, via a wallpaper effect of wrestling posters.

What are some of your favorite plates on the menu?

I really enjoy our signature tacos. They come in threes; it kind of feels like I am up-selling you, but I’m not. A lot of those tacos are mixtures of other tacos on the menu. We have a vegetable signature taco on the menu, which is poblano peppers mixed with mushroom; the Huracán. That one is really good, but my favorite has to be the El Santo, or the Mil Máscaras. The Mil Máscaras, I love to talk about because it has bacon.  I love bacon, and it has bits of bacon, not big strips. You have an option of chicken or steak, and it is mixed with roasted poblano peppers, corn, onions; it’s delicious. And then we put the queso chihuahua on top; it is one of my favorites. The El Santo is the meat-lovers taco. It has our red salsa mixed with salted steak that we cure ourselves, it also has chicarron; it’s really a delicious taco man, I’ve never tasted anything like that before.

Tell us about the future of La Lucha, and your newest food truck output in the works in Brooklyn.

We just got a trailer, it’s an extended trailer and we put a banner on it. We are still getting equipment, but by summer it will be up and running. It will be called “La Lucha”, but we may give it a nickname. We are working with some artists right now so we can do something that doesn’t feel too corporate. We want it to feel artsy, like the aesthetic of Brooklyn. I want it to feel “real”. You know what I mean?


As La Lucha prepares to open their mobile output this summer, be sure to stop by their brick and mortar location in the East Village for delicious, no nonsense Mexican food!

La Lucha

147 Avenue A ( Between 9th & 10th Street)
New York, New York 10009

Be sure to connect with them on Facebook at LaLucha NYC, and on Twitter at @LaLuchaNYC

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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The First Annual Lobster De Mayo Brings Out Lovers of Lobster & Tequila to Capitale in NYC

Lobster Tacos from Bodega Negra

Lobster Tacos from Bodega Negra

May 10th was an unseasonably warm evening in NYC, that hosted an even hotter evening for culinary aficionados. It was on this night that the First Annual Lobster de Mayo was held, a lobster tasting event put together by Homarus, New York’s premiere lobster supplier, to benefit  City Harvest. Hosted by the Food Network’s Katie Lee, the event brought out lobster lovers in packs, including some familiar faces, like that of model and foodie, Chrissy Teigen.

Model Chrissy Teigen and celebrity chef Katie Lee

Model Chrissy Teigen and celebrity chef Katie Lee

Held at the popular event space Capitale, guests were surrounded by lovely pre-war architecture in a grand space where twenty renowned New York City restaurants showcased some of their best lobster dishes for attendees to taste.

Atmosphere at the First annual Lobster de Mayo

Atmosphere at the First annual Lobster de Mayo

Lobster was paired with tequila, having Patron as the main liquor sponsor of the evening, which had multiple bar set-ups, including a margarita bar, and a station for personalizing your own lime squeezer.

Patron Bar

Patron Bar

I made my rounds to many restaurants, but my favorite dish of the night was by far was Tao Downtown’s Lobster Tacos (in a fried wonton shell) with avocado, cabbage, and a special sauce by Chef John Villa. Other favorites included Lavo’s Lobster and Spring Vegetable salad by Chef John Deloach, and The Wayfarer’s Roasted Maine Lobster- Skordalia, lemon herb beurre monte. Click below for more photos from the event!

I really had a lovely time at Lobster de Mayo, and was super proud of myself because I attended solo. The dishes were delicious, and I can’t wait to visit some of the featured restaurants to have the real deal!

*Photos by Amy Sussman

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The First Annual Lobster de Mayo is Tomorrow (5/10) at Capitale in NYC

lobsterdemayo

The first annual Lobster De Mayo kicks off tomorrow evening at Capitale in New York City’s Chinatown neighborhood. The event, hosted by The Food Network’s Katie Lee is sure to be a hit, featuring lobster and tequila pairings and fun for all guests. Restaurants participating include:

  • Tao
  • Lavo
  • Catch
  • Empellon
  • Marea
  • ABC Kitchen
  • Gramercy Tavern
  • Bodega Negra
  • La Cenita
  • Marc Forgione and many more!

Guests will be treated to jams from various DJs, and a silent auction to benefit City HarvestGeneral admission for guests will be $295, while VIP tickets will be $450. Tickets may be purchased on Eventbrite.

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Take A Bite: Bocca Di Bacco Opens on 7th Avenue in Chelsea

The street view of Bocca di Bacco

The street view of Bocca di Bacco

There are certain things that are undeniably New York City; hot dog stands, angry cabbies, iconic skyscrapers, and amazing street style. In the realm of food, Italian is a staple, spanning the realm of your local pizzeria to fine dining in the Theatre District. Its undeniable popularity has worked for Bocca di Bacco, an NYC-based Italian restaurant chain that has opened its latest outpost in Manhattan’s hot neighborhood of Chelsea, in the former space of another Italian restaurant, IL Bastardo. This is the chain’s second Chelsea location, the first being on 9th Avenue.

The main dining room at Bocca Di Bacco

The main dining room at Bocca Di Bacco

Opening festivities for Bocca di Bacco were held at the restaurant on April 8 – 9 for media and special guests. I stopped by to see what it was all about, and was quite impressed. The space is massive, comprised of four rooms for public and private dining, decorated beautiful. The shot above is of the main dining room, filled with natural light in the day, and transformed into a sexier setting in the evening.

Wine selection

Wine selection

Along with its fine menu, Bocca di Bacco is known for their incredible wine selection and practice, being one of the few restaurants that serves many wines by both the bottle and glass. Guests were treated to these wines during the opening, along with specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the likeness of wild mushroom crostini, rice balls, shrimp cocktail, and mini crab cakes.

Wild mushroom crostini

Wild mushroom crostini

The restaurant’s Executive Chef Kristin Sollenne, who was present at the event,  is passionate about creating modern Italian dishes infused with seasonality.

“I focus on rich, bold flavors using fresh herbs and seasonal produce, meat, poultry & seafood,” says Sollenne. “Simplicity makes an impact. More than anything, we want diners to come away feeling satisfied, full and content after a good, authentic Italian meal in the heart of New York City.”

 

Having this been my first experience at a Bocca Di Bacco, I can agree with Kristin in the fact that the food was fresh and flavorful, and the hospitality was on par. Check out more photos below from the opening.

Bocca Di Bacco in Chelsea is located on 7th Avenue between 21st & 22nd Streets. For more info, please visit their website.

*Photos courtesy of Bocca di Bacco/Pace Public Relations

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