Bartaco in Port Chester, NY- Sexy and Yummy

The thing about Bartaco in Port Chester, NY is the fact that they somehow transformed the experience of eating simple food like tacos into something sexy. It reminded me of what Abercrombie & Fitch did with their clothing- finding young, fit and sexy people to wear and sell their clothing. Bartaco did the same with their food, website and menu. The site is beautiful, easy to navigate and well designed for their young audience. Their menu is simple yet filled with items that are a little risqué for the norm. Great job.

When it comes to the restaurant decor, the same technique is applied. So once you start drinking the Bartaco CoolAid, the food started to taste good as well. Well, good enough anyway.
Grilled Corn with lime, cayenne, cotija cheese
Guacamole, Chipotle Slaw, Spicy Cucumber SaladCheese Quesadilla and Plantains
Rotisserie Chicken  Pork Tamale
Tacos​: steak, pork, chicken  Tacos: baja fish
Tacos: Portobello mushrooms, falafel   Churros with chocolate dip

The food is not superb but pretty good. The variety is amazing. It’s fresh and interesting enough to keep the diners entertained, engaged and wanting to come back again for the party atmosphere and interact with the casual and easy going wait staff. I was pleased and happy.

This experience took place at

Bartaco

1 Willett Ave
Port Chester, NY 10573
Phone:(914) 937-8226

Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar in Clearwater Beach, FL – Sunny Sunday Fish Tacos on the Beach

I got my sunny Sunday in Clearwater, Florida! After a run on the beach with the sun beaming down me, my friend and I went to Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar in Clearwater Beach before I headed back to NYC. What shocked me was the brightness you get on the beach. The sun reflected off of the white sand and came inside the restaurant. You felt the breeze and you heard the kids laughing. After my five-mile run, I was in a state of serenity filled with love, love, and love. I so adore my endorphin highs.

Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar is famous for its location. It’s right on the beach. The food was not a focus at all. On their menu, they said: “There’s no place like this place, anywhere near this place, so this must be the place.℠” Very full of themselves but I admit that I forgive them for the average food. Ah, the glorious sun.


Fish Tacos: grilled and seasoned fish (Grouper) comes with lettuce, pico de gallo, shredded cheddar jack cheese and chipotle mayo. Served with black beans and rice.

I highly recommend the sun in Florida during February for any New Yorkers. This is as good a spot to eat some fish tacos as any. Bring your shades and swimsuits!

This experience took place at a very sunny spot on the beach

Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar

10 Bay Esplanade
Clearwater Beach, FL, 33767
Phone: 727-446-2642

Lola’s Mexican Kitchen in White Plains NY – Contemporary Mexican Cuisine. Wish It Had Made My Heart Sing

Lola’s Mexican Kitchen in White Plains, NY is right off Mamaroneck Ave and next to Brother Jimmy’s BBQ (a popular location for the bar hopping crowd). Lola’s is an upgraded version (more sophisticated and upscale) of Brother Jimmy’s. The horseshoe bar in the middle of the restaurant is the focus. The moments from the bartenders, the dark wood furniture, and the dim but somewhat neon lighting were inviting. The contemporary Mexican food served here is above average – I would go back but it’s not something that makes my heart sing. On the scale of 1 to 10, the food is a 7, a couple points above average.

Slightly off topic, it has been a while since I had food that made my heart sing. I cannot wait for my trip back to Taiwan this Summer. I look forward to the shock that a foreign country would deliver to my system. I look forward to the warm weather (translation – the unbearable humidity) and the bizarre food ingredients (translation – the stinky, the fermented, and the gelatinous things) .

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House guacamole: traditional. Chunky. No complaints.

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Salsa and chips which come standard to the table

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Tacos three ways: shrimp (roasted veggies, Chipotle glaze, mango salsa), steak (chopped cilantro, onion, salsa verde) and brisket (sweet plantains, quest fresco, ancho bbq sauce). This was my entrée. Not so thrilled. The mango salsa was an overkill to the taste buds. The steak was tough. The brisket was the best but there was too much sauce for it to be refined enough for my taste.

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Chimichurri skirt steak with roasted vegetables & potatoes, chimichurri sauce. This dish in comparison to mine was much better. I guess it’s hard to go wrong when it’s just a big piece of steak. The chimichurri sauce was a tasty addition if you smother it evenly across the steak.

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Oh, what can I say?  They were out of my favorite Mexican dessert – flan! I tried for chocolate…  Also didn’t have it.  What’s going on guys?  Don’t you know dessert is the most important part of a meal?  Had to settled for this red velvet cake.  Not impressed.

This experience took place at

Lola’s Mexican Kitchen
169 East Post Road
White Plains, NY 10601
914.358.4939
info@lolaswhiteplains.com

Toloache 50 in the Theater District NYC – A Little Guac and Mojito Before the Show

My friend and I had tickets to see Hugh Jackman in the Broadway show, The River. We stopped at this cute little Mexican place, Toloache, right in front of the theater to get a little guac and a glass of virgin mojito before the show. It was a happening place and we barely squeezed ourselves through the crowds to get to the bar. #TheaterDinningNYC

Toloache is a plant or “a psychoactive, hallucinogenic preparation made from the plant.” Let’s see if their food has the same psychoactive impact on us.

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Tradicional, Mild Guacamole: Avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, serrano. This guacamole was almost divine. It is as good as the one from Salvation Tacos. It was chunky, smooth, and creamy.

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Sopa de Tortilla: Tomato & guajillo soup, crispy tortilla Chihuahua cheese, crema, avocado. The tomato-based soup used lots of guajillo chili to give it a kick. The tortilla added the crunchy texture and the avocado added the smooth. I was very happy to have this soup during such a cold February night.  Nicely balanced.

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Here is the virgin mojito. 🙂 Now I won’t fall asleep in the theater.

Hugh Jackman commanded in The River. The show was existentialist in nature and discussed love in a futile and depressing manner. It is not a show one sees with a date or a significant other. Glad I went with a girlfriend instead. As it turned out, the food at Toloache, not Hugh Jackman, was the highlight of my evening. I would recommend this little place for NYC theater dining.

This experience took place at

Toloache
251 W 50th St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 581-1818

Salvation Taco in NYC – Where the Worlds Collide

On November 10th, 2014, I went into the City to have dinner with a friend. My friend introduced me to Salvation Taco which is located inside the POD 39 Hotel and is run by the Michelin starred chef April Bloomfield and her partner Ken Friedman. This is an interesting restaurant and my experience that night was extremely memorable. Salvation Taco features a menu with international influences where the worlds collide in the form of tacos! Can you say #KimchiAndTaco?

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We walked in without a reservation and were immediately seated at a high table. What a nice surprise for a busy restaurant on a Monday night. The atmosphere was vibrant and easy-going. The guacamole and chips came soon after we ordered drinks. The guacamole was fresh; it tasted like the inside of an avocado mushed-up. 🙂  You can see the mush in the photo, can’t you?

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We ordered Korean BBQ with pickled daikon, marinated kimchi & furikake. This really knocked the ball out of the park. This is the Korean BBQ in a cast iron pan. The meat is done exactly how it should be done. It was perfect.

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These are the side dishes to go with the BBQ. First vertical column on right from bottom to the top are kimchi, daikon, and scallions. Second column are seaweed/furikake and Korean spicy sauce. All are great additions to making the Taco.

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Now we wrapped up all the goodies inside these small pieces of tacos. Really yummy and fulfilling. Tacos were warm and soft. Lots of love went into making the tacos.  I felt loved.

In full disclosure, I had never liked Mexican food and Salvation Taco converted a non-believer that night. This is my very first post on the Mexican cuisine. Because of how everything was so well put together and how easily Korean BBQ and Asian ingredients worked into the Mexican tacos, it was impossible to not love it. This is where the worlds collided for me and felt like a perfect dance at the end of the night. I think this is the beginning of something very nice.

This experience took place at

Salvation Taco
145 E 39th Street
between 3rd Avenue and Lexington,
inside the POD 39 Hotel.
New York, NY
(212) 865-5800
info@salvationtaco.com