Because I’m constantly trying to discover new restaurants in the city, I rarely return to the same ones (unless, per my made-up rule, I bring someone new). But there are times I have “moments” with certain restaurants — my go-to’s that I like to bring everyone to since I’m pretty sure they’ll leave the meal feeling more than satisfied. My current relationship for this very reason is with Tacombi in Nolita. The first time I went, per my friend Sadia’s suggestion, it was a blistering cold night. One of those nights that we probably would have ended up ordering in at either of our apartments, but I figured I could use a change of scene. The moment I walked into Tacombi, I felt like I left the cold city far behind. It felt like a beach party in here:
The WV van in which they serve food from their home base in Mexico
It had a very fun, very non-pretentious vibe. The menus came out on a slip of paper, and we quickly ordered guacamole and the corn esquites to start.
Guacamole and chips
When it came out, the waitress told me not to forget to squeeze the lime on the corn and mix it up before we ate it. Both were so fresh and especially appreciated the spicy chili powder mixed in with the corn.
Corn esquites served in a cup
Hurricane, winter storms, and the generally miserable weather on the east coast warrants a visit to California. And MAYBE my friends Yasir and Sarah moving out here had something to do with it. But 70s (aka perfect) and sun made it a little bit of a selfish vacation to get away from the madness in the city. I don’t think I realized how many people are out here but my days already have been full of good company, including having brunch yesterday at Frida at the Americana mall with the lovely Nadia of Sweet Pillar & Co..
We split a burrito vegetariano (sautéed asparagus and zucchini with white rice, black beans, lettuce, sour cream, queso fresco and guacamole, wrapped in a flour tortilla) and burrito mazatlán (sautéed shrimp in a chile-pasilla orange sauce, onions, lettuce, and guacamole wrapped in a flour tortilla. Served with rice and beans). Without meat, you would think it would fall short but both burritos were fresh, tasty, and in the case of the mazatlan, spiced perfectly. We finished off with green tea and a very strong, but well-timed, latte.
Plus with plenty of outdoor seating, we felt like we weren’t missing the extremely beautiful day I was hoping for…even after sitting there comfortably for four hours. Time flies with good food and good company!
By Summar Ghias
Chicago’s trendy taco scene may always be distinguished (and ruled) by late night favorite Big Star. But that doesn’t mean Chef Paul Kahan doesn’t have his fair share of competitors. Fellow Wicker Park joint Antique Taco serves up similarly scrumptious tacos packed with punches of unexpected flavors. Given that I’ve dined there three times this month and somehow still can’t stop daydreaming about the dessert-like horchata milkshake, I’d say Antique Taco gives Big Star a run for its money. Almost.
Inside Antique Taco
The restaurant couples market Mexican fare with an antique vibe, complete with communal seating, wooden benches, and vintage china. And though it gets a little too loud on the weekends, it’s the perfect spot for an inexpensive weekday jaunt.
Gah. Sorry about the quiet few days here, but I’ve been in Texas ya’ll! I flew down last weekend for my gorgeous friend Mariam’s wedding (I mean, STUNNING), and haven’t had much time at the comp. It was my very first time down in Texas and besides the wedding festivities, I was excited about the FOOD. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to explore Dallas by way of calories, but a group of us did manage to get away one day for brunch. My friend Masuma who lives down there recommended a few places, and we ended up going to La Duni Latin Kitchen at the Northpark mall location which was near our hotel.
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posted on: 11.14.11 | filed under: Breakfast/Brunch, FOOD - "The Delicious", Mexican, Spanish/Latin American, Travel Feasts
| tags: Breakfast/Brunch, Dallas, La Duni, La Duni Latin Kitchen & Coffee Studio, mexican, Spanish/Latin American, Tex-Mex, Travel Feasts
I’m sorry for a little lag in posting. It’s been a whirlwind of a week…of a month, for that matter. Trying to update this blog late at night doesn’t always work too well for me when I’m on zero to only a few hours of sleep (literally!). I felt like it was time for a little break. Well, it was actually brought on after my brother sent me a video of my eight-month-old nephew who’s growing up so freaking fast. I barely finished watching this one of him trying to “sing” (which was really him adorably trying to imitate a tune my brother made up), that I found myself booking a ticket to come to visit my family in the Midwest. Hey, you try to resist those dimples! It’s a nice excuse to mellow out before Fashion Week anyway.
Before I left though, I was able to catch a meal at Salinas for a beauty product launch. The Spanish restaurant is fairly new — I believe it opened up just this past summer — with a dimly lit tapas room and bar, dining room which opens up to an airy 35-seat garden in the back where we ate. It’s a gorgeous outdoor space if you’re looking for one.
Salina's outdoor backyard patio
What to do on a warm summer evening in NY? I’m practically allergic to indoor dining on nights like these, so last week after the CoverGirl/Pat McGrath party, I decided to
crash Archana and Eaman’s date join my friends for dinner at La Esquina in SoHo. It wasn’t my first time there, but it was my first time eating in their outdoor area. La Esquina pretty much has three parts to it: the taqueria, which is a small, to-go lunch counter; their cafe, which encompasses their sidewalk seating and their indoor space that serves the full menu; and their downstairs brasserie and bar area in the basement, where they have even more extensive menu, a DJ, and a (sometimes pesky) reservations-only list.
It took us about a hour to get seated once we got there, but we dove right into the queso once we did. Layers of baked cheese with roasted pumpkin seeds, served with plaintain chips was pretty much heaven on earth.
I was crossing my fingers that it would set the standard for the rest of the meal. I can’t even remember the last time I had tacos, so I decided to go for some steak tacos this time (why not?). The anticipation for the main course wasn’t worth the results…the steak was bland at best.
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posted on: 06.08.11 | filed under: FOOD - "The Delicious", Mexican, Spanish/Latin American
| tags: dinner, downtown, la esquina, latin, lunch, mexican, nolita, nyc restaurants, outdoor seating, pan latin, soho, Spanish