Tag Archives: Churros

Feeling bookish? Lorca to host monthly book club – Stamford, CT

7 Nov

 

Waaahh waaaaaaah.

Somebody’s got a case of the Mondays.

Psssh, not any more!  That’s because Lorca in Stamford is giving you something to be excited about even though it’s the start of the week.  Yes, Friday won’t seem so far away when you get to take part in their brand new book club.

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One sip, one bite and you’re a Lorca-vore for life! Lorca, Stamford

4 Jun

Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and cruddy deli, diner, or gas station coffee. Those have really been the only options for you if you wanted a pick me up in Stamford. Well, that was until Leyla Dam opened up Lorca on the lively Bedford Street. Her view on coffee and cafes? Only serve the best quality beans, only make coffee with the best methods that highlight the flavors, support local bakers like Wave Hill Breads, and make food from scratch. Looks like a great view to us!

As we entered, we loved how cute and quaint Lorca was. There are a few tables to sit at, a beautiful exposed brick wall, and a coffee counter with a bright churros sign pulling you in. Churros you say?  Oh, yes the churros. You might say she’s just a bit of an expert. See, she actually spent time in Spain learning the art of  churro making. So, needless to say, we were drooling for months waiting to finally try ’em.

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Bartaco: They got half their name right and it’s not the taco part. – Stamford, CT + Port Chester, NY

5 Nov

Tacos at the Port Chester location...better than Stamford's?

Most people in Connecticut have been through the doors of a Barcelona restaurant, have sipped on sangria, and have fallen in love with their tapas.  So, when the same owners expanded with Bartaco in Port Chester, we were psyched but also wondered if they’d be able to keep the quality up while expanding so much.  Just months before we were disappointed with Barcelona Stamford as compared to the others – seemed like the sangria was weaker and the food just wasn’t up to par with their other spots.

Bartaco in Port Chester, NY

So, we decided to travel out to Port Chester and see what all the buzz was about.    It was a beautiful summer day so of course we sat outside in their really nice patio area.  In fact, the decor overall was really nice and cozy…when it’s not jammed to the walls with people, that is. Yeah, this place is always busy, so just be ready to do some waiting.  When we sat down we were given the DL on how things work.  Mark off what you want on the menu card, put it up on the metal arm, or if you have a question or need help, put up the dragonfly logo of Bartaco. Cool concept!

Not Tacos

We started with some guac that was not too bad, but maybe oversimplified with very little more than just some avocado, salt and a teeny squirt of lime. We also ordered a spicy cucumber salad that definitely had a kick, but didn’t have much else going on with it.  Again, boring and oversimplified. The cactus dish was fun, spicy, had a vinegary kick, and was just sweet enough to add a nice complexity to this dish. And lastly the grilled corn with lime and cotija cheese was nice in theory but the corn was mushy. Definitely not nearly as good as the same dish at Bodega in Fairfield.

Tacos

For our meals we went crazy with a mix of Baja fish, pork al pastor, tamarind beef, and spicy chorizo tacos.  The Baja fish had a nice crispness to it but was pretty bland and devoid of a real kick or flavor.  The pork al pastor was good with a nice amount of spice in it, but we’ve both had WAAAAY better al pastor tacos before, I mean WAAAAY better.  The tamarind beef taco, also had good flavor, but nothing mind blowing.  I ended with the spicy chorizo taco which had chorizo all crumbled up, kicked up with some nice bold smoky flavor. This was definitely my favorite.

Overall, we thought the food was decent, but not great or amazing as the buzz made it seem.  We both agreed that the tacos at Casa Villa blew these out of the water and were not as good as Tacos Mexico in Norwalk.

Bartaco in Stamford, CT

We waited to review Bartaco here to coincide with the September opening of its new spot in Stamford. We waited for about half an hour because the place was packed just like the Port Chester one.  We got our seats and saw they had the same kind of vibe going on in here, even with the little metal stands to place your menu orders on.  Now we like a rockin’ musical ambiance as much as the next 30 something couple, but DAMN is it incredibly loud in there! Seriously don’t plan to hear what the hell your friends say, or your waiter even.  Just pretend and nod your head, they’ll never know.

Not Tacos

We got the guacamole that was just like it was in Port Chester.  We do like the crispy tortillas that come with the guac though. They’re nice and crispy and salty.  We also had the snapper ceviche that also came with lots of cilantro, fresh snapper, peppers, and just the right amount of spicy kick.  It was pretty good overall. I saw a Foursquare tip about how awesome the blood orange margarita was, so I decided to go with that.  It came out waaaaaay too strong with an overpowering liquor taste.  I asked the waitress to add more mix to it and that helped a tiny bit, though it was just way too strong to be enjoyable.

Tacos

Porkslap Ale (it's boss) with tacos at the Stamford locale

We wanted to see if our original conclusion was correct, that Bartaco tacos were just okay.  Well, we had our answer by the end of our meal.  I had red snapper a la plancha.  The fish and flavors were bland.  Unfortunately, the only thing that stood out and gave flavor were the vegetables.  Yeah, bummer.  I loved the spicy chorizo last time and decided to get more of it this time.  Well, this time it was tough and overcooked.  The flavor was still there, but I was left disappointed once again.  Sadly, this wasn’t the worst of the night.  I decided to try the lamb barbacoa taco.  The flavor combos with the lamb just didn’t work and seemed awkward and not appealing.  There were chunks of lamb fat throughout the taco, but the killer was the chunk of fat that had lamb bone attached to it.  Quality control?  Meh. Kristien agreed, this might have been the worst taco we’ve ever eaten, and she loves lamb.  Worst lamb dish that I’ve ever had, hands down.

Postres

We are churros addicts and were excited at the prospect of some bad boys that came with chocolate sauce.  We were especially excited because only the day before we met our friends Darryl, Melissa, Renato, and Alicia at Barcelona in Norwalk and shared amazing churros.  They came out looking very good, but they were raw in the middle.  We were just going to leave and not bother, but we really wanted churros, so we asked for another batch.  The churros came out but, once again, they were raw on the inside.  We paid and left.

Overall Thoughts

There are so many FANTASTIC taco places in Stamford, Norwalk, and all over Fairfield County, but unfortunately, Bartaco isn’t one of them. It’s not even close. If you care more about the vibe and the cool factor, then you should come to Bartaco.  But, if you want the authentic Mexican experience and want to pay helluva less try these options that are nearby:

Casa Villa, Stamford

Tacos Guadalajara, Stamford

Los Molcajetes, Norwalk

El Charrito, Stamford

Bodega Taco Bar, Fairfield

Noms: 2.75
Cost:  $$$
Bartaco                                                                                        Bartaco
222 Summer Street (next to Barcelona)                              1 Willett Avenue
Stamford, CT 06901                                                                Port Chester, NY 10573
Phone:  (203) 323-TACO                                                       (914) 937-TACO
Site:  http://bartaco.com

Bartaco on Urbanspoon

¡Que Bueno! New Mexican Spot Offers Classics and Twists. Lola’s Mexican Kitchen, Stamford

19 Dec

There’s nothing that makes a long day of jogging on the treadmill and playing Zuma Blitz better than sipping (or gulping) on some margaritas.  Kristien and I had made reservations at Lola’s Mexican Kitchen, a new Mexican restaurant at 135 Bedford Street, which had only been open since December 9.  This restaurant is just a baby, time wise at least.  When you order their food, you’re probably think much different, though! The spot was very simple and elegant.  The atmosphere was lively, and as we ate our meal the crowd scene by the large bar began to grow.

To start, we ordered a pitcher of the Classic Margarita made with Patrón.  You can’t deny the power of Patrón!  They came out a little strong, but the waiter–Cody–had more mix put in and that made it real nice (yeah, we’re wusses).  Our waiter was kind, informative, never rushed us.  He has just finished his culinary training, so we all wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors in Omnomitivity.

Getting back to the pitcher, it cost $25 for the pitcher plus an upcharge of $10 for the Patrón–a very reasonable price comparatively. We’ve paid $40-50 in some places here in Fairfield County.  A nice and warm bag of tortilla chips then came to our table, accompanied by a very fresh tasting salsa.  The salsa had less of the large chunks in it like we like, but was still flavorful.

We then had the Trio of Guacamole.  We got more chips (we were in chip heaven), a bowl of fresh, chunky, tangy pico de gallo (much better), and three very distinct bowls of guacamole.  The black bean guacamole was good, though it tasted more like a black bean dip rather than a guacamole.  We both felt like we wanted more spice and a kick.  The classic guacamole was ok, we think it could have been a lot better and fresher.  Take Riviera Maya, for example:  they make the guacamole right in front of you.  It doesn’t get fresher than that, plus you get to choose your own flavors there.  The last guacamole, mango and habenero, was great, though.  The guac brought me back to summer with its freshness and its bright flavor.  The taste of the habanero was there, though I wish it would burn.  Why do we enjoy being in spicy pain so much?

I had to fight every urge in me, then, not to order too many of my favorite dishes off the menu.  The tacos looked amazing, but I fought the urge.  The burrito platter looked ridiculous, but I fought the urge.  So many classics looked great, but I fought the urge!  Instead, I decided to have a dinner of two small plates.  I really do love ceviche, so I ordered that to even out the heaviness of the Mexican pizza.  When the ceviche came it was presented in a fun way and looked almost too good to eat.  The calamari and shrimp tasted great and weren’t “overdone” as is sometimes the case with ceviche.  My disappointment with this dish was that a fishy taste and smell overpowered the citrusy taste, indicating to me that the fish was not fresh. Kristien had the same issue with her fish taco, which she did not like. She did, however, say the Carnitas taco, with slow roasted pulled pork, Oaxaco, and pickled red onion, was the best she ever had.

The Mexican pizza, on the other hand, was just plain perfection.  Kristien loves to bother me about my loathing of certain cheeses, which I suppose I have earned.  I decided to go out on a limb with a new cheese (Oaxaca) that  I hadn’t had before, one that I couldn’t even pronounce nonetheless!  The pizza came with a nice medium thickness crust and with Oaxaca smothered and melted across.  Top that off with chunks of spiced tomatoes and some of the smokiest and best chorizo I’ve had.  This is one of those plates you can’t put down and wish there was more of.  You need to order this–it’s a killer!

I was very full and wasn’t sure if there was any more room, but we saw the churros at another table and needed those bad.  When the churros arrived we couldn’t wait to dig in!  The cinnamon and the sugar on the outside was the perfect mixture to coat the crispy crust, yet the inside was still soft. Cody told us, are made fresh and to order.  This explains why they tasted so amazing.  I know they have flan and tres leches, but I think I’d have to order the churros again, as should you.  Really, really great.

So, the lowdown on Lola’s is that this place will most likely become a gem in the crown of downtown Stamford with just a few adjustments.  The really great thing about Lola’s is that they are listening to what people say about the menu and adjusting where they need to and taking chances.  The manager came to our table and shared this with us and told us that one of the best selling items is the Habanero edamame, which I have to try next time.  It’s hard to believe that they’ve only been open for about 9 days because things are running pretty smoothly. Lola’s definitely has the potential to be a 4 Nom restaurant and I’m sure they’ll make it there with their good manager, excellent waitstaff, and a wonderful menu.  Right now they have 3.25 Noms, but hope it won’t be long for that to change.  Definitely check this place out!

Noms:  3.25

Cost:  $$$

Lola’s Mexican Kitchen
Address:  135 Bedford Street
Stamford, CT
Phone:  (203) 674-5652
Site:  http://www.lolasmexicankitchen.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/lolas.stamford?sk=wall
 
 

Lola's Mexican Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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