Tag Archives: Latino food

¡Mangia y Beve Bueno at Dolce Cubano! Waterfront of Stamford, CT

18 Dec

Dolce Cubano Collage

Update: Dolce Cubano is now known as just Dolce and features just Italian food. We haven’t stopped by yet for the new menu yet, so remember that our review is for when it opened.

As we walked up to Dolce Cubano for a late night dinner, we were struck at how beautiful the restaurant looked.  Trees were lit up for Christmas, music was spilling out, and the enthusiasm from people inside couldn’t be contained.  We quickly found a seat and got down to business.

The vibe and heart of Dolce Cubano is an Italian heart with a Cuban soul.  To be honest, we wondered how Dolce Cubano would work with this kind of fusion when we talked with Nick Racanelli Jr. and Sr. months ago (check out our announcement and the before/after post).  Well, after our meal, we definitely understand the meaning.  Here’s the breakdown of a 5 drink and 8 course dinner that we created from the extensive menu.

Let’s start with the food:

First of all, you can make your own meal/snack/feast at Dolce Cubano dish by dish if you’d like.  There’s antipasto, a raw bar, ceviche, salads, sides, tapas, classic dishes, and sandwiches for lunch, too.  There are some great dishes that you might recognize from Zaza Italian Gastrobar, Latino and Cuban classics, and dishes that land right in between Italuban land.  We decided to go with dishes that spoke to the Cuban soul of Dolce Cubano.  Let’s dig in.

Halibut Ceviche with a citrus marinade, onions, and pineapple.  Bright, citrusy, and vibrant.  The halibut, itself, is tender and juicy.  The crunch from the onion and corn layered on top add a nice contrast in texture.  An excellent ceviche.  We’ll have to try the shrimp ceviche next.  They’ll be changing the fish up depending on what’s in season…thanks for alerting us Leslie.

Empanadas with beef and a Cuban red sauce.  The breading was crispy, thin, and didn’t come from a package of frozen junk.  On the inside was well seasoned beef with the added kick of cilantro.  The Cuban red sauce was like a tomato sauce with the consistency of chunky salsa and an added kick of herbs.  It adds a tart, herby, and slighty sweet taste to whatever you dip it in.

Continue reading

Unsuspecting Location + Unique Menu Offer Pleasant Surprise! Basso Cafe – Norwalk, CT

16 Sep

Disappointed by our meal the prior weekend at Sails in Rowayton, we felt like we needed redemption but were afraid to branch off somewhere new if it wasn’t going to be a sure bet.  Being the devoted food bloggers we are, we went for it and had a hunch after some research that Basso Cafe would be that sure bet we were looking for.  For one, we had a strong recommendation from a Twitter friend.  Two, when we checked out the menu, it looked awesome.  And lastly, when we checked out their Zagat score we found a crazy amazing 28/30.  That’s pretty impressive! Even if the restaurant itself is in the most unsuspecting location ever:  New Canaan Avenue in the Silvermine neighborhood of Norwalk.

After we made our online reservations, we got a call from Basso reminding us that they were BYOB and to come prepared.  We thought that was very nice of them to do! Starting off, Chef Renato Donzelli created the Basso Cafe menu based off his life experience, so it’s what he knows best.  He was born in Venezuela and was raised in Italy which lead him to create a menu that has some Latino flare and Mediterranean flavor.  A win-win in our book!

We decided to go with lots of apps and share an entree so we could get lots of tastes.  That’s how we roll, ya know?

Continue reading

¡Viva La Mi Ranchito! – Stamford, CT

17 Jul

November 14, 2011 was a sad day in the Glenbrook neighborhood of Stamford.

On that day poor Mi Ranchito had a car plow through its store front on Hope Street in the early morning.  Although no one was hurt, we were never sure if they’d recover.  For a while, we saw a sign that said, “Opening December.”  But, then December came and we were bummed to see only wooden boards covering up the windows.  Before we knew it though, we started to see glimpses of hope in the spring.  The wooden boards were down, they installed new windows and they were working on the inside.  We knew it would just be a matter of time before they opened again in sweet, sweet victory! Yes, long live Mi Ranchito!

We have to admit, we’ve felt a bit guilty because only a few months before the crash, we had written about our inconsistent experience at Mi Ranchito.  So, whenever we passed by the store, we’d sigh, then drive on.  Well, we knew what we had to do.  We stopped back in for some grub, actually twice.  First, we hit it up for a light lunch which soon turned to a heavy lunch, then we stopped by for din din.

We decided to go with the Peruvian side of things this time around.  We started off with a fresh Ceviche Mixto.  For just a few bucks, we got a huge portion of fresh fish, shrimp, clams, and calamari bathing in a bright and citrusy broth.  Great starter.

Around this time we got our mango batido.  Fresh juice with ice and milk.  Does it get better and more refreshing than that?  Plus, this wouldn’t be a meal if we didn’t order our customary side of platanos.  Seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten extra ripe, fried plantains.  It’s one of the best things in the world.

As we snacked on these, our main dishes came out:  Lomo Saltado.  Think Peruvian stir-fry and you understand maybe 1% of why this dish is so awesome and has people talking…just look at the Foursquare checkins.  The tomatoes add a nice acidity to the onions and strips of steak.  The sauce in the stir fry is great, but even better was the sauce that gets soaked up by the crispy french fries that are on the bottom of the dish.

The Lomo Saltado by itself is great, but one thing that makes it better is the Aji sauce.  If you’ve been to Valencia in Norwalk, you definitely know about Chef Michael Young’s puréed cold vegetable sauce.  Well, believe it or not, Mi Ranchito’s Aji is pretty damn good too!  Fresh tasting, herby, and a nice underlying heat hits the palate.  This goodness should be doused on every single thing that is edible.  Get this.  Buy a GIANT tub for just $5.  We took ours home and used it for our weekend breakfasts.  Rice, beans, and over easy eggs with…yes, AJI!  Oh. so. heavenly.  We were told there was no mayo in the Aji, but this homespun recipe calls for it.

So, you should definitely give Mi Ranchito a try and visit.  You’ll leave satisfied, hopefully with some Aji, and won’t pay too much money either. Like barely any money at all. Just park on the road, not through the front of their restaurant.  Ya know, just in case.

Noms: 3.5 (up from 2.75, nice gain)

Cost:  $$

Mi Ranchito:  Eat in, take out, or cash only delivery

Address: 262 Hope Street

Stamford, CT 06906

Phone: (203) 353-9252

Site:  http://miranchitoct.com/mi-ranchito-menu.htm

Mi Ranchito on Urbanspoon

%d bloggers like this: