Tag Archives: Margaritas

¡Ay, Caramba! Where to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Fairfield County, CT

23 Apr

Some of your taco options at Bodega Taco Bar in Fairfield

UPDATED for Cinco de Mayo 2014.  

Cinco De Mayo is almost at hand, so let’s celebrate by checking out some of our old favorites or by finding new favorites.  We’ve tried to put together the best list possible, but certainly let us know if you have a favorite that should be included on here.  A few prerequisites for this list:  great tacos, burritos, and guac.  Bonus points for margaritas, tequila, and outdoor dining. ;)  Tell us…is your favorite on here?  If not, what’s your fave Mexican spot here in CT?

Bridgeport

Taco Loco:  You’d be loco not to hit this spot up if you’re in the area.  An old favorite when we lived nearby.  Good Mexican all around, plenty of room, and they usually have fun gifts on Cinco de Mayo.

Danbury

Pancho’s Tacos:  Great Mexican food all around here and great prices.  Also, monster margaritas here to quench your thirst.  If you’re insane, try the dish that I did. ;)

Darien + Fairfield

Cotton Candy Goatee at Red Lulu

Bodega Taco Bar:  Michael Young from Valencia opened up this spot in 2011.  Great and fun twists on Mexican food and great tacos.  Amazing tequila list.

New Canaan

Tequila Mockingbird:  Instant cred for the Harper Lee reference.  The food is good here, though it’s more expensive than other options nearby.

 Norwalk

Los Molcajetes:  Killer tacos, especially the alambre:  beef and bacon, married in beautiful harmony.  Salsa and margaritas are just basic, though.  Stop in for the tacos and the authentic food.

Tacos Mexico:  Eat and drink cheap here.  Food is average here, but you’ll leave satisfied and your wallet won’t be much lighter.

Riverside

If you have the option, always get fresh squeezed lime in your margarita with Añejo!

El Charrito:   You can pick up food at their to-go spot at 7 Apache Place in Riverside, CT.  Same food from the El Charrito taco truck.

Stamford

Casa Villa:  Amazing tacos, great dishes, fun atmosphere, outdoor dining.  Make sure to ask for your margaritas with fresh squeezed lime.

El Charrito:  People have said they will kill for the food off of this taco truck.  Find them on Richmond Hill Ave.

Lola’s Mexican Kitchen:  In the thriving “heart” of downtown Stamford, Lola’s is putting out some good food.  Although we have heard complaints about service, we did have a good experience.  The churros are excellent here.

Riviera Maya:  Our first review ever.  We have sentimental attachments to the good food here.  There are LOTS of fun margarita options here and there is some outdoor seating.

Westport

Viva Zapata:  Long live the shoe?  More like supporting the revolutionary general, Zapata.  Omnomivores have made their feelings clear, so we needed to add this bad boy.  Plenty of outdoor seating, killer margaritas, and good Mexican food here.  Viva la Revolución!

Our dish on 14 dishes at Cactus Rose Cantina- Wilton, CT

17 Apr

*Click a picture to start the gallery*

We had the fortunate opportunity a few months ago, thanks to local foodie and PR extraordinaire Linda Kavanagh, to enjoy  a complimentary press dinner at Cactus Rose Cantina in Wilton, CT that would prove to be a record breaking number of courses. And now we want to share that experience with you. Here’s how it went down:

We were struck by how bright and fun the interior is, with beautiful, bright tiled mosaics along the walls, perfect lighting, and an adorable fireplace. They even have a fireplace outside on their huge patio that’s perfect for kind weather dining. You could really tell both owners, Maria Pertesis and her mom Katerina love what they do too because they’re usually found greeting guests, making the rounds, asking customers how the food is, talking, chatting, and even helping to bring dishes to tables from time to time. We love when we see that!

Before we sat, we had some margaritas at the large bar.  They have four signature margarita concoctions, so it was our duty to try them all out, you know?  Danny started with the Dali, a margarita with Sauza 100 yr reposado, triple sec, lime
juice and simple syrup with a splash fresh orange juice.  I had the Apache, a spicy margarita that hit you at the end with a nice heat from the serrano.  All and all, they were pretty delish! We also started with some beef empanadas in a light ranchero sauce and dipped into some vertical nachos that were smothered in chihuahua cheese (no, they didn’t milk the dog, it’s a yummy Mexican cheese), refried black beans, and guac.  Both were hardy apps filling enough if you’re looking to just get a bite at the bar.

As we sat down, we saw the tasting menu, awaiting us like Wonka’s Golden Ticket.  Danny and I didn’t know what to order from the 14 dishes available, as usual. Well, that problem was solved for us because apparently we were trying every. single. one. Holy crap, I didn’t wear an elastic band skirt, haha. Well, let us take you on the tasting tour, so you know what to order when you hit up Cactus Rose.

Seafood cocktail shooters (lobster, crab & shrimp with citrus, chile, & tomato): This was a cross between a ceviche and a seafood cocktail.  Must love cocktail sauce here for sure or you won’t dig this! Seafood was fresh and the chile added a fun kick.

Wilted greens (warm chorizo vinaigrette, orange, jicama, organic sunny side up egg): The dressing was very light and the oranges added a nice contrast with the greens and the crispiness of the jicama.  And the egg?  Well, everything’s better with an egg on it.

Corn & poblano chowder (applewood smoked bacon, potatoes, cilantro): Great chowder (actually won the Critics Choice Award at Chowdafest IV) with chunks of corn and a smooth after heat. The smokey bacon was a really nice addition. This was my favorite.

Tuna tostada (watercress salad, pickled jalapeño, cilantro aioli): A bit too much aioli for us, but the tuna was seared nicely and served with a bright and herbaceous salad.  Good for summer.

Chile relleno (goat cheese, black beans, red chile salsa): Loads of goat cheese, though thicker and milder than the goat cheese Kristien is in love with. It was fried in a batter that was too thick for us. We prefer a lightly fried chile relleno.

Mini wagyu burger (poblano pepper, applewood bacon, Monterey Jack): Cooked close to well, which is more cooked than we like it causing it to be a bit on the dry side.  Shoestring fries were crispy and were nice. Bacon flavor really came through with the thick cuts.

Seared salmon with chorizo cream: All agreed the salmon was cooked great and the sauce was a nice, unique complement.  I was proud for picking up Executive Chef Lisa Varnberg’s use of cardamom in the dish. A unique salmon dish I actually enjoyed, and I usually don’t like salmon.

Grilled lamb chop with New Mexican ratatouille: The lamb chops were cooked appropriately and the ratatouille was good, but we were both hoping for more of a kick and flavor. The lamb was a bit fatty. Definitely not our favorite.

Chile chocolate pots de crème:  Imagine a pudding, lighter than air, just floating into your belly.  Yup, that’s this. Quite tasty!

Leche asado (queso fresco and maldon salt): Think custard, but on crack.  Really filling, so make sure you’ve saved up some room in that gut. Delish!

Banana bandit (banana cheesecake “burrito” w/ chocolate ice cream): Danny’s not a big fan of cheesecake, but even he thought this was a great dessert.  It “stole” our hearts, bah ha ha (yeah, we’re lame).

Jelly doughnuts (strawberry jalapeño jam and vanilla milkshake): Dear sweet beautiful lovely god of food.  Seriously, some of the best donuts that we’ve ever had.  The strawberry jalapeño jam sneaks up on you slowly but just mellows out behind things.  The milkshake was frothy and makes you feel like a little kid again.  This dish has to be ordered.

Final Impressions

Cactus Rose Cantina is a cozy, friendly spot where you could easily kick back while laughing with friends. The drinks are creative and tasty. As for the food, you can expect to find some wonderful gems on the menu and some dishes that don’t quite make the grade. Yes, it can be a bit hit or miss, but if you choose carefully you could have a great experience. And you really can’t go wrong with any of the desserts, so it’s definitely worth trying for yourselves.

Cactus Rose Cantina

Noms:  3.25

Cost: $$$

Address: 5 River Road

Wilton, CT 06897

Phone: (203) 762-8484

Site:  http://cactusrosecantina.com

Cactus Rose Cantina on Urbanspoon

Get drunk for cheap and eat some decent tacos too. Tacos Mexico- Norwalk, CT

24 Jun

Peppered rim? Sounds dirty.

We’re in a recession here and the experts say it ain’t gettin’ much better.  But, you know what?  Liquor sales remain steady and people are still going out, wining and dining.  Enter Tacos Mexico.  Good Mexican food, good margaritas, crazy ass good prices.  Let’s list all we got for 40 pesos. Ok not really pesos because I don’t know the conversion rate, but you get the point:

1) Tortilla chips with salsa verde, salsa, and pico de gallo (free)
 

Pico de Gallo nomworthy

Starting off, we got a plate of tortilla chips that were served with an amazing pico de gallo that boomed with cilantro.  It was fresh and just cried, “Summer.”  There was a nice spicy kick to it, also.  The salsa verde was good, but was maybe just a little too watery.  The salsa tasted similar to the pico de gallo, but was just not as chunky.
 
2) Humongo glob of guacamole
 
We got some guac with that and were surprised to see how much they gave.  Normally, you pay 6 bucks for a tiny cup, but you pay 4 for a giant ass cup.  The guac was definitely freshly made, but needed more bite from lime and salt.
 
3) Two margaritas, on the rocks, with Patron.  Yeah, Patron. 
 
Rim salted, and pepper flaked, the margaritas were good too, but could have been stronger.  They taste like they came from a mix rather than freshly squeezed.   Then again, at $8 a pop, we’re talking value.  Most places will charge ya at least $13 for a Patron margarita.
 
 
4) Three tacos with rice
 
Because we’re at Tacos Mexico, we figure, duh, try the tacos. All tacos were served with grilled onions on top and pickled veggies on the side. First was the carnitas taco.  Good deep flavor with lots of spice, but was a bit overcooked.  The chorizo taco was next and this was pretty tasty.  The meat was all crumbly and had a really fun kick of clove to it.  I saved that bite for last-loved it!  Last up was the al pastor taco.  This was great at Riviera Maya, and it’s great here too.  The flavors are all there, making the chicken dance, bold and beautiful.  
 
5) Enchiladas with a salad
 
 Kristien had these and they were ok. She agreed there was a nice balance of sauce, cheese, and chicken which lots of places tend to mess up, usually with way too much cheese and not enough sauce.  But, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the chicken was dry and the whole thing just lacked any real flavor. 
 
6) Side of rice and beans
 
The rice here was actually pretty good, but then again that’s because it was drenched in 20 pounds of butter. Which some people may hate, but we have a special place in our hearts for butter. Add some carrots, peas, and corn and you have a nice little side dish. 

Yeah, we feasted on the food here for cheap.  Granted, it was no Casa Villa and wasn’t amazing or excellent Mexican, but it’s good enough and the liquor ain’t expensive.  Worth it, yes, but you can’t go in expecting the world from this place.

Tacos Mexico

Noms: 3.25

Cost: $$

Address:  82 Fort Point St
Norwalk, CT 06855

Facebook:

Tacos Mexico on Urbanspoon

A favorite authentic Mexican spot gets a bigger casa on East Main St. Casa Villa–Stamford, CT

22 Apr

Ceviche...so fresh!

So, we were jonesin’ for some no frills Latino last week and Kristien asked where to go.  So, there’s Ole Mole, Sierra Grille, Mi Ranchito, Mi Terruno, and more, but we felt like something new.  Just so happens that we got one of those annoying coupon books in the mail, pimping out a brand spankin’ new Casa Villa.  We’ve ordered from their other location, but this new spot is where Myrna’s used to be right on East Main Street in Stamford.  Hush hush, it’s okay…Myrna’s just moved to 980 Post Road in Darien and changed names to Cafe D’Azur.

The good, the guac, the hungry

As we walked in, we saw the differences pretty instantly.  A back room was opened up where we were seated.   Bright orange walls lit up the room and really made the atmosphere festive and lively.  We sat down at a nice and comfy table and were quickly brought a warm basket of tortilla chips (hell yes to warm tortillas) with some salsa.  The salsa here is pretty standard, but good.  Not watery, a bit chunky.  Fresh, too, with the nice and summery taste of cilantro poking through and just a hint of lime.

So, what would a nice Mexican meal be without some margaritas?  You’re right…it’d be lame.  Carlos mixed us a Patron silver margarita with freshly squeezed lime juice.  “You can’t just use a mix with good, quality tequila,” said Carlos. A wise man and quite a good barkeep.  As our margaritas arrived, so did our guacamole.  The kick of lime shot through the guac and brought a bright, fresh taste to it.  We still love Riviera Maya’s guac best, but this was good.

I gotta have Patron, I gotta have the beat

Up next?  Ceviche.  The fish was very fresh and was mixed in with peppers, red onion, and cilantro.  This was more of a Hondoruan style ceviche with a ketchup based sauce, rather than a citrus based.  We can’t say the dish was bad at all, but it’s just not the kind of ceviche that we’re used to.  We typically have the more citrus, Peruvian style. I did enjoy it, but Kristien will definitely stick with only citrus based ceviche from now on.

Finally, we were onto the main course:  I had the mole and Kristien had the chile rellenos.  The chicken was spiced nicely, sprinkled with cheese, and was smothered in a light, chocolately mole sauce.  The great thing about this mole?  For once, I was able to get the chocolate taste from the sauce, but it wasn’t overpowering, nor too sweet.  Both Kristien and I agreed that this was, by far, the best mole we’ve ever tasted.  Served with rice and beans, I didn’t want this dish to end and made sure to limit Kristien’s pilfering of my dish.

Mole mole mole moleee, moleee

She had her hands full, though, with her chile rellenos.  This was the perfect size, had the perfect amount of breading, and just the right amount of cheese to stuffing ratio inside that pepper bad boy.  Many places overdo it on both these fronts. The chicken inside was moist and full of flavor, while the sour cream’s freshness played off the incredible flavors from the stuffed pepper.  Kristien confidently said this was the best chile rellenos she’s had in CT.

With an abundance of choices for Mexican and Latino in the Stamford area, you’ve got to be great to survive.  Casa Villa worked its way up from a small, tiny little take-out and delivery shop, to an additional, new, bright spot.  We’re not saying Ole Mole and Riviera Maya aren’t good, we’re just saying that Casa Villa is really freaking good, and cheaper too!  So good that we went back on Thursday.  We ordered some tacos this time.  We loved the chorizo and al pastor tacos helluva’ lot.  With delivery as an option too, we’ll probably try more of the menu pretty soon. ;)  Also, check out Food + Beer‘s review.

An exquisite, perfectly balanced fried poblano

Noms:  4

Cost:  $$$ (Pay Day Treat)

Casa Villa

Address: 866 East Main Street

Stamford, CT 06902

Phone (Dine-in): (203) 348-0622

Phone (For take-out and delivery): (203) 323-1721

Site:  http://www.casavillarestaurant.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/casavillarestaurant

Casa Villa 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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