Tag Archives: mexican

Bodega Taco Bar Resurrects Dia de los Muertos Celebration

27 Oct

Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday that’s celebrated November 1 and 2 of each year, is a time for people to pay their respects and remember loved ones who have died. But, even though there are reflections about those who have been lost, it’s more of a celebration of life and the spirit that they’ve left behind in the world.

Keeping with that theme of celebration and remembrance, Bodega Taco Bar in Darien and Fairfield is bringing back their popular Dia de los Muertos party on November 1. In addition to muetro-fying Bodega up, you’ll also be able to check out food specials and drinks made Roca Patron tequila. (If you’ve never been to Bodega, they do tequila right, with an amazing menu. Maybe order a flight?) There will also be plenty of things to do like kids face painting and tattoo art during lunch or even learning how to create traditional sugar skull decorations used to honor the dead.

Continue reading

Take a Culinary Tour Through Latin America via Aarón Sánchez’s Paloma in Harbor Point, Stamford

22 Jul

Let’s just put it out there now…we haven’t had the best of luck with celebrity chef restaurants over the past few years, with the exception of Gordon Ramsay’s Maze and Michael Psilakis’s Kefi both in NYC.  More often than not we’ve had disappointing meals like our experience at the recently closed Primary Food & Drink by Graham Elliot and at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Las Vegas. We’ve found that a celebrity chef putting his or her stamp on a restaurant and menu doesn’t guarantee anything.  So, you’ll have to forgive our skepticism when Aarón Sánchez made plans to open up Paloma in the Harbor Point area of Stamford (where The Beer Garden used to be). Would Chef Sanchez, from Chopped and Cooking Channel’s Heat Seekers (with partner in crime Roger Mooking), be a rare exception?

Well, you better believe we wanted to find out ASAP.  We just so happened to see an ambiguous announcement on Harbor Point’s Facebook page Saturday evening so we made a bee-line for Harbor Point to see if it was really open.  To our delight it was a soft opening and we were lucky enough to get a table.  SCORE!  So, let’s get down to biz-natch… Continue reading

Kickin’ It (Latin) Root Down at Tierra in Westport: CT Restaurant Review

8 Jul

When we hear about new restaurants, we get excited. When we hear about new Latin restaurants, like Tierra in Old Town Hall in Westport, we get really excited. Tierra (which opened in mid-June) is a bit hard to find at first, located to the right side of Spruce at 90 Post Road, close by Urban Outfitters, and by the parking lot off of Jesup Road.

Like good ‘ole Americans, we went there with our friend Christine on the Fourth of July (woo hoo South ‘Murica). Looking around, the bar to the left was warm, classic, and comfy with a huge loungy couch behind it. In the back there’s a private room with a nice wine rack wall and a fancy, shimmering chandelier. The main dining room features the same kind of vibe with a few tables and a side area with a view of the open kitchen.

Speaking of the kitchen, a husband and wife team run the kitchen and own it along with Chad Whited (and Laura Luce) who was there that night to help out. We first met CIA grad Chef Sue Torres, who is half Italian and Puerto Rican. She’s had an amazing amount of experience with Nuevo Mexicano fare including working at her own Suenos, Arizona 206, Rocking Horse Cafe, and Hell’s Kitchen.  We met her during our dinner as she went around from table to table to see how everyone was enjoying the food. Next was chef Darren Carbone, who comes from Columbia with an Italian-American upbringing. His impressive resume includes a CIA degree like his wife, and heading the kitchens at Super Linda, Rosa Mexicano, La Verdad, El Vez, and Alma de Cuba.  Ok, ok, you’re probably getting anxious to know about the food, so vamos, vamos.

Continue reading

Jonesing for burritos? Hit up Tomatillo Taco Joint, now in Stamford

9 Dec

Tomatillo Taco Joint Stamford Logo

Where does OmNomCT pick up some great Mexican grub when we’re jonesing for a burrito fix?  That would be Tomatillo in Greenwich, right on Route 1.  In fact, we might have just ordered some burritos with a side of guac for delivery last night.  We might have, that’s just hearsay.  Our fondness towards Tomatillo (we did have a few points of contention, though) lead us to write a review of them back in January of 2013, and now we’ve got some great news to share with you.  Tomatillo Taco Joint is now in Stamford.

Burrito at Tomatillo GreenwichTheir restaurant is located at 114 Broad Street, where Morelli’s Pizza/Morelli’s Double Burger used to be, right by Zaza.  This is now their third location (they are also in New Haven) and here’s why you should checking them out for lunch or dinner:

Continue reading

Breakfast from the farm to our hungry bellies at Estia’s American in Darien, CT

3 May

The local farms and shops that Estia’s American works with

A few weeks ago we told you about Colin Ambrose and Carissa Waechter starting up Estia’s American in Darien, an offshoot of Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor, NY.  One of the best parts about Estia’s American is their focus on fresh, local food from farms.  You notice this almost immediately when you walk in and see a chalkboard listing where they get some of their food.  Expect this to change with the season and especially as they make more connections with local farms, butchers, and shops. Very exciting!

We came during lunch time, but we had that “we need breakfast food badly” kind of feeling going on.  The kitchen staff was able to work with us, so we could to satisfy our bellies with breakfast.  Coming in, Kristien already knew what she wanted:  The Red Flannel Hash.  I struggled with my choice because everything looked so good, especially on the lunch menu.  I decided, though, to stick with Robbie’s Gringo Hash.

The Drinks

We had two coffees that our waitress filled up whenever we were close to empty.  Don’t you love that?  I don’t think our coffee was ever empty.  That’s how breakfast should be!   Kristien also ordered a nice raspberry and mango cup of wake-you-up-fresh-goodness from the juice bar.  They have daily specials in addition to the standard choices and you can even make your own combos.

The Food

Red Flannel Hash with two beautifully poached eggs

Well, onto the food.  Kristien had been salivating over the Red Flannel Hash ever since we found out about Estia’s American.  It all goes back to a similar dish that changed her world in a little bistro up in the Berkshires.  The dish served here has chorizo, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, corn, and two poached eggs.  Carissa and Colin recommend having your egg poached and you’ll be so glad you followed their advice.  The eggs were cooked perfectly and just oozed out all over the hash.  Ahh, don’t you just love to dip into the yolk?  As for the hash itself, there was lots going on, but it all worked well. Kristien said that perhaps she could’ve done without the sweet potatoes because it took away from the savoriness of the dish, but overall she really liked it. If you’re feeling a bit daring or want to try new combos of tastes, try the Mojo and Rosito sauces with your meal.  The Rosito is a red sauce made with Guajillo pepper and onion and is a bit spicy.  The Mojo is a green sauce with mint, parsley, garlic, jalapeno, and lime juice.  It was bright, yummy, and seemed to have more of a kick than The Rosito.

Robbie’s Gringo Hash with poached eggs and nice chunks of queso fresco

I had a similar hash, though mine had more of a Mexican twist.  Robbie’s Gringo Hash has red beans, rice, spicy chorizo, eggs, two eggs, avocado, and flour tortillas.  Again, I went with the chefs and got my poached eggs.  You can really see and taste the difference between store bought and local eggs.  The eggs at Estia’s American seem brighter and more flavorful.  The star of this dish, to me, was the chorizo.  It was cooked nicely, getting the crispy skin on the outside.  There was a nice gentle heat to it, too.  Take advantage of the tortillas that come with this dish and make up your own little burritos.  Overall, a good dish, but I would have liked a bit more spice and flavor to really make this dish knock it out of the park.

The awesome lemon banana beignet with candied lemon halo

After all of this, we were treated to an awesome dessert of a lemon banana beignet.  The beignet itself was crispy on the outside, while still doughy on the inside.  Oh, but where was the inside?  Carissa had hollowed it out and pumped in an amazing spiced banana puree.  My favorite part of the dessert was actually the candied lemon.  It was so sweet, so bright, and just broke away into bits when I chomped down.  I had no problem eating my slice and the rest of Kristien’s, rind and all.  Really, an awesome way to end the meal.

Overall Thoughts

Although we went for breakfast, we’ll have to return for lunch, and then return for dinner when they begin service sometime around May.  The food was fresh, prepared well, and our waitress worked hard to make sure we had a great breakfast.  We even had a chance to meet the man himself, Colin.  He was very nice and thankful for us coming out.  In fact, he was talking to everybody in the restaurant.  We love the theme of Estia’s American, we love the fun play on Mexican food, and we love the use of local ingredients.  Now you can check out Estia’s American for dinner, too!  Two green thumbs up!

Estia’s American

Noms: We’re going to hold off on giving Estia’s a rating until we try dinner, but so far, we’re thinking maybe 3.75-ish.

Cost: $$$

Address:  1020 Post Road (in the back lot by 1020 Post)

Darien, CT

Phone: (203) 202-7051

Site

Estia's American on Urbanspoon

¡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!

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

Ending the year on a high note! Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar, South Norwalk (SoNo)

1 Jan

Kristien and I OmNoming it up at Red Lulu

When we were thinking about some great places to OmNom it up for New Year’s Eve, we couldn’t stop going back to our amazing experience at Red Lulu.  With a place that cool, we thought it HAS to be a scene on the craziest night of the year, right? So Kristien called up Red Lulu and was told the chef would be creating some new items for a very special menu, that there would be three seatings, one at 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00, and that they would have confetti and a champagne toast at midnight.  We decided we couldn’t miss out on what was sure to be a fantastic night so we made reservations for us, and our friend, Paul Mueller, author of Abigail and Blueboy, for 8:00PM

To begin, we were led to the most awesome seat in the house:  the head of the beautiful mirrored, cross table just below the brick wall where they were projecting NYC’s Time Square live.  Paul freaked when the granita came out smoking and popped a picture just like we did.  Some things never grow old! :) Our waitress, Emma, brought us our margaritas (HAD to have the Red Lulu and Diablo again) and prepared us for an awesome meal.  Some of the major highlights of the night:

Paul, Emma, and I

1)  The chef’s new guacamole!  It was mixed with thick chunks of smoked bacon… yeah bacon, need we say more?  I just hope this stays on their regular menu. If not, I’m sorry that I just told you about it without hope of you ever achieving oneness through this dish.

2)  The carne asada, once again, was amazing.  It was done up differently when I ordered it last time, so I didn’t feel as guilty for ordering the same darn thing.  There were some nicely grilled onions on the side, with a beautiful strip of beef that was cut into slices and accompanied with some tortillas for wrapping.  A spicy red sauce was there that added great flavor and heat to the dish.  By itself, the beef was amazing, but adding in the red sauce made it great.  Also, throw in some more guacamole and roasted jalapenos, and it’s perfect.  Well, I guess if there was bacon in this guac, too! :)

3)  The service!  It was spot on yesterday.  We were seated right at 8:00 and were well taken care of by the attentive waitstaff and by Emma.  The time we spent at Red Lulu seemed to just drift by as they helped us to celebrate.  Waiters, waitresses, and staff were clad in NYE necklaces and hats, were throwing balloons around, were cranking noise makers, and getting everybody excited.

4)  Both the pulled pork and rib eye tacos.  The meat, in both tacos, was cooked very nicely.  The pulled pork, in particular, was of the kind of quality that you’d find at a stellar BBQ joint.  The pork was just so moist and delicate, that it just seemed to melt away.  Served up with some salsa verde, the pulled pork tacos were a great starter.

My New Year's Eve Cotton Candy Goatee

5)  Last of all, we all shared  a dessert platter.  There was a tequila cupcake with a scoop of butter on top–I ate a big chunk of it with the cupcake thinking it was ice cream.  Nope, it wasn’t, ewwww.  It was butter!  Damn, that was smart of me, but we all got a big laugh out of it.  Also, there were fried banana cheesecake bites that Kristien just loved.   The other two desserts:  a bread pudding (we think… at this point we had quite a few margaritas) and a brownie cake were also very good.  We were even given an extra complimentary dessert platter and some champagne to wash it all down. SWEET!

Red Lulu continues to kick some major culo!  The place was packed, with three dinner seatings and a crowded bar, yet the food came out hot, and the service was superior.  I just wonder when we’ll be back again…maybe next Saturday?

Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar on Urbanspoon

A sensory explosion. Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar, Norwalk (SoNo)

19 Dec

Calling Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar a sensory explosion is an understatement. In fact, as soon as you walk into their mammoth doors you’re hit with the first two sensory explosions: sight and sound. Ok, not just hit, but more like “You got knocked the f@$k out” like Smokey says to Teebo in Friday. Let’s take them one at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed with the awesomeness.

Sight

Wow. No, wow doesn’t even sum it up. This place is freakin’ ridiculous. Dare I say the coolest looking restaurant in Fairfield County? Yes I dare. It starts with the rich, red, velvety, damask wall paper, then moves over to the gorgeous variety of antique/crystal/iron/goth chandeliers dangling from the ceiling, over to the swanky lounge and bar area bustling with trendy locals enjoying concoctions from their fabulous drink menu, along to the cross-shaped mirrored table in the middle of the restaurant next to a giant brick wall showcasing an eclectic variety of movies, ending with the plush, red, velvet seats nestled in cute little dining nooks for a little privacy among friends. Absolutely stunning… sexy even, rarrrr.

Sound

As busy as this place gets, you would expect it to be incredibly noisy. Luckily, the acoustics are excellent (must be all the velvety goodness soaking it up). Instead, all you really hear is fun and energetic music loudly (but not annoyingly) playing throughout the space.  And although we’ve not been to Red LuLu late at night or for a special party, I hear the musical entertainment can get quite intense!

But enough about all that, what about the foooood?! Here we move onto the two very interconnected senses:

Taste and Smell (with a twist of sight)

Once we were seated up on the wrought iron surrounded balcony overlooking the gorgeous cross table, we were greeted by our friendly waiter carrying a complimentary stainless steel bowl of steaming granita, to which he offered a splash of tequila to accompany it. Of course, we obliged! What a refreshing way to clear the palette for what was to be an amazing meal.

Then, we were presented with another complimentary dish of wonderfulness–a HUGE bowl of warm chips and a plethora of sauces and salsas for them to bathe in, including a spicy chipotle cream sauce, a fantastic spicy, sweet habanero mango sauce, an acidic and flavorful green tomatillo, and a nice, smokey roasted tomato salsa. And, to complement this variety of delish, we added one of their three guacamoles–the picante guacamole, with hell’s chile oil and fresh, hot green chiles. Not as spicy as we hoped, but still yummy! Yeah, and we totally couldn’t help ourselves from eating the entire bowl of chips with all of this! Oops.

Next up, drinks! What we thought was going to be an easy decision (margaritas, DUH), was anything but easy. With over 100 tequila choices (who the heck knew there were even over 100 tequilas on the market?), three sangria choices (including a rose, which you NEVER see), a wide variety of beers, and creative variations of margaritas, we weren’t sure where to start! We finally landed on the Red Lulu margarita for myself, an absolutely PERFECT mix of Sauza Hornitos, Patron Citronge, fresh lime, infused imperial cranberry cane syrup, and unsweetened crushed cranberry, and the Diablo for Danny, a harmonious blend of Lanazul Reposado, Luxardo Triplum, serrano chile, blood orange, and fresh pineapple, and strawberries.

Moving on, we have appetizers. As usual, stuck between about 10 different dishes, we picked the tres ceviches. As lovers of all things ceviche, how could we refuse a sampling of three different kids? Our absolute favorite of the three was the sangrita, a glorious combo of shrimp, scallops, tomato, fresh orange, hot sauce, and avocado. OMG. Second favorite was the traditional blend, consisting of grouper, fresh lime juice, serrano chile, and red onion. Very fresh and light. Although Danny thoroughly enjoyed the last one, called coco, the jury’s still out for me. The coco ceviche started with nice, fresh ahi tuna, drowning in coconut milk, a splash of fresh lime, cilantro leaves, and jalapeno. While I absolutely LOVE coconut, I feel like the coconut milk was just too heavy for a ceviche. It wasn’t bad by any means, but perhaps if they were lighter on the coconut milk and heavier on the lime, it would’ve been the perfect mix.

Now for course 2 (technically 4 if you count the granitas and chips, man we can eat), the main course! Danny had the carne asada, a grilled, marinated skirt steak (one of my faves) with flour tortillas, salsa roja, grilled red onions, and jalapenos. Holy hell, it was AMAZING (yes, of course I tasted it too)! The steak was perfectly cooked medium rare, which can be a challenge for thin skirt steak. The red onions were slightly spicy with just the perfect amount of vinegar to give it a nice, fresh acidity. And it even came with surprise, nicely seasoned french fries, like we needed that! Next time we go, I’m SO ordering that! And for me, I had the carne de vaca enchiladas from the appetizer menu, which was so huge it was anything but an appetizer. These unique and rich enchiladas consisted of slow-cooked short ribs, Negro Modello red chile sauce, and tobacco onions. While the ribs were cooked to perfection, soft, not tough or stringy at all, I would probably not get this dish again only because the Negro Modello sauce was just too rich, sweet, and overpowering for me. Though I think this is purely a taste thing, and no reflection of the quality of the dish… just look how amazing it looks in that picture. Puuurdy!

And last, but so very, very not least was dessert. Holy crap, where did we fit it? We indulged in the buenos noches, a warm, deep chocolate, espresso bread pudding (my favorite dessert of all time), topped with coffee ice cream, brown sugar caramel and hot fudge sauce. Oh wow, wow, wow, it was fantasical!

Then, just when you thought we were done, they bestow upon us the last of three complimentary dishes, a heaping serving of green apple cotton candy! How can you not fall absolutely in love with a place that ends every meal with a pile of sugary whimsy? You simply cannot, so at 4.25 noms, go here now, and go here often because it is more than a pleasure to all your senses.

Red Lulu Cocina and Tequila Bar
Noms: 4.25
Cost:  $$$

Address:  128 Washington Street
Norwalk, CT 06854
Phone:  (203) 939 – 1600
Website: http://redlulumexican.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Red-Lulu-Cocina-Tequila-Bar/114553975261899?ref=ts

Note: Reservations not accepted for parties under 6. Usually a long wait after 7:00PM, so go early if you can’t wait 45 mins +

Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar 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

%d bloggers like this: