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Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Mexican category.

El Parador Cafe Was A Lovely Mexican Find

courtesy of elparadorcafe.com

It was lovely finding a Mexican restaurant that wasn’t just your typical tacos and burritos. El Parador Café is a hidden secret in New York City all the way on the east side. I don’t know why I say it’s hidden, it’s not, it was just hidden to me till I found it.

They claim the be the oldest existing Mexican restaurant in New York City and after reviewing their gorgeous menu of bouillabaisse (Mexican restaurants have bouillabaisse?), camarones, chorizo, lobster salad and baby back ribs I had to try it out.

My date and I walked it at noon and which was right when they opened it seemed, and were followed by two more couples. The space is a good size and we were seated in cozy booths. The art and décor was a mixture of classic Mexico and modern art, it was very nice. Our waiter approached us right away and was nice enough to let me try the pisco liquor since I had never had it before and was having trouble deciding what cocktail to get. Pisco wasn’t my cup of tea so I went with a caipirinha which was smooth and refreshing. You have to be careful with caipirinhas though, because although they don’t taste it, there is a large amount of alcohol in there.

The waiter brought us free chips and warm salsa to start with. I had never had warm salsa before and I must say, it was like a delicious stew. I could have thrown some ground meat it there and it would have made a fabulous chili.

Our appetizer came, a plate of raw oysters, which I quite enjoyed, but my date didn’t. However, I think there was something wrong with his tastebuds that day. They were fresh and tasted like the sea, yummy!

For my entrée I chose the roasted suckling pig. I was slight disappointed because I wanted more crunchy skin, but was delighted to see that a small cup of the roasting juices were served with the dish. I wish they would bottle and sell that stuff. Savory and immensely full of flavorful, I could do shots of it. My pork was beautifully cooked and tasted very good. It came with maduros, but I’ve never had maduros this way before. Usually at Mexican restaurants, they’re just soft, which I don’t mind, but at El Parador, the outside was slightly crusted and the inside was soft. It was a pleasant surprise. The dish also came with rice and scallions, which were cooked just right.

My date went for the paella, which I was very excited about because I LOVE paella. It was a slight disappointment though. I like paellas with a crusty bottom, I think because somewhere along the line it was ingrained in my head that this is what a proper paella is suppose to be. This one didn’t have a crusty bottom. The seafood was also slightly overcooked, but these discrepancies didn’t bother us too much only because the flavor was there. Eat bite was well seasoned so we were still happy campers.

I’ll be going back to El Parador. Actually I’ll be going back there this weekend. There were a few more things I’d love to taste.

7.5 out of 10

-Juice

325 E 34th St

New York, NY 10016

(347) 205-8170


A Little Piece of Mexico (or Heaven) Right Next Door

courtesy of cafeollin.com

courtesy of cafeollin.com

Café Ollin is one of the best Mexican restaurants in my neighborhood and I’m happy to say that it’s really affordable. A taco will set you back 2 or 3 bucks depending on the toppings. Everything tastes incredibly fresh and the environment is wonderfully decorated. Rich colors, cute knick-knacks and most likely futbol on the television screen. Their sandwiches are monstrous and bigger than my head…and my head is very big (size-wise, not conceit-wise). I have two favorites, the Mexican style tacos: soft shell, different types of meats topped with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, cotija cheese, cilantro and avocado, and also the Tostadas: basically the same thing, but with a flat fried tortilla and beans. I don’t know what it is about this place, but I could eat there everyday. It’s like having a crack house right next door. Oh wait, I have that already. OK, a food crack house.

Cafe Ollin
339 E 108 St Btwn 1st & 2nd Ave
(212) 828-3644

8 out of 10

-Juice


Guacamole, please.

Caliente Cab Company

As a California transplant to NYC, if we are going to talk food, my biggest gripe is the lack of great Mexican here.  I am a spoiled girl from the West Coast.  I’m used to it being amazing.  I know I should know better than to expect that here, considering the location and vicinity of the city to Mexico.  However, since NYC is a foodie’s heaven, you wouldn’t think that finding a decent Mexican place would be so rough people.  It is though.  It is rough with a capital R.  At this point for me, attempting to find a place that actually tastes like authentic Mexican is right up there with finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  I’m not going to stop searching.

Like I said, I am a spoiled Californian.  I miss my sunshine.  I miss my fresh produce.  And I miss my Mexican food.  So Saturday night, it was on.   I was sold on the idea of chips, guacamole, and margaritas, and found myself sitting at the Caliente Cab Company in Murray Hill hoping that the search was over.

Sadly, I am still looking.

The restaurant on 3rd Avenue is actually part of a chain.  There are two other locations in Manhattan, and apparently one in the Newark airport.   Rationale would have you believe that  if they have locations sprouting up in NYC, they must be doing something right.   Then again, the whole food in airport thing should have been a warning.  Is Caliente Cab Company worth a trip?  Yes and no.

Let’s start with the free Chips and Salsa. I was glad it was free.  Salsa was a little bland.  And I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust tortilla chips that come in different colors.  Those red ones, never taste as good as the plain old white corn.  These ones were no exception. The Guacamole de Molcajete although large in portion, was sadly, neither memorable or forgettable.  And although they get plus points with me because of the fact they had Huaraches (Fried masa dough that is flattened and fried so its soft in the middle but crunchy on the outside, and spread with beans, choice of meat, lettuce, tomato, and a cheese) on the menu, there was nothing extra ordinary about them.  My Huaraches was ordered with chicken, which was a tad on the flavorless side, and essentially got pushed aside for the lettuce.  Yes, lettuce.  In general, the food here is mediocre.  The margaritas though – totally different story!

All I have to say is – thank goodness for alcohol.

For $12.95, you get your margarita served in a hurricane souvenir glass (that you can keep).  Not only is it a large glass, but at Caliente, it comes in 15+ flavors, on the rocks or frozen.  I got the Coconut, frozen, and it was the highlight of the night.  I think it was *the* redeeming thing about the meal.  Perfectly mixed – not too icy, and the flavor was consistent throughout.  This margarita was like dessert in alcoholic form.  Sadly, that drink was not enough to push me to appreciate the restaurant as a whole.

Overall, this place is ok – but nothing to write home about.

-Jules

5 out of 10 stars

Caliente Cab Company
488 3rd Ave (between 33rd St & 34th St)
New York, NY 10016
http://www.calientecab.com/