Drinks »Beaner Bar

20120421-084715.jpg447 Graham Ave

Do you miss the mid 1990′s? Like really, really miss them? If so, there is a home for you and you don’t even have to travel to Austin Texas to find it.

Beaner Bar will welcome you with Beck and Nirvana blasting and dia de los muertos murals, but most importantly you’ll be welcomed with friendly service. It is forgotten so often, but really kind and warm service is golden.

The few times I’ve been I found a host of regulars called out by name, smiles that greet everyone, and I know it may not seem like much, but there’s even a ramp to make getting a stroller in easy.

Plus, the iced lattes are good.

Word has it that the mochas are made with ground Mexican chocolate and that the tamales are incredible – will have to try both next time.

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Posted on April 27, 2012

Restaurants »Mexicue

Various Locations

Most days I only have time for some microwaved meal between naps, diapers, and play so I can get pretty envious of Jim’s many food truck options that litter the streets around his office.

So I was pleased when a favorite of his showed up the other evening near McCarren Park.

Mexicue has a tempting menu but Jim advised that a smoked short rib taco and a pulled pork slider were the way to go.

Both were noteworthy but the pulled pork slider was exceptional.

If you think you can come up with an even better Mexican treat they should add to their menu? Enter their Menu contest!

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Posted on July 29, 2011

Songs »Cielito Lindo

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Five: Best Song to Sip Tequila to This Afternoon:

Cielito Lindo by Los Panchos

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Posted on May 5, 2011

Restaurants »Korilla BBQ

Various Locations

Jim and his co-wokers lucked out when they discovered the Korilla mobile Korean BBQ truck outside their office one afternoon.

The line moved rapidly and everyone opted for bowls (there are also tacos and burritos on the menu), but I guess when you’re used to eating at least one Chipotle burrito bowl per week, tacos and burritos just don’t do it any more…

Jim got the spicy pork with the bacon fried kimchi rice (his workers unilaterally went for beef), kimchi slaw salsa, cheese, vegetables and the smoky/mayonnaise Korilla sauce.  It must have been pretty good, because he ate all of it (which is surprising, considering it included a healthy dose of vegetables) in about 10 minutes.

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Posted on January 7, 2011

Recipes »Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream

from Ellie Kriger

While the Summer season is officially over, with lingering 90 degree days I think we can safely get in a few more sunshiny dishes like this easy and delicious Fish Taco with Chipotle Cream. The recipe comes from Ellie Krieger, a Food Network star unfamiliar to me (maybe because she’s all about healthy) but if her version of health food is this tasty, maybe I’ll look into more of her recipes.

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Posted on September 26, 2010

Restaurants »Mesa Coyoacan

372 Graham Avenue

I think most of us grew up on Americanized versions of ethnic cuisines. Not to say that what many of us think of as “Mexican” is necessarily a bad thing (I still sneak away to Taco Bell now and then) but it takes restaurants like Mesa Coyoacan to open ones eyes to a whole other side of authentic flavors. Chef/owner Ivan Garcia grew up in Mexico City and says he’s brought the recipes of his grandparents with him.

I started my first visit with beef and avocado tacos and sampled Jim’s smoked pork chop tacos. Both were truly excellent and worth ordering again, though with a menu that offers so many intriguing options, I’ll probably prefer to try them all first. They offered a refreshing Jamaica agua fresca, which I was just introduced to last week but the special jalapeno infused margarita was screaming out for me (the baby in my belly won out though and I stuck to the juice).

It was too dim to take any decent photos, which is a shame because they would have made your mouth water. It’s worth noting that this will cost you more than your average Mexican joint (though with good reason) and the exterior is a little off putting but don’t be discouraged.

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Posted on July 25, 2010

Drinks »Jamaica Agua Fresca

Hibiscus Tea Juice, can be found at Vamos al Tequila at 162 Franklin Street

Let me introduce you to the most refreshing summertime beverage you’ve never heard of (and if you have, I envy you – wish I had known about it sooner): Jamaica Agua Fresca. It was introduced to me at the new, quite good Greenpoint Mexican restaurant Vamos al Tequila (picture below from New York Shitty). Our sweetheart of a waitress described it as a hibiscus made juice that is similar to cranberry without the tartness, and that’s pretty accurate. I am not sure how available this drink is, but it’s worth seeking out while we endure these heatwaves.

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Posted on July 18, 2010

Restaurants »Fonda

434 7th Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn

Fonda boasts a pleasant back yard and an even more pleasant menu to enjoy in these perfect summer days. From overstuffed sweet vanilla french toast to spicy chilequeles, the brunch menu offers a little something for every taste (so long as you like flavorful true Mexican cuisine) but having already partaken in some homemade breakfast tacos earlier in the day, I decided to pull a few items from the regular menu: a chunky jicama, carrot, orange, and cucumber salad with spiced sugar for dipping, a completely refreshing chilled chayote soup with apples and chives which I highly recommend if nothing else, and a white fish salad with corn tortillas that was flavorful and light. If Fonda were in my neighborhood I’d be no stranger to their deliciousness repeatedly, in fact, right now I am wanting another bowl of that soup.

Click here for the rest of Fonda

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Posted on June 20, 2010

Restaurants »Loteria

6627 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

Amazing Mexican food is suppose to be a dime a dozen in the city of angels, but Loteria Grill, so far, is the most memorable I’ve had. With an appropriate loteria card design motif (Loteria, if your curious as I was is played much like bingo but in a far prettier package), dim flattering lighting, and a menu that makes one drool just to read it, the fairly recently opened restaurant is a pleasant spot in a neighborhood that boasts restaurants of the cheesier kind. Beginning as a beloved counter top at the Farmer’s Market, owner Jimmy Shaw’s now burgeoning empire includes the Hollywood location we ate at as well as a newer Studio City branch.

The meal began with a crazily addictive salsa which I would have loved to bring home a tub of, and progressed with incredible tacos, Jim and I ordered Papa con Rajas (Potatoes with Roasted Poblano Peppers Served with Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro, Queso Fresco, and Salsa Verde), Nopalitos (Fresh Cactus Salad. Served with Salsa Verde and Queso Fresco), Pollo en Pipian Rojo (Chicken in a Spicy Pumpkin-Seed and Peanut Sauce Served with Finely Chopped Onion), and Carne deshebrada (Shredded Beef Served with Fresh Guacamole, Salsa Chipotle, and Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro). All were exceptional, the last one was insane. I’ve heard they offer great margaritas but with jet lag and an early flight, I opted for a tasty aguas frescas.

We went late on a quite weeknight and had no problems getting a table, but it’s normally wise to book a table.

Click here for the rest of Loteria

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Posted on March 7, 2010

Restaurants »La Superior

La Superior is a fairly new neighborhood cantina that offers an array of flavorful and delicious Mexican small plates – and believe it or not, the brain empandas we devoured were not the craziest thing on the menu. That honor goes to the bowl full of cheese and chorizo, which is meant to be smothered on chips. Absolutely great tasting, to be sure, but I'd share it among the table and enjoy a small fraction of the dish if you have the will power and/or foresight of what it might mean to your tummy later.

We split the ceviche trio and found it delightful, each flavor was distinct and it's a great lighter sharing item. I also highly recommend the tacos with poblano peppers and chicken chiptole. Don't pass up the aqua frescas either – they don't hold a candle to the ones I flipped over in California, but they wash the spices down nicely.

The space is artfully grungy in order to transport you to a hole in the wall beach side Mexican spot you might stumble across if you dared to venture off the beaten path on vacation. There are only a few tables, so there might be waits on more popular dining nights.

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Posted on October 5, 2009

Recipes »Chicken Tacos

With my recent work days stretching heart-wrenchingly late into the evening, it's lovely to come home to some chicken tacos, a meal Jim prepared with a little help from Ortega (he likes the crispy shells and ketchup-like sauce) and this tangy lemon/limey recipe from Allrecipes (though he claims he didn't use any measuring devices and eyeballed the whole thing).

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Posted on October 5, 2009

Restaurants »Alma

alma restaurantThe largest draw for the out-of-the-way Red Hook restaurant Alma is the impressive views of the city from their large, often crowded open rooftop. But even when the view is obscured by the dark clouds this crazy summer system weather has been bringing our way, there's still much to recommend about this casual Mexican eatery.

The staff was very accommodating and gracious to our large party and laid on the sauce for a rather tearful goodbye to a dear coworker moving on to LA. Both margaritas (which I throughly enjoyed) and Sangria pitchers moved freely around the tables between varied small dishes like ceviche, tacquitos, and steak nachos fresca with the tangy guacamole and cheese tamales standing out as the most memorable and yummy.

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Posted on July 13, 2009

Restaurants »Tacos and More

tacos and more greenpointWith all the adventurous eating I've done in the last couple of years (sweetbreads, brains, hearts, tongues and testicles) you'd think that by now I'd have had some goat but, until last night, you'd have been wrong. It's not really a strange food at all – in fact, it's quite popular in most of the world (sometimes it's referred to as mutton and is frequently interchangeable with lamb) but in my mind it calls to mind hole-in-the-wall ethnic spots here in the city that always reinforce the phrase, “you can't judge a book by it's cover” (though I've actually found that you can more often than you can not).

Tacos and More is a florescent-lit but very clean new Greenpoint spot with tacky flags outside to mark its not too recent grand opening and a tiny kitchen where all sorts great Mexican food is made. We ordered goat and chicken which were both thankfully mild but still flavorful with just a touch of oaxaca cheese and green salsa. It seems the thing to order next is the chorizo and fish because that's what the staff was cooking up for themselves. And I do mean cooking. No heat-lamped pre-prepared meats here, all the tacos are made fresh from scratch which make the process a little but longer, but is totally worth it.

Tacos and More may not be a prime destination for those who live outside the neighborhood, but for those of us who are local, it offers fresh Mexican made with care and a great menu that won't have your tummy feeling the way most heavy tacos do – and it's open till 11pm, which is rare for local eateries.

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Posted on April 6, 2009

Drinks »Flavored Margaritas at Cafe El Portal

Flavored Margaritas at Cafe El Portal We went a few months ago with Doug and Astrid and tried the cucumber and a hibiscus varieties. Both were awesome. There were several more flavors to choose from, these two just jumped right of the menu.

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Posted on December 5, 2005