Tag Archive | Mexican Food

Moe’s Southwest Grill Hosts An Honestly Awesome Night!

Foodstock Bus Detail
Bus Detail from Foodstock, Original Art for Moe’s Southwest Grill (All Photos By Gail )

Do you like Mexican food? I sure do. As a transplanted native of southern California, I was already spoiled for life when it comes to excellent Mexican food by the time I got to NYC 27 years ago. But the bar for (what passes for) Mexican food in NYC has definitely been raised, a lot, in recent years, and now it’s pretty easy to find reliable sources for the fresh taste of California-style Mexican food all over the city. One of my favorite spots to pick up a burrito that gets me all nostalgic for L.A. is the fast casual chain called Moe’s Southwest Grill. Maybe you have Moe’s in your town, so you already know what I am talking about.

Moes Logo Shadow

Last week, Moe’s threw a rad party, called An Honestly Awesome Night, over at the Hudson Mercantile Building, and a bunch of us press peeps were invited out to eat and drink until we were all fat and logey with delicious Moe’s food and assorted intoxicating beverages. Also, there was music, and some fun art. It was a good time. Let me tell you about it, and show you some pictures of what you missed on what really was an honestly awesome night!.

Crowd Shot

Moe’s was founded in Atlanta back in 2000, and I’m not sure if it is widely known that the name Moe’s is actually an acronym for “Musicians, Outlaws and Entertainers” — so clever! Sixteen years later, there are over 650 Moe’s restaurant scattered across the country,  with the restaurant recently named Fast Casual Mexican Restaurant Brand of the Year by the 2016 Harris Poll!  One of the main qualities Moe’s  is known for is their literally millions of possible food combinations that can be created with all of their fresh and delicious ingredients. You can have it ‘your way’ and not be shy about asking for what you want when you go to Moe’s!

Joey Bag of Donuts

Say hello to Moe’s mascot, Joey Bag of Donuts, the Human Burrito, and check out his awesome dance moves!  Did you know that  all the music you will hear while dining at a Moe’s restaurant is by bands with musicians who have passed on to the Great Gig in the Sky?  This is a great idea for creating an excellent playlist, since all of the best music happened in the 80s and earlier (my opinion).  You can hear music by living musicians anytime, but at Moe’s you get a real pop-culture history lesson!  How much fun would it be to  play “Guess the Dead Rock Star”  with your teenager (who thinks he knows everything) every time a song comes on? Answer: so fun! You would win every time, because kids today don’t know anything about good music.

Homewrecker Burrito Station

One of the most popular items at Moe’s is the Legendary Homewrecker Burrito, and the party had a burrito station exclusively dedicated to making this delicious food item!

Homewrecker Burrito Singage

Burrito Holder

All freshly-made Homewrecker Burritos were wrapped and stuffed into these little round holes, so party-goers could just grab and go! What a great idea! Moe’s should change its name to Moo’s because we were all grazing like cows.

Homewrecker Burrito
Homewrecker Burrito: Interior Detail

Salsa Tails Wall

This is the Salsa-tails Wall of Great Refreshment. The Lime Green and Orange Colored Cocktails were a  tasty homage to the Salsas  served at Moe’s but they did not taste like a spicy tomato, they tasted sweet and potent.

Salsa Tails

The green one was especially intoxicating, and had a subtle flavor of cucumber.

Burrito Bowl Station

Everyone loves a Burrito Bowl, am I right? They had Burrito Bowl station where you could customize your dish to suit your taste.

Spinart Quesadilla Station

The food began to take a more artistic bent with the Quesadilla Spinart Station, which is exactly what it sounds like. Take a look below.

Spinart Quesadilla In Action

Spinart Quesadilla Finished

Artsy! The finished product was not only beautiful, but also delicious.

Spinart Quesadilla

Smashin Nachos Demo

Another chef invited us to watch him do a Smashin’ Nachos Demo. This demo drew a large crowd of people armed with their smart phones.

Smashin Nachos

We were then invited to eat the Nachos right off of the board on which they had been smashed. It tasted much better than it looks!

Bacon Blues
Bacon Blues

There was also an Art Exhibit for the unveiling of Moe’s Rockscapes: six musically-themed masterpieces, each one of which salutes a different memorable music moments. The Rockscapes were created with help of artist and photographer Carl Warner, who is famous for his realistic food scapes. and everything within each tableau is made from real food items! Click on any of the images in this post to enlarge them, so that you can see all the detail that went in to creating each photo.

While My Cheese Gently Weeps
While My Cheese Gently Weeps

The above scene is a tribute to The Beatles‘ final live performance, which took place in January of 1969 on the rooftop of the Apple Records offices in London.

Trenchtown Guac
Trenchtown Guac

This one celebrates the Jamaican Reggae scene.

In Bloom
In Bloom

Straight Outta Limeton
Straight Outta Limeton

Foodstock
Foodstock

The most ambitious Rockscape tribute is called Foodstock, which is, of course, meant to honor the first Woodstock concert in 1969, and the profound impact it had on both music and social culture. Foodstock is also the first of the foodscapes to receive the Augmented Realty treatment as part of Moe’s new  Rockin’ Rewards loyalty app. Augmented Realty will give fans an opportunity to interact with the art and bring Moe’s fresh ingredients to life through their smart phones. With AR you can leverage the feature to play the onion drums, see bees buzz and, literally, create sweet melodies with Moe’s endless, high-quality food combinations! Fun! The six new pieces of artwork that will be in all Moe’s locations by the end of the year!

Moes Social Media

I hope you enjoyed living through me as I took you on a food-coma/journey through Moe’s Honestly Awesome Night!

Moes Logo

La Loteria: Serving Winning Mexican Food in NYC’s West Village!

La Loteria Skulls
Above Image Courtesy of La Loteria, All Food Photos By Anne Raso

If, like me, you happen to have lived in California, where they have excellent Mexican food on every corner, you already know that being a Mexican food enthusiast in NYC can be, shall we say, disappointing. It’s no secret that NYC restaurants can get a bit lost when it comes to delivering consistently excellent Mexican food. While many places do an acceptable job, or get two or three things (say, Guacamole) right, I’ve lost track of how many Mexican Restaurants not only miss basic details like baking the enchiladas in sauce (duh), but  also do weird things like putting Goat Cheese in the Quesadillas. Seriously, no me gustan.

But I never give up on my quest for great Mexican food, and that journey recently led me to La Loteria, a “Cocina Mexicana Moderna” on Seventh Avenue South that lives up to the hype of its 4.5 Star Yelp Reviews! Taking its name from a Mexican card game similar to American Bingo, La Loteria continues that sense of playfulness with its decor that features vibrant framed prints of La Loteria Cards and handmade Day of The Dead-style Mexican sculptures and figurines. The restaurant’s interior has a bright and modern feel with many endearing, traditional touches that lend it a distinctive look among its culinary competition. Props to whoever designed this space.

Operated by Chef Julieta Ballesteros (who also owns Crema and Los Feliz) and business partner Jaime Herrera, La Loteria’s well-focused menu doesn’t get distracted from what makes an excellent taco, while also bringing in fresh seafood, and taking just the right creative liberties with Mexican favorites like Flautas and Empanadas. The result is one of the best new Mexican Restaurants in NYC, maybe ever. Worleygig.com was recently invited to enjoy a tasting menu of some of La Loteria’s signature appetizers. Here’s a look at what we ate:

Guacamole Tradicional

Of course, we had to start with the Guacamole Tradicional ($13), served with still-warm, housemade chips. It tasted as good as it looks, with a hint of jalapeno added for a kick, and the tortilla chips were light, crispy and  delicious! You can add chicharrones (crispy fried meats), including ancho chile-dusted pork belly, to your Guacamole for an additional $5 to $7. This appetizer easily serves three adults.

Trio of Salsas

Complement your meal with the Salsas Del Valiente ($10) a trio of Specialty Salsas (also served with chips) that includes (left to right in the above photo): Roasted Chile de Arbol, Salsa Verde Cruda, and de Cacahuate Enchilado — a chunky/creamy, peanut-based salsa. Really nice!

Ceviche

The Ceviche de Pescado ($14) is made with a fresh fish of the day, and ours featured fresh-caught Red Snapper, mixed with the customary lime and citrus juices along with chunks of ripe  avocado, tomatillo and pickled cucumbers. La Loteria’s Ceviche is among the freshest and most flavorful I’ve ever eaten, and I highly recommend it if you are a lover of fresh seafood.

Tostaditos de Atun

Tostaditos de Atun ($14) are an array of mini-tostadas topped with a slice of fresh, chile-rubbed and pan-seared tuna, resting on a dollop of guacamole and dressed with sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, chipotle aioli and sweet mango salsa. It’s a ton of flavors in a couple of perfect bites.

Empanadas

Empanadas (Mexican filled turnovers) are a favorite of mine and La Loteria’s Empanadas are made with the flakiest, most tender pastry imaginable. We tasted two varieties including De Flor De Calabaza y Huitlacoche ($18 for three) which are stuffed with squash blossom, devil corn, chihuahua cheese, yellow bell pepper coulis and cotija cheese. Also on the menu are very savory empanadas De Papa con Chorizo ($14), filled with spicy potatoes, Mexican chorizo, cream, pasilla sauce (made with Pasilla Chiles) and cotija cheese. You can’t necessarily tell by the photo, but these Empanadas are huge and very filling!

Flautitas De Pato

I am also highly recommending the Flautitas De Pato en Trilogia de Salsas (Small Duck Flautas with Three Sauces, $16). Here, rolled corn tortillas are stuffed with juicy, shredded duck confit, corn and caramelized onions and then fried crispy, before  being topped with a colorful medley of avocado tomatillo, mole poblano (very chocolaty!) and chipotle aioli. This is a great plate to share.

Churros

For dessert, we were served two specialties of the house: warm Mexican Churros with Chocolate and Caramel Dipping Sauces (who doesn’t love churros?), and the Guava Pie, which are small tarts with layers of flan custard and sweet guava compote, then topped with whipped cream and sliced toasted almonds. Very original, light and delicious!

Guava Pie
Guava Pie

Service was friendly and accommodating all around. We didn’t do any drinking on this visit but we heard that La Loteria makes a mean Jalapeno Margarita! We’ll look forward to a return visit to try their take on Queso Fundido (Quesos Flameados) with homemade corn tortillas and many other Modern Mexican classics!

La Loteria is located at 29 7th Ave South (Varick Street, between Bedford & Morton). Hours are Sunday – Thursday, 12 Noon – 11:00 PM and Friday – Saturday 12:00 Noon – 2:00 AM, with a Happy Hour Daily from 4:00 – 7:00 PM. Call (212)858-9096 or visit them on the Web at This Link to make a Reservation.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Orale Mexican Kitchen

Jaritos Wall
“Pop Art”: Illuminated Wall of Jarritos Soda. All Interior Photos By Gail, Most Food Photos By Anne Raso

[Note: As of July 2014, Orale has changed its name to Chico Julio’s Oceans of Flavor and is now focusing on a Seafood-themed / Mexican Menu]

Hey do you like Mexican Food? I sure do. While there’s always been a dearth of authentic Mexican – or even the revered California Style Mexican – cuisine in Manhattan (and, let’s be honest, in the entire tri-state area) the Upper West Side has a new contender for at least a Top Ten List fixture with the arrival of Orale Mexican Kitchen, which has been open for just under a month.

Skull on Wall

Orale UWS joins its popular sister location in Jersey City , which has been winning fans since April of 2013. The Manhattan space mimics the NJ location’s décor with fun barrio style graffiti and street art murals, which gives the restaurant a vibrant and festive feel as soon as you enter. There’s also the incredible illuminated wall of colorful Jarritos soda bottles, which is as cool a work of ‘Pop’ Art as anything I’ve seen in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Cow Skull

Orale’s engaging menu is a good mix of standard Mexican favorites and Latin-inspired fare, which might encourage you to extend your culinary comfort zone and experiment a bit. But it’s always a good idea to start your meal with some fresh Guacamole.

Guacamole Trio

Orale dresses up its Guacamole de la Casa (Avocado, Tomato, Cilantro, Onion, Jalapeno & Lime) with five different topping ($7 – 9), or you can select a tasting of three for $12, which is what we did. To the de la Casa we added a scoop of the El Naco (topped with so-close-to-bacon Crispy Braised Pork Belly) and the Blue Demon, topped with Cabrales Blue Cheese and Toasted Pepitas (pumpkin seeds). The Guacamole is served with a literal bucket of freshly made tortilla chips and a selection of three spicy sauces, which deliver varying degrees of heat, to your taste.

Holy Guacamole

Pork Tacos al Pastor

Tacos De la Calle (5 soft corn tortillas stuffed with varied fillings) are a popular dish at Orale and a tray of 5 will set you back $16, which, believe it or not, is competitively priced for these parts. We shared an order of the Tacos Al Pastor, which are made with tender marinated & Roasted Pork topped with Caramelized Pineapple, Chile de Arbol and Cilantro. Very satisfying and delicious! Other taco fillings include, Roasted Bone Marrow topped with Crispy Pork Belly, Beer Battered Fish, Vegetarian with sautéed Seitan, Chili Rubbed & Seared Tuna, and Spicy Beef Tinga. A great idea for a party of two or three diners would be to get two orders of different tacos and share them!

Rice and Beans

The menu leads one to believe that a side Rice & Beans come with the tacos, though that is not the case. However, a size appropriate for sharing is just $6.

Dinsaurio Short Rib

One of the house specialties, the intriguingly named Dinosaurio, is an entree of one huge Short Rib served on the bone, marinated in ancho and chipotle-chile and cooked until a tiny nudge of your fork frees the meat from that very serious bone (Dinosaurio, indeed). The meat is sublimely tender and flavorful, though it has a bit more “marbling” than I generally care for. My dining companion, on the other hand, absolutely raved about it. The plate arrives dressed with Tamal de Olla (a creamy polenta lightened with fresh corn) and a delicious Tomatillo Chipotle Compote.

Brussels Sprouts

Under the Bocadillos section of the menu, a large dish of fresh Brussels Sprouts ($5), quickly deep fried and then seasoned simply with salt & pepper, is an unorthodox but complementary side to both the traditional and Nuevo-Mex dishes.

Vanilla Flan with Caramel Sauce

We finished off our meal with a favorite traditional Mexican dessert, Vanilla Flan with a luscious Caramel Sauce ($7), which was recommended by our very friendly and helpful server. Again, after a hearty meal this portion was certainly big enough to share between two people (in fact, we could barely even finish it).

Orale also has an extensive drink menu featuring classic margaritas, specialty cocktails and a wide selection of Tequilas, Sangria and Beer. This place is a great addition to an already fun neighborhood. I’m looking forward to future visits to further explore the adventurous menu! Get your Cinco de Mayo reservation in now before they fill up!

Orale Mexican Kitchen is Located at 768 Amsterdam Avenue (near 98th Street), New York, New York 10025. Phone (212)749-2929 or visit Orale MK Dot Com for reservations.

Teqa Brings Tacos & Tequila to NYC’s Murray Hill

While its doors opened just this past March, the word is already on the street about Teqa; a Mexican restaurant that does things just a bit differently. Filling a void in a neighborhood previously longing for an infusion of youthful vibrancy, this Taqueria & Tequileria (say that five times fast) is the creation of entrepreneurial owner Derek Axelrod, who’s enlisted the right All-Star team to make Teqa a success. In the kitchen, chef Lisa Schoen (also personal chef to Derek Jeter) creates a presentation of modern and traditional Mexican cuisine that draws from global influences, while in the dining room, Interior Design by Lesly Zamor combines the warmth of dark wood and leather with the rustic/modern touch of custom lighting (courtesy of Johnny Swing) to create a very comfortable and welcoming interior.


Tequila Bottle Chandelier by Johnny Swing

Now, consider that the Bartenders at Teqa mix refreshing signature cocktails from a tequila menu featuring over 100 different bottles, and you’ve scored with an establishment that appeals to both those who desire to satiate the appetite and those who also hunger for a nightlife vibe.

But us? We came to eat!


All Food Photos By Anne Raso

A generous portion of fresh, ripe Teqa Guacamole ($14) arrives on your table spiced to your desired level of heat at Mellow, Orange-Habanero or Mega Watt (or choose trio of all three for the same price).

If you’re not a Guacamole fan, do try the House made, tri-color Tortilla Chips and Salsa in a selection of flavors like roasted tomato, green tomatillo and shrimp-mango ($9 each flavor), or try a sampling of all three (see above photo) for $10.

Oaxaca Queso Fundido (warm melted cheese dip with chips, $11) is accompanied by tomatillo salsa and available in plain cheese (for purists) or with a choice of chorizo or ground beef (add $6) or veggies (add $4).


Hibiscus & Rose Maragarita and the Voodoo Child Cocktail

Other appetizers include the popular Teqa Nachos platter ($14) topped with a cheese blend, seasoned ground sirloin, black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and cilantro crema. Quesadillas stuffed with wild mushrooms or BBQ pulled chicken ($11 each) round out the starters menu. A couple of shared appetizers could easily serve as a satisfying meal when accompanied by one or two of Teqa’s delicious cocktails such as the Voodoo Child with Tequila and fresh pineapple, or the Hibiscus & Rose Margarita.

Read More Of  This Review After The Jump!

Continue reading

Authentic Fish Tacos Of Tulum

One week ago today I was on holiday in Tulum, Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula, enjoying the most delicious fish tacos I have yet eaten. The vast Mayan Ruins which we explored were ancient and awe-inspiring, while the beach below us was a stunning white sand with crystal blue waves, but it is the fish tacos, my friends, that I will be talking about for the rest of my life. Fish Tacos!

Food Baby


Image Source

“I have a food baby” is what we say when we are temporarily engorged after eating a huge, delicious burrito (or burrito bowl) from Chipotle. This is what the food baby looks like, apparently. Mmm, yummy!

Great News for NYC Foodies: Gonzalez Y Gonzalez to Reopen!


Interior Shot of the Former Space

You might recall that back in January I ran a story on the sad closing of one of NYC’s most beloved Mexican restaurants, Gonzlez y Gonzalez, after 22 years in business, due to losing their massive leased space to a Chipotle. It seemed like everyone was bummed out about what felt like the end of an era in NYC dining spots. The post even got comments from out of town fans who had fond memories of coming to town and sitting at what was NYC’s longest bar to enjoy delicious frozen fruit margaritas and endless baskets of chips.

Well, here is some good – and very surprising – news for Gonzalez y Gonzalez fans: it’s been announced that the restaurant will be returning to its former home in Greenwich Village, albeit in a smaller space, some time this fall. Previously stretching one full city block, from Broadway to Mercer just off of Houston Street, G Y G will now occupy half the space that it used to have, with its entrance now being on the Mercer Street side. The front half of the former Gonzalez y Gonzalez space will house the new a Chipotle, with its customers entering off of Broadway. ARK Restaurants is no longer involved, instead letting two former employees (both long time bartenders at G y G) run the restaurant under the same name and retaining the original famous neon sign. The landlord is credited with deciding to split the space in two. Eater reports that there are a few objections to the reopening from Community Board 2 members, including wanting shorter hours, that led the board to deny the duos application for a new liquor license and a transfer. The full board and State Liquor Authority will have the final word on the issue. Good luck Gonzalez y Gonzalez! I know tons of people (counting me among them) are happy that you will be coming back!

NYC’s Longest Bar and Most Fun Mexican Restaurant Shuts Down to Become a Chipotle


Adios: The Neon Sombrero Goes Dark January 31

After 22 years in business, Gonzalez y Gonzalez on Broadway near Houston, distinguished by its landmark giant, multicolored flickering neon sombrero outside, is shutting its doors after losing its lease, according to its website. One of the City’s best Mexican restaurants, G & G was known for one of the best Happy Hours in the city, featuring a $5 frozen fruit margarita that just couldn’t be beat. Occupying a space that stretched a full city block – from Broadway to MercerG & G also boasted the longest bar in the city. I had many, many memorable birthday celebrations within its festively-decorated walls and will not soon forget its delicious guacamole, quesadillas with fresh corn, sizzling steaks and fried chimichangas. Nachos NY is reporting that the space will soon become a Chipotle. As much as I love me some Chipotle, I wonder if we should really be shutting down NYC icons like Gonzalez Y Gonzalez to make room for another fast food burrito joint. So much for progress.

HPY THX GVG

T Day Dinner
Bring It On

Last night, in celebration of me being grateful for the end of a hellish three-day work week, Geoffrey and I paid a visit to our current favorite Mexican restaurant, Tequila Chitos on West 23rd Street (recommendation: go there!) to drink a pitcher of sangria and engorge ourselves with a pre-Thanksgiving feast of enchiladas and chips. Mexican Food! Close to the end of our meal, G pointed to a Holiday banner posted on Tequila Chitos‘ wall that festively declared “Hpy Thanksgiving. This was one of those pre-made, comes-in-a-plastic-envelope type holiday banners that you can buy at any Hallmark or similar card and gift store, so we certainly were perplexed as to where the missing “a” and “p” in “Happy” might have slipped off to. I mean, would a store actually sell a Happy Thanksgiving banner where “Happy” is spelled “Hpy”? I guess stranger things have happened, but if you are going to abbreviate, you really should throw caution to the wind and just go all out with a “Hpy Thx Gvg” banner. Because there’s something to be said for consistency. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!