after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Posts Tagged ‘Garces

Stop and Smell the Rosa Blanca

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t says:  It’s been a while since we’ve dined at a Jose Garces joint.  Sure, Amada will always hold a special place in our hearts, it’s a bit too pricey for “normal” weekend dinners (as is Tinto).  JG Domestic has pretty much fizzled out in our eyes.  Distrito’s a bit of a hike.  Village Whiskey is fun, but I can’t put away those shortrib-smothered-fries like I used to.  Garces Trading Co is pretty much dead to us now, after deciding to charge corkage, the disbanding of the market, and a previous bad experience. So now what?  Enter the new Cuban Diner inspired Rosa Blanca.  The crew met up a week or so ago and put it through its paces …

March 2014, Weekend Dinner, Party of 4.  The atmosphere’s cute.  Garces is trying to walk the line between a take-out business and a sit-down business, so the front of house has this come-and-go feel, while the main dining room is more “formal” … but don’t let that word scare you – this is not a formal place by any stretch of the imagination.  To be honest, it’s probably the most casual Garces restaurant I’ve been to.  I was happy to see children around – it really added to the diner-esque atmosphere!


I don’t remember what these were – I want to say they were the croquetes de jamon.  It’s funny because my memory fails me, but I do recall the urge to eat them forever, as they were fried to perfection and filled with oozy cheeze.  It was like a chicken cordon bleu … without the chicken …


Empanada de Picadillo with beef and green olives.  This empanada was fantastic – g’s not even an olive fan and she enjoyed her share of empanada with nary a crumb left on the plate.  v agreed that the filling was pretty spot-on (oh, did I mention that v is Cuban?)


You know, when it comes to bread, there’s either “yea, here’s some bread” or there’s “hey, check out this bread”.  This was much moreso the latter.  I believe this was yuca bread, and it was phenomenal.  The textures were just right, balancing an outer layer of crisp with an inside of some kind of intriguing gummy texture that I couldn’t get enough of.


Cordero al Caribe.  This guy stuck out as the oddest dish – I wasn’t expecting such a curry-ful lamb dish.  Maybe there is a secret Indian-Cuban fusion somewhere in the Cuban culture?  In any case, with such beautifully cooked down lamb and such depth of spices, I wasn’t complaining.  Best darn Indian-Cuban dish I’ve ever had (I apologize if this shows both my ignorance of Cuban and Indian cuisine).  In the background was that RIDICULOUS ropa vieja, with brisket and rice – it was insane.  Probably the best thing we ate – I declare g the winner of the evening.


Pollo a la Brasa: rotisserie chicken.  Once again, garces nailed it with a succulent chicken presented in such a casual manner that it looks like child’s play – seriously – after eating this, you wonder why it is you have ever come across a dry chicken before.  And, of course, well-seasoned, well-dressed, and nothing we wanted to change, as it really hit that home-made chicken note.


Masitas de Puerco.  Chunks of fried pork shoulder?  How could you go wrong?  You can’t!  Well – maybe you can, as there is only a limited quantity in the plate.  v confessed that she could have housed a heaping mountain of these guys (and maybe she has when her family has made it).  I would have liked to have seen slightly larger pieces this way beyond the crispy exterior would be more of a tender interior, this way you’d get some more textural contrast, but as far as flavors go, I got nothing bad to say.


Dessert smorgasboard!  You see the flan, which was ok (it was flan – nothing really to report there) as well as a a chocolate dulce-de-leche cake that vanished within seconds of being put on the table.  v went for the sorbet-shake-thingee and smiled for the rest of the evening.

In all, the gang was really happy with Rosa Blanca.  It’s definitely not fussy, not fancy, not pretentious Cuban-inspired cuisine.  v felt that there was a lot of faithful representations in there, with some notable exceptions (e.g. that curry lamb, and apparently there was one dish that was Puerto Rican, not Cuban, which for some diehards could be a point of contention).  The service was still working out the kinks and trying to hit the right balance of pace, smiles, and confidence in what they were doing.  Certainly the kitchen is doing a fabulous job.  I only hope that the uniqueness of Cuban cuisine is enough to keep us coming back for more.  It’s tough because the style of food is almost weeknight-ish, but done up a little (and priced up enough for) a weekend dinner … where there’ll be a lot of competition from the likes of Kanella, Mercato, and company.  I guess time will tell … but trust us – the food is good!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

11 April 2014 at 7:13pm

We pigged out on Amada’s pig.

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What the what?

t says:  Yea, that’s right.  We did it.  Five manly male friends and I came, saw, and conquered the suckling pig at Amada.  What you see above is half of a pig and the head (apparently the head is optional – who the crap wouldn’t want the head?)  By the way, it’s a little creepy that the pig seems like it might be stalking that poor defenseless baby on the left.

August 2011, 5:45pm Sunday, Party of 6.  Forty bucks a person, reserved at lest three days in advance – just show up and eat some pig and four side dishes.  Forget more words, let’s roll the pictures …

Meet Wilbur ... yea ... we named it.

Wilbur's got no backbone ... cuz the dude carving our pig removed it (in the foreground) from the rest of the pig (in the background) ...

Just in case you tried to avoid seeing Wilbur's head above - here it is again ...

Pig ... with potato, garbanzo beans, white beans, scallions ... and more pig ...

Yea … we demolished a LOT of pig.  And we had enough for two small piggie-bags (for g and v) to go.  The best part was that it was frickin’ delicious.  Seriously.  I was expecting the feast to be kind of gimicky, but believe you me – it’s probably the best straight-up pork I’ve ever had – no fancy sauces or seasoning – just good ‘ol Wilbur.  Pork-for-pork, perhaps Fond’s pork belly is the only pig I’ve ever had better.  Also – I must say that it was quite an educational experience to be able to taste the different cuts of pig and see how they differed from one another despite being cooked in an identical manner; my favorite was the cheek – so lucious and sweet and salty.  A lot of the members of the party preferred a cut of muscle that attaches the head to the back (?neck muscle?).  a and kp took it upon themselves to go for some brain (I refuse to eat brain), too.  Their impression: it’s mushy, and doesn’t have a good taste or aftertaste to justify eating it – especially when so many other good pieces of pig are present.

a flexed his wine muscle by providing us with a 2001 Rioja Gran Reserva for the occasion – a fairly bold wine for summer night but it did a superb job matching the intensity of the pig.  Great job!

What was the worst part of the evening?  I think it was when we realized that they had removed the platform-table that used to be able to hold a party of like 10 but elevated one step up from the restaurant and with these curtains you can draw to add an element of mystery/seclusion to the party.  We did it once for g’s birthday a few years ago and it was the best restaurant-birthday I’ve ever been to.  Alas – it is no more.

Everyone’s gotta try this at least once (if not more than once).  Next time, we’ll bring the chicks women.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

14 August 2011 at 10:21pm