Restaurant Review: Rosa Mexicano (USQ – 18th/between 5th and Broadway)

It could be that this post is being written because I just finished a Jamba Juice for dinner and I’m still STARVING (can you tell the wife is out-of-town?) or it could that be I want to hook you up with a quality restaurant to check out.  So how did I find this spot?

Insert another friend of mine, Sebastian (Seb) Buffa.

He happens to be the Union Square (USQ) campus pastor for Liberty.  He’s an Aussie who, despite what the picture looks like, is a smiling, pretty hilarious, down to earth dude (follow him on twitter..his tweets are pretty good).  So when he asked if I’d been to Rosa Mexicano and I told him I hadn’t, he put his hand on my shoulder, stopping me dead in my tracks, and said, “Mate, we must go and you have to order the guacamole.  It will change your life.”

Pretty bold statement.  Being from California where Mexican food is as good as it gets (short of having it in Mexico), I thought that he was just mis-informed.  All I kept thinking was that this guy had no clue what TRUE quality Mexican food is.

Then the lunch appointment occurred where Seb suggested we go there.  It’s a fairly visible restaurant from the street.  The flag makes it pretty obvious when you’ve arrived.

What makes this restaurant really stand out against most others is the spaciousness inside.  NY establishments like to squeeze as many people in as they possibly can (whether it’s over the listed Fire Marshall capacity limit or not).  Not here…plenty of room.  In the middle of the room, there’s some cool decor.  They have a wall divider between two rooms that has some type of diver figures attached to sections of it with water running down those sections and a ton of multi colored LED lights changing the feel and look of it every few minutes.

As soon as we sat down, the guacamole was ordered.  The server rolls a cart to your table and it is made to order (you pick the level of spice hotness).  It’s served in an old school clay-looking pot.  They include 2 other small types of salsa…a mild verde one and a hot red oaxacan salsa as well as flour tortillas so you can eat it more like a taco.  I’m not going lie…coming from Cali where they serve guacamole like this in mass quantities, $14 seemed a bit much for this appetizer. But the size of the bowl along with house-made accoutrements and table service made it feel like you weren’t totally getting taken advantage of.

On to the entree..I went with the Carne Asada tacos (skillet style).  I wasn’t too sure what “skillet style” meant but when it came to the table, I got it.

The meat is served in a miniature skillet with melted chihuahua cheese at its base.  The flavor of the meat was unbelievably good!  All the other taco items are served in separate small dishes.  You build the taco of your liking.  Along with the meat and cheese, you can mix up each taco with choices of vegetables, salsas, house rice, refried beans, red bean-chorizo chili, creamy corn esquites, and fresh tortillas. With some of the leftover guacamole, oaxacan salsa, and salsa verde, the different taco combinations you can go with are endless. Price tag on this bad boy was…$23.50.

They had some pretty good-looking desserts but I did not indulge.  It was lunch, after all.  I left feeling completely content.  I must give it up to Seb.  He came through with a good spot.  Come to find out, this restaurant has expanded to a few different states.  Definitely put it on your list of upscale mexican places to check out!

Room for my mom?

It  has been a very busy time for Tara and I. It’s one of our prime event seasons so the time to blog has been limited. We just got back from a few weeks on the road. Tara had been in Florida for a month and I have been flying all around and just got back with her yesterday as well.

If you live here for any length of time, you notice the sense of community within pockets in the city. This wouldn’t seem to be the case considering the population but there is definitely a “help your neighbor” mentality.

This was under our front door last night when we came in and I thought it was pretty cool.   I guarantee you someone in our building obliged.  This type of stuff doesn’t happen in many places.  Glad to be in a place where complete strangers are willing to help one another.

Union Square Greenmarket

I haven’t done a post on the Union Square Greenmarket yet, have I?  How have I let you go on this long without filling you in on possibly the most glorious thing about Union Square?  For shame.

As you can imagine, Spring in New York is awesome.

What’s even more awesome is the Greenmarket.  In the Spring.  In New York.  Something about all of the vendors, the people, the colors and smells coming from the tents lining the park.  What do they sell?  What DON’T they sell?  Flowers, fresh fruit, and organic vegetables.  Goat cheese and milk, apples (cider, pies, and whole).  Lavender plants, wheatgrass smoothies, paintings, and dream catchers.

The Greenmarket.  It’s a magical place.

Strawberry wine (seventeeeeen – I know you were singing it!)

When you walk past this tent, the smell is heavenly!

Fresh jams and jellies, all boxed up and cute for you to take home!  And you better believe there was every flavor imaginable up for sale.  Curried peanut jelly?  You betcha!  Cucumber Rhubarb Jam?  Sure.  These little old ladies were serious about their jams.  They had one of the busiest tents!

The Greenmarket operates on the North and West sides of Union Square Park, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8am to 6pm.  I can’t wait to walk through with my sister!  Did I mention Megan is coming in for a visit in a little over 24 hours?!!!!!!  Can you tell I’m excited?!!  I will try to document every second so that I can share all of our new finds!

Pillow FIGHT!!!

Last Saturday, we kinda planned our day around the Pillow Fight.  We slept in till about 11am (I can’t even remember the last time I’ve done that).  Knowing that it was happening around the corner from our house, we decided to leisurely get ready and then grab a late lunch before heading over to Union Square.  Where to go?  We settled on The Burger House.

Neither of us had been there so we really didn’t know what to expect.  One walk inside and a view of the counter and we knew we had entered a serious burger spot!

This was the "double double". Move over IN-N-OUT Burger.

Their burgers were DEFINITELY juicy and cooked to order.  We each ended up getting the bacon cheeseburger.  This was still no chump of a burger.  It took quite the effort to not only figure out how to attack this thing but also how to finish it.  We each managed to conquer them.  Tara got onion rings and I got the seasoned fries.  My only knock on the spot is they didn’t serve ranch dressing.  Ranch makes pretty much anything taste good (even rice – but that’s a story for another time).

So after lunch we strolled over to Union Square to watch the pillow fight go down.  As is usually the case on Saturdays, Union Square was packed!  Not only did they have the Greenmarket happening, but this was also going on:

Union Square - Saturday, April 7, 2012

This was a combo protest – not just Occupy Wall Street but they had a religious protest, a war protest, and a few others that we couldn’t really figure out what they were protesting about.  Needless to say, I had no clue where this pillow fight was going to take place.  It was 3PM and we only saw about 3 or 4 people with pillows in their hand. I was kinda disappointed and thought maybe I was the only who thought this was a cool enough thing to go to and possibly participate.  Then somebody yelled, “If you’re looking for the pillow fight, it’s now taking place at Washington Square.”

Ahh, Washington Square…  A beautiful park at the end of 5th Avenue.

We debated whether or not to go that far (about a 10 minute walk).  But we HAD to see this.  So we made the trek and upon entering, saw this.  Awesome!

There were only two rules: 1) No feather pillows, because nobody wants to clean that mess up, and 2) Don’t attack anyone with a camera or who is unarmed.  So, we decided to get into the thick of it like a true photo journalist would and saw the nitty gritty.


Obviously, the no feather rule was lost on somebody.

Luckily, we made it out unscathed.  We got there about 30 minutes late and it was still going strong.

As you might expect in New York, there was some crazy folks & crazy outfits in attendance and no you can’t just blame it on being the day before Easter!  I leave this post with those cast of characters below.

End of the world? Math Equation? What is it?

So for the first few months I lived in NY, I’d walk by this electronic string of numbers in Union Square (our neighborhood) and couldn’t figure out what the heck it was.  Finally did some research and came up with the answer.  It was designed by Kristen Jones and Andrew Ginzel in 1999 and is called the Metronome and acts as a clock.

How to read it? The 15 numbers of the digital clock display time going and coming relative to midnight. Read time going left to right and time coming in the opposite direction. So, if the clock reads 192936257233004 it means that it is 7:29 P.M. (19 hours, 29 minutes and 36 seconds since midnight) and that there are 4 hours, 30 minutes and 23 seconds remaining until midnight. The three numbers in between are a blur of moving numbers.

So now if you ever make it out to NYC and walk by this, you’ll know what it is you’re looking at and you can impress your friends with your knowledge.  Hope this makes you feel a little smarter and little cooler.  It did for me.

Nothing says Easter like a…

PILLOW FIGHT!  Yes, I said a pillow fight.  One of things I’ve loved so far about living in NYC is all the crazy one-of-a-kind events they have.  This year’s event takes place literally 2 minutes from our pad.  I’m still not sure if I’m going to participate or spectate but I’m definitely going to be there one way or another to see it go down.  This year’s event has a “bunny” theme so feel free to bring your bunny ears, bunny tails and plastic eggs.  What a way to tie in the Easter holiday.

For details of the event in New York, go here.  Believe it or not this is an international event.  Here’s the list of all the “pillow fights” going down. Don’t have one in your city?  Why not organize and add one?  It’s not too late!