A preview of the Rosa Mexicano “Flavors of Mexico” series – Desayuno, a Mexican Breakfast

This past weekend I had the opportunity to preview Rosa Mexicano‘s “Flavors of Mexico” series. The first in the series, Desayuno, or “Mexican Breakfast”, is being served from February 23rd to March 10th at all Rosa Mexicano locations, including their Boston outpost, located at 155 Seaport Boulevard.

With my wife, and a couple of other friends in tow, we made our way over to Rosa Mexicano on a brisk Sunday morning. Mind you, ‘brisk’ in mid-Februrary, especially by the water, equals 30 to 40 MPH wind gusts, but the various dishes we tried did an excellent job of warming us back up!

We started our brunch off with a glass of passionfruit aqua fresca, which lived up to its name and really was quite refreshing. The beverage winner for me, though, was the Chilled Horchata de Coco, a beverage made from coconut infused rice milk and cinnamon. The grown-up version, the Horchata Especial, was phenomenal with the addition of añejo tequila, coffee liquor, and espresso.

From left to right: Chilled Horchata de Coco, El Tule (w/ gin), Horchata Especial, and El Vaquero (w/ tequila and bourbon)
From left to right: Chilled Horchata de Coco, El Tule (w/ gin), Horchata Especial, and El Vaquero (w/ tequila and bourbon)

We had the opportunity to try four dishes from the Desayuno menu: Torrejas de Miel Rellenas, a stuffed french toast consisting of cinnamon-cascabel chile-crusted brioche filled with a mascarpone cheese, and caramelized plantains; Nopales con Huevo, a soft egg scramble with cactus paddle; Machacado con Huevo, a scrambled egg dish with dried shredded beef, jalapeños, tomato, and onion; and Mexico City Chilaquiles, a traditional dish served with a seared, house-glazed ham, scrambled eggs, and a smoky chile sauce. Everything was delicious, but the stand out to me (and my fellow diners) was the Mexico City Chilaquiles. Known as a pick-me-up, the dish brought a warming smokiness in the form of a creamy chile sauce. This dish alone would be sufficient enough reason to make a return trip to Rosa Mexicano! The other highlight was the stuffed french toast, declared by one of my table mates as possibly being “the best french toast I ever had”.

Mexico City Chilaquiles
Mexico City Chilaquiles – The highlight of the morning

During our meal, we spoke about how difficult it can be for restaurants that want to be authentic, and be true to the flavors they’re representing as part of their identity. That’s something the team at Rosa Mexicano are clearly aiming to do with their “Flavors of Mexico” series, having sent a team of chefs to various parts of Mexico to find the necessary inspiration. In my opinion, they did not disappoint. Having made a recent visit to Mexico, and dining at a few local spots in the area, I feel that Rosa Mexicano hit the mark, producing authentic Mexican.  I wouldn’t hesitate to head back to Rosa Mexicano to have another go at their Desayuna menu.

You can see the Rosa Mexicano Desayuno menu on their website, along with a full list of the “Flavors of Mexico” series events. As a point of full disclosure, the dishes served from the Desayuno menu were complimentary, but all opinions expressed herein are my own, and I stand by them. A special thanks to Carolyn Marrans, and Chef Perez!

Looking back on the Rosa Mexicano Boston Fall Harvest Dinner

harvest-dinner
Rosa Mexicano Fall Harvest Dinner – Photo by Travis Rubury

I’m late in writing this piece thanks to a very crazy November, and first part of December. But, I needed to take the time to write a little about the great experience I had at Rosa Mexicano in Boston.

In late October, the Rosa Mexicano family of restaurants held their first annual Fall Harvest Dinner, which they did as an opportunity to celebrate their commitment to utilizing hyper-local flavors and farm-fresh ingredients throughout the year. The menu, crafted by Culinary Advisor Jonathan Waxman, had the flavors you would clearly expect from a Mexican restaurant, with fresh local ingredients peppered in.

A favorite appetizer of mine, and amongst the table in general, was the Oyster Tartare. A very fresh oyster, served with shaved coconut, lime and guava with chili infused sea water was a refreshing way to open the meal! A friend of mine, typically not a fan of oysters, enjoyed it, which is always the sign of a good dish.

Oyster Tartare - Photo by Travis Rubury
Oyster Tartare – Photo by Travis Rubury

Mixed in with the appetizers we enjoyed that evening was a Rosa Mexicano staple: Guacamole en Molcajete. I’ve always been a fan of table-side preparations, and this is one worth ordering at each visit to Rosa Mexicano. The twist is the inclusion of pomegranate seeds and toasted hazelnuts. Since this dinner, it’s impossible to have any type of guacamole without my wife immediately saying, “Remember the Guac en Molcajete at Rosa Mexicano…?” I most certainly do!

Guacamole en Molcajete
Guacamole en Molcajete

The main was lavender, black pepper and honey marinated duck served two ways: Sliced breast with apples, pears, pickled walnuts and duck mole, and a braised leg served with wilted kale, brussels sprouts, fall root vegetables and serrano sage butter. My preference of the two was the sliced duck breast, which was very juicy and went perfectly with the accompaniments and the duck mole. If I could have changed one thing, I would have liked for the skin to have been a little more crisp, though this didn’t impede me from having two helpings. The more I eat duck, the more I realize how much I love it!

Sliced Duck Breast - Photo by Travis Rubury
Sliced Duck Breast – Photo by Travis Rubury

As is the case with any meal, it’s never complete without dessert. While I would always expect churros to be my favorite when dinning at a Mexican restaurant, I adored the pumpkin cheesecake. The churros, with a trio of sauces, including cajeta (think dulce de leche made from goat’s milk) came in a close second.

Churros and Pumpkin Cheesecake - Photo by Travis Rubury
Churros and Pumpkin Cheesecake – Photo by Travis Rubury

One aspect of the dinner that made the evening for me was the service. Rather than what you’d have during a traditional dinner service, the entire meal was served family style. It offered up the opportunity to speak with other liked-minded foodies that I otherwise may never have had the opportunity to meet. Amongst those was Travis Rubury, the photographer who took all but one of the photos I’ve included in this piece. It’s the second time I’ve had a chance to eat family style at a special event dinner, and personally I hope it won’t be the last.

The entire evening, start to finish, was an excellent and enjoyable experience. With delicious food and excellent conversation, it’s hard to go wrong!

I’d like to extend my personal thanks to Rosa Mexicano Boston Executive Chef Matthew Wool for a great meal, and to the whole Rosa Mexicano team, including Culinary Director for Rosa Mexicano, Chef David Suarez.

Rosa Mexicano Boston is located at 155 Seaport Boulevard in Boston, MA.

Embracing Fall Flavors: Checking in with Rosa Mexicano Chef David Suarez

Yesterday, I posted two delicious recipes from the Fall Harvest Dinner menu that will be served up at Rosa Mexicano Boston. This very cool event is rapidly approaching (Less than a week away! Did you get your tickets yet?), and there’s no better way to get a closer look at the event than by having a conversation with the Culinary Director for Rosa Mexicano, Chef David Suarez. During my chat with Chef Suarez we discuss where his love of food came from, how fall flavors work with Mexican cuisine, and a quick story about a lesson learned as a child.

David Suarez – Photo by Rebecca McAlpin

Foodie Journal: When did you realize that you had enough love and passion for food that you wanted to make a career out of it?
David Suarez: While growing up both of my parents were great cooks. My mother, more home style food but my Father would take chances and experiment. He actually had a catering company for a little while. I remember, when I was 8 years old I helped deliver bread for a Cuban bakery in Hartford, Connecticut. I remember smelling the bread baking and still, to this day, I love the smell of yeast. My first recollection of cooking was making blueberry pies with whole wheat crusts from fresh-picked blueberries that we picked on Block Island. For me, the choice to cook was easy. But, to be honest with you, I also got into the business because I knew I would never go hungry and always have a job.

People need to eat, you know…

FJ: How did you get your start in the business?
DS: My first job cooking was given to me by Susana Trilling at a place called Bon Temps Rouler in the financial district in Manhattan. My mother had a friend who worked with her and, when she knew of my desire to become a cook, she asked him and he spoke with Susana and she gave me a chance. One of the first things I did in the kitchen was cooking tamales. There were about 500 of them for a big offsite event that we were doing. I burned about 200 of them. Susana did not get angry, she took this as an opportunity to teach me something. She said “Always put a coin in the bottom of the pan while steaming anything. That way, when the water is running out, the coin will rattle and you can hear it and add more water.”

FJ: A number of the Rosa Mexicano restaurants are holding these Fall Harvest Dinners. What is different about the menu for the Fall Harvest Dinner that people might not typically find on the regular Rosa Mexicano Boston menu?
DS: Razor clams are something that we’re not always serving at Rosa Mexicano, but the dish is amazing (a ceviche of razor clams, bay scallops, grapefruit, mint, chili and ginger). We’ve been partnering with locals farms like Sky Vegetables and Sparrow Arc Farm (one of my favorites), and this Fall Harvest Dinner is really a way to showcase some of these awesome local ingredients in a special way. The braised duck legs with Brussels sprouts, autumn root vegetables and Serrano sage butter is also going to be killer!

FJ: Is there a challenge at all in trying to meld Mexican cooking with New England flavors?
DS: Not really. Sometimes things just work really well together. Last year, we did a menu based on a clam bake. So one of the items was a take on frijoles con Puerco, which is a typical Mexican dish. And, since it was a “clambake” I wanted to infuse a taste of New England so I did a take on Boston baked beans. Using black eyed peas, I developed a spicy Boston baked bean dish with pork belly and clams. It was a little sweet with some heat and rich, deep combination of New England and Mexico. It was very satisfying to be able to pull that off. The focus on local ingredients is an important component of Rosa Mexicano’s new menu concept in an effort to create sustainable and quality food. Just the street food stalls all over Mexico, the freshest seasonal ingredients are essential for producing great authentic Mexican food.

FJ: What’s your favorite item on the upcoming Fall Harvest Dinner menu?
DS: Actually it is the mushroom salad. I just love that combination of flavors. Very Autumn… It is my favorite time of year for food because the food is beginning to get deeper and richer. Time to start braising a little and roasting vegetables. Wild mushrooms, with the rain abundant are great. And I love hazelnut. Probably my favorite. A little salty chorizo and it brings it all together.

FJ: So it’s cool moments like this dinner that can sometimes lead to people having food memories or experiences that they’ll look back on down the road. Do you have a particular food memory that you think back on fondly that you wouldn’t mind sharing?
DS: It’s funny, I think I mentioned that in the first question. But I will share another that, while it was not a “fine dining” experience, but just an anecdote again from my childhood.

When my brother and I were young, I mean I was probably 9 or 10. We were both very picky eaters. I mean I did not like anything that had to do with vegetables and my father’s food was a little too sophisticated for us. So of course, I didn’t eat much while staying with him. So he decided to let my brother and I cook dinner one night. He bought us our first cookbook. The Betty Crocker cookbook for kids. Told us to pick something out and make it for dinner.

So we chose something we thought we would like. Tuna Melts. Well, we made our tuna melts and enjoyed them very much. But my father and stepmother did not eat. They pushed their plates away and said they didn’t like it. I did not learn until years later that they set us up. They purposely pushed their plates away to teach my brother and me a lesson. But we were obviously too young to realize it then.

Tickets for the Rosa Mexicano Boston Fall Harvest Dinner are available for pre-purchase at www.rosamexicano.com for $45/person (plus tax and gratuity), which includes 4-course meal (cocktails purchased separately)

An inside look at the Rosa Mexicano Fall Harvest Dinner menu

On Wednesday, October 24th, Rosa Mexicano restaurants all across the country will be holding their first annual Fall Harvest Dinner. The menu for the dinner to be held at Rosa Mexicano Boston, which was crafted by Culinary Advisor Jonathan Waxman, showcases a menu that melds local flavors and ingredients with Mexican cuisine. The offerings sound delicious, and thanks to Rosa Mexicano, we can tell you that they look delicious too! Here’s your sneak peek at two of the dishes on the menu, along with recipes so that you can make them for yourself even after enjoying them at the restaurant next week.

Guacamole en Molcajete

Courtesy of Rosa Mexicano, www.rosamexicano.com

Guacamole en Molcajete

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. White onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp.  Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Jalapeño, or more to taste, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Salt, or as needed
  • 3 Medium ripe but firm Hass avocados
  • 3 tbsp. Plum tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. White onion, finely chopped
  • Salt as desired
  • ¼ cup of pomegranate seeds; plus ¼ cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts

Directions:

  1. To make the chile paste:  Grind the onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and salt together in a molcajete until all the ingredients are very finely ground.  Alternatively, use a fork to mash all the ingredients to a paste in a wide hardwood bowl.
  2. Cut each avocado in half, working the knife blade around the pit.  Twist the halves to separate them and flick out the pit with the tip of the knife.  Fold a kitchen towel in quarters and hold it in the palm of your “non-knife” hand.  Rest an avocado half cut side up in your palm and make three or four evenly spaced lengthwise cuts through the avocado flesh down to the skin, without cutting through it.  Make four crosswise cuts in the same way.  Scoop the diced avocado flesh into the molcajete. Repeat with the remaining avocado halves.
  3. Gently fold the avocado into the paste, keeping the avocado in as large pieces as possible.  Add the tomato, cilantro, onion; pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts; and fold in gently.  Check and add salt if necessary.

Grilled Lobster & Sea Scallop Taco

Courtesy of Rosa Mexicano Culinary Advisor Jonathan Waxman

Grilled Lobster & Sea Scallop Taco
  • 2 lobsters
  • 6 sea scallops
  • tomatillo salsa
  • 3 jalapenos
  • 2 Meyer lemon
  • 1 Green papaya
  • 2 tbsp. avocado oil
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds

Directions:

  1. Poach lobsters and then remove meat, slice thinly, keep ice cold.
  2. Grill the scallops, let cool and then slice thinly and keep ice cold.
  3. Make a jalapeno and green papaya salad: Seed and top chilies, slice finely. Peel and seed papayas, slice finely. Place in a bowl with avocado oil, the juice of the lemons and toss well.
  4. Toast the seeds until golden.
  5. To make a taco, cook the lobster and sea scallops on a plancha, toss with jalapeno salad, place on a tortillas, top with a teaspoon of tomatillo salsa and toasted seeds.

Tickets for the Rosa Mexicano Boston Fall Harvest Dinner are available for pre-purchase at www.rosamexicano.com for $45/person (plus tax and gratuity), which includes 4-course meal (cocktails purchased separately)

Rosa Mexicano celebrates local flavors with the Fall Harvest Dinner

There is nothing quite like the flavors of fall in New England. It’s always fun to take things up a notch or two, so how about New England flavors with a Mexican twist? Rosa Mexicano Boston will be holding its first annual Fall Harvest Dinner near the end of October. The menu was whipped up by none-other than Chef Jonathan Waxman, chef and owner of Barbuto in New York. Tickets are available now, so get ’em while they’re hot! All the details can be found below.


ROSA MEXICANO CELEBRATES LOCAL FLAVORS WITH FALL HARVEST DINNER
Culinary Advisor Jonathan Waxman Showcases Season’s Bounty with Farm-Fresh Ingredients

On Wednesday October 24, Rosa Mexicano will roll out the picnic tables for its first annual Fall Harvest Dinner, celebrating its renewed commitment to utilizing hyper-local flavors and farm-fresh ingredients throughout the year. Crafted by Culinary Advisor Jonathan Waxman, the menu will feature highlights such as Fall Guacamole with Toasted Hazelnuts and Pomegranate SeedsWild Mushroom and Chorizo Salad with Butternut SquashGrilled Lobster and Scallop Tacos with Papaya and Pumpkin Seeds; and Ancho Chile Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Whether it’s jalapenos and tomatoes from nearby Ward’s Berry Farm, frisee from Sparrow Arc Farm or apples from Lookout Farm, the dishes will celebrate local sourcing and seasonality with Rosa Mexicano’s authentic Mexican flair. Even chipotle-infused local honey makes its way into La Abejita cocktail made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Mezcal, crème de cacao and fresh lemon.

What: Rosa Mexicano Fall Harvest Dinner
When: 6:30pm-9:30pm Wednesday, October 24
Where: Rosa Mexicano Boston (155 Seaport Blvd)
Price: Tickets available for pre-purchase at www.rosamexicano.com for $45/person (plus tax and gratuity), which includes 4-course meal (cocktails purchased separately)

Cocktails/snacks:

  • Fall Guacamole Rosa Mexicano’s signature guacamole tossed with toasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds, served with fresh vegetable chips and tortillas
  • Otoño Rosado (Pink Fall) Herradura Reposado, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, fresh lemon, cinnamon and muddled strawberries
  • La Abejita (The Little Bee) Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Chipotle-infused local honey, Crème de Cacao, Mezcal, fresh lemon

Appetizers:

  • Roast Pork Flautas with spicy pineapple salsa
  • Oyster Tartar with shaved coconut, lime, guava and chili infused sea water
  • Ceviche of razor clams, bay scallops, pink grapefruit, mint, habanero chili and ginger

First Course:

  • Wild Mushroom and Chorizo Salad with sautéed butternut squash, chanterelles, smoked and roasted shallots, tortilla strips, and warm hazelnut-sherry vinaigrette
  • Grilled Lobster & Sea Scallop Taco with tomatillo salsa, jalapenos, Meyer lemons, papaya and pumpkin seeds

Entrees:

  • Duck marinated in Lavender, Black Pepper and Honey served two ways:
    Breast sliced and served with apples, pears, pickled walnuts and dark duck mole
    Legs braised, served with wilted kale, Brussels sprouts, fall root vegetables and Serrano sage butter

(Vegetarian option available upon request):

  • Goat Cheese Chile Relleno with Hoya Santa, served with cactus paddle (nopales) timbale and roasted farmers vegetables

Dessert

  • Churros with milk chocolate cajeta, licorice dipping sauce and vanilla bean liquid flan
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake with ancho chile, peanut-sesame brittle, caramel, sea salt and roasted apple ice cream
  • Baby Cupcake sukkah with habanero-cinnamon candy glazed apples on a stick 

About Culinary Advisor Jonathan Waxman

Waxman is acclaimed as one of the pioneers of California cuisine, credited with being the first to bring its style, fusing French cooking techniques with the freshest local ingredients, to New York. As chef and owner of Barbuto in New York City, author of cookbooks “A Great American Cook” and “Italian My Way,” and a former contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, Waxman incorporates the distinct regional cuisines of Mexico to create truly seasonal dishes, reflecting his commitment to local ingredients and the restaurant’s authentic and inspired Mexican cuisine. 

About Rosa Mexicano
Rosa Mexicano, established in 1984, introduced what was then a “new” cuisine to the Manhattan restaurant scene when it opened its original Midtown East location.  In 2000, the next generation of Rosa Mexicano was ushered in with the opening of a second location near Lincoln Center, once again breaking new ground by featuring a stunning modern interior inspired by contemporary Mexican architecture and establishing the vibrant signature style of restaurants to come.  Today, the growing restaurant group has fourteen locations nationwide in New York City; Atlanta, GA; Miami, FL; Hackensack, NJ; National Harbor, MD; Los Angeles, CA; Washington DC; Chevy Chase; Downtown Minneapolis, Boston and its first location abroad in Panama City.  In 2012, Rosa Mexicano will open in San Francisco.  Rosa Mexicano continues its commitment to delivering authentic Mexican cuisine in an accessible, stylish and festive atmosphere. In 2012, Jonathan Waxman (of NYC’s Barbuto and Top Chef Masters) joined the restaurant group as Culinary Advisor, where the accomplished chef is curating seasonal celebrations that highlight the diversity of Mexican cuisine today, as well as lending inspiration to new menu items and invigorating some traditional favorites. www.rosamexicano.com