On Sunday, my darlingest Nia of @EatWithNia curated a Taco Cleanse Crawl- to make it healthy, we walked off the last taco on the way to the next!
The route: First was La Lupe: Carne Asada Taco on a corn tortilla with onion, cilantro, radishes, avocado salsa and lime.
Then Amaranto. I had a steak taco with caramelized onions, fresh cheese, watercress, chile de arbol sauce, Oh, and mushrooms- surprise! I picked every one out, including the one I started chewing on. ::cringe:: Krystal got a roasted chicken taco with avocado and chipotle-guajillo sauce. We were still a little hungry, so Christina ordered a crab toastada with fennel, avocado and chipotle mayo.
Followed by Los Hermanos. I got another steak taco, but my fascination by the process overpowered my interest in eating the actual taco.
Then Taco Santana. Christina bought a horchata, a beverage made of ground almonds, rice, barley, tigernuts, or melon seeds. She gave s little talk on it, too.
Finally we ended at Cholulita. We were pretty much tacoed out at this point, but still had a little room for something more. I got a bistec torta with my favorite tamarind flavored Jarritos.
There were two contest: one was to take a selfie at every location eating a taco and the other was to take a selfie eating a taco you wouldn’t normally eat.*
Though I’ve heard of crawls, I’d never done one. With Christina and her friend Krystal in tow, this was so much fun! I can’t wait for Nia’s next event: it’s all about chicken!
*I brought Nia a prosecco doughnut from my trip to The Doughnut Project. I walked in and handed it to her; she announced I automatically won the contest. I didn’t win.
I’m always getting tagged on food posts on Facebook, so when I got the tag for the prosecco doughnut video, I was intrigued.
The Doughnut Project teamed up with Ruffino for National Prosecco Day—August 13th—to make these glamorous prosecco-glazed doughnuts. I was tagged on Friday, and I was at the shop Saturday morning. They make their batch, and when they sell out, that’s it- so I made sure I got mine!
They’re selling them until the end of August, so act fast!
Saturday night was the night! The #avaeats all white party and potluck was an absolute success! Naturally, there were a few hiccups—but all the little things I worried about were nonexistent. We had a great turnout and variety of dishes from West Indian to Italian, and the never-failing tray of chicken wings from the Chinese spot. I can’t thank everyone enough!
I ordered an infused unicorn cake from @sugarhighbakes and they delivered! I offer them the opportunity to set up at the party and they gladly took it. I was a little nervous about them coming, I’ll admit, but they had a successful night and enjoy themselves, and I couldn’t ask for anything else. I know for a fact they’ll be getting some new business after this—mission accomplished!
I enjoy making pretty desserts, so I held that down on the contribution list. I made vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream and a white chocolate brush stroke, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate bark, and brownies in a brand new silicone mold that almost made me shit myself—I’ll tell that story another time. Angelena reminded me the day before that she is a pescatarian, so I had to run out to grab some shrimp and decided to make shrimp kebabs two ways: lemon and garlic and jerk, using the jerk seasoning my god-sister brought me from Barbados.
The contributing menu consisted of so many bottles of liquor, homemade rum punch for adult capri suns, lo mein, rasta pasta, quinoa with kale, potato and green bean salad, macaroni pie, a gluten-free vegan interpretation of doubles, chicken wings, homemade pickled red onions and hot sauce, flan, a bunch of cookies, marble cheesecake with Oreo and graham cracker crust, and the plethora of sugary shit I mentioned earlier.
Speaking of chicken wings, let me big up the contributor, Jeff, real quick for taking the initiative so whip out his handy-dandy camera and start snapping away! When I’m hosting, I have severe tunnel vision to make sure all of my guests are taken care of and I often forget to document the good times, so Jeff’s presence was clutch.
I made photo props and bought buttons and pool floaties to give away. There were contests for the best Instagram photo and caption using #avaeats: these were the winners.
Chéo drove up for my first event. I was entirely too happy he was here. He seen me host so he knows how I maneuver, so having him here was a huge help! He made sure everyone had drinks and food and got them everything they needed, and like always, he was the captain of the cleanup crew. He looked at me with hearts in his eyes the whole time; he was so proud of me when he saw how everything came together. He won’t stop telling me; this man of mine is always making me blush. I love that his friends came and supported me too. These guys are always a fun bunch.
I had such an amazing time. I’m exhausted, but I’m still on a party high. I put a lot of time, energy and money into concepts when I come out with them, so when I hear amazing reviews about anything I do I’m always grateful and always humble. I can’t wait to do this again!
I stole a few Instagram/Facebook posts because I’m screenshot mami: I like to see what I do through other people’s eyes.
After Angelena and I pigged out at Pearl’s, Christina met us nearby to continue our food-filled Saturday. Christina has proven time and time again to be a rider- I have no idea how she found Prohibition Bakery, but I’m glad she did! If you want a real boozy (min) (cup)cake, this is the place!
There were only a handful of flavors left when we got there: Pretzels & Beer, Old Fashioned, Dark & Stormy, Sangria, and Negroni. My favorites were Pretzels & Beer, made with Six Point Sweet Action Ale, Nutella, pretzel and white truffle, and the Old Fashioned, made with whiskey, bitters, orange, and a whiskey soaked cherry—but tasted everything like the typical black cake with icing served at every Trini wedding. We also tried Paloma rum drops with tequila and grapefruit for free!
clockwise: Old Fashioned, Pretzels & Beer, Negroni
clockwise: Negroni, Dark & Stormy, Sangria
I’m convinced the three of us walked out at the end of the night strangely tipsy off some cake! The alcohol doesn’t bake out, as one might think, because they add the liquor after they’re baked. These mini cupcakes are crazy boozy so you just might get carded, but each contains less than 5% alcohol by volume, in compliance with NY State Law.
Prohibition Bakery was founded in 2011 by a bartender and a chef, Leslie Feinberg and Brooke Siem. Unfortunately, their Clinton Street location closed down a few weeks ago after five years due to typical NYC rent hikes—a whopping 40% increase. They’ve since relocated and only offers delivery and catering services for now. Hopefully they’ll get another brick-and-mortar soon.
They even have a cookbook, so you can get boozy from the comfort of your own home!
Rainy Saturdays are meant for hearty foods. I can’t explain it, but there’s something about eating something warm and filling that comforts me when the weather’s yucky. My Angelena had one of her once-in-a-blue Saturdays off, so I headed over to her house for with every intention to figure out where to eat—after a nap.
Yes, I went to her house and took a nap. That’s what friends do. I was tired, don’t judge me.
I was craving something different, usually that’s Caribbean food for me. The thought of a bake & shrimp from Pearl’s made my stomach growl, so that was that. We hopped in a Juno—Uber was wild expensive that day—and we were on our way!
Angie had never been to Pearl’s, so I was too excited to take her. I knew she’d like the food and love the music; she danced the whole time she was looking at the menu. A bartender when the money’s right, she looked over their cocktail menu and was completely sold on the Sweet Bumper: sorrel, lychee wine, St. Germaine, champagne, candied sorrel flower. When she read out the ingredients, I’ll admit I thought it was questionable. However, it was so pretty when it got to the table, I had to have a taste. Two thumbs up from the both of us!
Angie gave up meat a few months back, so I automatically suggest the bake & shrimp. I was ordering one too, but I wanted to try something different. Tamarind is one of my favorite flavors, so the tamarind wings caught my eye. Macaroni pie is always a given.
If you’re looking for the perfect combo of sweet and savory—these tamarind wings are it! The order comes with just 8, so I had to exhibit a little self-control and not take an order to go.
The macaroni pie and bake & shrimp are always a hit at Pearl’s!
As I’m writing this post, I could go for an order wings right now! Where’s Angie?
I dropped the ball over the weekend, so Christina and I missed out on this year’s CurlFest. I promised her I’d find us a delicious brunch to make up for it.
My generation has left the free before 11pm scene and is now about day parties and happy hours—and brunch! I’m talking two-hour waits and lines out the door, as we take our brunch very seriously. I often forget I have an OpenTable account, but it usually comes in handy in these scenarios.
Searches for table for 2 people for 3pm.
The results were forwarded and Christina selected Amarachi.
Amarachi is a family owned restaurant in downtown Brooklyn—with obvious roots from Nigeria and the Caribbean, cooking up dishes like Jollof Rice and Suya and Curry Chicken.
We walked inside and it seemed packed! However, no one was eating. After looking around and putting 2 & 2 together, I realized they were having a private event. This would happen to us, right? Although they were hosting a private event, they were still open for brunch! Perfect!
We were seated by Jonathan as he went over the brunch special: a personal orange/mango/guava/pineapple mimosa carafe and entrée for $40, and their special Hennessy mimosa was available because it was such a beautiful day. I clutched my jade when he said those words—I’ve never heard of a henny mimosa, and although it sounded so intriguing, I had to pass. He left to give us some time to think about what we wanted to order. Christina decided on The Big Breakfast, consisting of Honey Jack French toast with scrambled eggs, home fries and turkey bacon, while I went with the Shrimp Linguini in a homemade alfredo sauce.
Jonathan returned to take our orders. When it was time to give him our selected mimosa flavor, Christina wanted mango and I wanted regular orange.
“Nothing about you is regular!”
You know that blank-faced, wide-eyed emoji? Yea, that’s what my face looked like. “Guava please?”
That interaction warranted a photo before leaving!
The turn-around was quick—very much appreciated with a mean case of the munchies. Christina’s Big Breakfast certainly was big, with fluffy slices of French toast and hearty servings of scrambled eggs and home fries. The homemade alfredo sauce was everything I expected. Christina didn’t know if that was a good or bad thing—it’s a great thing! With their Nigerian and Caribbean roots, I expected it to have a little extra kick of spice, and it certainly did! And I must mention how beautifully the shrimp was cooked.
I stole a bite of French toast off Christina’s plate—then I went back for a decent sized piece. I had to have more! Amarachi served one of the best French toasts I’ve ever had in my life. It had a natural sweetness we couldn’t pin-point, so I called my friend Jonathan over for a little inside information, hoping to get some secrets.
“We’re a family owned restaurant, run by four brothers, and to get our recipes—you’d have to marry one of the brothers.”
I love new recipes, but I love Chéo more, sorry not sorry!
I’m convinced my stomach is smaller than my fist, so I surprised myself when I ate about 99% of my plate! That shrimp definitely made it to the doggy bag. Yes, just those three. We struggled to finish our mimosas. We started mixing them to try to help each other out, but still no luck.
Christina and I had an amazing brunch experience at Amarachi. I came home bragging about the Hennessy mimosa I hadn’t tasted because I knew Ché would want to, so hopefully we can get another beautiful day to go!
Last summer, Magnum Ice Cream had their pop-up store in Soho where you could customize your own ice cream bar. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it and they close for the season.
Fast forward to spring of 2017- Magnum opened their pop-up this time in the Gansevoort area. The videos started circulating, so of course I had Sarah and Mimi meet me there to see what all the hype was about.
They have a variety of toppings to choose from: hazelnut crouquant, sliced almonds, goji berries, yogurt dots, chocolate covered sunflower seeds, edible rose petals, and dark chocolate-covered chia seeds to name a few. Unfortunately, you can only choose 3 for your customized bar. Then you pick an ice cream flavor- vanilla bean or chocolate- followed by the white, milk, or dark chocolate dip. Watching the process is so much fun. They throw your selected toppings into a drink shaker for a little bartender-esque action, dip the ice cream in the pool of chocolatey goodness, pour the toppings on the gooey chocolate-covered ice cream bar, then drizzle some more chocolate with a corresponding chocolate monogram disc.
I had a vanilla ice cream bar dipped in milk chocolate, topped with amaretti cookie crumbs, dried raspberries, and shredded coconut with milk chocolate drizzle. She was gorgeous!
Mimi had a vanilla ice cream bar dipped in white chocolate, topped with mini mint-chocolate chips, yogurt dots, and white chocolate pearls with milk chocolate drizzle. She was also very pretty!
Sarah had nothing, because Sarah is allergic to nuts. They usually have a packaged-away-from-nuts batch of ice cream bars sent from the factory, but we went on one the hottest days so it somehow melted while en route to the store.
So—believe the hype or not to believe the hype?
You better believe it! My combo was amazing, but I’d love to try those edible rose petals. I’ll be returning quite a few times this summer!