Tuesday, February 5, 2013

IN GOOD TASTE: INNOVATION AT RESTAURARE

A RECENT VISIT TO TULUM, MEXICO uncovered the Mexican restaurant of our dreams. So discretely tucked away off the main road that even a local taxi driver had difficulty finding it, the beautifully-designed open air Restaurare felt like an oasis of creative vegan Mexican food. It’s no wonder that the restaurant’s name is inspired by the philosophy of restoring the spirit. Chef Karla Madrazo’s and her partner Roberto Mattocks’s vision for a restaurant was one with as little environmental impact as possible, and one that respected animals and humans. “The goal is to give vegetarians, vegan or anybody, the chance to know and taste delicious Mexican food, but consciously and happily,” explains Karla. The Chef’s talents are evidenced in thoughtful dishes that combine tradition and innovation—a result of inheriting her mother’s cooking secrets and a modern education at culinary school. “I grew up with a mother so good at cooking Mexican food that I just have it in my cells,” Karla tells us.

And here is where she shares a little history lesson… Prior to the 18th century, restaurants didn’t exist— only taverns where travelers could get soup, a drink, and sometimes a place to stay for the night. In 1765, a man named Dossier Boulanger hung a sign outside of his Paris tavern that read in Latin: “Come to me, men of tired stomachs, I will restore you.” At Restaurare, this sentiment is executed to perfection. We left our dinner full, energized and warmed by Karla’s and Roberto’s genuine affability. As we fantasize about them opening up a second location in New York City, please enjoy these recipes directly from the Chef:

TACOS PIBIL

Pibil soy ‘meat’
1 piece bitter orange
½ cup water
1 tbsp recado rojo
1 tbsp vegetable seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 cup texturized soy

Mix everything together in a pot and put on high heat. When it is boiling add the texturized soy, integrate really well with a spoon and turn off the heat.

Tip: If you can’t find ‘recado rojo,’ try finding achiote— a red paste that mayans used to put on their faces during rituals. You can mix it with dry oregano, onion, garlic, black pepper and salt and make your own recado rojo!

Xnipek
1 piece red onion
2 pieces lime
1 piece habanero chili
1 tsp salt
1 pinch black pepper

Cut the red onion into small cubes or ‘brunoise’, add the juice from limes salt and pepper. Cut the habanero chili really small and put it in. At the beginning it will be spicy but with time you’ll start to feel it is less spicy. Correct seasoning if needed.

Black bean spread
1 pound black beans
¼ piece white onion
1-2 cloves  garlic
salt to taste

Put everything in a pressure pot and cook as you usually do. I like to leave the water for beans a little bit salty so when cooked it’s flavorful (the water has to taste with a hint of saltiness). When they’re cooked, process the beans with some of the cooking liquid and the spread is ready!

Tip: if you want the spread even more flavorful try sautéing white onion and garlic (chopped), add the processed beans and correct seasoning.

Tacos
3 pieces handmade tortillas
3 tbsp black beans spread
6 tbsp pibil soy ‘meat’
¼ piece iceberg lettuce or any local (finely sliced)
3 tbsp alfalfa sprouts
3 tsp xnipek

Plate the tacos as you prefer, or you can follow Restaurare’s presentation:

To start, spread a tablespoon of the black beans on the tortilla, then 2 tablespoons of the pibil soy. Top it with lettuce, alfalfa sprouts and xnipek on top. Try keeping everything in the middle so as you’re plating it looks neater, and serve.

COCONUT CHIA SALAD

Vinaigrette
2 pieces lime
1 tsp dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
5 tbsp organic coconut oil
1 tsp chia seeds

Salad
1/3 piece romaine lettuce (or the local one you prefer the most!)
¼ piece cucumber
1 piece tomato (wedges)
½ piece carrot (sliced)
1/8 piece red onion (sliced)
Sunflower or pea sprouts, preferred amount (or any available sprout)

How to get there:
The vinaigrette is really easy: we’re making an emulsion from the acidity of the lime and the oil from coconut. Mix the lime juice with the Dijon mustard, chia seeds, salt and pepper (still you will have to correct seasoning at the end, depending on the ingredients). Whisk really well before adding the oil until you see it starts to make a few bubbles. Then, start adding the coconut oil slowly so it can integrate while you keep whisking. Ingredients change from one place to another so maybe you’ll need more lime or more coconut oil but the taste has to be a little bit salty so when mixed with the salad it is still flavorful.

Try to get a crispy cucumber, a sweet tomato, a powerful red onion and limes with a lot of juice.
Choose the ingredients you like the most for the salad, we chose these because they’re local, fresh and tasty, toss them with your homemade vinaigrette and enjoy!

Tip: you can try other vinaigrettes with the same principle of getting and acidic ingredient and any type of oil.

 

Learn more about the restaurant at:
Restaurare

Photographs courtesy of Restaurare

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

GET TO KNOW: ELI ESCOBAR

Eli Escobar

ELI ESCOBAR is not only one of the most talented and in-demand DJs around, but he is also one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He’s DJ’d around the world for over 10 years and is one of the founders of the Tiki Disco party at Roberta’s in Bushwick. In 2012, he released “Work It,” and remixed for people like Lana Del Rey, Holy Ghost! and Armand Van Helden. We were lucky enough to have him DJ at our Launch Party. Let’s get to know him a little better…

Has the NYC dynamic been a big influence on your sound over the years?
I’ve been here my whole life. My first couple of years in the Bronx and from then on in Manhattan. Surely, the cultural and artistic diversity of the city in the 80’s had a huge impact on me. Since things have tamed down a bit— maybe not so much. But, it’s still my city and seems to define me to the core. There’s always so much going on here, and no shortage of good DJs playing great music. So being a DJ and producer who always dabbled in a bit of everything, I’m not sure it would have been as easy in another city. When I go to other places to DJ, a lot of the people who come out tend to express frustration with the lack of resources or activity in their home towns. I think it’s safe to say that is never an issue here and it keeps you going and influences you along the way.

Your go-tos guaranteed to make people lose their minds on the dance floor?
Mousse T.’s “Horny” (Radio Slave and Thomas Gandey Just 17 Mix) never fails. If it’s an older crowd I always like to play Janet’s “The Pleasure Principle”. The mix from the 12 inch.

What are you currently listening to? What’s inspiring you these days in general whether in music, art, style?
I listen to Eric B and Rakim’s 4 albums non-stop. But that’s old. I like Bat For Lashes so much you’d think I was a 16 year old girl. As far as style, I’m still dressing the way I did in high school, so I might need to find some new inspiration on the fashion tip.

How long have you been vegan and what led to the change?
One year. I was vegetarian for a good 10 years, then went back to eating everything. Over the last few years, I started really loving to cook and in the process, becoming very aware of how the food industry works. I like to believe that what keeps most people from changing their diets is just ignorance and a total disconnect between what they’re eating and where it comes from. I would hope most people would make the decision to avoid meat and dairy once they were made aware of factory farming and how evil it is. For me, it was a very easy decision and never a struggle at all. Except in airports! I’ve learned to always have a huge ziplock bag in my back pack with nuts and fruit in it otherwise I would die.

Fave vegan spots in NYC and elsewhere on your travels?
I live across the street from the Dosa man who has a food cart at Washington Square South and I eat his food probably twice a week. It’s so good. I also love the restaurant Kajitsu in the East Village. Everyone (vegan or not) should go there and have the extended tasting menu, it’s lifechanging! Honestly though, I think it’s best to cook at home as much as possible if you are choosing to live on a plant based diet.

What’s next for you?
I have a new EP coming out next month that I did with my friend Nomi from Jessica 6 who is the best singer I’ve ever met and a full length album right after that. And more DJing of course!

Find Eli Escobar on:
SoundCloud
Facebook
Twitter

 

Eli Escobar photo courtesy of Kenny Rodriguez