The Blog Where I Surpassed the Time Allowed to Post About Christmas and New Years, but Did It Anyway.
Happy Tuesday, readers! It’s roughly four (give or take) degrees in Minneapolis – not terribly ideal for anyone, since it was forty degrees this past Friday. Mother nature is clearly playing a not-so-funny joke on us all.
Updates! I hope you all had some happy holidays this season. I had the pleasure of flying out East to visit my mother and papa, and it was full of beverages, food, and family. My favorite things.
When I arrived, I flew into LaGuardia in New York City, so we planned on a lovely dinner in Greenwich Village at Cubana Favela. This Brazilian/Cuban hybrid restaurant featured beautiful, affordable, staple dishes that I would recommend for anyone to try. The atmosphere was appropriate to the theme – palm trees and twinkling Caribbean lights dawned the bar area, and fifties-style canvas fans waved in a circular swirl, reminiscent of cream mixing with coffee. The “stools” at the bar were even traditional conga drums.
We ordered an Argentinian Malbec from their menu (what other origin would you choose? I mean, really…), and we began with some of their beef picadillo empanadas. The term picadillo is derived from the Spanish verb “picar”, or “to chop”; it features herbs, tomatoes, and sometimes onions. They were savory, slightly crispy, but a little dry. The flavors were all there, and it was served with a cool, creamy cucumber-esque sauce.
Entrees were elegantly but heartily prepared, as if they were from a home kitchen. I had u10 sea scallops (a whole FIVE on the plate!) with creamed corn, bacon, and some rich beer-battered peppers, very similar to a Japanese shishito pepper – earthy, green, subtle flavors. I enjoyed this a great deal. My mother ordered the Paella; WHAT a wonderfully spiced dish! The rice was perfectly al dente, and the saffron notes swept across your palate in waves. Papa enjoyed a tender, braised pork shoulder with black beans and rice. We all enjoyed the rich spices of this dish as well.
Overall, I think this place is comfortably quaint. The service wasn’t extraordinary, but it was well worth eating there. I would dine there again, without hesitation.
If the initial meal sounds like something worthwhile, we haven’t even reached Christmas dinner. Appetizers featured a cheese ball, a meat and cheese board (I was ALL over that – Jarlsburg, Gorgonzola, Brie, and a few other delicious selections), and lox (!!!!). The menu included a fifteen pound ribeye, bacon and almond sautéed asparagus, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls, and curried-cranberry rice salad. Dessert was my FAVORITE – dark-chocolate cheesecake with sour cream topping – magnifique! There were eleven of us, and we all ate, drank, and enjoyed each other’s company. We even had a gift exchange, where I won some New York crafted beers from Ommegang brewery.
They no longer exist in my fridge, but they were some of the finest, richest-tasting brews I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. Pretty much everyone gave presents of food or beer, which, I think, says a lot about how awesome my family is.
Whatever the case, I flew home with only a small delay, and I had the pleasure of working, for the third time, New Years Eve at Sanctuary. We had a beautiful ahi tuna with crab claw and pineapple salsa, a subtle white chocolate sauce, and little tarot root chips to finish it off. I couldn’t think of a better place to be on that night – all of the servers sharing champagne toasts, counting down the last seconds to another year with guests, and big bear hugs to new friends from the evening. There’s nothing better than the buzz of a restaurant when it has an undertone of ecstasy and joy.
I believe that’s all for me today. Thanks to everyone who made my holiday so wonderful. It’s one of the best I’ve had in a long while.
Until next time, East Coast. With love from Minneapolis, xoxo.