It's no secret that I love Rosa Mexicano. From my very first visit in Union Square in New York City, I was instantly a fan.
Tonight I went back again, this time to experience Rosa's new special menu called Desayuno Mexicano, also known as Mexican Breakfast. Breakfast for dinner? Don't mind if I do.
We arrived for our 6:30pm reservation and were greeted by the General Manager, Carolyn, who we met at the Fall Harvest Dinner. She escorted us to a great table in the center of the dining room.
Beneath our plates was the new Desayuno Mexicano menu, complete with a map of Mexico demonstrating the origin city or region for each dish.
Carolyn started us off with mini pomegranate margaritas. We had a laugh clinking our mini glasses.
We were also each delivered our own individual pitcher of agua fresca. Agua fresca is a non-alcoholic drink of water infused with fresh fruit and spices. Rosa makes a new flavor of agua fresca each day and today's flavor was fruit punch.
Given the bright pink color I was expecting the drink to taste very sugary, but it didn't at all. It tasted clean and refreshing.
If you visit Rosa on the weekends for breakfast you can order a cocktail called the horchata especial which is tequila, coffee liquor and horchata topped with espresso. Since we came for dinner, not weekend breakfast, it wasn't available, but instead Carolyn whipped us up a batch of the agia real which was Hennessy, cream and chocolate bitters.
I wanted to love this (mostly because it looked like dessert) but it was way too strong for me.
Though we had come to sample the breakfast menu, we couldn't resist ordering Rosa's signature guacamole. You would think after seeing guac prepared table side hundreds of times it would get old, but it doesn't.
The guac was as rich and flavorful as ever. And those chips! The Rosa chips are so addicting. We ate two full baskets. Shhhh! Don't tell.
The first breakfast dish to arrive was the machacado con huevos, shredded beef with eggs. Well, short rib to be exact. My dinner date said, "The meat was spicy, but really delicious. You couldn't really taste the egg, but it didn't matter. It tasted more like a dinner dish than a breakfast dish."
The short rib came with flour tortillas. Carolyn told us we could also have corn tortillas, but after taste testing both, my friend agreed the flour tortillas were the way to go.
I received my own version of the very same dish, but with tofu and egg whites. The tofu is marinated for 24 hours in apple, cinnamon, pineapple and spices giving the dish a slight citrus taste. The softness of the tofu and the eggs together inside the tortilla made for a yummy little roll up.
The tofu version of the dish was served with a beautiful side salad topped with juicy orange slices.
Next we were delivered the nopales con huevos, or as I like to call them, cactus eggs. Yes people, I ate cactus.
This dish is eggs served with cream, cactus, fried chile and roasted peppers. Because of the cream, the eggs have a much richer and decadent taste. The dish had a great smoky flavor that I really enjoyed.
The cast iron skillet comes garnished with a brioche bun stuffed with black bean spread.
Our last savory dish was the Mexico City chilaquiles, which are basically breakfast nachos. Scrambled eggs top a pile of chips which tops a slab of ham steak.
Carolyn told us chilaquiles are the ultimate hangover food and I could totally see that. Sober, I absolutely loved them. I could have eaten another entire plate. The dish had such great kick to it and the combination of the soft eggs with the crunchy chips was perfection.
When you eat your way down to the bottom you uncover the ham.
It was at this point we had the opportunity to meet Chef Antonio and hear all about the creation of the Desayuno Mexicano menu. The Rosa staff has been working on this special menu (and others that will debut this year) for the last two years. They traveled to Mexico to taste food from all the different regions and experience the local ingredients. Since coming back, they have been testing the menu items on their customers and refining based on the feedback.
Of all of the things they've been working on, one of the dishes Chef Antonio was most excited about was the prickly pear sorbet. He explained to us that as cactus plants grow older they grow flowers and those flowers can be used to cook with. The flowers come in many colors and we got the chance to sample the red prickly pear flower.
The sorbet was really fantastic. In addition to being a bright, beautiful color, it was very creamy and had a sweet, but not too sugary taste. It was shocking how creamy the sorbet was since it has no dairy in it!
Chef Antonio told us to be sure to come back for Rosa's Ice Cream Festival this summer when they'll be serving up all kinds of crazy flavors, including a frozen guacamole!
On our way out Carolyn handed each of us a gift bag which contained a schedule of all of this year's special events (including the Ice Cream Festival) as well as two kinds of Rosa's signature salsas. Yum!
Both my dinner date and I were supremely impressed by the Desayuno Mexicano menu. This is not your tradition brunch. If you want to experience this yourself, you are going to have to hurry! It's only available for two more weekends - this weekend and next. The last day to enjoy this special menu is Sunday March 10th.