On Monday night at sundown the Jewish holiday of Passover began. Traditionally, families observing the holiday gather together around a dining room table to retell the story of the Jewish people's exodus from Egypt. The holiday is most commonly recognized by it's primary food, matza.
This year Passover began the day after my sister's wedding. Knowing we would be way too tired to cook or to host (my family usually hosts every year) my parents began researching alternatives.
Lucky for us, Rosa Mexicano was hosting their 12th annual Mexican Passover dinner at all of their locations, including their two spots in Miami. My parents booked the private room at the South Beach location and we quickly spread the word to all of our family coming to town for the wedding that if they would like to extend their trip and join us for the first night of Passover, we'd be giving the usual tradition a Latin twist!
We arrived on Monday night and the restaurant had a chalkboard sign in the entry way advertising the special menu.
I've now been to Rosa locations in New York City, Miami and Boston and I love to see the different decor in each place.
I am obsessed with the light up orange ceiling!
Outside the door to our private room was the guacamole cart. Always a good sign.
Inside the private room there was a menu at each place setting.
I snapped this picture right before we began reading. We had twenty relatives and friends join us.
Though it was Passover, we still had Rosa's signature guacamole. This batch had a great kick to it and much to my surprise, it tasted excellent on matza.
There were bowls of guacamole all the way down the table, but we also had a seder plate at each end, provided by the Rosa team. Could they make it any easier?
My cousin captured this moment of me pointing out each of the items on the Passover seder plate as my dad explained their meaning. You can see my three year old cousin is totally enthralled.
One of the traditional Passover foods is called haroset, made from apples, nuts and spices. The Rosa version was sweet and garnished with pomegranate seeds and slivered almonds.
They also prepared a very creative twist on maror (bitter herbs) which was a salad of roasted beets, scallions and avocado in a horseradish dressing. I didn't get to taste this because my grandmother was sitting next to me and devoured it, but judging by her behavior, I'm guessing it was delicious.
For the first course, each person was served a bowl of matza ball pozole soup. Instead of the traditional chicken broth, this broth was a deep red color. My cousin commented, "It kind of tastes like spicy V8."
Others called the soup "smoky" and "salty." Another shouted down the table, "I really love the fresh cilantro."
Also to start, we were served a salad with grated carrots, sliced cherry tomatoes, radishes, oranges, avocado and a honey-lime vinaigrette.
There were three entree options: one chicken, one meat, one vegetarian.
First up, the milanesa de pollo (chicken milanese) with matza breaded chicken breast, arugula, tomatoes, jicama salad and salsa verde.
The whole table agreed that, "The chicken was surprisingly moist and great with the matza breading. The arugula and the salsa verde really punched up the plate."
When the following dish arrived, I wasn't sure what it was because it was hidden inside white paper wrapping. The mixiote de barbacoa de res was a roasted brisket of BBQ beef wrapped in banana leaves with dried fruit tsimmes.
My mother said, "This brisket was so tender. It fell apart in the best way. It also made me want a half sour pickle." My cousin chimed in, "It tasted great with the guacamole on it too!"
Last, but certainly not least, the vegetable skillet tacos. I have to say, and my whole family agreed, this veggie dish was the best of the night! My cousin's husband called it, "A total home run."
A rectangular iron serving dish housed the grilled portabello mushrooms, sauteed Brussels sprouts, winter squash and asparagus topped with ranchera sauce and apple pico de gallo.
The veggies also came with three salsas, my favorite of which was the red hot tomato salsa (in front).
The veggies were so good, even the meat eaters were fighting over them.
The menu also included three yummy side dishes: refried black beans, green beans with shallots, jalapeno and almonds and noodle kugel.
The noodle kugel came in a very thoughtful presentation. I love the circular shape.
Though everyone was full to the brim, there was still dessert left to enjoy! The specialty for the Mexican Passover menu is copa de mango, which is a fresh, whole mango scooped out and filled with diced mangoes and coconut ice cream, then topped with raspberry sauce and served with a side of bunelos (which are like sugary wontons).
I am really not into fruit dessert, so I skipped this one, but those who sampled it said it was the perfect combination of tropical flavors.
I was so impressed by the Mexican Passover menu at Rosa. They did a great job infusing their signature flavors into the traditional Passover dishes like the haroset, the maror, the matza ball soup and the chicken.
I also have to give a major shout out to the Rosa South Beach team, who made our evening personal, special and a wonderful ending to a fantastic wedding weekend in Miami.
If you're interested in trying the Mexican Passover menu yourself, it is available through Tuesday, April 22nd at all Rosa Mexicano locations.