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Thursday, January 6, 2011

La Esquina

It's quite a funny and random story actually and I now have time to tell it...yes, all of it. Even the boring in between uneventful events.  

I am typically not the type of person to strike up a casual conversation with a stranger. Well, these days I am becoming more and more like my father. Who thought that was possible? I know, most people think I am an exact replica of the man in female form. The joke growing up was "We should have named her Roberta!"  My ears have been known to wander and I might end up sitting at your table enjoying a drink by the end of the hour but that is only on very rare occasions. 

Because Shannon was in town visiting and it just so happened to be New Years Eve we figured mani/pedi's would be the perfect accessory to our NYE dresses. We hit up my favorite salon in SoHo, Spazio. I tend to stick to the Chinatown Salons on any normal occasion however, what about my best friend being in town and NYE is not special? 

Spazio's mani/pedis for some reason tend to last longer than any I have ever had. I'm talking shiny toes after a two week open toed trip to London, Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome. 

After a horrifically hilarious spin class, I'm talking Star Wars theme song for the cool down horrific, we stopped to grab a slice at my favorite neighborhood pizza joint, Rubirosa, a quick flirt with the cute bartender and we were off to pamper ourselves! The pizza took a little longer than expected so we had to take it to go. Unfortunately in this chic salon we were not allowed to snack. Staring at the pizza box for the next hour was not easy.

For some reason, Shannon's mani/pedi took much longer than mine and after 30 minutes of sitting in the corner with my hands and feet under the fancy driers, my lack of being able to annoy chit chat with anyone got to me. As soon as a new drier opened up I high tailed it over and ended up striking up a conversation with my drier mate to my right. I believe the conversation started with...

Me: I like this color.
Drier Mate: It is a pretty color.
Me: Well I would normally do black but since I am wearing black, I thought I would go for a color.
Drier Mate: Wow did you venture far with grey.
Me: I tried! 
Drier Mate: I believe it is called "You Don't Know Jacques!"
Me: What a fabulous name! 

... and that's how it started. What started? Well, only my high profile status at the hot spot La Esquina. Turns out she had some connections too. After the next 15 minutes of discussing and reviewing the local neighborhood restaurants, she sent an email (funny how made a call just doesn't sound right these days) and I was in. 

After living in NYC for all this time I had never been able to get a reservation at La Esquina. I mean, I do live in the neighborhood. They should at least make an exception. But, no cigar.  I immediately made a reservation for me and my friends. We were extremely excited for Tuesday to hurry up and get here. We wanted to get our margarita on! 

The Cafe (Above)

The Taqueria (Below)

The Brasserie + Bar (Below)

To get to the Brasserie + Bar, you have to be special. Or at least that's how they make it seem. You enter through the Taqueria and speak with a nice looking gentleman who has an ear piece and clip board. Once you confirm your reservation they send you through the back door and down the stairs to the hostess. After you have checked in with the hostess, she sends you into the bar to wait for your table. To get to the bar you have to walk through the Kitchen. It's quite exciting. Then you enter this....

We all arrived roughly around the same time and our table was ready immediately so we didn't have time to relax and have a drink at the bar. I didn't mind. I was ready to get my eat on. 

After ordering some Mexican mixed drinks and margaritas, we all analyzed the menu and came to conclusions on what our taste buds were craving. 

I decided to stick with the Quesadilla de Huitlacoche which is mexican truffle, roasted corn, mushrooms, and queso oaxaca (no clue). It was the perfect size for me not to over eat. However, I also added a side of the grilled corn because, why not? When in La Esquina!

Shannon went with the Pollo Rostizado. They were two, very small soft shell corn tortillas with citrus-rubbed rotisserie chicken with cilantro and salsa verde. Because they were so small, I didn't ask her to share. They were gone quickly! 

Mike had the Reindeer special. Don't laugh. There is nothing funny about that. He literally had the Reindeer special. As much as my animal loving side was saying no don't do it, I did. I tried the Reindeer. It was quite tasty. I'm not going to lie. 

Another when in La Esquina moment, Kristen went with the Carne Asada with hens of wood mushrooms and pearl onions. She said it was amazing. 

We all tried a side dish. There were too many mouth watering dishes not to. 
As I mentioned before, I had to try the grilled corn. Corn on the cob is one of my guilty pleasures. I've been known to eat more than one. It was heaven topped with cheese. 

Everyone else went with the Plantanos Machos Fritos which they couldn't stop talking about so I might have had a taste or seven. 

Who wanted to waste calories on a salad. I know I didn't. However, they sounded delicious! 

The atmosphere was amazing. The design was amazing. The food was amazing. You bet I will be going back soon. Like next week.

And, guess who's having her birthday at La Esquina?!?


  1. I'm a huge corn on the cob fan, too. When we have it with dinner, I usually eat three ears. Although I've never had it grilled or roasted. I should probably remedy that at some point. :)

  2. Your photo's are beautiful! And the journey to get through to the bar sounds like something straight out of prohibition! 'Applauds you' for trying the reindeer!And yay for finding another brave female gastronome!

    Oh and many thanks for the wake up photo. Those were a very lucky pair of manicured hands:D

  3. Hey, *I'm* a Roberta! And seeing as how I never see my own name in print, that made me smile. (I was named after my grandfather, however.)

    I always love your restaurant reviews and photos. I was never all that enamored with NYC until I started reading your blog!