Latin Takeover

Latin food is big! So many varieties to keep us satisfied, Mexican, South American, Puerto Rican, I love it all. Being from Europe, Latin food to me was always food from Spain or Portugal, and it was time I was seeking out some of this type of Latin food to scratch an old itch! You already know that here in New York City there’s plenty of choices, and I’m fairly certain I picked some of the best!


Ortiz is a restaurant located in the brand new Luma Hotel in Times Square, and is owned by Chef José Garces, a restauranteur and Iron Chef. He is Ecuadorian-American and this restaurant of his serves food inspired by the Basque Country, which is located somewhere between Spain and France. I thought it sounded intriguing and made reservations for me and a girlfriend.

We started out with Lechugas, a salad of Baby Lettuce, Lemon Confit and Brioche Migas, and Albondigas, which are Beef and Pork Meatballs with Piperade and a poached egg. Loved the salad, super fresh, the meatballs were delightfully different, and the egg was king. My friend chose the Paella with Prawns, Mussels, Calamari, Bomba Rice and Marcona Almond Picata. It was packed with seafood, it was awesome. I had the Vierias, which were Diver Scallops with crispy leeks in Vermouth and Truffle Cream. This was absolutely amazing, I definitely wanted more. We obviously needed to try the dessert, Pastel Vasco, a Basque Style Curstard Tart with apricot, olive oil and pistachio, totally delicious! I’m glad I took the time out to see what the Basque Country has to offer!


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I hang on to my friends for dear life, and when one of them moved to Philadelphia, and another was stuck in Massachusetts for quite some time, I was so happy when they both came to New York for a weekend, and of course we had to have dinner! Since I was on a Spanish kick (they always let me choose the restaurant, lucky me), I chose Toro in Chelsea. I visited his spot at the US Open in 2016, and been wanting to try this very popular restaurant owned by Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette. The original location is highly successful restaurant in Boston. The flavors of this eatery are Spanish/Barcelona style, exactly what I was looking for.

This restaurant offers the small plates concept, which I love so much. We all shared a few of them: Maiz Asado con Aioli y Queso Cotilija, which is grilled corn with aioli, lime espelette and aged cheese, super yummy. Coles was next, Brussels sprouts with spiced honey, hazelnuts and payoyo, an unexpected and scrumptious combination. Our proteins were Duck Chorizo a la plancha with Mole rojo, kumquat mustards and fried Sage, and also the Filete, a Porcini rubbed hanger steak with mojo de ajo, smoked sunchoke puree and crispy sunchokes. All the flavors of these two dishes were amazing, we were all swooning. Last but most decidedly not least, we shared a Paella made with shrimp, mussels, clams, chorizo, chicken and Calasparra rice. This was one of my favorite Paellas hands down, giving me flashbacks to vacations long ago in Spain. We all loved this restaurant!

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Well, we all know Bobby Flay, even the slightest of foodies know his name from the Iron Chef series. He has several restaurants all over the US, I’ve already tried his delicious restaurant Bar Americaine right here in New York, but it was time to visit his very popular restaurant Gato in the Village. This cuisine promises tastes of Spain and the Mediterranean. I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong with that….

With my daughter Sasha in tow, I dove into the menu. We had a trio of appetizers consisting of Eggplant with manchego and oregano; the Eleven Layer Potato with caramelized shallots and fried eggs; Pork Belly with smoked paprika and apple mostarda. These were great little bites packed with flavor. Next was a Pizza with bacon, mustard greens, salsa verde, mozzarella and Fresno Chile. It was light and crispy and spicy. Our main dishes were Pimenton Fettucine with chorizo and squid in a red wine sauce. You were getting pieces of the protein with each bite, it was very good. My favorite was the White Clam and Lemon Risotto with toasted garlic. My only issue with it was that I needed it to be three times the size, simply because I couldn’t get enough of it. Of course it’s not a shocker that Bobby Flay’s restaurant delivers on taste, but it can’t hurt to reiterate this fact!

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I wouldn’t be able to pick a favorite out of these three restaurants. They all are beautiful, friendly and seriously delicious, which again leads me to remember how lucky I am to live here!

Author: Gotham Foodie

Hello there, fellow foodies! My name is Erica, I was born and raised in Germany, and moved to the US, New York City to be exact, in July of 1987. I have worked most of my time here in the Big Apple as a bartender, but my true love is food. I cook just about every day, I search for good food everywhere, and pretty much always find it. I don't consider myself a food critic, I don't have the culinary background for that kind of expertise. I do however know good food, good chefs and good restaurants. I report back about my culinary adventures, and I choose to leave out my unsatisfactory experiences. We have enough negativity in our daily lives, I don't want to add to that. All the recipes in my FROM MY KITCHEN and DOTW blogs are cooked and prepared by me. All pictures are taken by me. I don't always eat everything you see in my pictures, but you bet your buns, I do try everything. Last but not least, you should know that I am a huge Top Chef fan. I have never missed an episode of the Bravo TV show. I have at this point visited almost 20 restaurants run by Top Chef contestants, and I'm continuously impressed by their skill, drive and passion. So I will continue to seek them out, and I hope you join me in my journey!

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