Sunday, March 10, 2013

Corazon y Miel (Bell)

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Guess who's back!!  What do you mean, you never even noticed I was away?  =(
Whatever!  Anyway, here's a little post on a cozy little spot that just had their grand opening a week ago.  Corazon y Miel didn't open up to great fanfare (probably because it wasn't a new spot in downtown or the westside, but Bell), but it was still cool to see the droves of family and friends that came out to support these guys on their official opening night.  I couldn't help but feel proud for these guys.  While there, we met a few of the staff members who stopped by to make sure all was well and ask how we heard about them.  From what I gathered, we were the only patrons there that they did not know.  It seemed like everyone else dining was related or tied in some way to support their business endeavor. 

Sure, I was there to support a local business as well...Okay, I'm lying.  Since when do I eat within a stone's throw from my house?  You got me.  The truth is, I was excited about the food and drinks especially at the price point these guys set.  If they're going to have a chance to make it in this hood, at least in the beginning, they'll have to keep these prices or the locals will go elsewhere.  

Now, while not much was said about this opening and it almost went under my radar, what I did hear was pretty impressive.  Automatically, these guys were bundled together with notable city stalwarts, La Casita Mexicana and Rocio's Mole de Los Dioses.  That's jumping the gun a little bit, if you ask me.  That reminds me of all these bozos that like to proclaim Lebron the next Jordan or Andrew Luck the next Manning.  Sloooow dowwwwn.  I'm sure these guys don't need the added pressure.  Besides, La Casita and Rocio have years on these guys who are barely in their 30s.  They made their bones...  Maybe the fellas behind Corazon y Miel will reach that level, but that's unnecessary and unfair adulation for all of the aforementioned parties, in my estimation. 

Anyway, best of luck to these guys.  As much as I liked the service and as much as I looked forward to trying a few items on the menus, I liked some things more than others and I found some components of certain dishes a little underwhelming.         





Corazon y Miel (formerly Epoca restaurant).



Signage yet to go up.  



Complimentary bowl of spiced garbanzos, peas and peanuts.

Here's a little departure from your ordinary salsa and chips.  I liked these snackaroos.  I wish I had ordered a beer rather than a cocktail to pair it better with,,,but then again, I had no idea these would be sent out.      



Cocktails.



Votiva Margarita served in a Mexican candle glass.

 The cocktail list looked somewhat up my alley but I found most drinks on the sweet side for me but I'm sure most people would enjoy them.  I guess my mind was semi made-up when this drink arrived.  I've been over the pink cherry garnish for ages now, as it adds nothing to the drink but old memories of club drinks.  It's not something that should be used in a restaurant as modern as this one is.  We're not in the 80's anymore.  But that's just my 2 cents, as is everything else on this blog - but you know thisss, man..



Lima Prohibida - pisco, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit, lime, piloncillo syrup and bitters.

Here is another cocktail I found sweet for my liking.  The chicks would love it though.  I didn't see the point in the straw, whether you are a guy or gal.  If you ask me, this drink doesn't need a straw, especially one so narrow that I swear it's what you get at Winchell's to stir your coffee.   



Appetizers.

Wow, for someone that loves small plates and bargains, I have to return to try more of their appetizers.



Ceviche de Corazon - shrimp, octopus, salsa de cacahuate (not nuez/walnuts like the menu says).

This was probably my favorite dish from the meal.  It's usually a favorite dish whenever I get it, to be quite honest with you.  Irregardless of that, this ceviche was great. I especially enjoyed the added crunch from the peanuts.  It almost reminded me of the world famous La Guerrerense ceviche I had last year...ALMOST.  



 Avocado Frito - deep fried coconut and panko-breaded avocado with a mango and habanero chutney.

The fry on the avocado was good.  The crust was golden brown, crisp and delicious without being oily, while the inside was nice and creamy.  Still, its not a dish I'd order again.  The accompanying chutney was sweet, as it should be, but overall, I found the sum of it's parts too sweet for what I like.  And apparently, I'm not the only person that perceives this dish as being too sweet - they even listed this appetizer as a dessert option.  Huh?




Jalapeño y Tocino - bacon wrapped chorizo and cheese stuffed jalapeño on a bed of street corn salad.

This could have been my favorite dish as I loved the flavor combinations, but the jalapeño was simply undercooked.  My knife was just slipping off of this sucker as I tried to cut into it; clinging and clanging as it hit the plate.  If the jalapeño had been cooked through, this would have been a home run for me.  Instead, a stand-up double.  

  

I'm curious to try one of these flatbreads next time.



 
 Patatas Fritas with a green onion ash dip.

For some reason or another, they thought the food was taking long to come out, so they sent out this complimentary appetizer.  Again, they did a great job frying the food and the dip was great as well.  I'll gladly return for a beer at the bar and snack on these all night.  And for the record, I didn't think at any point that the food was taking long to come out.  I thought the spacing of the dishes were just fine.  Either way, it was nice to feel that they were being mindful and considerate.
  


More alcoholic drinks!  It's like they know me.

 I love horchata, so this spiked version is on my radar for my next visit.

 

Corazon y Miel Michelada - Coronado Pilsner, sangrita, honey and salt rim.

The cocktails left me with a little to be desired but the beer concoctions were a-okay.  This one is made with semi-local craft beer.  Hooray beer! 

  
 

Sangritas.

I've been trying to come up with an authentic sangrita recipe for awhile now.  There are 2 camps when it comes to sangritas.  One side vehemently argues against the use of tomato juice in making this preparation while the other side is all for it.  I've yet to experiment to see which version I prefer but I'm leaning on making one, not tomato based.  Authenticity aside, I'll go with what I think tastes better alongside a snifter of tequila.  The version that is made here, as explained by the bartender, is a tomato based one, apparently a handed down family recipe dating back almost 150 years.  Being that this was my first sangrita, I have nothing else to compare it to.  It was good though.  I'd like to have it with tequila next time.         



 Beer and shots.

I'm not the shot-taking type of fellow but if you are, they have a few for you to choose from.  The beer selection, particularly their draft selection, is more than suitable considering the food served here.



Corazon Burger - beef patty, bacon, grilled panela cheese, jalapeño onion jam.

For my entree, I got a burger with fries.  I thought it was okay but I can't say the same for the bun.  It was simply too dry.  This burger was lacking sauce because of it.  The patty was juicy but that wasn't enough tp compensate for the dry cemita buns.  Also, the fries that came with the burger were plain.  So the whole thing put together was a bit of a disappointment.  Gimme a soft buttery bun or toasted one with a sauce or spread on it and gimme aioli or ketchup at the very least to dip my fries, and then we're talking.



Main dishes.

Told you they have the fried avocado listed as a dessert as well!



Jamaica Palanqueña - silver tequila, hibiscus syrup, honey, lime and moscato rosè.

Another sweet drink that goes down easy.  Chicks would love it!



Bistec Sobrebarriga - mezcal marinated flank steak, chimichurri, crispy polenta and stewed back beans.

The star attraction, for me, on this entree were the beans.  They were hearty with damn good flavor.  Some of the better black beans I've had.  Great stuff!  The polenta, on the other hand, was lacking seasoning and seemed there only to provide some crunch.  Otherwise, it seemed out of place.  Now, as far as what should have been the feature attraction...the steak was chewy.  No other way to put it.  I ordered it medium and it came out medium-well.  But I'm not sure that made much of a difference as some of the more medium bits were also chewy.  The chimichurri, my favorite condiment, was very good though.

There were several hits and misses for me but the menu is ambitious and affordable.  I feel that it's definitely worth returning to, to try more dishes and revisiting favorites.  I wouldn't put them on the Mt. Rushmore of Bell's greats though.  In due time, grasshopper.
         

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