Taste of the Union: Back to School Treats

What have I been eating? You mean, outside of the trail mix I’m eating out of the bag, like some eco-friendly, organic trough? Plenty of good food, despite my long nights and early mornings.

Starting with a refreshing cocktail from the new bar, made with the last (sob!) of the Rhubarb liquor from Root, a splash of Fever Tree tonic, and Owl’s Brew Pink and Black tea-infused cocktail mixer. Much better than my last attempt, a drink that tried to mix cognac, coffee, and ginger libation. Not great.

These sweet citrus sodas from Q, the makers of my favorite tonic, are also great in cocktails, although lately, I’ve just been drinking them out of the bottle after school. They’re slightly bitter, like they’ve been steeped with the fruit rind, and are not too sweet.

Dinners have been, with the exception of my bangin’ tacos, fairly lackluster, and chiefly consist of whatever combination of meat + beans/rice + cheese/sauce I can inhale before the gym or before I pass out in bed. This is one of them, but I think it’s a clever one. Kraft mac and cheese is not gluten-free or friendly, but, as I have discovered, the cheese powder is okay for those with gluten sensitivity. Behold, Easy Quack. Replace the noodles with tri-color quinoa, add some creme fraiche, hot sauce, salt, and pepper to the cheese powder mix, and voila! It was awesome underneath grilled chicken.

This was another late-afternoon supper, a very easy cheese pizza, courtesy of the kind folks at Amy’s, who sent me a coupon. For the price, a heartbreaking $11 and change, it’s a relatively small pizza, and personally, I prefer the Trader Joe’s version, with a thinner crust and cost. But this had a really comforting, nostalgic flavor, like an amped-up Ellio’s with a thick, dense crust and a pervasive sourdough flavor, which I loved.

In fact, lately, tons of gluten-free treats have been coming in the mail! This all-purpose baking mix was from Glutino, and I used it to make some really delicious pretzel buns. It made quite a lot, too- eight baby slider rolls, six regular burger rolls, and two hot dog buns, which I used for…

These! It’s basically my rebuttal to the Red Robin Oktoberfest burger, which I cannot eat. Expect a post later. The sausages were especially unique, as they were made from buffalo.

These are the last of the Sugarfina gummies, the chili-ginger hearts, that I ate as a treat for finishing up some CivPro cases. These were very, very clever- a sweet, chewy gummy shell surrounding a spicy, jammy center. Really strong flavors.

This chocolate and almond tart from Hail Merry was also a treat for finishing assignments. I’m like a dog, I need incentive to do tricks or file memos. It was very, very rich, and I ended up taking two and a half days to finish it. Please, admire my bite.

Also, I swear this isn’t some sort of implicit ad from Crate and Barrel, advertising their adorable square plates. It’s just an indication that I need to get new plates. Unless you’re really into this one. These cookies are from a sweet company called Keep It Real Food Co, and all their products are gluten-free and vegan, which is also awesome. I’ve been eating their granola in oatmeal, on pancakes, and in cereal, too.

Fridge oatmeal, easy for early and fast breakfasts, in a multitude of flavors.

And finally, the FRCP, my new best friend for a million years, or until comfortably retire at the ripe, old age of 26, and my second best friend, CVS Gold Emblem blueberry-flavored cranberries with chocolate. They’re weird. I’m weird. We work it out.

Brooklyn Salsa Mole Tacos

With an enormous rainstorm and a chilly wind, we’ve finally ushered the oppressively hot summer out and have welcomed in autumn. I forgot how much I missed those good New England fall evenings. My new place is on the top floor of the building, and has an advantageous position both for a pleasant view and smoky winds, coming in from the fields and filling the place with that scent I so missed while abroad.

Last evening, the Bedfellow and I decided to mimic the smoky scents with a dinner reminiscent of that pungency, using an ingredient we picked up at the Fancy Food Show. This is Brooklyn Salsa’s newest creation, a hot mole salsa that speaks more like a sauce.  I can’t give it a higher opinion- it’s the best jarred mole I’ve ever tried, with absolutely no fatty or oily texture to speak of, with a smooth, rich flavor redolent with roasted chili peppers, sesame, and chocolate.

The tacos had equal aplomb, coated in crema, queso fresco, avocado slices, and roasted tomatoes. Color me gauche, but I love Hunt’s fire-roasted canned tomatoes. They added a decent depth of flavor without diluting the sauce, and if anything, contributed to the strength of the more roasted flavors.

With those and the aforementioned toppings piled on fresh blue corn tortillas- a pleasant and snappy diversion from the blank white corn canvases, we had ourselves a wonderful autumn meal. Making these vegetarian would likely also be fun, as I can imagine the flavors would translate well to squash or other dense vegetables.

I’m curious to try the other salsas- I’d love to see if they’re as dualistic as dips and sauces as this one was.

Sugarfina Part I

Sometimes, treats come in that I’d just love to share. Whenever popcorn comes in, I know it’s time to give my Dad a call, and when anything with meat or cheese arrives at the door, the Bedfellow is mysteriously present. Gummies are a tough one, though. Nobody I know really enjoys them like I do, so when they come in, I typically have to eat them myself or coerce a willing participant into enjoying them with me. I swear, the fringe benefits of being my friend are ridiculous, if you’re not a total asshole. 

Recently, Sugarfina sent a gorgeous box filled to the brim with gummy and chocolate candies, sourced from France and Germany. These are unique because they’re impossible to get unless you’ve got ties to the gummy mafia or are in the candy industry yourself, as they’re made for the company under different names. So in a sense, they’re gummy curators. They sent over a very Foodette-ish selection, the bulk of which I’ll present in candy pornalicious fashion here.

The Belgian Ale gummies were my favorite, by far, although from the convincing taste, I’m still not quite sure if they were gluten-free. The flavor was fantastic, with a very fruity, malty bite right at the start, very tangy, with a yeast-flavored edge. I don’t know how they did it, outside of actually infusing the candy with beer. Not only does it taste like a beer, it tastes like a good beer, one I’d actually drink. It only adds points to the fact that each gummy is shaped like a foamy beer stein, with a marshmallow cap at the top. Likely one of the most unique products I’ve had all year.

They sent a boozy chocolate, too, the Absinthe Cordials. The construction of these was interesting. From what I discerned, the absinthe syrup center was coated in a mint sugar candy, surrounded by milk chocolate, and yet another hard, green candy shell. A crispier candy than one might expect, with a very convincing mint flavor, though as a former frequenter of absinthe and its friends in Parisian bars, I’d liken this to more of a pastis flavor, as the licorice doesn’t come out as much as I’d like, but could also argue for the absinthe as it is bright green and does have a grainy crunch reminiscent of a sugar cube in absinthe. So clever.

The final cocktail candy came out a little squished in appearance, but are ridiculously fun to eat. The Cuba Libre gummies are firm and jellied pyramids of alternating cola gummy and rum gummy, with a semi-liquid gel center of rum. The rum renders them piquant, the cola makes them sweet. There’s a spiced tang to them that really evokes drinking a cold, icy cocktail, and each gummy is perfectly bite-sized. I love them. These would be the coolest party favor.

Bacon white chocolate pretzel bites were next, which I did admittedly eat despite the better judgment of my stomach. It wasn’t worth the headache, unfortunately. While white chocolate is a unique base for a bacon-based treat, it was the predominant flavor and lent a dysfunctional sweetness to the candy that even the salty bacon couldn’t balance out. 
The sugar peach sweethearts were next, and were the perfect treat to eat while studying intentional infliction of emotional distress and celebrating the end of summer. They mimicked everything fun about a ripe peach- a little fizzy fuzziness in the sour sugar coating and center, and a very perfumy, floral, yet honeyed flavor. Cybele at CandyBlog reviewed these, and said they were like “little miracle pieces” in how deftly they encapsulated the fruit, which I found quite apt.

I only had enough in me to try these five, but I still have five more to go through! I’m all sugared out. More tomorrow!

Pinkberry Tomato Basil Greek Yogurt Parfait

Everyone was apprehensive, from the teenage girl behind me, whose eyeroll could have been seen in Texas, to the older woman in the front of the line. She shook her head wordlessly, overcome with the frivolity of my decision and whatever alternative decisions had led to this monstrosity, the one to get tomatoes and basil on my Greek yogurt. And, as I was quick to remind the dubious server, balsamic vinegar and sea salt. If I was going to eat a creamy salad after the gym, I was going to do it right.

“Are you sure you don’t want our new butter pecan?” she asked, offering me a bite-sized sample as a last-ditch effort to sway me. But I held my ground.

“No, I don’t think that will go as well with tomatoes,” and I smiled. It was a big, wolfish grin as I watched the three servers make my yogurt, each glancing anxiously at me, the mercurial masochist, as they fished tiny julienned shreds of basil out of a container and arranged plump cherry tomatoes atop the white, thick yogurt at the bottom of the cup. $3.88 and I was sitting outside at last, ready to enjoy my veggies.

Pinkberry sent me a gift card to try out some of their new selections, and I was excited to have hit the jackpot with their two savory offerings of Greek yogurt, three if you could the cucumber mint smoothie on the shake menu. This flavor features a fresh yogurt base, local to Fair Oaks Farms, standard to all the Greek yogurt selections, with grape tomato halves, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt. Ordering it is a little clunky- I wasn’t sure whether the yogurt was alongside the sweet selections, if each flavor combination had its own yogurt, or if it used one collective base. Unlike the sweet Pinkberries, this is spooned, somewhat gloppily, from a bowl near the toppings. Consequently, the texture is not as smooth or as silky as the mixed yogurts- it is thicker and melts very quickly. The top half of the yogurt was melted by the time I received it.

I wonder if the yogurt would benefit from additional flavoring, especially with this combination. The strong flavor of the yogurt, tangy and concentrated, was impossible to avoid, no matter how many tomatoes and herbs were in each spoonful. The acidity of the balsamic vinegar didn’t help, and any aged sweetness was virtually undetectable. The strongest non-dairy element was the basil, herbaceous and extremely fresh, almost citrusy against the other elements, and was, with the fresh tomatoes, the only real ‘sweet’ part of the dish. And I couldn’t help but yearn, as I looked at the pallid color of the yogurt, for the silky, sweet, milky flavors of a burrata or fresh mozzarella ice cream in lieu of the staunch Grecian cream.

I’m torn as to how I feel about this, because its innovation as an entree and a dessert is frankly, groundbreaking, setting it apart from the trendy truffle and bacon ice creams and adding elements that almost make it wholesome. My entire lunch came to a svelte 200 calories, and refreshed me after the gym and the hot afternoon. But was it any more satisfying than a real salad, or for that matter, a sweet frozen yogurt? As an ambassador for its flavors, it’s not a very good representation. It’s a technique that is already used in fine, experimental restaurants like wd~50 and Eleven Madison Park, and is clever and accessible for a larger market, but needs significant tweaking before it can sway the suspicious.

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Three weeks off gluten, and only one transgression so far. But life isn’t all neatly highlighted casebooks, amaranth flour, and health clubs. There’s the extremely important matter of dessert, which I confess I wasn’t too concerned with until 90% of it was off-limits. It’s gotten to a point where I’m shipping the Cookie Monster hardcore and clicking through the Betty Crocker product page before I go to bed, restless, dissatisfied. 

Speaking of Betty Crocker, she now has a new line of gluten-free desserts that are not only anointed by the gods of Putting Things on Shelves I can reach, but are actually tasty, too. At $4.79 for a box of rice flour and chocolate chips, the thought of paying mid-2008 gas prices for cookies was irritating, but intriguing. The cookies are easy to prepare and even easier to screw up- unless you use a few good tricks.

I read reports of these that were ridiculously varying- from crispy, flat cookies that had to be scraped off the pan to puffy, barely baked dough, so I tried to be preemptive. I didn’t change any of the ingredients, but did chill the dough for about two hours before baking.

Baked, the cookies range in size from penny to pasty, and are soft enough to cover a stripper’s nipple. They’re gorgeous and came out exactly like they did on the box. It seemed that despite the light color on top, the flour cooked much more quickly on the bottom, and didn’t absorb as much butter as regular cookies do. They left the pan greasy– personal injury greasy. I’d advise you use a non-stick pan in addition to butter, though, as they were inexplicably sticky after and were difficult to remove from the pan.
The flavor is extremely buttery. Combined with the very toasty, salty flavor of the rice flour, it almost tastes like a thick, more crumbly pancake, like Bisquick. With milk, the nutty flavor comes out even more, the resulting sips after each dunk tasting like the bottom of a bowl of cereal. I realized later that they reminded me of Rice Chex because they’re effectively made with the same base. They aren’t really viable for dunking. They hold together well enough, but the milk just gets absorbed into the cookie and makes it unpleasantly soggy. All in all, I really liked them. They weren’t spectacular, and they are still really expensive, at approximately 30 cents for a very small cookie, compared to those giant $2 buckets of chocolate chip cookies at the store for about 8 cents a cookie, but are much more pleasant of an alternative than I thought possible.

Liddabit Sweets Dorie Bar

I just joined a new fitness club in town. It’s pretty tony, with warm towel service, and private showers and changing rooms, and not a single meathead or college student in sight. That’s the most impressive part- or at least it was, until I saw the cat video. In addition to individual televisions, the gym also has a communal one with a slightly creepy, Big Brother-esque set of rotating messages like, ‘stretch before you exercise!’ ‘drink lots of water!’, and the ever-popular, ‘Planet Fitness is the enemy! Down with Planet Fitness! Glory to Supreme New York Sports Club!’ Sometimes they show videos or tips for women’s fitness, but today was something special. They showed a music video that looked more akin to something you’d see on Buzzfeed’s list of 28 Cat-Related Exercise Videos You Must See In Your Twenties- a fake advertisement slash music video for cat exercises, like the ab cruncher and paw extensions. It was mesmerizing, and absolutely nobody but me made any notice of it.

In other news, this is a candy bar I tried a while ago, back before the gluten sensitivity bullshit kicked in. This stuck out like a delicious sore thumb at the Fancy Food Show, with one of the more fascinating flavor combinations and packages that I’d seen. Liddabit Sweets has been around for a while, famous for their gourmet takes on classic candy bars. The Dorie, their newest bar, features a dark cocoa cookie base with a salted caramel ganache topping and chunks of sauteed dried apricots with black pepper, surrounded by milk chocolate. As I expected, the flavors were extremely ambitious, but not nearly as cohesive as I wanted them to be. The black pepper and interestingly, cardamom, are front and present, followed by jammy dried apricots and chocolate last. The cookies, salt, and caramel get lost in the more strong, spicy flavors.

I can’t say this is entirely surprising, but like the popcorn with brown butter, the overarching need to balance the richer, desserty flavors of chocolate and caramel with citrus and fruit elements leads to an imbalance in favor of the more acidic ingredients. It tastes like a piece of fruit cake, with the softness of the cookie acting as somewhat of a pastry. It’s much messier than I expected, which makes it difficult to share. Not bad, but lacking the distinction the ingredients lead me to believe it would have to set it apart from your average Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar.

Trader Jacques’ Beurre Meuniere Popcorn

I miss Paris, but lately, I’ve been feeling pretty lucky to have not come down with gluten issues while there. I found this gem at Trader Joe’s while elbowing West Hartfordites for the last litre of coconut water and bitching about the price of Udi’s. Popcorn isn’t my favorite snack, but I do love the flavors it can come in. What is it about popcorn that makes manufacturers so adventurous? Frito-Lay, where’s my brown butter and lemon potato chips? My pumpkin seed and caramel pretzels? This popcorn made me squeal, then go through the seven stages of grief at a distinctly rapid pace as I checked for the gluten-free label. Luckily, it’s safe to eat, so I grabbed a bag and ran home.

On a whole, I’m more inclined to buy bagged popcorn than I am to make it myself. It’s less greasy, has better toppings, and there are none of those terrifying unpopped kernels. Trader Joe’s makes a reliably good popcorn- super creamy, with a crispy, fresh crunch. The idea of brown butter powder intrigued me, and when combined with lemon, thyme, and other herbs, it sounded pretty magical. The popcorn is plentiful, very francophilian, but is somewhat of a kvetch-22. It has lots of tasty flavor powder, but that powder does make it much messier.

The brown butter flavor is nuanced- the lemon is surprisingly strong and fresh, followed closely by the thyme. Both give a bit of a sweet, epicurean edge to such a typically savory snack. Unfortunately, the brown butter isn’t as noticeable as one might expect or desire. Crunched quickly, the lemon is the primary discernible flavor, leaving the butter behind in a gently nutty, toasted finish. This ends up tasting somewhat redundant as popcorn already has that flavor. I’d have liked to have a better balance of sour and savory, perhaps with some sea salt flakes or less lemon. Tasty, but not as distinct as I’d anticipated. 

Roast Chicken with Wasabi Goat Cheese and Tart Cherries and a Free Long-Winded Post!

Woof. I mean, like, really, woof. Emphasis on the woof part. If you came to the site for the insightful commentary on food, history, charming personal anecdotes about DH and the kids, and artful photography, get the hell out. For the next three years, I’m going to be complaining about Connecticut, law school, gluten, and home decor!

For the remaining three of you, Mom included, you’ll be pleased to know that my roving bachelor lifestyle has allowed me plenty of time to cook and study in equal amounts. It was refreshing to come back from a study session after a beast of a contracts case in anticipation of the meal I’d planned for The Bedfellow and I. I’ve finally finished my first week of law school- just 150 more of them, and I’ll officially be an attorney. Cool, right?

On another note, I’ve been trying to find ways to cook and interact with this new change in diet. As of this moment, I’ve cut approximately 98% of gluten out of my diet. It’s really difficult, but the change is positive and just makes me feel much better than I’ve been feeling. I’ve tried to take a centrist approach to it, in that I’m not eating gluten unless I’m presented with something so incredible, ephemeral, and perfect that the benefits outweigh the risks. Then, I can work around the crippling headache, chills, itchiness, tightness in my skin, sweats, general fatigue, and muscle aches.

As a note, and for clarification, I don’t profess to have any official gluten allergy or celiac’s disease. I have not been diagnosed by a doctor, nor have I made any other significant changes other than realizing the issue at hand- namely, that when I eat gluten, my body feels awful almost immediately after. It’s as simple as that, and I’ve been working to alter my diet to reflect this new need. Don’t think that I’m not trying to resist it, either. I broke the other night and ate a cookie and paid for it in physical ramifications severe enough to force me to lie down for a few hours until they subsided. It’s hellish and strange, but I’m working through it. I won’t stop looking for the best brownie until I’ve exhaustively worked through the long list of gluten-free products. And you’ll still see plenty of gluten-ridden products on the website, but The Bedfellow will be tasting them and relaying her notes to me instead. This isn’t so bad. Hopefully, it will encourage me to make healthier changes, and the ensuing energy and good feelings will help me maintain them.

So, last night, I made us roasted chicken roulades with wasabi goat cheese and tart cherries. The recipe was easy, and came from an abundance of food in my new apartment. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) I had a little round of chevre from Capri that I was excited to use, and The Bedfellow brought some powdered wasabi over. I pounded the chicken flat, and added the cherries, which I’d roasted with lemon salt and olive oil, to the cheese and stuffed the breasts with it. I roasted them in the juices leftover from the cherries, and topped them with wasabi powder and a little more lemon salt.

They were delicious, filling, and pleasantly spicy. This rambling, of course, is both to let you know that I haven’t overdosed on ramen noodles in a fit of panic with school, and also to announce Cookbook Week, which I’ll be starting next Friday. I have seven cookbooks, and I’ll be cooking a recipe from each, all gluten-free, to share with you and give you thoughts on my results. This one was my own, of course, but my trials and tribulations will be broadcasted as they come.

Enjoy!

Foodette
(Bonus GF Gratify pretzel and smoked almond chicken tenders with hot mustard pic!)

Umpqua Oats Super Premium Oatmeal Salted Caramel Meltdown

Hi! 

Do you remember me? I’m just an old writer, I know. But it’s a little different than that. I know I left you back on that wide, dark internet street some fifteen days ago, but…well, I’ve had the tests, I got the paperwork, and I have something very important to tell you. I’m your blogger. I’m the one you imprinted upon early in the morning after you had your nightly Mountain Dew. I’m the one you reached out to when you needed humor and implicit gay shenanigans. I hand-fed you your first bites of truffled popcorn, cheeseburger-flavored pasta, and, well…

I’m back, baby.

And I have a new apartment, a working, reliable internet connection, and new vocabulary under my belt. It’s like they cryogenically froze me for two weeks and uploaded me with information about blown fuses and summary judgment. What could be better than that? I’ll tell you: in my hamlet of West Hartford, close to the home of my new, shiny law school, I come bearing gifts of pretentious oatmeal! This is Umpqua’s Salted Caramel Meltdown, not to be confused with Chocolate Temper Tantrum or Vanilla Sensory Overload that Causes You to Fire Questions at Strangers About Dogs. And what kind they have. And what their names are. And when you can come pet them, instead of answering their inquiry as to what time it was, ten minutes ago.

You look so big! Here, let me feed you some of this oatmeal. Just try it. I know it’s ridiculously flavorless, which likely makes it accessible to a wide audience of Millenials and busy moms, but it’s filling and reliable, too. The chunks of salted caramel and miniscule pecan shards are easy to digest, if lacking in substance, and the whole thing is just one snide ‘on-the-go’ fallacy away from a car accident. It’s yet another rider atop the wheezing, dying salted caramel horse and if it doesn’t go away, I fear the universe may collapse on itself, producing an endless string of punny breakfast foods in trendy flavors for the offspring of the busy people purchasing them for $4.20 plus tip.

Whew.

If you must play the game, you’ve got to know the rules. This applies to the concept of using hyperbole and trends, in this case. If you’re audacious enough to use the words ‘super,’ ‘premium,’ ‘salted,’ ‘caramel,’ and ‘meltdown,’ in your product’s name, I expect to see all five in spades. The deceased Quaker on the Quaker Oats canister has more flair than this. It’s as bland as its audience and doesn’t even have the fashion sense to boot. Umpqua is yet another follower on this endless bandwagon. Hopefully it will run out of gas sooner rather than later.

Rosa Mexicano’s 10th Annual Ice Cream Festival, Boston, MA

Recently, on the eve of Whitey Bulger’s trial verdict, as it were, the Bedfellow and I made our way out to Boston. Boston and I are complicated. I see it as a lumbering, boorish, insouciant version of Manhattan with worse transit, and it hates me because I’m pretty. Unfortunately, it’s closer to my area than New York, and when we were offered the opportunity to test the Ice Cream Festival menu at Rosa Mexicano, it was more prudent to go to the Boston Seaport location.
Four hours and three changed reservations later, there we were, complimentary agua fresca in hand. My go-to-hell outfit may have been preemptive, but it certainly wasn’t in vain. Damn you, Boston, and your terrible drivers and perpetually sneered co-eds. The Seaport location is the newest of the Rosa franchise. 
We started off our dinner outside, right next to the water, with two cocktails and our ‘appetizer’ ice cream, a guacamole treat based off the tableside guacamole Rosa Mexicano is famous for. This guacamole is similar to its savory counterpart in name and key ingredient only—the avocado element is kept the same, replaced with avocado ice cream, and the savory add-ins are swapped out for white chocolate, raspberries, coconut crumble, fresh mint, and two types of sauces, served with cinnamon and sugar bunuelo chips.
Visually, it’s an impressive end to a meal that presumably includes guacamole, something I’d like to try the next time I go to Rosa. It’s served in the same molcajete, with the same giant serving spoon and the red, white, and green colors mimic all the colorful veggies inside the guac itself. Flavorwise, I can’t say that I felt the same balance. Some of the mix-ins worked brilliantly. I’m speaking to the mint and raspberries especially, providing an acidic and bright element that really coaxed out the light vegetal note of the avocado ice cream. Some lime juice or zest would have been perfect. However, the remaining toppings and bunuelos overwhelmed the ice cream, especially the raspberry sauce, which inexplicably caused the ice cream to have a strangely astringent flavor, and it ended up tasting too much like a generic sundae. 
Luckily, the sauces are served on the side, so you can add as much or as little as you please, or do as we did and just dip the bunuelos in them. The bunuelos are too fragile to hold up to the weight of the ice cream and serve more as visual props than key components. Also worth noting is that this will make a cumbersome, if playful date dessert. The chips are caked with cinnamon sugar and come with a written guarantee of spilling all over your shirt, skirt, or in my case, bow tie.
We followed that with the ice-cream stuffed churros. They come three to a plate, in three different flavors, underneath three different crumbles. The first was cajeta and sweet cream with chocolate ganache and chocolate crumbles. The ice cream was virtually indistinguishable beneath the fried pastry, but the chocolate crumbles stole the show, with a dark, deep, unsweetened flavor. A rose and hibiscus ice cream followed. This was the strongest in flavor, but would have been better sans churro. 
My favorite was the plantain and peanut butter, with peanut butter crumbles. This was the most balanced and had the most indulgent flavor. Unfortunately, the size made them difficult to eat in one bite or share, as each was rather leaky.
We took a break from ice cream to have a few drinks. The Silverado, with blood orange, blueberries, mint, and tequila, was summery, if a little vapid in flavor, but the Rosa take on the classic Michaelada was outstanding. The few sips I had were amazing- the drink was served with a tomato, cucumber, habanero, and pepper popsicle that melted with each sip. 
It was like drinking a boozy gazpacho, and the fresh vegetable flavors tempered the rich beer. My chief complaint was the amount of chile salt atop the glass- visually impressive, but far too intense for the size and components of the drink.
We finished our tasting with three paletas, or Mexican popsicles. These were served in vintage glasses, with various flavored crumbles at the bottom, fruit slices, and a white chocolate and spice rim. Fun additions, but ones that unfortunately took away from the fresh, intense fruit flavors of the popsicles themselves. We were encouraged to dip the popsicles into the crumble, which we’d somewhat wearied of at this juncture, but they wouldn’t stick to the pops and sat lifelessly at the bottom. The flavors were entertaining, especially the horchata-inspired popsicle, with soft, frozen pieces of cinnamon-infused rice.
There are some definite remediable inconsistencies, from dish to dish and even within individual plates, but overall, the menu is light and creative, and follows well with the theme of contemporary Mexican food. Service was fine, although my request for a small palate cleanser of the gherkin and jalapeno sorbet was forgotten amidst the deluge of richer fare. Rosa is always great for splashy, creative events, and I was happy to have made it over to enjoy this one. Much thanks to Rosa’s PR team and staff for hosting us.