Mission Cantina

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I’ve said it once, twice, three times a lady, or man, and I’ll say it again. I could eat Mexican food, just about every day. And, yes, Mexican food here in the states varies, where you’ll get authentic Mexican cuisine, to Tex-Mex, and, a chef’s interpretation of Mexican food. Which ever it is, I usually love it all. And, when you can also find Chinese influenced dishes on the menu as well? I’m intrigued, and in. So, I went to Mission Cantina in the Lower East Side. 

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Although the restaurant itself isn’t large, it packs in a lot of personality. Even though the lighting is dimmed, there are electric colored lights and bright decor to make the space more dynamic. Throw in a big screen playing movies (Clueless was the selection on my evening) and an “open kitchen” (closed in, but only by a glass window to watch the magic happen), and we’re having a party. Ok, so, we’ve got Clueless playing and a menu with Smashing Pumpkins on it, I was thrown right back to my childhood. And then I saw a group of 19 year olds sitting across from me and realized they probably have no idea what any of this is. Sad. Anyway, to drink away my sorrows of feeling old, I ordered the 49ER (tequila blanco, lemon, smoked habanero, honey). This drink was amazing. It had the perfect balance of sweetness and spice, making it somewhat of a spicy margarita, with a twist. 

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To start, I had their Sunflower Seed Guacamole. I really loved this, especially since I’m a real fan of foods with different texture components. You have the freshness of the diced tomato, creaminess of the avocado, and the crunch from the sunflower seeds. The chips were awesome too, blue corn, thick and crisp, with a nice sprinkling of spice on top.  

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For my entree, I opted to go for the Chinese menu side, and went for the Salt and Pepper Fish Filet Over Rice. I was really pleased with my decision on this one. First off, the portions here are huge, which is pretty awesome, since I’d say it’s near to impossible that you’ll leave feeling hungry. In fact, you could probably pack up half of it for another meal. On top of a large bed of sticky white rice, is a generous portion of fish, lightly battered and fried, liberally seasoned with salt and pepper. The pieces of fish are delicate in flavor, but super delicious. Slight caution with this one though, it’s pretty spicy, which, I loved, but, should be thrown out there. A good cure is to fight spice with spice, so, just take a few extra sips of a 49ER.

The Shorts:
Name: Mission Cantina 
Location: 172 Orchard Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Definitely. And when I do, I’ll switch it up and order some tacos or one of their massive burritos. 
Would I recommend it? For sure. The service is great, the food is delicious, they’re throwing 90’s all over the place, what’s not to like?

 

The Little Beet Table

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So, I eat plenty of “fun” food, aka, junk. And, that’s totally fine (according to me), because I balance it out with healthy foods. The Little Beet Table recently opened up in Flatiron, focusing on gluten free, wholesome cooking and healthy eating, so, I had to check it out.

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The wooden clad, minimal aesthetic is warm and sleek, and everything on the menu looked great. Nothing says kicking off a healthy meal like a cocktail, right? Whatever. I ordered the Campana (milagro tequila, jalapeño, sriacha, cointreau). I really liked this one, it starts off a little sweet, but you get the kick from the jalapeño right away. It has a great balance, not too sweet and not too spicy, but will warm you up for sure.

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Then, to start, I had the Vegetable Crudite (mint raita and roasted red pepper hummus). I shared this starter, but it’s not a bountiful dish, so, it could totally work as a solo appetizer too. However, it’s full of flavor, and the colorful veggies and delicious dips make it a really satisfying starter without ruining your appetite for the rest of the meal.  

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For my entree, I ordered the Slow Cooked Salmon (avocado caponata, pistachio and black olive oil). I loved this. The salmon was perfectly cooked, and the slow technique really keeps all of the juice in, leaving you with a very flavorful and tender piece of fish. The salmon sits atop the avocado caponata, with chopped eggplant and veggies, somewhat similar to a ratatouille. The flavors are savory, and the dish is light, but substantial at the same time. 

The Shorts:
Name: The Little Beat Table 
Location: 333 Park Avenue South, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. The cocktail was awesome, the food was delicious, and the service was great.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. In a city where you can get lost in a sea of “fun foods”, it’s nice to have somewhere to get a delicious, and healthy, meal.