CHICOJULIO

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Love, love, love margaritas and tacos, well, all Mexican food for that matter. So, I went to check out CHICOJULIO on the Upper West Side.

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This Cantina-style restaurant offers live music, and, when I was there, it was by way of a three-piece jazz band. Not necessarily what you’d expect from a Mexican restaurant, but actually a really nice surprise and touch. The aesthetic is clean, yet vibrant in color, and definitely goes with the tasty selection of food and drinks. For a beverage, I ordered The Smokey Cucumber (Blanco Tequila 100% Agave, Fresh Cucumber and Lime Juice, Egg white, Agave nectar, Chili infused Mezcal). I really liked this, the drink was smooth, with a refreshing crispness from the cucumber and lime, and followed by a little heat and smokiness from the chili and Mezcal. 

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To start, we had their Guacamole (made to order with tortilla chips). You can choose your preferred level of spice, which I really liked. The chips had a great crunch, and went very well with the rich, creaminess of the guac.

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For my entree, I ordered their Trio Taco De Atun (Seared sesame crusted tuna loin, white cabbage, chipotle aioli, lemon zest, served on corn tortilla). This was so good. The portion is really generous for such an affordable price, and the ingredients are fresh and abundant. I loved how substantial the rare tuna was, and how flavorful and delicious the whole dish was. 

The Shorts:
Name: CHICOJULIO
Location: 768 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, the food and drinks were great and the ambiance was very fun and charming.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. I recommend going for dinner on a night when they have some live music, it makes everything a bit more vibrant.

Pain d’Epices

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Next stop of my 12 Best Bakeries In NYC Challenge from Gothamist’s list is Pain d’Epices in the Upper West Side. 

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This quaint little bakery is cozy and welcoming with a variety of freshly made Viennoiseries and other French pastries, tarts, and breads. 

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I got something sweet and something savory. I first chose their Cheddar Scone. Aside from it being the size of my face, it just sounded great. And, it was. It was buttery, herby, and had a subtle cheddar flavor, not overpowering the whole scone and making it overwhelming. The outside was perfectly crisp just around the edges and the inside was soft and buttery. 

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Then, I went for their Moroccan Croissant, powdered sugar on the outside and a pastry cream with honey on the inside. The exterior was a bit crunchy, and then the inside is hollowed out from the pastry cream and honey inside after the baking, giving it a soft and light texture and sweet flavor on the inside. 

The Shorts:
Name: Pain d’Epices 
Location: 104 West 70th Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, they’re so friendly there and the treats are so tasty.
Would I recommend it? Yes, and be sure to look out for it, its a bit easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled for the tiny store front.