Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: How to make Coquito...

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

The Freakin Rican Restaurant: How to make Coquito with Real Coconuts

Sofrito Lovers,

Weeks ago, I was searching online for the ultimate Coquito recipe and fortuitously I came across the Freakin Rican's "how to" videos on YouTube.

Instantly, I fell in love with the fun and easy videos hosted by Derick Lopez; who along with his partner Victor Vargas are the CEOS of the Freakin Rican Restaurant.

Check out their brilliant website and make sure to support all of their endeavors!

I've posted my favorite video below; it's the "How to make Coquito with Real coconuts" video.  Watch, learn, and taste for yourself! ¡Buen provecho!

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: The Hottest Restaurants in Brooklyn Right now!

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

The Hottest Restaurants in Brooklyn Right Now, December 2015!


Sofrito Lovers,
One of my New Year's resolutions for 2016 will be to explore Brooklyn culinary culture! Undeniably one of NYC's food meccas, I've ignored the incredible eateries of this foreign land for too long! Living in the Bronx (Boogie down forever), I've always considered Brooklyn too far away to go and eat!  But, after reading numerous reviews of the amazing new places popping up throughout the BK, I realize I need to let go of my Brookyn-phobia and make the journey out there.  I can't keep missing out!

The article below, from, is a good place for us Brooklyn Foodie Newbies to begin our food treks through the BK!  Read it, go taste it for yourself, and always: Buen provecho!

The Hottest Restaurants in Brooklyn Right Now, December 2015

Does Brooklyn have its own unique culinary identity apart from Manhattan? Are all the young, ambitious chefs and restaurateurs opening in Brooklyn these days? And are any Brooklyn restaurants worth the train/cab/boat/helicopter ride from the Upper East Side? These are all questions that can be debated, endlessly. But one thing's for certain: There are a lot of terrific new restaurants in Brooklyn right now. Here they are, in map form.

Added in December: Le Garage, Llama Inn, Zurilee Pizza Bar, Parkside, Take Root
Added in November: Cassette, Cozinha Latina, Black Tree BK, Pizza Moto, Tilda All Day
Added in October: Lorenzo's, Werkstatt
Added in September: Moku Moku, The Food Sermon
Restaurants are listed based on opening/reopening date.



Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Making Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Making Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup

Sofrito Lovers,

As much as I try to be healthy and avoid packaged foods, I can't help but love Ramen and Ramyun.  For those who aren't in the know, Ramyun is Korean style Ramen.  I find Ramyun flavors a bit more interesting than the Japanese ramen. Also, the serving size is larger than Japanese ramen as well.

Ramyun is extremely versatile; you can add vegetables, meat, eggs, and other spices to doctor it up.  When I'm feeling adventurous, I add frozen veggies, thin-sliced onions, and pre-cooked chicken or fish. Most times,  I keep it simple and add spinach.

Here is my sure fire way to prepare a simple, delicious, and fun Ramyun!

1.  Get your ingredients together:  Ramyun packet, soup bowl, spinach, and 2 1/3 cups of water.

2.  Open your Ramyun packet and make sure it contains: Noodles, a vegetable packet, and a flavor packet.

3.  Heat the water (medium-high heat) in a pot until it boils.


4.  Add the noodles to the boiling water and stir for a minute.

5.  After a minute, add the flavor packet, vegetable packet, spinach, and cook for 3-4 minutes more.  If you're adding frozen vegetables, pre-cooked meats, or raw vegetables, then cook a few minutes longer.

6.  Once your Ramyun is cooked, then serve it in a soup bowl and enjoy! Slurp away folks!  Now that you know how to make some delicious Ramyun, go taste for yourself!  ¡Buen provecho!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Leave the Taco, take the Cemitas...

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!
Sofrito Lovers,

The article below breaks down Mexican sandwich culture in NYC to a tee!  I'm a huge torta (or cemita) lover!  How can you beat a sandwich with breaded chicken, avocado, sour cream, tomatoes, jalapenos, and fried red onions on it? 
Tortas can come in a limitless assortment of combinations!  They're flavorful, hearty, and really satisfying.
In the article, the author mentions some of the best places in the City to get tortas.  I love the spot he mentions in El Barrio, Vallecito, which I think is ten times better than any of the taquerias in the neighborhood.

So when you've got a sandwich craving, skip Subways and visit one of the spots mentioned in the article below!  You won't regret it!  Now go taste for yourself!  Buen provecho!
 A chicken milanesa cemita on Tulcingo Bakery's bread. [Photographs: Craig Cavallo]

Leave the Taco, Take the Cemita: Why NYC's Tortas Beat its Tortillas Every Time


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Sofrito Magazine/Marcha Cocina

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Sofrito Lovers,

The mini-review below was originally published in Sofrito Magazine, a wonderful webzine started by Chef Nelson Gonzalez Gonzalez.  Nelson has always been supportive of this blog, so I'm returning the love and support.

Sofrito Magazine is simply incredible.  It features a wide variety of articles about Latino cuisine, incredible food photography, recipes for Latin American dishes, and interviews with up and coming Latino Chefs.

So if you believe in supporting Latino culinary culture and Latino business, then check out Sofrito Magazine at:


Marcha Cocina:  A piece of Spain in Washington Heights.

By Benjamin Ramos Rosado, Sofrito Magazine

Tapas!   For many, this five-letter word evokes memories of fun filled nights with friends in Madrid enjoying fine wine and those small dishes of incredible fare.  For those of us who’ve never been to Spain, enjoying the various tapas bars in New York City is the closest we can get to those raucous Spanish nights. Whenever I crave those wonderful Spanish flavors, I go to Marcha Cocina in Washington Heights. 

Located on W. 171st St and Broadway, Marcha Cocina is a cozy restaurant with a fully stocked bar and several small tables set out through the space.  The modern décor features stark white walls and tables, silver metallic chairs, and a few pieces of Spanish art on the walls. 

Despite the cold and clinical décor, the ambiance is warm and inviting; you can’t help, but feel welcomed when smiling servers greet you as you enter and the bartender goes out of his way to shake your hand. Marcha’s multi-ethnic and multi-generational clientele gives it a unique appeal that other tapas bars downtown lack; this isn’t some hipster or yuppie hideout, it’s an open and inclusive community space.

Marcha’s menu is divided into 9 sections: Ensaladas, Sopas, Sandwiches, Croquetas, Tapas, Charcuteria, Quesos, Platos Fuertes (mostly Paellas), and Cocas. Whenever I visit, I focus primarily on the salads and the tapas.  I’ve got nothing against the rest of the menu, but when I visit Marcha all I can think about are the tapas. 

Usually, I’ll start with one of my two favorite Ensaladas, which are the Marcha Salad and the Espanola Salad.  The Marcha Salad consists of grilled chicken breast, mixed greens, hearts of palm, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, croutons, manchego cheese and lemon dressing.  The Espanola Salad consists of mixed greens, grapes, goat cheese, almonds and white asparagus with passion fruit vinaigrette.  Both salads are light, refreshing and flavorful; they’re the perfect way to start a meal of delicious tapas.

I could write volumes about the tapas menu, but I’ve chosen to highlight my three favorite tapas dishes: The Marcha Calamari, Las Papatas Bravas, and the Pollo y Platano Croquetas.  I must mention that the Gambas Al Ajillo (Shrimp sautéed in garlic, olive oil, and chiles) and the Albondigas (Beef meatballs served with sofritos, green pepper demi-glaze, creme fraiche and tomato) almost made the list, except for the fact that I order my top three far more frequently than I do the others.

Of the three, the Marcha Calamari is my favorite.  The floured calamari is cooked to perfection; it’s soft and has the right amount of chew without being too rubbery.  Seasoned with a smoked paprika aioli, the calamari has a wonderful balance of sweetness and smoky piquant flavor.  

The Patatas Bravas are a classic tapas dish, made of fried potato wedges smothered in Brava sauce.  For those not in the know, Brava sauce is a spicy tomato sauce made with paprika, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar.  The crispy potatoes’ starchy flavor perfectly complements the brava sauce’s spicy flavor.  I would advise you to order the dish with half the amount of sauce, because the chef can be a bit heavy handed with it.

The Pollo and Platano Croquetas are incredible!  They’re made of plantain dough stuffed with organic chicken and served with a Tabasco based aioli.  The chicken filling is moist and well seasoned. These croquetas remind me of Alcapurrias, which is a type of fried Puerto Rican delicacy.  The Tabasco based aioli rounds out the dish by providing a delightful kick of heat and acid.

Marcha Cocina may not be a popular pub on the streets of Seville, but that doesn’t matter!  You don’t have to travel all the way to Salamanca to enjoy Spanish pub fare, just take the A train to Washington Heights and visit Marcha. You won’t regret it!  Buen provecho!

Marcha Cocina
4055 Broadway
New York, NY 10032
(212) 928-8272

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Arroz con Salchchas

A Spoonful of Sofrito:  A Pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life!

Recipe for Arroz con Salchichas Carmela

Sofrito Lovers,

Youtube is an amazing culinary school!  I can't tell you how many times Youtube videos have helped me piece together a delicious recipe.  The video below is by an incredible Boricua Master Chef Yvonne Chinea; her channel is extremely popular!

After watching one video, I was instantly hooked to her channel!  She's the archetypical Puerto Rican mother, simultaneously, doling out wisdom and delicious meals from her kitchen.

The video is of her "Arroz con Salchichas Carmela" (Rice with Carmela brand Vienna sausages); it will have your mouth watering and tastebuds singing!  Watch the video, cook, and taste for yourself! ¡Buen provecho!