Reviews: Fonda and Caravan of Dreams

4 06 2010

This week, Robbie and I finally hit up 2 places we’ve been meaning to go to forever: Fonda, a Mexican restaurant in Park Slope, whose chef is Roberto Santibanez (formerly of Rosa Mexicano). And, Caravan of Dreams– I had been once before but that was years ago.

P.S. We also went to S’nice- both the Brooklyn and West Village locations this week for the first time as well. Suffice it to say I didn’t take time to take pix because eating was more important. GREAT sandwiches. My fave is their Philly Cheesesteak. Pay the extra buck for Daiya!

Okay, so on to Fonda. We went on Wednesday night, and were sat right away in their beautiful garden.

We ordered guacamole, of course, which was great but beware to vegans: It comes with cheese- weird! But just ask for them to leave it off. We asked for spicy, and they actually made it spicy enough, which was great.

Guacamole, served with homemade tortillas

For our entrees, we shared a salad and enchiladas.

The Ensalada Verde was super good. Great dressing. Described as: Arugula, field greens, jicama, carrots & cucumber with almonds, sesame seeds, crispy pasilla peppers, basil-cilantro vinaigrette and cherry tomatoes. SO GREAT!

Ensalada Verde

The Vegetarian Enchiladas, Soft corn tortillas filled with sautéed spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, chayote and eggplant, roasted tomato sauce, and cilantro were incredible. We asked for no queso fresco or cream, but I didn’t feel like I had deconstructed the dish because the sauce was super flavorful and fresh.

Vegetarian Enchiladas

I love Rosa Mexicano, but what stood out about Fonda was that all the food- especially the ranchera sauce on the enchiladas just had way more flavor. I guess that’s what you get from a small, neighborhood joint that really puts time into their dishes, and believes in their food. It was really well priced too, which is always a plus. I’m excited to go back!

Today, we went to Caravan of Dreams for lunch. I only remember loving the Unchicken Nachos from my past visit, so we got those. They really are incredibly yummy, although the picture doesn’t do them much justice.

Grilled seitan, black bean chili, guacamole, salsa


After the nachos, however, things took a turn for the (somewhat) worse. I got the tempeh ruben which was…fine. Nothing too special, and not comparable to the one I had at S’Nice a few days ago. It was just rather boring for an $11 sandwich.

Robbie ordered the ANGEL’S PESTO PIZZA, with cremini mushrooms, vegetables, grilled marinated seitan. Sounds awesome, right?

The final product:


We expected a pizza…with those toppings.

However, the dish is actually a mound of random veggies (carrots?) with seitan and shrooms, covering a soggy piece of pita (with some great pesto, though- I must say). It was pretty hilarious actually, as there was nothing pizza-like about it, and while the seitan was rocking, it was more like a salad- a warm salad of steamed veggies and seitan. Weird.

We also had a pitcher of sangria which, while tasty, was pretty stingy for the $25 we spent on it.

I hate to give Caravan of Dreams a less than great review, and to their merit, the other dishes people ordered looked fabulous- so maybe we just made some iffy choices.

Has anyone else been there? What did you think?




Mexican Explosion!

20 12 2009

Robbie and I are unintentionally working our way through the Rosa cookbook. Here are a few recent successes. Robbie did 90% of the work (at least) on all of these. Few things beat coming home to him after a spin class, making a fantastic dinner for us.

The first is Zarape de Pato. Robbie did all the work on this one…We used MayWah smoked duck, which he marinated in a mixutre of chipotle in adobo, garlic, tomatoes, and jalapenos, and onion. The sauce is an incredible roasted red pepper habanero sauce. He also made homemade tortillas.

The next dish is straight from the cookbook and is called Salmon with Fruity Mole. The mole, which we had from a previous dish, is an incredible mixture of tomato, onion, cloves, ancho chiles, guajillo chiles, plantains, pineapple, allspice, garlic, Mexican cinnamon, cider vinegar, piloncillo, sugar and salt. Lots of ingredients, but well worth it. It is an incredible mole, that can easily be used for lots of different dishes. We pan seared MayWay vegan salmon on the grillpan, and made some black beans with corn. To assemble, we spooned some mole in the bottom of the dish, placed some of the bean/corn mixture above that, then topped it with the salmon, a pineapple slice, and cilantro.

Finally, after a sweaty spin class, I came home to a surprise dinner of lemon achiote grilled tofu tacos- homemade tortillas and guac as well! Achiote is my new favorite spice…it is really fragrant, and surprisingly sweet as well. Thanks, baby…

More to come!!

We’re driving to Ohio for X-mas, and while we’re there, we’ll be visiting Dragonfly in Columbus. We went last year, and it was incredible. Full review/pictures are in order.

Ancho chiles stuffed with “beef tenderloin”, shitakes, and cremini

26 07 2009

Rosa cookbook to the rescue…again! Their recipes are awesome- not always the easiest because the ingredients usually aren’t on hand- but they aren’t difficult to make once you have everything. The best part of this recipe, to me, is the roasted yellow tomato salsa that the stuffed chiles are served over. The combo of the yellow tomatoes (which Robbie found at the USQ greenmarket!) and the habanero make an incredible, creamy combination. I used homemade seitan to substitute the beef tenderloin, which worked great. Also, the recipe called for goat cheese. Instead, we used Sunergia Soy Feta, in their Tomato and Garlic flavor.

In Tomato and Garlic flavor

I’d never tried this before, and it was awesome. Just like (I remember) feta being…and it worked great in the chiles. We served it with Rosa’s red rice- which has ancho and guajillo chiles- and guacamole.

To drink, we had pretty cachaça (finally pronouncing it right- ka-cha-sa) drinks with sugar and lime. We tried Leblon cachaça at an Astor Wines tasting, and pretty much had to get it. So, Robbie made his version of a Caipirinha- a traditional Brazilian drink. It was pretty great.

Fruit CaipirinhaStuffed Chiles, Roasted Yellow Tomato SalsaGuac and Chips

After dinner, we watched a movie. Yea, it may have been Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret of the Ooze. It was…great…but the NUMNUM scene makes it worth it.