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Chicken Tortilla Soup

10 Jul

A couple years ago, I had the best chicken tortilla soup ever at Iguana Cantina in Aruba. I’ve been trying to imitate that recipe ever since. I’ve tried many recipes, sampled other tortilla soups stateside, and nothing has ever come close. There have been soups that were too thin, too brothy, too tomatoey… but alas, I have finally got something as delicious as Iguana’s version!! Here’s a super healthy, thick, flavorful, chicken tortilla soup that’s gluten-free and made without cream! (Insert happy dance here).

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs), cut into large pieces
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped  
  • 2 red or orange bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 30 oz cannelini beans (two 15 oz cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • Optional toppings: corn, avocado, sour cream, tortilla strips

Directions

  1. Sautée carrots, celery, bell peppers, onion, and garlic until fragrant and soft. Put into slow cooker.DSC05839
  2. Sautée chicken pieces until brown on all side, about 3-4 minutes. Add to slow cooker.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker (except those marked “Optional toppings”)
  4. Cook in the slow cooker 8 – 9 hours on LOW or 4 – 5 hours on HIGH.
  5. Remove chicken and place in a separate bowl. Shred the chicken.
  6. Puree the rest of the soup using an immersion blender, or in a blender.
  7. Return chicken to the soup. Add corn if desired.
  8. Ladle into bowls, and serve with diced avocado, sour cream, or tortilla strips if desired.DSC05842
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Great Mole, but Skip Everything Else – New Rebozo, Chicago

4 Jul

Based on good Yelp reviews and a recommendation from a colleague, hubby and I decided to check out New Rebozo. Let’s start with the highs of the dining experience. Or should I say the “high”, singular. That was the mole fiesta, a plate of six enchiladas each covered with a different mole sauce. From left to right: classic chipotle chocolate, pumpkin, cinnamon, macadamia, guava, almond. My favorites were the pumpkin and the chipotle. The guava was to sweet for me but my husband really liked it. Overall, a very rich, filling, beautiful, and delicious entree.

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Now on to the rest: The guacamole was good, but overpriced at $10 for an ice cream scoop-sized serving. And , my husband’s famous guac is better.

New Robozo - guacamole

 

Shrimp ceviche was beautifully presented, but otherwise nothing to write home about.

New Robozo - ceviche

 

The chicken tortilla soup was beautifully presented, but odd – everything was arranged in the bowl, sans broth at first. And then the server poured into the bowl at our table…while the micromanaging chef/owner presided, providing additional instructions to the nervous server in Spanish. Somehow, the soup did actually pack some flavor, but it wasn’t really my style I prefer my own chicken tortilla soup recipe! (To be posted next week!)

New Rebozo - chicken tortilla soup

Speaking of the chef/owner – he greeted us as we entered the restaurant, and introduced himself again soon after we sat down. Hubby thought his white chef’s jacket was  too pristine – should it not be slightly stained from an evening’s work in the kitchen? But Chef was busy showing of menu items to us and other diners on a tablet. Certainly a tad unconventional but not a huge deal.

What was a bigger deal was the huge disappointment named Shrimp Tacos – the shrimp were overdone and rubbery, the tortillas were stiff and stale, and there was too much green sauce – perhaps an attempt to moisten the hard tortillas.

New Rebozo - shrimp tacos

Meanwhile, the chef/owner stopped by our table to check in with us constantly – Yes, we’re having a fine time, yes, the soup is fine, ok,  I already shook your hand three times already, and can I please just get back to a conversation with my husband?

So, at the end of our constantly-interrupted, meal, we weren’t really craving dessert. But by “Checking in” on Yelp, we could redeem a complimentary jalapeno ice cream.  It turned out to be a chocolate ice cream with a spicy kick. It was unique, but honestly, I’d prefer just a plain chocolate ice cream. I didn’t get much out of the spicy, burning sensation in my throat.

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The Final Word: Overall, the moles were delicious, but everything else was forgettable – I’d certainly like to forget the strange service at this place. 

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Info: New Rebozo, 46 E Superior Street, Chicago, IL, 60611 USA

New Rebozo Chicago Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Late Nite Funky Tacos: Velvet Taco, Chicago

26 Sep

Maybe it’s 2 AM and after several rounds of cocktails, your stomach is growling. Or perhaps date night at a fancy but overpriced River North restaurant didn’t fill you up. Not to worry, the Texas transplant, Velvet Taco, saves the night. They’re open til at least midnight each night, and until 4 AM on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Ironically, the velvet cake is probably the least appetizing thing there (and slightly out of place save for the restaurant’s name). Stick with the tacos, which you order individually.

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Everything is yummy, seriously. You can’t go wrong! Here’s the delish fish taco:

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This is casual and funky fast food, people. Don’t expect authentic Mexican here, but do expect awesome combinations of ingredients inspired by different cuisines, like Indian tikka chicken, Israeli couscous, Southern shrimp and grits, and Cuban pork. Have I made you hungry yet?

Velvet tacos

Info: Velvet Taco, 1110 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60610, USA

Click to add a blog post for Velvet Taco on Zomato

Knockout Fish Tacos: Cabo Fish Taco, Charlotte

28 Dec

In Charlotte, North Carolina, far from America’s southern border and any large body of water, I did not expect to find amazing tacos and especially not fish tacos. But then my husband and I came across Cabo Fish Taco Baja Seagrill in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood, and I was pleasantly surprised. The restaurant is cozy, divided into two rooms. We arrived for an early dinner so we were seated immediately. Complimentary chips and corn salsa arrived soon after.Cabo Fish Taco

Service is ridiculously fast. We had barely ordered when our two plates of tacos appeared!

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Taco shells are poofy and airy, but crispy on the outside. I’ve never had such interesting tortillas. I love that you can mix and match Cabo’s signature tacos. I ordered one beer-battered whitefish taco and one blackened mahi-mahi taco, with a side of avocado pasta salad. Portions of fish are generous – be careful or chunks of fish will tumble out of your taco!

My husband ordered a pair of tavarua tuna tacos from the specialty taco menu. These seared tuna tacos rubbed in a yummy kiwi-pineapple sauce are to die for! I could eat these all day long. The side of jalapeno mashed potatoes were a creative twist on a potato classic.  DSC01353

If you haven’t yet tried Cabo Fish Taco, you’re missing out! Be sure to order the tavarua tuna tacos!

Food: 5/5 | Atmosphere: 4/5 | Value: 5/5

Info: Cabo Fish Taco, 3201 North Davidson Street, Charlotte, NC 28205 USA

Cabo Fish Taco Baja Seagrill on Urbanspoon

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