On one of the episodes of Tony Bourdain’s Cook Tour, he goes to the hometown in Mexico of one of his staff cooks. The show highlighted a great deal of homemade Mexican food and made the point that the backbone of many restaurants in New York City are Mexican cooks and kitchen staff. The same might be true in here in Bucks County. My case in point is Cafe Europa which for the other 364 days a year is pretty hard core Italian but offers Mexican specials on Cinqo De Mayo. The specials are created by the Mexican staff and they take a great deal of pride in the preparation and presentation of their specials.
Before I tell you about the food, let me tell you about the margaritas, the traditional cocktail served on Cinqo de Mayo. Bartender and Facebook Friend Carolyn made this one with a mid-range tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice and triple sec in a 2-1-1 ratio. The drink was shaken with some crushed ice and served in this delightfully tacky glass. The glass actually glows and had settings for on, off, slow flash and fast flash and you got to keep the glass. Carolyn’s margaritas were so good that by the end of the night my counter looked like an airport at night with all the glasses flashing in a row. It was pretty funny. For more information on where you can get a great margarita make sure you visit my co-worker Eric’s site Top Margaritas where he and his friends have ranked margaritas from around the world. If you know where I can get a great margarita in Bucks County let me know on my Best of Bucks – Margiaritas page. Let me know if you need a blinking margarita glass as I seem to have collected quite a few.
For my meal, I chose the Mexican Chicken Special. The dish came with moist pan fried chicken, brown rice, avocado slices, a salad of sweet onions and cucumbers over a bed of iceberg lettuce and deep fried tortillas pieces with a spicy green chili sauce.
The salad was simply dressed with lime juice which matched well with the sweet onions and cool cucumbers and lettuce. The lime dressing also matched with lime juice in the margarita. The chicken was pan fried with just salt and pepper. The rice took on the brown colour from the cumin that gave the rice a slightly smoky flavour. I especially enjoyed the green chili sauce and ended up dipping the chicken as well as the tortillas into it. A very nice heat. The flavours were fresh and bright from the salad and avocado and filling and satisfying from the chicken and brown rice. This combination made the dish a great success.
I know an Italian restaurant is an unusual place to celebrate a Mexican holiday but Phil’s team made it work. Let me know about the flashing glass thing or you comments in the reply box or comment link below.