29 August 2010
Sangrias at the Art Beat
Yesterday, South Bend had their Art Beat thing, where a variety of art vendors, performers, and culinary people come together in one spot. I went there for two reasons, really: to find earrings, and to eat at Sangrias, a fairly new restaurant to the downtown area.
The restaurant is a unique spin off from the creators of La Esperanza, another local restaurant I blogged about a while ago. While La Esperanza is strictly a Mexican restaurant, Sangrias' aim is to create a Latin fusion menu with a unique variety of drinks and a fun atmosphere. They often have a live band to enhance your dining experience, and stay open to midnight on some nights. There even is a tapas menu certain days of the week.
Sangrias has a small, homey feel due to its smaller size. The ambiance is lively and you instantly feel happier the moment you walk in.
Sangrias special offering for Art Beat was their "Latin sushi", which I unfortunately wasn't able to try since I needed to leave. But it looks really great!
There was some very impressive fruit carving work on the table as well.
I did take my picture with the chef, though! Some people watching even coaxed him into breaking a smile:
The bartender on duty, Abatu, was busy mixing up drinks for everyone.
Here he is shaking up a drink, but my camera is bad with motions, so it didn't come out very well.
My drink was a mojito de fresas. Translation: strawberry mojito. The flavor of lime and strawberries combine well together, in case you haven't tried it. The rum used here was a Cruzan rum, though I'm not sure which type was used. All I know is that it didn't overpower the flavors of the other ingredients. I don't drink at all, really, but when I cook with alcohol I use it as a flavor enhancer. It's not about saturating the dish with an overwhelming taste of wine, or beer, but simply to enhance, and thankfully this mojito was the same.
Each meal begins with a complimentary basket of tortilla chips, which I believe are made fresh in the restaurant. I think. All I really know is that they are addictive. The salsa is extremely good and spicy. The guacamole, which is extra, had a good consistency and tasted nice, though I would have liked it if I could taste the lime and cilantro a bit more.
For the eats, I ordered a sope, which is a thick fried tortilla made from maize. It was topped with Cuban-flavored pinto beans, lettuce, cheese, and I think I see tomatoes. I also ordered a side of roasted jalapenos, which I could not tolerate. I spent 10 minutes trying to recover from one tiny bite, so I stuck with the relatively minor heat from the salsa.
The sope was delicious. Dense, but not hard, and a nice corn flavor that paired well with the toppings. It seems like a light meal, but is surprisingly filling.
What I like the most about Sangrias is that they offer many reasonably priced menu items, and the portion sizes are decent for a meal. I will definitely be going back because I heard they had ceviche, which I've never had, and I want to blog about their fried ice cream, which was amazing! Definitely stop by if you're in the area.
123 North Michigan Street, South Bend, IN
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