Ok I am not ashamed to admit it, I am a huge Twilight fan so when a friend suggested brunch followed by the last installment of the Twilight saga for a Sunday afternoon, I was all in! We decided on the Lincoln square theater as it is one of the nicest in the city, so the Upper West side (my old hood) would be the best option for brunch. Calle Ocho was the pick, and I don’t know how I had never heard of this place when I used to live just 10 blocks away from it. They give you free unlimited sangria the entire time you eat! As I perused the menu, I noticed they have different types of sangria – four white and four red varieties, spiked with rum, mamajuana, vodka, and fruit of course. I went for the Fresas which consisted of red wine, raspberry vodka, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. It was delicious and not at all weak, which is what one would expect since it was limitless. I also laughed aloud as I noticed they have “House Rules” on the menu which explain the bottomless sangria procedure -
“One glass of sangria at a time, no exceptions”
“Please drink responsibly. If you get cut off, so does the rest of your table”
“Please don’t forget your children. We WILL put them to work” etc….
And now back to the food… Our waiter brought over a lovely basket filled with muffins and what looked mini scones with a delightfully pink colored whipped butter. I’m usually not one that goes for butter, but it was so pretty I couldn’t resist! I slathered it on the chocolate chip muffin, and it was so yummy! I should have asked the waiter if the muffins and scones were homemade, but the sangria was already taking it’s effect.
On to the entrees, we asked the waiter for his recommendations, and he responded with the Vaca Frita and the Quesadilla de El Salvador. I had been eyeing the Vaca Frita anyway so I decided to go for it with his blessing. It was Cuban skirt steak, latin fried rice, tomato escabeche, avocado and fried eggs. And oh man was it good! The steak was tender and teeming with latin flavor, the rice was a little dry but the escabeche (tomatoes, red onions, lemon juice, and parsley) gave it a nice little kick. The fried eggs were perfectly cooked with the yellow of the egg spilling out upon first cut which I also mixed in with the rice. The girls got a Cuban sandwich, Tortilla Espanola, and Quesadillas de El Salvador. Now the trick to the unlimited sangria is to eat slowly, so everyone (except me because I was so excited by the delicious food on my plate) enjoyed their meals at a dignified pace. Everyone was happy with their food, and we all vowed to come again soon! (Especially since our bill came out to only $21 each including tip- what a deal!!)
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (4th star because of the free sangria!)