Rocking Horse Cafe

I’m on the quest for the perfect meal that fits within my dietary restrictions. I did not find it at Rocking Horse Cafe.

rocking horse cafe guacamole

dimly lit guacamole

Touted as an excellent restaurant on Yelp, Rocking Horse Cafe did not live up to the expectations set forth by taste-bud-less reviewers on the site. While even New York succumbed to offering a positive review for the place, I cannot muster the strength to do the same. It simply wasn’t good. Even worse, the food was bland. And one has to wonder how someone creates bland food at a Mexican restaurant. Given the artillery of Mexican ingredients, you’d think they’d serve up the most fascinating (to my taste buds) meals on the planet. Not Rocking Horse Cafe.

Shortly after we arrived at the dimly lit establishment, chips and salsa were brought to our table. Sadly, I think the chips and salsa were the highlights of my meal. The salsa tasted fresh and housemade, rather than out of some Ortega jar.

After sampling the chips and salsa, we opted for some guacamole. This is when the meal started to tumble downhill. The guacamole appetizer is served with an array of relishes, as well as some soft, corn tortillas. Why not chips, you ask? I had the same question.  We used the chips we had that accompanied the salsa to scoop out the bland, tasteless guacamole. Though we finished it, neither of us was impressed. The relishes were okay, but not spectacular, and it was challenging to identify the contents of them. The guacamole itself simply had no flavor. It was just avocado mush.

rocking horse cafe mole michoacan

mole michoacan

I ordered a gluten-free dish off the menu called mole michoacan. On the menu, it sounded pretty good. But when it arrived, I felt differently. Plenty of sauteed onions covered the oversalted chicken in the bottom of the plate. The onions were fine, and were topped with some toasted pumpkin seeds (an elegant touch given the shoddy nature of the rest of the offerings). The chicken itself was pretty good, but, again, too much salt. It was served with sauteed kale that had the strangest flavor. I left it alone on the plate.

MDP got the carnitas tacos. Three miniature tacos were served to him. He wasn’t happy with the portion size, and didn’t seem too pleased with the flavor, as well. We also received rice (which was fine, hallelujah) and some soupy black beans on the side. They were okay, but, to reiterate, the highlight of the meal was the chips and salsa.

I’m not sure why people seem to like Rocking Horse Cafe. According to Yelp, the drinks are pretty good (I can’t drink them because of my diet), but the food is just so-so, at best.

Rocking Horse Cafe

182 8th Avenue (at 19th Street)

New York, NY

Take the A/C/E to 14th Street and walk north, or take the C/E to 23rd Street and walk south.

 

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Crumbs (gluten free)

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted here in a few weeks. Well, there’s a pretty good reason as to why I haven’t shared with you my culinary adventures: I simply haven’t had any.

I’m now on a strict diet, due to a health issue, and can’t eat at restaurants as much as I once did (or as much as I’d like to). Basically, I’m on a low-carb, gluten-free diet, which limits the options available to me in this great big city of food.

gluten free crumbs red velvet and blackout cupcakes

red velvet and blackout

So, what better way to indulge when on such a diet? Try a new gluten-free cupcake joint.

For the uninitiated, Crumbs has now opened a gluten-free bakery down on 8th street in the West Village. Its sterile interior betrays the warmth and splendor of the baked goods that lie within. With no seats or tables to park at, the gluten-free outpost forces patrons to take their baked goods elsewhere. I have to say, the store itself is slightly unwelcoming, save for the delightful faces of staff who helpfully assist you in buying your sweets.

Primarily, this Crumbs sells cupcakes, but they also offer baguettes, quiches, macarons, and other treats to taste. Samples of baguette were carefully cut up and placed upon a platter near the cash register. I tried a piece, and it was pretty good, although the graininess of the bread made it taste less “authentic” than other gluten-free breads I’ve tried.

My Dining Partner (MDP) and I selected two small-sized cupcakes: red velvet and blackout. As for the cupcakes, they were pretty good–no, they were better than Crumbs’ typical offerings. If you’ve been to Crumbs, you are familiar with the ultra-sugary, totally gigantic cupcakes they sell. They’re too sweet and too big, and just too much to even try to eat. In my former life, as a gluten-eating person, Crumbs was way down on my list of cupcake shops. But the gluten-free store surely has delivered. The red velvet cupcake was crumbly and sweet enough with a hint of cream cheese in the this-can’t-be-cream-cheese frosting, while the all-chocolate blackout cake was exquisitely frosted and featured the right texture for any cupcake, gluten free or otherwise.

gluten-free crumbs blackout cupcake

blackout, up close and personal

Here, at the gluten-free Crumbs, their primary target is obviously Babycakes. And, while I truly enjoyed my cupcake at the gluten-free Crumbs, Babycakes still takes the cake, as it were. Read why here.

But, if you’re interested in or need gluten-free confections and don’t want to make the trek all the way down to the Lower East Side, I heartily recommend the gluten-free Crumbs store to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Crumbs (gluten free)

37 W. 8th St.

West Village, New York

Take the N/R to 8th Street. Walk west about a block or so.