|Image by Rowan Peter via Flickr|
A rice field.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
We skipped breakfast this morning to attend a free cooking demonstration at Rosa Mexicano Restaurant in Hackensack, then stayed for a wonderful lunch of freshly made guacamole, fish tacos and jumbo shrimp in a roasted-tomato peanut sauce with green-chili rice.
Coffee and juice were available, but the complimentary breakfast we enjoyed in the past has been eliminated.
With pottery, textiles, sconces and other decorative touches, Rosa Mexicano remains one of the most beautiful restaurants in North Jersey, and virtually all the food is made from scratch -- paying homage to native, Spanish and French culinary influences.
Two chefs, David Suarez and Dennis Lake, showed their audience of more than 30 how to prepare the labor-intensive roasted-tomato peanut sauce, green chile rice, pork picadillo, homemade marshmallows and other dishes.
At the end of the "Real Men Cook Mexican" demonstration, we were starving.
Me, my wife and 12-year-old son shared the chunky guacamole ($10) a waiter made at our table, spooning some into thin, warm, homemade corn tortillas, some of the best I have ever tasted, and adding red or green salsa.
A nice hunk of beautifully roasted Chilean sea bass ($12.75) followed, served with more tortillas to make tacos, plus salsa and three side dishes -- rice, beans with pumpkin seeds and creamed corn.
We also shared an entree of those jumbo shrimp ($19), stacked in a pool of roasted-tomato peanut sauce and served with a mound of rice, made with mustard greens, scallions, spinach and cilantro.
Unfortunately, the spicy sauce we tasted during the demo was toned down for the restaurant service.
Rosa Mexicano Restaurant, 390 Hackensack Ave.,
in The Shops at Riverside, Hackensack; 201-489-9100.