Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I've been hanging onto this entry for so long that it almost doesn't have any meaning anymore! It's about my last big meal with friends before leaving New York.

Two of my high school friends and I had been having monthly dinners for about a year, and for my last meal before leaving for Taiwan, they wanted me to pick a cuisine I knew I wouldn't be able to have here. Immediately, I knew I wanted Mexican food, but I wanted it to be a fun place, and preferably one in Long Island so we could make one last Target run together (another tradition we began tacking onto our dinners).

I found Cozymels, which is a chain restaurant, so it's definitely not anything unique ... but that doesn't mean it wasn't fun! I loved the atmosphere, which had all the typical skeevy colorful string lights which made it look like a place that should have had the word "tequila" somewhere in its name, and probably the word "sunset" or "rain" somewhere in there too.

While discussing what we would order, we started out conservatively, but over time, I think the mentality became, "to hell with it, it's our last meal together for a long while," so we ordered more food than I knew we could finish.

We started out with guacamole ($10) (warning: all of these photos will be on the greenish side because the lighting in the restaurant was pretty much limited to those colored string lights I mentioned, so we had to get creative and use the light of one smartphone to make everything photo-ready). This was good, made better after we squeezed in the lime juice from our margarita sampler. Not the best guacamole I've ever had (that would be at Toloache in Manhattan and also maybe Rosa Mexicano), but very good nonetheless.

My friend David wanted to try the chile con queso ($5.50), thinking no one else would want to share. We all dipped in anyway. It was very runny, but had a nice kick to it. I think we all gave up on scooping it out of the bowl after a while.

(Trust me, it was yellow in person.)

Then our margarita sampler ($10) arrived. While sitting in the waiting area, we spotted a number of machines mixing colorful slushy margaritas. We had fun trying to figure out what flavors the five were.

We concluded that they were regular, peach, some sort of berry, mango and watermelon. The website says they are actually: Primo, Mango, Raz Rita, Blue Peach and Clásico. This was well worth the $10, as each shot glass was actually the size of two shot glasses in one.

Then, our entrees:

Carnitas tacos ($12) ... SO delicious. The relish was great, 
the pork was well-marinated ... mmm.

The Guajillo Chicken tacos ($12)

I think this is the Pork Rostisado ($14)

And after all of that (and doggy bags, of course), we decided to get dessert.

The Margarita Cheesecake ($7? $8? $9?)
This had the texture of a mousse or pudding instead of cheesecake, and it tasted 
basically like key lime pie. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything spectacular.

I think the most interesting part of the night was the after-dinner green and white mints in the bowl near the host's stand. They looked like your run-of-the-mill spearmints, but they were the oddest flavor. Lime-cinnamon? Jalapeno-lime? We couldn't figure it out.

There is very little Mexican food here in Taipei, and what little there is is more Southwestern cuisine or Mexican of the Chipotle type. Though I did find a Chipotle-like place near my school which I plan on trying TONIGHT, so that's exciting news. If that doesn't cut it, I might have to attempt to make my own Mexican food if (more like WHEN) I get desperate.

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