Flavor File: Jesse Perez's Big Apple Nod, Easter Menus

Arcade's Jesse Perez (right) is spreading Modern Mex. - FILE PHOTO
File Photo
Arcade's Jesse Perez (right) is spreading Modern Mex.

Arcade chef-owner Jesse Perez has been a busy bee lately and it's paying dividends. The San Antonio native recently teamed up with Daihwan Choi (the dude responsible for taking the Pinkberry chain to NYC) to create Óxido, a fast-casual eatery in the Big Apple's Flatiron District that's giving Chipotle a run for its money and has already received props from the likes of The New York Post. The eatery, which comes in at around 1,600 square feet, is mainly a grab-and-go concept that's taking Modern Mexican cuisine to NYC.

"These guys did their research and they've been wanting to get into this cuisine because it's hot," Perez said in a meeting over coffee of the area's newfound love for everything Mex. The menu includes choice of burrito, bowl or two tacos with grass-fed grilled garlic steak, chicken poblano, chile lime pork carnitas, New Mexican beef curry and red chile mushroom with choice of comino rice (also available with brown rice), vegetables a la plancha, chipotle black beans, charro pinto beans and sweet corn relish to fill up the menus. Expansion is already in the works, as the team looks for its second space, but Óxido will likely stay in the East Coast for the time being. San Antonio fans of Arcade need not worry – Perez is committed to his first eatery, now in its third year in operation.

Whole Foods Market (multiple locations) is stepping up its Passover game. The healthy eats grocer will feature more gluten- and dairy-free options by using the Kedem Food Products line, including biodynamic grape juice, certified by Demeter USA as reaching the highest level of farming and organic standards; gluten-free brownie brittle, blondie crunch, cookies and a chocolate-frosted Passover donut; Zeta oil made from ancient orchards on the Jerusalem Mountains; gluten-free Cajun panko; cashew butter and handmade Matzo from the Holy Land.

Meanwhile, Easter brunch menus are rolling out in advance of Sunday's Easter celebration. Citrus at Hotel Valencia (150 E. Houston St., 230-8412) will offer a family-style brunch buffet with artisanal charcuterie, oysters, lobster bisque, pan-seared red fish Veracruz, along with French macarons and that tasty caramelized white chocolate custard. Reservations for the $59.95 buffet are strongly encouraged. Hotel Contessa's Las Ramblas (306 W. Market, 298-8040) will have four separate seatings ($62 per person, $22 for children 6-12) at 10:30, 11 a.m., 12:30 and 1 p.m. with carving stations, an extensive seafood station, fresh salads and made-to-order omelets along with a dessert and pastry display. Las Canarias inside Omni La Mansion Del Rio (112 College St., will serve brunch 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at $72 per person ($36 for kids 6-12) with an assortment of quiche, waffles and eggs Benedict along with chilled selections, shellfish paella and treats from the pastry shop.

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