The folks behind Mesa Coyoacan take over the airstream trailer that operated as Goods Food in Williamsburg for years, serving tacos and other authentic Mexican dishes. Zona Rosa is a labor of love from Chef Ivan Garcia and his business partners Gerardo and Jorge. Zona Rosa is named after a neighborhood in Garcia's native Mexico City. The restaurant pays homage to the area's history during the 1950's, 60's and 70's when its artistic revitalization, populated by intellectuals and the city's elite, attracted exclusive restaurants and clubs, giving the neighborhood its lively, bohemian reputation with a large gay population. It was during this time that the area received the name, Zona Rosa, from the artist, Jose Luis Cuevas, who commented that it was "too timid to be red but too frivolous to be white."
Zona Rosa was designed around this attitude. It's both respectful of the authentic, traditional cuisine of Mexico; everything is made "in-house", including tortillas and salsas, but presented in a fun, open, and relaxed atmosphere.
Chef Garcia developed his reverence for traditional Mexican cooking while growing up in a multi-generational home in his native Mexico City. As a small boy, Garcia would stand on a chair in his family's kitchen, watching and helping his grandmother and mother cook elaborate dishes for the family. Over the years, his desire to cook classic Mexican cuisine intensified.
He received a degree in the Culinary Arts from Iberoamericana University and went to work in New York City, where his talents were quickly recognized and led to employment at several notable Mexican Restaurants.
While many chefs use Mexican cuisine as a means of combining flavors to do "modern" style Mexican food, Garcia believes strongly in the classic dishes of his diverse culture. Garcia's great respect for the ingredients and processes found in traditional Mexican cooking are illustrated in both his approach to executing a recipe and developing his own creations.
Zona Rosa is located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Manhattan. As Manhattan has become increasingly upscale and overwhelmingly expensive, the New York intelligentsia and creative underclassmen have increasing looked to make Brooklyn their home. The neighborhood that has—arguably—taken the brunt of the exodus from Manhattan is the northern area of Williamsburg. Now a haven for starving artists and hipsters, the neighborhood has redefined and rebranded itself into one of the hotspots of Brooklyn, with bars, live music, and restaurants spawning in direct proportion to the increase in the now well-established sense of Williamsburg community. If the weather's agreeable, you can head to McCarren Park to throw the ol' baseball around or watch the many hipsters in Williamsburg's Kickball League lounge and pose their way to victory. The park's pool is splendid, and there's a brand-new, year-round recreation center. After running around on the grass or watching other people run around, it might be time for a trip to the borough's preferred brewery, the Brooklyn Brewery, where Williamsburg's beer of choice has been make for two decades. The brewery offers staffed tastings on Friday nights, as well as tours of the brewery itself. If the weather's disagreeable, you might be in need of some new threads. No sweat in trendy Williamsburg! Seek out Beacon's Closet on 11th Street for some great thrift-store shopping or native chain Brooklyn Industries for new fashions. Fashion-forward Francophiles will burst their pocketbooks over the selections at Jumelle and Noisette. For those chasing a more urban chic, Williamsburg's own Triple Five Soul should do the trick. Maybe your wallet's heart isn't in apparel and craves music instead. Williamsburg favorites Earwax Records and Academy Annex will satiate the most eclectic of musical tastes with new and used CDs, LPs, and DVDs. Ah, but nothing has a higher fidelity than live music, so check out the Music Hall Of Williamsburg, where national indie acts like Dr. Dog and Les Savy Fav have performed. For a bit of local music and a more neighborhood-appropriate atmosphere, the swank Union Pool offers live music and a bar but no swimming whatsoever. Now, replenish your dwindling energy with breakfast or lunch at the esteemed egg restaurant, or try more filling fare at the renowned Peter Luger Steakhouse. There's also the one-two punch of sister restaurants Marlow & Sons, a Mediterranean café/restaurant/bar/store, and Diner, both created by the same folks and well-known parts of Williamsburg's hipster pedigree. Then there's Bamonte's for Italian, Falafel Chula for Middle Eastern, and Planet Thailand for Southeast Asian. Finally, enjoy a local nightcap—which generally means a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon—at one of the classic neighborhood bars. At The Levee, you can supplement your drinks with great bar food and a game of pool, but at Barcade, the gaming is digital and as well-stocked as the beer selection. The Alligator Lounge is another neighborhood favorite and serves free personal pizzas from its wood-burning oven every night until 3:30am. Or if you'd prefer a subdued atmosphere and well-mixed cocktails—included seasonal potables like hot cider (spiked, of course)—then you should give Pete's Candy Store a go.
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