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A Tasting at the New Americas River Oaks

I just flew in from a tasting at the new Americas River Oaks with father-son chef team Michael and David Cordua – and boy are my taste buds tired! Actually, they are way more exhilarated than weary, thanks to dishes like the Pollo Encamisada pictured above. “Chicken in a Shirt,” complete with a delicious sauce of pureed black beans and seared panela cheese, may replace Chicken Parmesan as my favorite thing to do with the ever-versatile bird.

In keeping with the concept’s grounding in foods of the Americas, this version of pargo (snapper) is crusted in roasted corn. It is a delicious dish, paired nicely with achiote grilled shrimp and lemon-scented creme fraiche. And it’s a reminder why my fascination with Americas, first encountered at the original on Port Oast back in the ’90s, continues unabated.

The archiote-roasted pork loin is something like a pork tamale (or more accurately, like a Yucatecan cochinita pibil) turned inside out. You get the full-on pleasure of the tender loin that’s been cooked in a banana leaf, with a yuca stuffing that evokes the masa of a tamale. As far as I’m concerned, when in doubt, add lump crab meat, tomato and avocado.

I tasted several desserts at the new Americas River Oaks, including the Corduas’ deservedly famous tres leches – at their restaurant Churrascos, they’re the ones who made the dish famous in the first place. In addition to that and a nifty bread pudding with tequila in the sauce and cinnamon ice cream, I loved these melt-in-your-mouth chocolate-filled shortbread cookies.

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About John DeMers

I've been a journalist and author forever. My favorite single word in the English language is "foodandwine." This spirit drives my 45 published books and my weekly radio show heard in Houston, Dallas and Austin.

One response »

  1. Tracy Ferguson

    John, John – A single one is a TAMAL, not a tamale! The “es” is added to make it plural. It follows Spanish grammar, tho I doubt that it is a Spanish word – more like Nahuatl.

    Reply

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