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Amo La Boca y VibeHero

#foodology #foodporn #eventoftheday #ihavenoideawhyamiwritinghashtagswhicharesofreakinglong

Now that I got those hashtags out of my system, I am writing this post to commemorate a truly unique event hosted recently. It was a joint event by VibeHero and one of the trendiest Latino Restaurants in Malaysia (my opinion), “La Boca.” The event took place at The Pavilion Shopping Mall, one of KL’s glitziest and most luxury shopping malls (insert awe-struck expression here). Even paying the parking fees is a challenge. Now back to the important bit.

Finding this restaurant may be a bit difficult as the location is not the most revealing one (ie: smacked in the middle of the malls centre court). You first need to go through the open atrium adjacent to the main complex itself. As you walk until you are almost at the end (heading towards Wisma Cosway), you will see a set of escalators and a place called, “Tom, Dick and Harry’s.” La Boca is directly next to it. Why describe the location. Honestly speaking, if you are not paying attention, chances that you’d waltz right by is very high.

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Anyway, let’s start with the basics, the interior decor seems authentic, resembling a Hollywood setting of a typical Latin Canteena. The vibrant colours, the coal-fired brick furnace, the classic wooden tables, filament lighting, heavy wooden beamed ceiling. It does feel very homely to the untrained eye but it somewhat feels like they were overdoing it. 

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Well, if you are a fan of beef, this place serves one of the best grilled beef this side of town. Of course, it comes with a price. I especially like the way it is written in chalk like an authentic canteena.

Moving on as we went in, we were greeted by the owner, Michael. Do not let his awesome tattoos and Arnold Schwarzenegger physique fool you. Aside from his firm handshake, he is one of the friendliest restaurant owners I have ever met. Humble, cheerful and always up for a good and friendly laugh.

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If he wasn’t smiling, I would have ran for my life. Proof that one must never judge a book by its cover.

We settled down quickly and were greeted with an interesting looking menu card on the table. It was simple but exclusively designed. But what’s more important was the food line-up written in the menu itself:

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I may not speak Spanish or Latin but I definitely speak food and my oh my, this looks like a smorgasbord of awesome dishes.

Well, without further ado, allow me to present the part you have all been waiting for. The food review (insert loud applause and a sigh of relieve here).

STARTERS (LA BIENVENIDA)

1. Marinated Spanish Olives

For starters, we were first served with Spanish Olives. It tastes somewhat sour with a generous portion of large olives, garnishing and grounded down parsley. I’d say the flavour of vinegar is rather strong in this one but it’s definitely a choice of dishes for the sour-nuts.

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It’s good to start the meal with something sour. Keeps the acids churning.

 

2. Corn Nacho Chips (in a choice of Guacomole or Mexican Salsa)

Next, we had something much more international, “NACHOS!!” Well, obviously these nachos would not be the same ones you find in a bag of Chachos. These are the real deal; authentic corn nachos. The guacamole dip was delicious. It was not too watery like the ones you get in a salad dressing bottle nor is it too thick that you’d choke on it. It was well textured and the flavour hits you in all the right places. Generous amounts of chopped tomatoes and their secret guacamole sauce would be highly recommended if you wish for an authentic taste of Mexico.

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For those who are not big fans of rich, thick and creamy, there is always the lighter side of the nacho dip; Mexican Salsa. This dip is a bit more spicy but is lighter on the stomach. For a tomato fan like me, I found myself scooping up did and eating it even without the nachos. It has a smooth texture and definitely provides a tingly taste for the taste buds.

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Our Malaysian version of this would be papadam and curry sauce

 

APPETIZERS (BOCA DILLOS)

Before I begin writing on this part, I would have to apologize as I have missed out on two dishes (photos of them). However, please do try and visualize the food (depending on your creativity) or just head over there and find out more.

3. Empanadas

At first glance, you’d think that this is an oversized curry puff but do not be fooled, this thing tastes a million times different. Aside from the minced chicken stuffed in, everything else is different. The first bite should be taken without any dip and you begin to appreciate the richness of the ingredients. From the second bite onwards, I found the spicy tomato paste a great accompaniment for this amazing dish. Give it time to settle in your mouth so a slow chewing motion is recommended. Consume it too fast and I can assure you that you will miss the best flavours.

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The Latin version of the Malaysian curry puff only with more flavour

 

4. Gambas “Al Ajillo”

This dish is the first one which I do not have a photo of. Anyway, it’s sautéed prawns in virgin olive oil served with fresh baguette. If you are a huge fan of seafood then this appetizer is for you. The prawns are rather big and prepared in a way that the maximum amount of flavour is extracted. The olive oil creates a smooth and flavourful texture which really tickles my taste buds.

 

5. Pimentos Rellenos De “Ropa Vieja”

Don’t let the long name fool you. This dish combines healthy and delicious into one word. Roasted bell peppers stuffed with shredded beef. If you like a spicy tang in your mouth, stay healthy and have a liking for meat, this is definitely the dish for you. However, do take note that some of the bell peppers can get really spicy and if you prefer it soft, do ask them to roast it for a while longer.

 

MAIN DISHES (ESPECIALIDADES ANDINAS)

6. Tamales

First glance would remind you of the local nasi kunyit and otak-otak. Tamales on the other hand is painstakingly prepared with perfection in mind. Don’t believe me? Try taking shredded chicken, mixing it with herbs and a specially prepared guacamole style sauce, stuff it in cornbread and cook it in a plantain leaf to perfection. The cornbread is complemented with a generous portion of sauce, a delectable serving of saffron rice and of course, what Latin dish would be complete without a generous serving of mixed bean salad. The richness of flavour makes it one of my personal favourites and I highly recommend this dish.

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Nasi kunyit and otak-otak? This takes food to a whole new level

 

7. Arepas

This dish is for both the veggie lovers and meat lovers. Honestly speaking, I am a sucker for meat and all vegetarians would hate my appetite. However, this dish makes eating vegetables a delicious fashion. The sour sauce, fried tapioca and guacamole filled sandwiches make for a healthy, tasty and immensely satisfying meal. However, I must admit that some of the tapioca can be a bit too crunchy for those who have issues chewing something hard.

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Looks like a smorgasbord salad but it definitely pushes the right buttons on being a balanced diet

 

8. Solomillo De Cordero

The perfect cut of lamb. La Boca makes it a priority to hand pick their lamb and this is no exception. The lamb shortloin is grilled to tender perfection with the right amount of marinade and seasoning. The meat is soft and the method of grilling allows it to retain all its flavour and sweetness. Next, what goes well with lamb? You’re right.. It’s mint. The mint sauce is thick (not some rip off artificial flavouring) with a generous portion of grounded down mint and onions.

Accompanying the main dish is a side of fries which are what I would call, real fries (not the shoe-string rip-off that you get at McDonald’s) and a side of beetroot/lettuce salad in a light drizzle of salad dressing.

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Does that look awesome or what?

 

9. Costilla De Res

For all beef lovers out there, this dish sets the benchmark for a properly grilled rib. Sweet marinade with an accompanying sweet and tangy sauce make this indeed a lovely dish. To help with digestion, a generous portion of grilled baby vegetables and a base of chipotle cheddar mashed potatoes make it the perfect blend for a main course.

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I am feeling utterly hungry by looking at this photo

 

DESSERTS

10. Frozen Mud Pie

Well, after a hearty meal, it is best to wash it all down with some rich desserts. This frozen mud pie is absolutely heavenly. A blend of chocolate cookie crumble with a delicious ice-cream base, it is laced with a creamy chocolate drizzle and powdered with caster sugar. The only problem I had was whether to eat it or preserve it as a beautiful work of art. Well, as a die hard foodie, I am sure you’d know my answer (yum..yum…)

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Doesn’t this look just heavenly?

 

11. Banana Flambé

Unfortunately, didn’t get a good shot of this either. Think of it as caramelized banana mixed in sweet liquor served with a side of coconut ice cream. Didn’t take much of a bit but from the feedback of my fellow reviewers, I’d say you’d be in for a shock.

 

DRINKS

Now that the food section is over, it’s best to send it all down with some drinks. There were superb looking and tasting cocktails with fruit mixes. However, I had to drive that day and because I am a responsible driver, I passed.

However, I did have Illy Coffee which would translate to Italian Coffee. A delectable cup of cappuccino made by a barista who definitely needs a raise was the perfect ending for this amazing food adventure. Before drinking the coffee, please make an effort to appreciate the dedication that goes into making every drink, perfect.

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Now that’s coffee

At the end of the day, what really makes this meal really awesome is the great people I enjoyed this meal with. To the VibeHero ambassadors, awesome foodies and team, this event was awesome because of all of you. Thank you for being a part of the VibeHero family and I look forward to the next event we will have:

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My biggest thanks to La Boca for having us and please do join the VibeHero family. If you have been to La Boca and love the food, please do write a review on VibeHero.com. To find out more about La Boca and VibeHero, just click:

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