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mariachidrinksMany years ago, I had the pleasure of enjoying some totally homemade authentic Mexican food at a very informal small spot on Central Avenue in White Plains, Mariachi Loco. Through the years, the dining room was enlarged and a Mexican grocery was opened by the owners next door. This week, I continued following the culinary journey of owner Guillermo Arellano and his family, who recently opened Mariachi Loco 11, on Central Avenue, as well, in Scarsdale. It occupies the grand space that was Casa Maya. Arellano arrived here from Puebla, Mexico in the late 1980's. When I chatted with him several years ago, he said," I came to New York to have a better life. Our dream is to open other locations in the future." A few months ago his dream was fulfilled with the opening of Mariachi Loco 11. Raul Rojas, a longtime family friend is its capable manager. Rojas said, "Arellano always enjoyed the popular song Mariachi Loco, and thus his restaurant received that name. They feature a mariachi band on weekends, as well as a performer who serenades the guests with songs from the 1980's.

As I parked conveniently in the shopping strip, the doors to the restaurantMariachi were open and the cheerful sounds of Mexican music filled the late summer air. The large space seats about 95 guests with an additional 20 at the bar. The many tables are covered with white linen and red and green over cloths. The ceiling is hung with a multitude of the popular red, white and green cut out banners depicting kitchen scenes of Mexico. Gold and silver embellished sombreros of many colors, black and white photos of well-known Mexican musicians, Mexican pottery and dolls and a lovely large mural painted by Arelllano's daughter grace the walls.

The menu is very extensive with variations of popular enchiladas, tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, burritos and fajitas, as well as chicken, meat and seafood entrees. It will take many visits to get a true sampling of these delights.

The kitchen is in the hands of Chef Apolo Mendez and his staff. Even the tortillas, the basis for so many of the dishes are handmade in the kitchen for both corn and flour varieties in sizes to suit each dish. Chef Mendez clearly enjoys his job. He has graced the kitchens of many restaurants in Manhattan, Yonkers and Elmsford and is competent in preparing dishes from appetizers to pastries, all from scratch.

enchiladasWarm chips and a well-spiced salsa kept us busy as we waited for our dishes to be freshly prepared. For starters, we enjoyed Fiesta Mariachi Loco. This sampler platter was centered around a mountain of nachos, layered with tortilla chips, melted cheese and refried beans. Surrounding it was Mariachi's rendition of chicken fingers, tender chunks of breaded chicken seasoned with salt, pepper and parsley, a tasty and juicy tidbit, flautas with beef, queso fresca, that mild delicious cheese, and tortillas topped with chicken, onion and cilantro. Their version of guacamole was chunky to get the full flavor of the avocado and studded with chopped tomatoes. Other starters included a large selection of nachos, tortas, enchiladas, quesadillas and soups. I remember enjoying the seafood soup at their White Plains spot. It was generously filled with shrimp, calamari and crab in the shell all floating in a rich well-seasoned broth.

Our host, Senor Rojas suggested chicken alambre for our entrée. A bed of rice was the base for tender strips of chicken breast with peppers and onions and a touch of cheese. It was light and delicious. All sauces here are homemade. I sampled tomato, green tomatillo, red and mole varieties. Each was unique. My favorites were the salsa verde with tomatillos which had just enough spice to give it a kick and their classic mole, rich and delicious. This complex sauce enjoys the addition of Mexican chocolate in its long list of ingredients.

At a recent lunch, I enjoyed a steak enchilada topped with that piquante green sauce. mariachi2The julienne strips of beef filled the tortilla to overflowing and the green sauce gave it a bit of heat. The mild shredded Oaxaca cheese and a touch of Mexican crema complemented this hearty dish. A chopped beef filled chimichanga was loaded with a savory beef filling and lightly fried. Rather than rice and beans I enjoyed mixed sautéed zucchini, onions, peppers and mushrooms with it. Shredded lettuce completed this lunch combination, of which there are many. These lunch combos made good use of the tortillas, "The bread of the people", unleavened corn or wheat flour pancake like discs, prepared by hand in the kitchen of Mariachi Loco 11. I look forward to trying New York Steak Poblano, chiles rellenos, camarones ala Veracruzano , shrimp in garlic sauce and pork chop in green sauce. The choices are numerous and each dish is prepared to order.

The classic non-alchoholic beverages, that are offered here are Aguas Frescas. These fruit waters are freshly prepared in many flavors. We enjoyed a tall glass of hibiscus water, very refreshing, as well as a classic horchata, prepared with strained boiled rice, sugar and cinnamon. My future requests may include tamarind, mango and pineapple. The restaurant is also known for its margaritas and other mixed drinks.

seafoodsoupIf you choose lunch here, there are many combinations offered, salads and vegetarian dishes. The portions at lunch and dinner are quite large. Desserts are all house made here, as well. Classic flan, churros and sopapillas ae popular. We savored tres leches cake. Beautifully prepared by Chef Mendez with whole, evaporated and condensed milk and garnished with fresh whipped cream and mixed berries, it was a delicious finale to our fiesta of Mexican dishes.

As you leave, note the huge painted ceramic sombrero that sits near the door inviting you to special events at Mariachi Loco 11. It is filled with mints and colorful reminders of Wednesday ladies nights, Monday through Friday happy hours and Sunday brunch that the entire family can enjoy. Take out and catering are offered, as well.

Yes, Mariachi Loco 11 is a welcoming spot to enjoy the authentic home made treats that comprise Mexican cuisine in a casual very festive atmosphere. Try it soon.

Mariachi Loco 11
706 Central Avenue
914 8745033

Recipe: Salsa Verdemariachienchiladas


1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves only
15 tomatillos
4 fresh cloves garlic
3 or 4 jalapenos, stems removed
Salt to taste


Remove the husks from the tomatillos. Wash the tomatillos and the jalapenos. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add the tomatillos and the jalapenos and boil them for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the water and cool in a bowl in cold water. When they are cool, put all ingredients in a blender with ½ cup water. Blend and enjoy. If it is too thick add a bit more water.
* tomatillos and jalapenos can be found in Mexican grocery

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kanopyThe Scarsdale Public Library is adding to its extensivee-library collection with three additional electronic resources beginning October 2.

Kanopy is video streaming service with more than 30,000 documentaries, classic and indie films available on desktop, mobile and Roku for students, professors and library patrons.

Book Browse is an online magazine for booklovers that includes reviews, previews, "behind the book" articles, author interviews, reading guides and more. It is an excellent resource for recommendations and book groups.bblogo

Literature Resource Center offers up-to-date biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism, and reviews on more than 130,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods and around the world. It is a valuable resource for students.

LRCTo access the new additions, as well as the entire e-library, visit the library website, and click on e-library on the left column.

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soccerhuddleThe Scarsdale Girls Varsity Soccer Team lost Friday's home non-conference game against Arlington (LaGrangeville, NY) by a score of 3-0. Arlington was last year's league champions.

Photos by Jon Thaler – see more here:




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dubrovnikfishI'm sure that many of my readers, like myself, have never visited Croatia. However, we are very fortunate to have Croatia come to us by way of Dubrovnik, the excellent Croatian restaurant in New Rochelle. Dubrovnik is celebrating its fourth anniversary and a recent visit proved that a dining experience here continues to delight us.

Dubrovnik's owner Zeljko " Jerry" Tomic, arrived here from Croatia in 1988. He always dreamed of honoring his mother, who owned a small restaurant in Croatia. He learned his culinary skills from her. "We are passionate to share our wonderful culture of dining with our guests. We believe in what we do." Tomic was a boat builder in Croatia and learned the art of cabinetry. Upon his arrival here, he opened Top Drawer Custom Cabinetry. His artistry les to his designing Dubrovnik Restaurant, next door. The dining room has stunning hand carved mahogany archways and columns and a partition to the bar area. The feeling of the sea is expressed by a ship's wheel and photographs of life in Croatia. Toward the back of the 50 seat dining room, your breath is taken away when you arrive on the enclosed all year round patio with its centerpiece of a hand crafted grill, on which Croatian specialties are cooked. dubrovnikgardenWith a breeze blowing on a late summer afternoon, I was overwhelmed by the abundant garden below where organically grown vegetables grow and become part of your meal. You can't get any fresher than that. There is a wine cellar downstairs, but we savored our meals in the main dining room with its nautical feeling, where I admired the burled wood pedestal tables and other wood working wonders.

Most recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with the multi talented Nada Bernic, Dubrovnik's manager. She is indispensable at the restaurant and attends to every detail at Dubrovnik. She is master of the art of hospitality, a graduate of Cornell University School of Hotel Management and she owned The Terrace Restaurant in the Sky in Manhattan Her many talents include training the staff, ordering food, and even arranging the artistic floral displays at the restaurant. " My goal is to make our guests happy. Dubrovnik Restaurant is truly authentic, serving the freshest seafood, produce and other foods. Croatian food is puristic with natural flavors. It is generally simply enhanced with salt and pepper, award winning Croatian olive oil, prepared in small batches and rosemary, a popular herb here. Each day we present fishes of the day which may dubrovnikgrillinclude branzino, red snapper, yellow snapper and Mediterranean black sea bass. Among our organic garden pickings are arugula, zucchini, lettuce, tomatoes, parsley , rosemary and basil. We often have special events to keep our restaurant vibrant. Our guests have enjoyed Mediterranean Cruise Night, Sushi Night, and a raw bar evening. We will soon be celebrating our fourth year anniversary with a special event, as well, featuring a Croatian acapella group. Our goals for the future are to continue to have a full house and offer private catering."

The kitchen is in the capable hands of Executive Chef Antonio Selendic. He received his culinary education in his native Croatia and honed his skill at many fine restaurants. He was exposed to fine home cooking by his mother, as well. " Our food is not complicated. I focus on the main ingredients and use only the best quality of these ingredients. We do not want to destroy the natural flavor of our foods. I love preparing traditional dishes "under the bell", and our very fresh fish and seafood preparations." We often hear the expression farm to table at restaurants. At Dubrovnik, the exceptional Chef Selendic enjoys the pleasure of ' garden to table ' cooking where he excels in the joyous preparation of traditional Croatian dishes using the freshest of ingredients.dubrovnikchops

Fresh yellow roses brightened our table. Housemade, grilled warm bread and Croatian olive oil greeted us. The fragrant oil deserved the homemade bread that accompanied it. Fresh as could be, marinated branzino and scallops, thinly sliced, with leaves of mesclun, could not have been fresher. The just caught flavor was enhanced with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and Croatian olive oil. An octopus salad followed. The tender segments of steamed octopus were paired with red onion, sliced, creamy textured potatoes, arugula, and sliced grape tomatoes revealing their full garden fresh flavors were dressed with a Croatian olive oil and vinegar dressing. A sprinkling of fresh parsley completed this perfect starter. Next, grilled jumbo shrimp sat atop an eggplant puree. Grilled zucchini, yellow squash and asparagus partnered with these simply prepared shrimp. A balsamic glaze completed this colorful light and delicious appetizer. The Dalmatian platter of cheese, smoked beef, Croatian pickles and marinated anchovies are other possibilities. Several house made soups are offered. We loved the Fisherman's Soup . Here, a light fish broth is combined with assorted fish and shrimp, as well as white rice. With fall in the air, this herb infused bowlful is a fine choice. On the lighter side beet salad, wild green salad and artichoke and arugula salad are offered.

duubrovnikshrimpIt was time to focus on the entrées. If you call in advance you can indulge in lamb, goat or pig roasted " under the bell", from Dubrovnik's special grill, where the meat is covered with a steel dome and slowly cooks from above and beneath for a delicate moist result. We enjoyed the squid ink risotto. Here, cubes of cuttlefish mingled with the risotto. The "magic potion", Croatian olive oil was drizzled on top for a fine finishing touch. We really loved our grilled lamb chops simply seasoned with rosemary and garlic and served with potato croquettes, carrots and broccoli. The juice of the chops combined with the herbs for utter perfection. Orata arrived next, the whole fish in all its glory was grilled and simply seasoned to enhance, rather than overpower its fresh flavor. Several chicken dishes, steaks and pan seared pork chops are available, as well. Each evening, an ice lined platter is brought tableside for your inspection of the whole fish available. Tuna and salmon appear on the menu in pleasant preparations. For the pasta lover, homemade gnocchi and fettuccine are available.

If you need a sweet something to complete your meal try the classic crepe palacinke filled with jam or cheese or rozata, a cream filled napoleon like dessert. For me fresh fruit seems the perfect ending .

Daily specials, such as skate in lemon caper sauce, seared scallops with homemade fettuccine change daily.

Enjoy the convenience of evening valet parking and expand your international culinary experience with a taste of the Croatian cuisine at the exceptional Dubrovnik Restaurant.

Dubrovnik Restaurantdubrovnikdiningroom

721 Main Street
New Rochelle
914 637 3777

Recipe: Brodeto with Polenta (Serves 4-6)

3 to 4 pounds fresh cleaned fish { monkfish, skate, scampi shrimp}, cut into serving pieces
¼ cup olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
4 medium sized fresh tomatoes, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
2 tsps. chopped parsley
2 tsps. chopped celery leaves
1 pinch chopped fresh rosemary
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf

In a glass bowl, sprinkle fish with salt, pepper and lemon juice and let it stand for 5 minutes. Saute onions in oil until golden. Add garlic and saute. Add tomatoes, parsley, celery and rosemary and mix. Add fish, and saute for a few more minutes without mixing. Just shake the pot, so fish does not fall apart. Add wine, vinegar, salt and pepper and about ¼ cup water or just enough to cover the fish. Simmer slowly for about 20 minutes . Do not mix or shake the pot. Remove the bay leaf and serve over polenta.
Serve in bowls over your favorite recipe for polenta. And top with additional parsley and olive oil.


2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 cup soft feta cheese
4 tsps. butter, melted with a pinch of rosemary
1 ½ quarts water
1 tsp. olive oil
Additional parsley and olive oil for garnish

Bring water to a boil with salt. Reduce heat and slowly add cornmeal while stirring constantly to avoid lumps. It needs to be smooth. Cook for 10 minutes stirring constantly. Mix in the oil and place in a serving dish. Pour butter and cheese over the polenta with a pinch of rosemary Divide among bowls and top with fish mixture. Sprinkle with additional parsley and oil and serve.

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books(This letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Dara Gruenberg, President of the Friends of Scarsdale Library )
Dear Members of the Scarsdale Library Community: Our wonderful Friends of the Scarsdale Library Book Sale is fast approaching, and we need you more than ever.

The Friends of the Scarsdale Library supports a range of programs and services for people of all ages, including Museum Passes, the Writers Center, Teen Study Nights, Book Deliveries for the Homebound, Author Visits, Children's Programming and much, much more. The Library is committed to continuing these and other programs during the upcoming renovation process — but we need your help to do this.

Become a Friend today with a minimum donation of $25, and as a thank-you, we'll invite you to the Friends-Only Book Sale Preview Night, on Friday, September 8th. It's your chance to shop at the book sale in advance of the general public.

Please click on this link to make your donation now — and your name will be on the Friends list at the entrance to the Library. Stay tuned for updates about Book Sale hours and pricing on local media outlets.

Thanks, and I look forward to seeing you at Preview Night.

Dara Gruenberg
President, Friends of the Scarsdale Library

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