Happy Monday of Mondays! This week high season (which has creeped on us in the past few weeks, noticeable only in the terrible driving, the increased crowds, and the insufferable traffic) officially kicks off with Miami Art Week. If you're having as hard a time as us in dealing with all the hubbub, worry not—this is the best time of the year to eat your feelings because a thousand restaurants are opening their doors for the first time. Starting today we're taking our Mexican tuckuses to Lincoln Road, where Chef Scott Linquist's highly anticipated "regional, rootsy Mexican" concept OLLA is finally open! Our contributor Belen Baquerizo, the blogger behind A Hint of Life, recalls their grand opening party so you know what to expect.
The grand opening party for OLLA, the authentic Mexican restaurant by COYO Taco's Chef Linquist, was held on November 12 at its new location on Lincoln Road, culminating into a fun fiesta. Per usual, we joined our foodie friends (and A-listers like Chef Marcus Samuelsson of the Food Network's Chopped and Red Rooster Harlem fame) in the celebrations. Upon arrival, we made our way to the bar for a drink and to admire the stunning mural that lies behind it. Although the mural wasn't fully finished—an artist was on-site painting during the party—the exposed terracota fit in with the restaurant's authentic Mexican vibes.
The bar served classic sangria among signature drinks with cheeky names like the Olla Rita, Pájaro Sucio, Pinche Flor, Frambuesa and Chica Picosa. The cocktails were tequila based but easy to drink thanks to the deliciously fruity mixtures (trust me on that one!). My favorite drink was the Frambuesa because it tasted like fresh juice and my boyfriend's favorite drink was the Pájaro Sucio. In addition to the bar's signature cocktails, there were two stands serving Modelo beer and Jarritos (Mexican soda) infused with...tequila, obviously! One of the best parts about OLLA's grand opening party was the diversity of drinks available—there was a little Mexican something for every taste and mood.
The appetizers offered throughout the night were super tasty. The food ranged from mini tacos to mini tortas to ceviche, intermingled with a vast array of meats and even octopus. I managed to track down all the servers as they made their way from the kitchen to the dance floor so I could get a piece every time! Chips and guac were strategically placed at any section of the restaurant that remotely resembled a table and we also posted up there. You could say we were pretty much eating all night long (which helped with the amount of drinks we were having because we just HAD to try them all...you know, for blogging purposes).
I think of OLLA as a more sophisticated version of COYO Taco. The menu expands beyond the tacos, tortas and other street food we know and love from Chef Linquist to include top-notch entrées common to traditional Mexican cuisine. Between the electric atmosphere, the delicious drinks, the quality food, and good company OLLA's grand opening party made our Saturday night a great one. We can't wait to come back once it opens for good.