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s p r i n g 2 0 1 7 | 4 3 then the skin is removed and they are used as a garnish on top of the tacos. "Dos Equis Ambar has a clean, bright flavor, and it really helps cool down the heat of the chilies," Chef Peder explains. "Dos Equis Ambar is an excellent match for any type of spicy food, in fact. Our cuisine goes great with a beer like this because the flavor palates match up. The con- trast of the spicy chilies and the beer's brightness is great and makes a perfect pair." On the other hand, Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Café in nearby Phoenix is a traditional- ist, often crossing the border into Tijuana to gather essential ingredients for her dishes. Her dish is authentic Mexican at its best. A duck breast is marinated in Dos Equis Ambar for 24 hours, then seared so the fat crisps up like a chicharron—a traditional Mexican snack of fried pork rinds—and caramelized. The sauce for the duck has elements of tamarind, a pod-like fruit used in many types of eth- nic cuisine, although Esparza says, "Mexicans like to put it on everything!" The duck is served with lemon sautéed spinach with chiltipin, beans and peppers that are handpicked wild in the mountains of Sonora, garbanzo beans and garlic. "The gami- ness of the duck pairs well with the brightness of Dos Equis Ambar, and with the brine, it elevates the duck to a different flavor and helps caramelize the skin to a beautiful color," Esparaza says. "The yeast in the beer also makes the fat bubble more, giving the duck a crispy, crunchy skin." The Dos Equis beer that Esparza serves alongside her dish is adorned with tamarind candy, a little bit of salt and chili. "The body and the boldness of the beer has a great flavor, but the Am- bar is not as dark as other beers, so it lets the dish stand on its own without overpowering its flavor." While many would agree that Esparza is serving authentic Mexican food, she sees it differently, insisting she does not cook Mexican food. "Once the food crosses the border between the United States and Mexico, it's no longer Mexican," she states adamantly. "I'm a purist. A street taco is only a street taco when you're on your feet, in the street. You cannot execute true Mexican food unless you're using true Mexican ingredients. I do the best that I can." Chef Alex Garcia works at Casablanca in Venice, California, a restaurant that has been a favorite of locals since it opened in the 1980s. Adorned with memorabilia from its namesake movie, it attracts in-the-know locals who come for the tortillas made fresh in the middle of the restaurant, artfully- made Margaritas from the wandering tableside trolley and food from a chef who has been there for 30 years. "I always liked cooking, but I never considered it as a career until I came to the United States," Garcia reminisces. He was in his early 20s when he started cooking at Casablanca, and Carlos Haro, Jr., who ran the restaurant after his father retired in 1982, asked him to create a dish made with beer. It was the first recipe Garcia ever created, and he immediately went for Dos Equis Ambar. Using Dos Equis Ambar along with a closely guarded blend of spices, tomato puree, beef stock and mushrooms, Garcia created a brown sauce that was versatile enough for any protein, including chicken, steak or seafood. "It's been a very popular sauce ever since we put it on the menu, and it's been here almost as long as I have! Dos Equis Ambar has a rich flavor that is perfect for sauces, even soups." Garcia notes. Dos Equis Ambar was first exported to the United States in 1973, at a time when there weren't many Mexican beers in the U.S. market. "There were just a few brands," Haro, Jr. remembers. "But we picked Dos Equis then, and now, with hundreds of Mexican beers on the market, we still use Dos Equis Ambar. It's got a great color and flavor that pairs really well with our food and works in the food as well." Just like the Margaritas and tortillas, "that Dos Equis sauce" is something that regulars often ask for. One chef stepped outside of Mexico and went for grilled meat as a perfect pairing for Dos Equis Ambar: Chef Robert Vil- licano of Common Theory Public House in San Diego. Using a less traditional cut of beef—the hanger tenderloin, also known as the butcher's cut because they tend to keep it for themselves—Chef Villicano marinated the tender beef in Dos Equis Ambar, cilantro, lemon and parsley. After marinating for three hours, the steak is grilled and plated with farro, topped with a runny egg and a chimichurri made with Ambar. Chef Villicano found the Ambar an easy lager to pair food with: "It's a very refreshing dark beer that was a perfect complement to the caramelization and smoky flavors of the steak. It's not a traditional Mexican light lager, and it's got a fun and creative nose that made it ideal for pairing with food." Each chef who prepared a dish showcased a dif- ferent style of cuisine, whether it was new, tradi- tional or something right in between—a testament to the beer's versatility. Whether for cooking or pairing, Dos Equis Ambar's notes provide the ideal flavors for any dish we tested it with. To read more about these chefs and the upcoming dishes we'll be featuring, visit Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Café in Phoenix, Arizona. Dos Equis–marinated duck breast with a tamarind sauce and lemon sautéed spinach. PHOTOS: GRACE STUFKOSKY Chef VIllicano's grilled hanger tenderloin with farro, a runny egg and chimichurri. PHOTOS: LEIGH CASTELLI Chef Robert Villicano of Common Theory Public House in San Diego, California. r r r r ■cr

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