Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 51 of 100

s p r i n g 2 0 1 7 | 5 1 briny, caramelized flavors of the pork and octopus. Chef's third course consists of charred seasonal vegetables with a cilantro-cotija pesto and vanilla bean balsamic reduction. This seemingly modest dish speaks to the fertile bounty of produce found in Jalisco, as well as the skill of the chef, since the execution of simplicity is often the most difficult to pull off. "When we were designing the menu and pairings, we started at square one. I wanted to go back to my childhood, to the family fiestas my grandparents used to have in Querétaro [central Mexico]. I remember running through my grandpa's vegetable garden, where his chickens roamed free," explains Hernandez, thinking back to his inspiration for the menu. Hinojosa's cocktail pairing, called The Latini, is a blend of Cazadores Reposado, citrus juices (orange and lime) and a simple syrup infused with guajillo, morita and pasilla chilies. The cocktail was reminiscent of a citrus iced tea, and extremely refreshing with flavors of honey and chili. The fourth course brings a fresh rendition on mole: beef short ribs, pipián (a green mole made with pepita seeds), bean salad, nopales, tortilla "ash" and chocoyotes (masa dumplings). The pairing, appro- priately named Cuando la Virgen te Habla or "when the virgin speaks to you," was a blend of Cazadores Añejo, puréed nopal, green Chartreuse, pineapple and lime. The coupling was as enchanting as it sounds. The short ribs were tender and creamy while the cocktail echoed the herbaceous flavors of the pipián, thereby balancing the savory meat. As if we hadn't had enough, the final dessert course arrives: cajeta crème brûlée with Tequila Cazadores, guava sorbet and caramelized pecans. This cajeta, made with goat's milk, as is traditional in Mexico, added an unexpected burst of flavor to the dessert. The paired concoction was a peanut torito with guava and Cazadores Extra Añejo that Hinojosa named Arriba Veracruz. A torito is a classic Mexican cocktail reminiscent of a milkshake and popular in the state of Veracruz. The torito could very well have been dessert in and of itself, but paired with the decadent crème brûlée made for a sweet-tooth fantasy. After five courses of local flavors both in the glass and on the plate, one thing became blindingly clear: Tequila has a place at the table, from Jalisco to San Francisco, Mexico to Manhattan. Chef Ernesto Hernandez grew up in a big family where someone was always cooking. He lived in central Mexico when he was young before moving to the Nayarit coast for 20 years, "enough time to get all the seafood flavors in my mind and my heart," he says. After a vacation to Europe turned into a six- year stint in Barcelona, Hernandez described the experience: "I was lucky to attend the School of Hosteleria Hofmann and work in a classic Catalán restaurant called Mariona for six years. I learned a lot of the Mediterranean cuisine, and ironically, I got a stronger love for Mexican gastronomy." While the meat and mole were creamy and smooth, the crumbled tortilla "ash" produced a Pop Rocks effect in the mouth creating a "party for the palate." The cocktail was as tropical and refreshing as you'd expect but also alkalizing, which countered the richness of the dish. The cajeta, a caramel sauce made from goat milk, was hidden under the custard of the crème brûlée, adding to the luxury of the dessert. The peanut butter in Hinojosa's torito balanced the brûlée with a rich nuttiness and the guava in both dishes made for a welcomed, fruity respite for the indulgent creamy flavors. ■cr Course 4 dessert

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of CleverRoot - CleverRootSpring2017