On Saturday, we prepared 6 courses for a group of 12 as a way to test a few of the dishes we'd been imagining. We drew inspiration from regions across Mexico and beyond, as well as the fresh and beautiful ingredients that were available at the farmer's market.
Deconstructed Breakfast Taco: house-made pork cheek bacon, Meyer lemon, torn tortilla, ancho hollandaise, micro cilantro, sous vide egg and torn chilaquiles-style hand-made tortilla seared in our own house lard.
We served the "breakfast taco" with our truck blend Cafe de Olla and a side of scratch-made Eagle Rare bourbon Cajeta.
We loved the idea of doing a deconstruction for the test dinner as a way to let the different flavors of the dish really shine. We cured the pork cheek a week ahead of time and smoked it with some chiles and natural hardwood chips. We found some micro cilantro at the farmer's market and used it here to add complexity.
This salad drew inspiration from the Yucatan. Mikey calls it a "Yucatan Chopped Salad." We peeled and blanched fresh chickpeas and shelling peas from the farmers market in a simple court-bouillon, we dressed them in lime and chilled. They were mixed with black cherry tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, dark roasted pumpkin seeds, raw jicama, chayote and apple. All of this was tossed in lime and olive oil with sea salt. The avocado and coconut cream for garnish was a true show stopper.
Taco Al Pastor: house-made adobo, pork shoulder, roasted salsa verde, house-made pickled red onion, avocado, honey bacon fat tortilla, lime
Ceviche Taco: Thai chili, garlic, shallot, house tiger's milk, wild-caught halibut, tempura avocado, squid ink tortilla
Good fish tacos are few and far between in my experience. We had some beautiful, meaty halibut and I thought that it would make a great ceviche. Mikey pushed for the squid ink tortilla and added the thai chiles to the tiger's milk. Kale got a little obsessed with the tempura avocado and I'm glad she did. It added a necessary levity to the taco and also encouraged many in attendance to ask for just a plate of tempura avocados by themselves.
Taco Vegetal: butternut squash, purple & red potatoes, poblano, chèvre, scallions, pomegranate, micro greens, beet tops tortilla
Mikey is the Vegetarian Liason and rightfully so. This veggie taco has plantains, potatoes, pomegranate, radish and scallions in a hard-cooked sauté meant to mimic the texture and flavor of a picodillo without the beef. The bright green tortilla was made with the beet tops which just quickly blanched and then blended into the masa.
The Topopilla: house-made pastry, manzanilla-infused honey meringue, key lime curd, your new favorite thing, let alone dessert.
Mexican Drinking Chocolate served with Mescal
ALL HAIL THE TOPOPILLA
It was a beautiful experience seeing dishes that we'd talked about for over a month and watching them incept, cook and plate to be enjoyed by all who attended.