Monday, June 22, 2015

Sabores San Miguel: Dishing Up San Miguel’s Best New Taco


With Sabores San Miguel behind us, in retrospect I can offer just one comment... 
Way to go San Miguel!

Restaurants served up a variety of impressive food and much of San Miguel came out to support them. 

This year’s show was a huge success thanks to producers Donnie Masterton and Angela Lewis Serrano. 

I like the model for this show, which originated with Donnie Masterton three years ago. Many food shows cater to a different class of eater; one who can afford to pay hundreds of dollars just to get into the event. I know. I’ve covered many of them back in the states. Sabores San Miguel offered samplings of food and drink for just 25 pesos each and the entry was free. This allowed everyone to participate…and it certainly seemed like everyone was there.  

San Miguel’s restaurants really shined. With three days of eating, one of the best things the restaurants did this year was to change up their menus. True to the theme, chefs introduced new dishes every day. Let’s just say it was a one-of-a-kind eating extravaganza. I had difficulty narrowing down what I was going to eat because everything looked incredible.

The best, all-around menu goes to the Restaurant where I sampled perfectly cooked sliders on Friday, amazing pork tacos on Saturday and an outstanding Lamb Shawarma for the street food theme on Sunday.(more of their photos below)

We loved the addition of all the guest chefs who brought a whole new menu and vibe to the eating profile of the show. One of the most eye-catching dishes was Neil Fraser’s (LA’s Redbird) Grilled Octopus Salad.

Chef Bret Thompson of Pez Cantina/Milk, Los Angeles gets my vote as the friendliest chef of the show. There wasn’t a single person who stopped by that he didn’t talk to.

Lily Jones from The Lily Vanilli Bakery in London attended the Thursday night benefit for Feed the Hungry and looked like an english flower in the beautifully groomed gardens of picturesque Casa del Parque.

What chef did his homework? Local chef Victor Palma of the Rosewood made the rounds, scoping out the competition and taking mental notes…perhaps for another food show later this month.

Student provided the backup to many of San Miguel's best chefs and also supplied a lot of the laughs.

Some of our local favorites at the show were Aperi, Tapas sma, La Parada, Cumpanio and Paprika. 

Also, aguamiel, one of our favorite new restaurants in San Miguel, served up their signature Fried Avocado Taco; a thin layer of black beans on a fresh made tortilla, top it with spicy kimchi, add a slice of panko-crusted, fried avocado and then spatter it with spicy mayo. It will make you wonder why you eat avocado any other way.


Mezcal made its way into the drinks served by both Raspidito Corazon and Los Tres. 

We love the girls at Raspidito who do events all over San Miguel and Queretaro. We enjoyed their legendary Mojito snow cones at a food truck event last year.

What we liked?

Friday:

Desserts from the Rosewood…almost too beautiful to eat.

Saturday:

Not just a meal, an event: a whole pig courtesy of Carlo Mirarchi of Roberta’s in Brooklyn. This was delightful and ended up in the taco that is featured at the head of this story.

The Steak Sandwich from Buens Aires Bistro was a crowd favorite. The lines were long and we can’t say enough about Chef Mariano Alvarez who was behind the BBQ between photos takes with enamored customers.

Sunday:

Sierra Nevada's Mixotes: Mixiote is a traditional pit-barbecued lamb dish from central Mexico and this one was ingeniously covered in a variety of beans. 
The Restaurant’s Lamb Shawarma: 
Shawarma inspired one of Mexico’s favorite dishes, Tacos al Pastor. This wonderful Middle Eastern street dish from Lebanon was attractively prepared and totally worth the wait. While we waited, we also enjoyed a healthy chicken kabob which was almost as good.

Best Presentation? Luna de Queso had an eye-catching booth and was a terrific stop for hungry show goers who wanted something light.

Also Cumpanio had many long-standing entries including their renowned croissants. These croissants are better than most of the ones I’ve eaten in Paris.

Who was there? Better to ask me who was not there.

What was the best dish of the show? The Pork Taco from Tacolicious. I ate two of them just to be sure.

Pork is my favorite meat. I’ve eaten some of the best pork tacos and carnitas all over Mexico. Some of them I dream about and can’t get out of my head until I have another one. This is one of them.

Perhaps it was the flavor of the pork, the paper-thin blue corn tortilla or the neon yellow habanero sauce. Whatever it was, I had a perfectly good reason for waking up at 3:00 AM the next morning wanting to book a ticket to San Francisco and go down to Valencia Street for another one. Admittedly, this was one of the best tacos I’ve ever eaten.

Call it a serious addiction which can only be cured by a salt-rimmed glass of Uno Dos Tres and another pork taco.  

For someone who was not excited about another taco joint, Tacolicious can’t come soon enough.

Buen Apetito!

Next Show: Mark your calendars for the debut of the San Miguel Food Festivalpart of the Cumbre Internacional de la GastronomĂ­a de Guanajuato. It kicks off this coming Friday, June 26 at 1:00 PM. Go to www.smafoodfestival.com for information and tickets.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

La Azotea’s Shareable Appetizers


La Azotea, Umaran 6, is the king of small plates. 

Their best seller is my favorite too, a Jicama Taco. The shell is a thin slice of Jicama that is topped with lightly breaded shrimp, fried leeks, chipotle mayo and a tamarind sauce. I happen to think it’s one of the best and most creative tacos in town.


I also love the Tuna Tostada; tuna on a thick cut potato chip that is drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction... another original recipe.


So leave it to the guys at La Azotea to come up with another innovative appetizer that’s not on the menu yet but you can ask for it. It’s chicken with a jalapeno on top that is wrapped with panela cheese and bacon. After it’s cooked, they dress it with their signature chipotle mayo and balsamic vinegar reduction.

Funny that La Azotea calls these appetizers shareable dishes. 

No one seems particularly interested in sharing them…especially me.


Buen Apetito!