Showing posts with label tequila. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tequila. Show all posts

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Little Cave Reborn as La Cuevita (Highland Park)

What used to be a divey gothic bar called Little Cave is now La Cuevita, a tequila and mezcal-focused bar modeled after a "Mexican Grotto", making Highland Park a little more interesting. The dimly lit interior is adorned with various artifacts the owners of the 1933 group found in Mexico, along with bat papier-maches and paintings made by a local artist. For a quieter evening, some seats are available outdoors by the entrance.

One wall featured shelves of their mezcal collection, which may not be as extensive as La Guelaguetza or Las Perlas but impressive nonetheless. There are of course, a line of Del Maguey mezcals (from the lower end to the $40-a-shot-Pechuga), which I'm more or less familiar with, but there also Los Nuhuales, Don Amado, and other names I wasn't familiar with.

The cocktail menu is devised by Jared Mort from Oldfield's Liquor Room, another 1933 Group bar.
My favorite of the cocktails was the Mole Manhattan ($12) made with Old Overholt Rye, Carpano Antica, Cointreau, Creme de Cacao, Chocolate Chili bitters and Hellfire bitters. It's a tad sweet and chocolatey, but don't be fooled, this drink can knock you down.

The Jalapeno Margarita ($10) is my next favorite with Tanteo Jalapeno tequila, honey, grapefruit juice, lime, and cilantro.

The Mezcalada ($8) is an interesting take on the Michelada with roasted poblano peppers, clamato, Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Corona, lime, and house smoked salt rim. Despite the peppers and the mezcal, this didn't have as strong a flavor as the Micheladas I've had before, though. The Glutster told them so and he's hoping they would use a smokier mezcal (or just more mezcal) later.

There's usually no food here, but on Tuesday nights they bring in a taquero to whip up some carne asada, carnitas, and chicken tacos - and they're actually pretty good.

La Cuevita 
5922 North Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Highland Park)

Disclosure: this visit was a hosted media preview 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Molecular Mixology Events Hit L.A.

Last year, The Bazaar introduced Los Angeles to Molecular Mixology with their cotton candy Magic Mojito and liquid nitrogen Caipirinha.

This year, molecular mixology is gaining ground, but not at bars or restaurants, but at special tasting events around LA.

Last week, Tres Generaciones tequila--a triple-distilled tequila line from Sauza that's aged in Bourbon barrels-- held a tequila cocktails tasting + a teaser taste of molecular mixology at the W Hotel in Westwood.

This Thursday, August 27, event production company Salt of the Earth is collaborating with catering company Epicurean Umbrella to hold a chef's tasting + molecular mixology event (see below for deets).

At the Tres Generaciones event, we first tasted three tequila cocktails each made with a different aged tequila: (from youngest to oldest) plata (unaged), reposado (aged at least 4 months), and anejo (aged 3 years).

1. L.A. Love: Tres Generaciones Reposado, Basil, Granny Smith Apple, Fig, Orange Marmalade & Vanilla
2. Obama-Rita: Tres Generaciones Plata, Brandy, Lime, Fresh Lemon Sour & Triple Sec
3. Bells Will Be Ringing: Tres Generaciones Anejo, Ginger, Fig, Fresh OJ & Vanilla
My favorite was definitely the L.A. Love - most likely because of the basil :P

W Hotel took care of us food-wise too with passed appetizers including (my fave) marinated korean beef skewers.

The three cocktails and the appetizers got us ready for tequila ambassador Eddie Perales to show us how to make some nifty drinks. He showed us muddling techniques and made a cocktail with muddled cucumber - I got a sip of it thanks to Rumdood but failed to get a glass of my own ... unfortunately. It was soo tasty too.
Eddie heated up some tequila with chocolate (tequila-infused chocolate, mind you), strawberries, raspberries, marmalade, and mint in a pan. Drink this warm, straight up - it's better than cider (for me), it has chocolate!
The promised molecular mixology was supposed to be some cotton candy cocktails, but we unfortunately didn't get any cotton candy cocktail because they had trouble with the stove, but did try the tequila-sprayed cotton candies he had on hand.


This Thursday, August 27th, a unique event is being held at The Mark in West Los Angeles.

The basics: Three hours, three chefs, and three cocktails from San Francisco's Liquid Alchemy.

The setup: One chef will prepared on tasting plate every hour, which will be passed around the room along with the paired cocktail. There will be colored lights showing which chef isin action that hour.

The chefs: Renieri Caceres (Botero, Encore, Las Vegas), Tomas Rivera(co-founder of Salt of the Earth) and Al Gordon (co-founder of Epicurean Umbrella).

The molecular cocktails: Cotton candy martini, Kir Royale with blackberry gelee pearls, and liquid nitrogen in stainless steel rings Micro Basil Gimlet.

The event is held Thursday August 27th, 7-10 PM.
The Mark
, 9320 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles 90035.
$52 per person.
Buy tickets here or call (323) 350-0953

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rivera: Spicing Up Downtown

Being at the right place at the right time really does get you places! Since I happened to be out with Carolineoncrack, LA&OC Foodie and Rumdood when they were making plans to hit Rivera in downtown, I got extended an invitation also, which I of course, took! So one Wednesday night I made my way there. Rivera apparently has valet parking about two doors down, but I didn't know about it and it was hard to notice so I ended parking a block away at a $5 lot (being right by Staples makes parking hard and pricey).

When I got there, everyone else was already sitting at the bar trying out the cocktails.
As a disclaimer, most of our meal ended up being comped by the restaurant (we paid for drinks), although I wasn't aware of this in the beginning. Thanks to the fame of Carolineoncrack and LA&OC Foodie!

Besides a cocktail menu featuring cocktails with awesome names like Blood Sugar Sex Machine (rye whiskey, red pepper, agave nectar basil), Rivera also features flights of infused tequila. LA&OC Foodie got a flight of three tequilas ($10). From right to left: vanilla, passionfruit (IIRC) and anise.
I enjoyed the anise the most flavor-wise, although it did have a distinct and weird smell. All these infused tequilas were pretty sweet and smooth - very drinkable. I definitely want to get one of these next time.

Throughout the meal between the four of us we've tried a majority of their cocktail list and then a couple of "bespoke cocktail"-- basically "bartender's choice."
My favorite cocktail on the menu ended up being the Rivera's cup - think Pimm's cup but with tequila. Sounds simple but very well done.

Since we wanted to a lot of stuff on the menu we ended up sharing a whole bunch of appetizers:
patates xips (caviar, chipotle-lime crema, kennebec potato chips) - $6
The potato chips are light and crispy and they're pretty delicious with the lime-chipotle dip and the caviar. Our only complaint is just that there were so few potato chips. Like 10 chips? Divided by 4? We had leftover dip, which luckily came in handy for this next dish.

tortillas florales (housemade nixtamal tortillas w/ 'indian butter' -- just guacamole actually). 4 tortillas, $6.
Since it's more impressive to show you the individual tortillas rather than all wrapped in cloth, I'll do just that:
These tortillas are wonderful. Lightly crispy and had a great flavor. I would definitely recommend people try an order. Unfortunately the 'Indian butter' was not as exciting as it sounds - but these tortillas actually go great with the lime-chipotle crema from the previous dish (patates xips).

The highlight of the night for me was the jamon iberico de bellota pata negra - $36.
This particular ham comes the black footed Iberian pig (hence the iberico) that only eats acorns (bellota=acorns).
It's the world's best ham, what more do I need to say? Sure different restaurants may carry different qualities of even the world's best ham and prepare differently, but this is the first time I've had the bellota, so I can't say. I can only say I still drool over it. Even now. Writing this. *wipe* Excuse me.

The next dish was a surprise to all of us. We didn't order it and actually it wasn't even on the menu. But anyway, they brought over a plate of foie gras pate with fruit compote. Not complaining.
Pretty good pate - it's pretty smooth and I like the cranberry (I think it was cranberry) compote that goes with it.

bacalao negro fresco (black cod, seared. With serrano ham crisps) - $14
The way they write/draw things on the plate with some sort of dusting is cute. Although ... why a radioactive sign? Right next to my food?
Well, radioactive or not the black cod was good. Moist and not overcooked. The serrano ham crisp added a kick both flavor and texture-wise.

LA&OC Foodie got the trucha (tasmanian sea trout, saffron quinoa, yellow gazpacho sauce) - $23.
I tried a bite of this. Good, but pretty standard. It's a safe bet but there's nothing special.

I went with the mole (kurobuta pork chop, mole, black carrots) - $21
The pork chop is not as tender as I expected, but still good, and the mole sauce is great.
My favorite out of all the entrees (Carolineoncrack got the rib eye and rumdood went with the maya puerco pibil). If the pork chop was just a bit more tender ...

The appetizers here are definitely more varied, more interesting, and better than the entrees.

Rivera offers four desserts on their menu ($7 each). Perfect. Caroline, LA&OC Foodie, and I all wanted different desserts and while Rumdood was in the bathroom we decided that he must want the other one ...

torta xocolata (chocolate tort, drunken pineapples)
I love the writing they did with the chocolate powder! How fun, I love playing with my food :P
Pretty rich and dense chocolate torte, me likey.

I went with the crepas mojito (mint, lime, white rum) because I love my mojito and because I get everything that says "mint" on it
Crepes were a bit on the dry side until you douse it with the syrup that came in the graduated cylinder (oh I'm sorry, am I bringing back bad memories from Chem lab?). The white foam you see is the lime and it's extremely sour - use sparingly.
I like this dessert but you do have to concoct each bite carefully yourself so it doesn't become too sour or too sweet.

Rumdood was made to get the baba cachaca (citrus, dulce de leche)
A slight spin off the baba au rhum, this one is soaked in Cachaca. The bottom pastry is moist but the top is a bit dry. Plus this dessert is rather small. Nothing special.

LA&OC Foodie got the crema catalana (almonds, xerez creme)
Creme brulee, basically? I just had a bite so can't tell much more than that but LA&OC Foodie liked it.
The safest desserts seem to the boring but good ones, and those that sound more interesting weren't as great.

Rivera's another good and welcome addition to the revitalization of downtown LA, especially so close to the Staples center. With great cocktails and pretty solid food (I'd get the appetizers over the entrees, hands down), if I ever find myself in/near Staples, I at least know I don't have to eat at that sports bar there ...
I want to go back to try the tequila flights, anyhow :P

Read Caroline's take on it.

1050 S Flower St #102
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 749-1460

Rivera on Urbanspoon

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