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Posts from the ‘Bars and Restaurants’ Category

Cocktails, beer, mezcal and more – this Lucha is going to rock!

It would be fair to say that despite the fact that we do an awful lot of events, we don’t consider ourselves event planners. This is why we are such believers in collaboration. We always try to work with the best of the best who bring their game to whatever event we have going.

This is especially true of the upcoming La Lucha de La Cocina on August 13th at Pier 70 in San Francisco, a collaborative fundraiser for La Cocina, the non profit culinary incubator in San Francisco’s Mission District that helps <primarily immigrant> women start formal food businesses. In addition to the Lucha Libre and Taquiza (taco extravaganza) which we previously wrote about, there will also be three bars hosted by some of San Francisco’s most innovative bars and restaurants – ABV, Old Bus Tavern, and Novela. Read more

What are you fighting for? The ultimate Lucha Libre/Taquiza/Mezcal event!

What happens when you combine Lucha Libre, Tacos and Mezcal? We now have the answer – La Lucha de la Cocina! Mezcalistas is beyond excited to be working with La Cocina, one of the most amazing non profit organizations here in the Bay Area, and Pro Wrestling Revolution. This fundraising event will take place August 13th at Pier 70 in San Francisco. Read more

Where to drink mezcal

Man, mezcal is getting popular in the United States. Last week I gave a talk to the California Academy of Sciences titled “Why Mezcal, Why Now?” The number of additions to our Where to Drink Mezcal in the United States list and map is another way of answering that question. We’ve added quite a few locations in recent weeks including Read more

Even more delicious Oaxaca chef/mezcal news in Oakland

milpaOf course just after posting the news about Pilar Cabrera being in town, we learned about another visiting chef from Oaxaca unveiling her new cookbook in Oakland.

Chef Susana Trilling, founder of Seasons of My Heart cooking school in San Augustin, Oaxaca will be in Oakland Thursday night at Calavera. Not only will she be presenting dishes from her gorgeous cookbook Milpa, From Seed to Salsa, she’ll also be signing said book and pairing dishes with some Del Maguey Mezcal. $65 dollars gets you a copy of the book and dishes paired with mezcal. Call the restaurant to make a reservation.

Again we get to say, provecho!

A few of my favorite things – Oaxacan chef+mezcal+Oakland

I am showing my bias here… Chef Pilar Cabrera of La Olla in Oaxaca is in the Bay Area to promote her new book – a collection of recipes from Casa de Los Sabores, the cooking school she started in Oaxaca some 20 years ago. Read more

Where to Eat on the Oaxacan Coast: Puerto Escondido to San Agustinillo

This is a cross post from one of our frequent collaborators, Ferron Salniker. You can read her excellent blog Ferronlandia here.

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I’m pretty sure I learned the magic of eating garlic shrimp, down to the shells and heads, when I was six on our first family trip to Mexico, in Puerto Angel, which happens to be just a few towns down from where I stayed this trip. I’ve come full circle, because when stuck on what to order last week I remembered how difficult it is to fuck up garlic shrimp (camarones al ajo). It’s just butter, garlic, shrimp. I had it two days in a row.

After eating and drinking in Oaxaca city for five days, coming to the coast was a welcome relief from eating meat and cheese at almost every meal. But like in many beach towns across Mexico I didn’t find a lot of variety. Up and down the Oaxacan coast you’ll find restaurants catering to the western ex-pats and traveling flowy-pant wearers with hodgepodge menus of wraps and fried things, and a lot of tiny establishments offering much of the same staples: grilled fish and other simple seafood dishes or tlayudas (like Oaxacan pizzas).
Read more

The Mezcal Week that was

So you’ve seen our photo gallery of the Grand Tasting but the week that preceded it was pretty incredible in its own right. Here’s a quick list of events with photos and a few thoughts a refresher gallery that follows.

Sunday – November 8th

Mezcal Brunch at ABV

Ryan Fitzgerald helped us kick off Mezcal Week in style with a mezcal brunch at his restaurant ABV that also celebrated his birthday. The special cocktail and brunch menu made lots of people happy enough to carry the party on through the afternoon. Read more

You wanted mezcal – We’re bringing you mezcal

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As anyone who attended last year’s Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle knows this event is not to be missed. It’s an opportunity to taste an incredible variety of mezcals and meet their makers while also sampling snacks from some of the best local restaurants and mezcal cocktails from all those creative bartenders who are getting written up in flashy magazines.

But this year we just had to go and make it bigger, badder, and better. First, why mess with success, the Grand Tasting is on November 15th at Public Works and will be very similar to last year’s event except that we’ll be adding mezcals and we’re going to have some very special tastings led by some of the most interesting people in the business. But keep in mind, only Mezcal Lovers tickets get access to those special tastings so choose wisely.

The preceding week will see a variety of special mezcal themed events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including a US Bartender Guild juried competition for the best mezcal cocktail at Devil’s Acre on November 9th, special cocktail parties, dinners, a meeting with key figures in the industry, and more. As we say, check the schedule and get your tickets today.

But why stop there? November 8 – 15 is now officially Mezcal Week with special mezcal cocktails, flights, and snacks available at finer dining establishments and bars across the region. All participants are donating a portion of their proceeds to this year’s non-profit partner, the Mexican Museum. This is your opportunity to taste just how incredible and varied this transformative spirit is. If you can’t find something great on our list of participating venues then you don’t have a pulse.

So, join us and get your tickets today. Last year we sold out, don’t be left out in the cold!

A guide through the Odyssey of mezcal

Ulisses' West Coast tour postcard

Ulisses’ West Coast tour postcard

His name is legend in the mezcal world, strangely appropriate given for the role he plays. Co-owner with Sandra Ortiz Brenna of the equally legendary In Situ mezcaleria in Oaxaca City. Ulises, Sandra, and In Situ are famous because they’ve been bringing incredible small batch mezcals to the attention of the world with incredible attention to the pedigree of each bottle and deep knowledge about all the processes, people, and myths that define the world of mezcal.

The Catedral reflected at In Situ

The Catedral reflected at In Situ

That’s all great and good but should you live somewhere on the west coast consider yourself truly blessed because Wahaka Mezcal is bringing Ulises through California, Oregon, and Washington later this month for a grand tour of mezcal establishments along the PCH. Tickets are now available to each of his tour stops from San Diego to Seattle. The Arte del Mezcal class is a full presentation on the history and development of mezcal while the “Meet and Greet” events are what they say, social mixers where you can chat about all the mezcal and non-mezcal topics that you can get into the conversation. Just note that you’ll see two preview events, Ulises’ actual tour doesn’t start until 10/19 in San Francisco.

A glance at In Situ's selection

A glance at In Situ’s selection

Dive in, I know that you’ll regret not going. I’ve been counseled that there’s a slight chance that dates are subject to change but I’m sure you won’t lose your money because the reputable people at Wahaka are behind this tour. Here’s the full tour list:

Tickets

Monday, October 19

“Arte del Mezcal” class by Ulises Torrentera presented by Wahaka Mezcal
La Urbana
661 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117
6-9pm

Tuesday, October 20
“Arte del Mezcal” class by Ulises Torrentera presented by Wahaka Mezcal
Calavera
2337 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
1:30-3:30pm

Tuesday, October 20
Pairing/Dinner with Wahaka Mezcal & Ulises Torrentera “Meet and Greet”
Calavera
2337 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
4:30-8:00pm

Wednesday, October 21
“Arte del Mezcal” class by Ulises Torrentera presented by Wahaka
Mezcal (Industry only)
Cantina Mayahuel
2934 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
2:30-4:30pm

Wednesday, October 21
“Arte del Mezcal” class by Ulises Torrentera presented by Wahaka Mezcal (Public)
Cantina Mayahuel
2934 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
6-9pm

Thursday, October 22
“Arte del Mezcal” class by Ulises Torrentera presented by Wahaka Mezcal (public)
Guelaguetza
3014 W Olympic Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90006
6-9pm

Friday, October 23
“Meet and Greet” Welcome Party
Teote Restaurant
1615 SE 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
8-11pm

Saturday, October 24
“Arte del Mezcal” class by Ulises Torrentera presented by Wahaka
Mezcal (due to demand, pre-qualified Industry people only)
Teote Restaurant
1615 SE 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
10am-2pm

Sunday, October 25th
“Meet and Greet” Welcome Party
Liberty Bar
517 15th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112
7-10pm

Monday, October 26th
“Arte del Mezcal” class by Ulises Torrentera presented by Wahaka
Mezcal (due to demand, pre-qualified Industry people only)
Mezcalería Oaxaca
2123 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA
11am-

Tuesday October 27th
“Arte del Mezcal” class by Ulises Torrentera presented by Wahaka Mezcal
Hilltop Kitchen
913 M.L.K. Jr Way
Tacoma, WA 98405

Tickets

Ulisses surveys the scene

Ulises surveys the scene

El Barrio de Guerneville

El Barrio's bar

El Barrio’s bar

Recently word filtered into Mezcalistas HQ about a slip of a mezcal bar in Guerneville, CA – mostly known as a sun dappled escape from the San Francisco Bay Area. You may have caught the Russian River scene recently in HBO’s excellent Looking and, yes, it has been a very prominent gay party and vacation scene. But it always appeared stuck in time like a fly in amber, the same tourist stores, the same restaurants, and one of the worst Safeways in the universe.

Signs of the global hipster experience appeared and didn’t close up shop as quickly as past attempts. A cafe, a whole bank taken over by another cafe/ice cream/pie/boutique concept. Then like a bolt from the blue, a mezcal bar. It’s called El Barrio and it’s a real slice of paradise decorated brightly, covered with tile work,  and a bathroom that is more inviting than most rooms in your house. Oh and they really like mezcal.

El Barrio knows design

El Barrio knows design

On the day of my visit I got to know Crista Luedtke who opened El Barrio and owns Boon Eat + Drink as well as Big Bottom Market just a few steps away from Barrio. Brian L. Frank was pouring a selection of Barrio’s mezcals because he’s helped assemble their list. When he’s not pouring he is a photographer who has done some excellent work including a series on mezcal. His photos are up on the walls in all their glory, absent an in person visit you can take a look at them on his site.

Brian Frank behind the bar

Brian Frank behind the bar

Their baseline mezcal is Fidencio and they also stock some of the rarer Fidencio bottles like their Tepeztate and Tierra Blanca which seldom make many bar appearances. The bar is stocked with mezcals ranging from Mezcalero to Vago, Marca Negra to El Jolgorio so you can set up quite a tasting. And they have quite a cocktail list that embraces the standard margarita variations while expanding the whole concept of mezcal cocktails. Oh and they have a great sangrita.

Just one of the fantastic cocktails at El Barrio

Just one of the fantastic cocktails at El Barrio

Right now it’s really focused on the bar side of things with a tiny list of antojitos including chips and salsa, quesos, and pepinos. Never fear, they’ll soon be adding ceviches and braised pork tacos so that you can snack your way to a full meal while sampling their mezcal list. Bright and breezy design which testifies to the sensibility that defines the entire project. I have to admire someone who carries that right into the restroom which sports a fantastic toilet.

El Barrio's magnificent toilet

El Barrio’s magnificent toilet

Barrio’s staff joined in on our tasting and had some great observations about the mezcals, they all have great palates. You know that you’re in great hands with a staff that’s so professional and personable. Definitely ask them questions, they would love to get you the right glass of mezcal!

How can a mezcal bar exist, let alone thrive, in such a small town? It’s the tourists stupid; the same San Franciscans, Oaklandites, and their brethren who flock to Lolo and Tamarindo. If this effect can be replicated I’m pretty sure this “mezcal is a trend” story will disappear. I know that mezcal makers are especially anxious because that’s one avenue for sales volume. Time will tell but every time I wander by Barrio is full so let’s hope that it’s the canary in this coal mine.