Saturday, March 21, 2015

Eating with the Glitterati of Hamilton Food Bloggers at Mezcal

This past week has been amazing. I was off work, my other half also took vacation (which I was torn about, since it did mean I  couldn't spend the entire week lounging about in bed) and it ended up being a most wonderful vacation. We accomplished some cleaning, lots of sleeping, and, on Thursday, a most remarkable dinner.

First, my review of Mezcal Tacos & Tequila. We actually managed to score an invite to their cold opening on Friday, March 13th, so our visit on Thursday was actually our second visit. For appetizers,we have tried the guacamole and chips, the salsa and chips, the jicama salad and the cicharones. 

The guacamole and chips are amazing. Guac is chunky and ridiculously fresh tasting. The chips must come out of the fryer seconds before they hit the table.  They are warm and covered in lime salt. When you squeeze the lime provided over them - perfection. I would spend my summer drinking tequila and eating this happily.

The jicama salad, again, just tastes fresh.  The dressing is simple, allowing the flavours of the veg to shine through. The dried cranberries added the needed touch of sweetness. Definitely worth a spot on your place.

Being a veg, I didn't get to join in on the eating of the cicharones, but everyone else raved about their crispy, delicious texture. I'm kinda jealous I missed out on this.
The misstep for me in the apps was the salsa.  I found it watery and almost tasteless. Others at the table (looking at you, Hungry Gnome) disagreed, so it's probably worth you trying it yourself if you're a salsa lover, but I think the guacamole is far superior.

The drinks are top notch. Warning - the magarita is very dry, so if you like a touch of sweetness, it's worth ordering La Paloma. Reminiscent of a margarita, but even better! They are not cheap, mostly between $12-14 so budget accordingly.  It's way to easy to spend $60 on drinks alone.


Onto the tacos!  The vegetarian taco on order is crispy cauliflower. I am not a huge cauliflower fan, as veggies go.  It's fine, but looks like bleached brains and tastes like a whole lotta nothing. Fried, however, it becomes a whole other animal.  It is meaty and crunchy and delicious. These are superb tacos. When we went to the blogger roundup, the chefs very kindly made me a drunken bean/dirty rice taco with pepitas that was truly outstanding. Crunchy and a complete protein - what more can a girl ask for?  The meat eaters I surround myself with ate chorizo pastor and bistec adobo.  People seemed pleased with both, but the adobo had a slight edge.

For dessert, they have arroz con leche (or rice pudding) and a Chili chocolate tarte. The chocolate is, frankly, a molten chocolate cake. There is nothing wrong with it, but it makes me want to watch Sex in the City and turn on my pager - because it's like going back to the 90s! If there is chili, I missed it. Again, it's fine, but pedestrian and not of the quality of the other dishes.

The rice pudding, however, is a revelation. Eat it.  Then eat more. And more.  It is warm, and cinnamony  and cozy and everything I want from life (much like the guac).  It is worth going just for the rice pudding.

And they have Mexian coke (i.e. coke with real sugar, and yes, it does taste different).  After my first visit, I walked away stunned with the quality of the food and service. After my second, I have a touch of buyers' remorse.  The food is fantastic, but it is pricey. Go, but be prepared that with a drink or two, it will have a rather deflating effect on your wallet.

Now, onto the bloggers meet up. It was amazing meeting everyone, and it was a very full table. In attendance (in alphabetical order) were

I was feeling rather ambiguous about the meet up.  All of the above people seem rather awesome online, and in particular, Chanry and I have rather remarkable chemistry. In fact, full disclaimer, we're twitter girlfriends. I was worried that in person, we wouldn't gel - and then I'd risk losing all of these amazing people who I so enjoy on the web.

Beyond that, I am a terrible food blogger. I barely blog, and while I use twitter a lot, my feed tends to be a lot of community events and social justice posts mixed in with my food posts. I was worried I wasn't quite up to the caliber of these hard core bloggers.  Instead, I found a terrific bunch of new friends, who are welcoming, kind, hilarious and now number among my favourite people. Hamilton, Ontario is lucky to have such a remarkable group of people eating to ensure our community knows where to go for the good eats.

After Mezcal, the party moved to Radius for drinks and oysters, and then onto Owl of Minerva for Korean. I tapped out by then, so sat and drank tea while everyone else ate ribs and other delicacies (and the fact that they refused the runny egg yolk in the bibimap still disturbs me).  We worked on our swearing, I received food blogging advice, we told the grossest food stories we could think of and bonded. Future meetups are planned, and I am so excited. In the meantime, go have a look at their blogs. You won't be sorry.
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