I recently attended [TE’KILA] cocktail dinner at H&F in Atlanta (think Cinco-de-Mayo but, a tad sophisticated) and all I have to say is, these guys are definitely doing something right. The four course meal was centered around what we view to be both the most feared and probably the most misunderstood of all spirits. Yes, Tequila. The amuse bouche, which was a a round of lightly toasted brioche topped with lamb liver pate and a scallion infused grape jelly surprisingly paired great with a 2oz pour of Cazadores Blanco Tequila (served room temperature) with a co-sip of Sangrita/Little Blood (freshly squeezed lemon, lime and orange juices, house made grenadine, cayenne pepper) to quench the fire and bite of the neat tequila. The first course was a pecan smoked and cured diver scallop, served with an English pea puree and topped with candied meyer lemon zest and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The scallop melted in your mouth and all you were left with was it’s smokiness, the earthiness of the puree and the citrus over-notes of the zest which again, complimented the Escorpion Culpable/Guilty Scorpion (Don Julio Anejo Tequila, anica formula sweet vermouth, fortified white wine) in ways words just can’t explain.
Next came the simple, but out of this world delicious confit of pork heart (for all of you still freaked out about consuming offal, 2 words; Man Up!) over baby fricassee, garlic chips and a ramp vinaigrette. Pure bliss. It was accompanied by the Sangre Bendecida/ Blessed Blood (Fina Estampa Reposado Tequila, port wine, freshly squeezed lemon juice, orange water). The orange water brought a floral note to the drink that was just out of this world intense. In my opinion, the heart and the drink didn’t mesh well, but they were both awesome on their own. The fourth course actually stole the show. Tamarind glazed, seared duck breast (perfect med-rare), baked beans ‘peanuts’ (a play on the southern classic) and braised turnip greens. With a meal with such bold flavors came a drink that matched it’s robustness, Fuego Cabra/ Flaming Goat (Fina Estampa Reposado Tequila, freshly squeezed lemon juice, bitter lemon soda, jalapeno and strawberry syrup, freshly cracked black pepper). As easy to drink as the drink was, you could tell that it was by far the most potent drink that had been served to us all night. The cheese course was the only course not accompanied by a drink. Nevertheless, just as good as the rest of the courses. It was a bleu cheese (from Spinning Spider Creamery in NC), on toast points and a sorghum syrup drizzle. Finally came dessert. Interesting to say the least. Tres leches cake (compressed pound cake, evaporated milk) served on a cilantro cream and topped with smoked strawberry preserves and garnished with cilantro flowers. Wow! Like a fine wine, this dessert needed to open up a bit, but a few bites in, it was amazing. The La Huevadora/Egg Lady (Fina Estampa Reposado, frangelico, freshly squeezed lime and grapefruit juices, egg white, fleur de sel) was served alongside the dessert and it was the perfect ending to a spectacular dinner. FOOD IS LIFE, and one should consider every bite a pivotal decision.