Tequilas Cantina & Grill hosted their first ever Tequila Pairing Dinner on Wednesday, August 10th featuring a five course meal paired with five specially crafted Patrón tequila cocktails. The event sold out in days and was a huge success for the restaurant and those in attendance.
Tequila’s owners Patricia and Carlos Rivera planned and worked with the Patrón ambassador of Los Angeles, Carissa Kaufman, who helped to look over the current menu and select the perfect items to pair with the tequila. A tasting menu was approved that highlighted the flavor profiles of the dishes with the cocktails, each representing a different type of Patrón: Silver, Reposado, Añejo, Extra Añejo, and Añejo Sherry Cask.
Prior to the event, Patricia and Carlos had visited the city of Tequila, Mexico and toured the Hacienda Patrón distillery where they witnessed the entire tequila process all the way through harvesting, cooking, extraction, fermentation, distillation, aging, bottling and tasting. “Carlos and I participated in several Patrón Tequila tastings and chose an Añejo for Tequilas Cantina & Grill,” said Rivera. “In fact, during our visit, Tequilas Cantina & Grill became members of Patrón’s Barrel Select Program.” After their trip and experience tasting tequila, they wanted to bring that vision back to their restaurant and the pairing dinner was then created.
The original goal of the event was to book 20 seats, but the community had an overwhelming reaction to the event, and 50 seats were made available for the dinner. “I am confident we could have sold more tickets since we did have the physical space. I truly believe if we would have had the patio full, it would have lost the personalized interaction with the customers and the Patrón representatives,” said Rivera. “To us, everything is not always about making money. More importantly, it’s about the relationships and ensuring our customers are enjoying themselves.”
The patio was decorated in hanging lights and festive decorations including empty Patrón bottles at the center of each table filled with brightly colored flowers made of Mexican cork husk. Every detail was thought out by the Riveras, even down to shot glass necklaces with guest’s names on them as place holders for seats. The event was assigned seating and allowed people to mingle and get to know other people in the community. Mayor Jess Talamantes and his wife were in attendance as well as councilmember Bob Frutos and his wife. City clerk Zizette Mullins was also out at the event enjoying the dinner.
At the beginning of the Tequila Pairing Dinner, the Riveras came up to the bar to welcome guests and thank them for attending the event. They then introduced Carissa Kaufman from the Patrón team, who entertained attendees through the night with knowledge on the tequila making process and the quality of the Patrón products. “Patrón has such a diverse portfolio of tequila expressions beyond the Silver, Reposado, and Añejo we all know and love,” said Kaufman. “I personally love being able to share that and find an exceptional tequila for everyone – whether you’re more of a whiskey drinker or prefer un-aged spirits, there’s something for everyone.”
The first pairing of the night consisted of ceviche tostadas filled with lime and herb marinated shrimp and fish, topped with avocado along side a cucumber, cilantro, lime and agave margarita featuring the Patrón Silver. The second course paired chicken tacos on soft flour tortillas with a sweet pineapple, agave and lime cocktail rimmed with Tajín to bring out the flavors of the Patrón Reposado. After that, guests enjoyed a delicious bowl of chile verde and a thick and spicy cocktail featuring Patrón Añejo, roasted poblano peppers, lime and agave.
The fourth course was the last savory dish of the evening as waiters brought around a sizzling volcanic stone dish of molcajete Azteca. This seemed to be a favorite for guests who enjoyed the charbroiled steak, cactus, and jack cheese smothered in ranchera sauce. The dish was paired with a Patrón Extra Añejo cocktail flavored with hazelnut, chocolate bitters and orange zest. For dessert the fifth and final course was deep fried ice cream covered in corn flakes. The treat was paired with Patrón Añejo Sherry Cask and served neat so guests could pour it over their ice cream.
If you missed the event, have no fear! Most of the cocktails enjoyed through the night are being worked into the upcoming Tequilas Cantina & Grill menu so that everyone can get a taste from the night. The Riveras are also excited to plan more tasting events like this in the future. “It was a magical evening for us. As business owners, we are trying to rebrand our restaurant,” said Patricia Rivera. “The Tequila and Food Pairing Tasting was one of the extensions of our many efforts. We want Tequilas to be a family-friendly environment while at the same time have events that are special and entertaining for adults.”