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6 years, 1 month ago 1

Let’s start by saying Yours Truly truly does not like tequila, not one bit. However, in the name of investigative journalism she is willing to give anything, well almost anything, a second chance. As it turns out she just doesn’t like her tequila straight.

This titillating change-of-heart was made at a recent pop-up dinner. She knows you are intrigued, oh, not by the tequila revelation? But by the mention of the latest ephemeral dining craze, pop-up dinners?

Okay, for the unknowing, this new trend involves dinners being held in unexpected places, often just for one night or in some cases chefs borrow premises and hold short-run restaurant nights to showcase their skills.

Yours Truly recently snagged an exclusive invitation to such a one-night event hosted by the Patrón Secret Dining Society. Patrón, via www.patró, takes advantage of social media to court its brand loyalists and bring them together with their fellow tequila devotees for “elusive dining gatherings.” The brand started holding the dinners last April and has since brought the concept to Dallas, Atlanta, Washington, Denver, Scottsdale, Charlotte, Newport, and Portland.

“What Patrón is doing is not just a marketing stunt, its engaging people who are foodies and giving them an experience into a world of pairing tequila and foods in a fun interactive way. It’s giving all consumers a chance to win a spot, a chance to experience a culinary experience like no other,” said Patrón’s Greg Cohen of the secret, on-the-fly dinners.

To attend one of the Patrón’s “covert dining experiences” a riddle is released to social club members via the web site. They must answer it within a half hour for a chance at a seat at the dinner. Members who are lucky enough to live in the selected city are eligible to win a seat. All other members who answer the riddle within the next 48 hours are entered to win one of the three unique Patrón Treasure Troves to conduct their very own dinner event at home.

As for the Las Vegas tequila treasure hunt or Re-Imagining the Holiday Feast, social club members learned the date and time of the pending dinner only a week before. The day prior to the event, the Patrón Secret Dining Society revealed that event attendees should go to 333 Valley View (for the unknowing, that’s the address for the Springs Preserve). Once there attendees were to text ‘Patrón Holiday’ to a phone number and instructions would follow. The instructions were to look for a man in the carpark area with a lantern and say ‘Patrón’ to him and he would offer directions.

Then it was a quick march to the Rotunda of The Springs Preserve’s Origen Experience where the festivities began with a wonderfully tangerine-like Plata Fizz cocktail of Patrón Silver, Elderflower Liqueur and sparkling wine created by local mixologist Emilio Tiburcio, who works at Fusion Bar in The Palazzo. Hors’ oeuvres were Kumamoto Oysters with Patrón Silver, Lemon Granite and English Cucumber Pearls and Braised Duroc Pork “Osso Bucco” with Alba White Truffles and Quail Egg from Nove Italiano Chef Geno Bernardo.

After viewing a five-minute video about the tequila giant – did you know it takes 60 hands to make one bottle of Patrón? – it was time for the tequila paired dinner that began with a Crudo of Maine Lobster, Uni, Mango Gelee, and Alma’s Ara Caviar. The pairing was a cocktail called November Rain, Patrón Reposado, rose nectar, lime juice, apple bitters, simple syrup and Jalapeno juice, which was both sweet and spicy at the same time. It was a delicious libation, however, the nose on it was a bit tough to get past.

Next was a tasty Holiday Risotto of butternut squash and toasted pine nuts drizzled in Marques de Valdueza extra virgin olive oil. Patrón Jade, a cocktail of Patrón Silver, cucumber, green grapes and topped with soda water, was super refreshing and tasted like something you would have at the spa. It was brilliantly addictive and easy to drink in big delicious gulps.

This was followed by Chef Geno’s mouth-watering Dry Aged Rib Eye and Cap with bone marrow, hazelnut, sun choke puree and shallot jam. Now, cherished readers, this is where the rubber hit the road and Yours Truly remembered why she hadn’t signed up for any tequila fan clubs. Tiburcio’s Rosemary Holiday Cup of Patrón Anejo, Anise Spirit and rosemary was like a slap in the face. There was nothing subtle about it and the assault tingled so deeply it was like a splash of aftershave.

But Tiburcio redeemed himself quickly with his finale, Ginger Bread Man. The concoction of Patrón XO Café, Amarula Liqueur, hot chocolate and sea salt was served with a gingerbread cookie and was the star of the evening. An entire vat of this warm cocoa nectar wouldn’t have been enough to keep Yours Truly sated. Paired with chef’s Chocolate Ganache served with white chocolate bread – it was decadence squared.

Exuberant with the discovery of pop-up dinners and rediscovery of tequila, the evening was summed up best by Troy Benton, an event organizer, “For a lot of people, mixology and Patrón is a new thing.” Indeed, and although it certainly merits further discussion the liquor store is about to close so Yours Truly must dash.

Ginger Bread Man
1 oz Patrón XO Cafe
1 oz Cream Liqueur
Hot Chocolate
Sea Salt
Coffee and Ginger Whipped Cream
Ground Coffee, Nutmeg, Silver Flakes and Silver-Embedded Chocolate Leaf for garnish

In a coffee cup, add the Patrón XO Cafe and the cream liqueur, then pour in the hot chocolate with a little sea salt. Add the coffee ginger foam on top then sprinkle the ground coffee and the edible silver gold flakes on top. Add the blue-dusted chocolate leaf for garnish. Add a Ginger Bread Man on saucer next to the coffee cup.

Tasting Notes:
Sweetness can easily be complemented by another sweet flavor. Thus, in order for the sweetness in this cocktail to really be bright and flavorful, add a touch of sea salt. The bitterness from the coffee and the touch of spice from the ginger really makes this cocktail a pairing made in heaven.

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One Response

  1. Shawna Rust says:

    The last comment stated about the aftershave its a bit surprising. A close friend of mine attended this dinner and could not say enough about this cocktail, and how well it paired with the rib-eye. I guess everyone does have opinions, so they say.

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