Had a lovely evening at La Condesa last night. Gorgeous weather always makes me wanna go out and indulge in a little happy hour… which then leads to me wanting to indulge in a full 3-course meal. We started out in the bar.
Trio of ceviche. Holy deliciousness. Each one was unique, had super fresh fish, and was overflowing with incredible flavor. The one on the left is the HAMACHI: kingfish, grilled grapefruit broth, avocado and chicharron. The other two I can’t remember exactly what they were (other than holy deliciousness), but I’m pretty sure the middle one was the VUELVE A LA VIDA – “COME BACK TO LIFE”:mixed seafood, oak-grilled tomato & onion, garlic, jalapeño. And on the right is probably the TRUCHA CON AJI AMARILLO: ocean trout, tomatillo salpicon, aji amarillo sorbet, hoja santa. And now for a complimentary Spanish/culinary lesson: amarillo means yellow, aji is a type of chili pepper, hoja santa is a type of aromatic herb which means “sacred leaf”, and finally, salpicon is a term in French cuisine applied to a preparation consisting of one or more ingredients, diced or minced and bound with a sauce.
Onto the cocktails. Mixology has become very popular in Austin over the past year. Although they may be on the pricey side, these types of cocktails are worth enjoying. Why? ’Cause it’s an adventure in a glass, that’s why! These mixologists are every bit as talented as a fine chef. Take these two cocktails for instance. These are two of the craziest drinks I have ever had; and they were both not only good, but interesting, refreshing and perfectly balanced. On the left is the ALMA BLANCA: habanero-infused simebra azul blanco domaine de canton ginger liquer, agave nectar, pineapple juice, fresh corn, hoja de hierba santa, hibiscus-rose-infused salt rim. They muddled fresh corn for Christ’s sake! And the one on the right was the EL CUBICO: whole leaf tobacco-infused sauza hornitos reposado, navan vanilla liqueur, lemon, grilled pineapple juice, mezcal essence, volcanic-saffron-infused salt rim. Tobacco-infused tequila??? Heavenly. You couldn’t taste it so much as you could smell it with every sip. Yum.
Off to the dining area for dinner. Let me also say that the restaurant is absolutely beautiful. Lots of color with natural wood accents. Great design, and it’s a certified green restaurant to boot! We started off with one of the best guacamoles in the universe. I forgot to take a pic, as I was ravenous by this point. So let your taste buds imagine a regular guacamole, but topped with watermelon, queso fresco (fresh mexican crumbly cheese), and pumpkin seeds. Yup, I will be making this at home again. It came with fresh tortilla chips and a quartet of salsas ranging from the spicy apple & habañero, to the mild tomatillo.
I went from ravenous to completely full in a matter of minutes. It could have been the entire bowl of tortilla chips I ate. However, I managed to stuff a decent amount of my ultra-rich main course into my mouth.
Check it out. BIFE LENTO: shiner beer-braised beef short rib, local winter greens, crispy yucca fries, tomato jam, crema mexicana. Jealous? You should be.
Yucca is a root vegetable, kind of like a potato, but more fibrous. It’s used in Cuban cuisine, so I grew up eating and loving it. And these yucca fries were amazing. The whole thing just went so well together, even if you’re eating things separately, or mixing it all together.
Derek ordered the CHILI RELLENO.
Quinoa-stuffed poblano, butternut squash, chives, manchego cheese, tomato broth, salsa pepita, tortillas. A vegetarian’s paradise! Again, perfect balance of flavors. Per usual, we shared both entrees. And in a totally rare feat, we had leftovers which I will be enjoying shortly. Maybe a little short rib and pepper egg scramble with tomato jam and mexican crema? Sounds good to me!