Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Currently Drinking: Mezcal Unión Uno

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An ensemble made from two types of agave—espadín and cirial—this Oaxacan mezcal is bottled at 80 proof, quite approachable compared to overproof options on the shelf. On the nose, it offers very bright vegetation, while on the palate there’s a little bit of honey, pineapple, and canela. Not particularly smoky not boasting much heat, it is a nice option for the previously unindoctrinated who want to drink it neat.

In cocktails, Mezcal Unión proves rather versatile. There are a lot of different layers to it, playing well with fruity and more vegetal style ingredients. Try it with citrus, celery or anything herbal. At Empellón Cocina, we presently feature this in the Pink Is The New Green cocktail, which also employs green chartreuse, Campari, and verjus.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Inside Empellón Cocina: Lamb Tartare

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Lamb Tartare, Avocado Leaf Oil, Pasilla Oaxqueña, Guaje Seeds

One of the basic 101-level creative principles, reversal is a useful way to interpret a familiar dish into a new one. Take something savory, for example, and make it sweet. In this particular case, we translate something typically served hot—lamb barbacoa—into something cold. In Oaxaca, the meat rubbed in red chiles, steamed and smoked underground for hours. The lamb is bathed in a consomme before it goes on a tortilla topped with cilantro, onion, guaje seeds, sliced cucumber, and smoky salsa borracha made with mescal and pasilla chiles. For our dish, we mince the lamb, flavor it with red chiles. Then, we dress the tartare in oil flavored with avocado leaf and smoky pasilla chiles before plating with cilantro sprouts, minced onion, and guaje seeds, keeping the flavors and soul of the barbacoa intact.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Currently Drinking: Fidencio Clásico

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The most commonly cultivated agave for use in mezcal production, espadín gets its name from the Spanish word espada, or sword, akin to the appearance of the plant’s leaves. Made from estate-grown organic agave as opposed to wild varieties, this mezcal has a flavor profile all its own. By not being exceedingly high in proof (44% ABV), the natural sugars are brought out and contribute to a good mouthfeel. It is also not overly smoky—though one might notice subtle differences from numbered batch to numbered batch—and makes for a good introduction for someone who has yet to try mezcal.

We find Fidencio Clásico well suited for cocktail usage, as it brings out the flavor of the agave plant in a nice way that doesn’t overpower the other elements of a mixed drink. We use it in our Mezcal Margarita at all of our restaurants, as well as in Empellón Cocina’s Mezcal Mai Tai.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Road to Al Pastor: An Exercise Against Futility

Consuming some 40 tacos al pastor daily, we embarked on a three-day death march involving dozens of taquerias across Mexico City. In spite of our decidedly singular mission, variety abounded. At some places, the rotating trompo spit was between 20 and 30 pounds, but other locations boasted ones as big as 250 or 500 pounds. We found tacos al pastor served with pineapple and without. Some taqueros rubbed the pork in a bright orange adobo, while others forwent that gilding. Onions were presented raw at some places, while elsewhere they were salvaged from the lard-laden bottom of the trompo.

Read more at First We Feast.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

National Taco Day Brunch at Empellón Taqueria

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Not that we need an excuse to celebrate tacos, but National Taco Day is Saturday October 4th and we’re having a special Brunch Party at Empellón Taqueria!

From 2:30-4:30pm, enjoy unlimited margaritas, beer and wine, chips & salsa. Our brunch taco options will include:

Lamb Barbacoa, Cucumber, Salsa Borracha

Braised Bacon, Lettuce, Lime Mayonnaise

Beer Braised Pork Tongue, Chorizo, Salsa de Arbol

Scrambled Eggs, Red Chorizo, Queso

Skirt Steak, Mojo de Ajo

Wild Mixed Mushrooms, Rajas

Fish Tempura, Cabbage, Lime Mayonnaise

Chicken, Black Kale, Crema, Salsa Verde

Price is $40 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Email reservations@empellon.com for more information and to secure your spot.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Road to Al Pastor: Playing Chess Against Yourself

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"We love everything about Mexican food, perhaps to a fault. From rustic to regional to modern and interpretative versions, we love trying to decipher it as a chefs, as well as devour it as eaters. Singularity is impossible to achieve if you can’t bring yourself to decide. So while some chefs take the attitude of “Fine Dining or Die” and others devote themselves to country cooking or bistro fare, we can’t pick just one aspect or style of Mexican cuisine to cook.

Read more from Chef Alex Stupak at First We Feast.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Road to Al Pastor: A Matter of Timing

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"I’m reminded of a Chinese proverb cited by Ming Tsai on his PBS show: ‘If a grain of rice gets lonely, it will die.’ Take a kernel away from a hot bowl of rice and it will quickly dry out, get cold, and harden around the edges. Similarly, freshly made tortillas kept together in a container stay warm and supple longer, but when one is taken away on a plate alone it starts to grow cold almost immediately, its edges curling up. This is the worst thing that can happen to a tortilla.

Read more from Chef Alex Stupak at First We Feast.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Six Tacos, One Night Only.

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On Monday, September 22Empellón Taqueria will present a special six course tasting menu featuring original tacos not available at any of our restaurants before… or ever again. It’s a night that promises to both celebrate as well as challenge tradition, bite-by-bite. 

Roasted Carrots, Tamarind, Fresh Peanut Salsa

Baby Artichokes, Meco Chile Mayonnaise, Parmesan

Cod Fish Brandade, Roasted Nugget Potatoes, Arbol Chile 

Late Summer Shell Bean Chili, Jalapeño, Crumbled Cornbread

Tacos Arabes

NY Strip Steak, Watercress Salsa Verde, Roasted and Smoked Bone Marrow 

Price is $55 per person (excluding tax and gratuity) and includes a margarita upon arrival. 

Seatings are available from 6:00pm-9:30pm. To reserve your table, please fill out the form here; contact us at reservations@empellon.com or call us at (212) 367-0999

Thursday, September 4, 2014
Wednesday, September 3, 2014