For Matthew’s birthday, my parents wanted to take him out to dinner, but were looking for something a little different, since we eat out a lot. Enter the Tequila Dinner featuring Don Julio at Red, the Steakhouse. It was a beautiful evening and the event christened the brand new rooftop bar and patio at Red’s downtown location.
We began with cocktails and appetizers. I enjoyed the El Diablo, with Don Julio Anejo, chambord, lime juice, and Fever Tree ginger beer. Matthew chose the Paloma, with Don Julio Reposado, grapefruit and lime juices, and soda. Both were refreshing and a nice change from simply making a margarita with tequila.
The appetizers included mini-tacos and tamales, which were devoured almost quicker than the staff could refill the table.
Then it was time for our four-course dinner. Each course was paired with a different Don Julio tequila: Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, and 1942. The tequila was served straight. As Joseph DeLuca, our host for the evening, explained, the idea of shooting tequila is an American notion. Good tequilas are meant to be sipped.
While Mom and I only took tiny sips of the tequilas, Matthew and Dad enjoyed each with its given course and found that tequila can be a flavorful beverage to pair with food.
Our first course was steelhead trout ceviche, with mango, cucumber, lime, Fresno peppers, and puffed cumin rice.
I expected the trout to taste fishy, but it was very mild and all the fresh, summery flavors in the dish shone through.
Our second course chipotle-glazed confit pork belly, with corn cake, pickled jicama, black bean puree, and corn shoots.
I loved everything about this course, from the spice of the chipotle glaze, to the just-enough texture added by the corn cake.
The third course was braised short ribs, with mofongo, salsa verde, charred corn, jalapeno, pork cracklings, and cumin vinaigrette.
This might have topped the pork belly course for me. While I knew Red did an amazing job with beef, I was so impressed to try savory courses outside the steak realm and find them all to be just as high quality.
Our fourth course ended the night on a sweet note, with a churro paired with dolce de leche, pralines, roasted marshmallow, and coffee ice cream.
The elements of this dessert worked so well together, but each on its own was fantastic. I think my favorite part was the housemade roasted marshmallow. Or the coffee ice cream. Or the pralines…
It was a tasty and educational evening, trying both new food (Red is not just for steak!) and new beverages! Stay tuned to Red’s website for information on future spirits-pairing dinners.