By Andy J. Gordon
Yzta Cocina Mexicana, the oasis of superb Mexican food nestled east of downtown Los Angeles, played host to a Tanteo Tequila tasting in early April 2012. Tanteo is one of the few premium brands that infuse flavors into 100% Weber blue agave tequila as part of their manufacturing process. Their three flavors were offered neat and in cocktails to a group of tequila loving patrons at the special pairing event. Yxta’s Chef Jose Acevedo presented three tasty appetizers that were served with the tequila.
The tasting began with a Tanteo jalapeno margarita and a tray of three shot glasses – one of each flavor. Tanteo makes jalapeño, tropical and cocoa infused tequilas. The margarita was made with the jalapeno flavored tequila, fresh lime juice and agave nectar. The hint of heat from the chile infusion was a nice addition to the refreshing cocktail. By itself, the Tanteo jalapeño tequila is a fine example of the spirit with a distinctively subtle spiciness. While we enjoyed the cocktail and straight tequila, a plate arrived with two appetizers. One was an empanada filled with chicken and topped with crema fresca and salsa brava. The other was a taquito filled with Mexican sweet shrimp topped with guacamole, salsa and crema fresca. Both were delicious and tasted great with the margarita.
The next cocktail served was called a Downtown Tropic. It was made with the tropical Tanteo, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and a splash of cranberry juice. This drink was refreshing, fruity and sweet. Chef Acevedo chose to pair it with a sample sized portion of grilled Mexican sweet shrimp in a tangy garlic sauce. This dish is on the entrée menu and is usually served with roasted poblano chiles and cilantro lime rice. The sweetness of the shrimp worked really well with the cocktail. The tropical Tanteo is infused with mangos, pineapples, guanabana and a hint of jalapeño. The natural sweetness of the fruits helps lessen the slight bite of the tequila. The third of the infused Tanteo tequilas is cocoa flavored. It was served on ice with an orange peel garnish. The strong flavor of cocoa with the spiciness of the agave spirit makes a tasty combination. The cocoa flavored Tanteo would definitely go well with any chocolate themed dessert.
This special tasting event demonstrated that Tanteo is an unusual contender in the premium tequila market. Their flavored selections provide creative bartenders and chefs with the base for a variety of tasty cocktail and food pairings. Yzta Cocina Mexicana was a great place to showcase the Tanteo line. Yxta’s owner Jesse Gomez and Chef Jose Acevedo recently opened another restaurant called Mercado, in downtown Santa Monica. With an expertly chosen selection of premium tequilas and an inventive menu similar to Yxta, look for special tequila pairing events at Mercado in the future.
Yzta Cocina Mexicana
601 S. Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90021
1416 Forth St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Monday-Wednesday: 5 pm to 10 pm
Thursday: 5 pm to 12 am (kitchen 11 pm)
Friday, Saturday: 4 pm to 12 am (kitchen 11 pm)
Sunday: 4pm to 10 pm
Photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon and Tanteo Tequila