Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No. 183: Food Event Marathoner ~ Bacardi Tasting @ La Descarga & Fall Menu Sneak Peek @ Drago Centro

So here's the long awaited part two to my four day bender of tastings and events that started with Jonathan Gold's cocktail party & Savor the Season. Thankfully, the weekday events were intimate, shorter tastings that didn't test the limits of my stomach or liver (much.)

Bacardi Event
The Monday after Savor the Season, I was invited by Bacardi's PR folks for the U.S. release of their Reserva Limitada, their super-premium rum that's aged 10-16 years in mildly-charred white oak barrels. Along with tasting this rum with Eric (who also took the awesome photos for this event,) they've also brought along their global ambassador-mixologist David Cordoba to make a series of mini-cocktails using the traditional Bacardi line of rums (i.e. not the flavored ones, even if that was may have been my college tradition.) Naturally, it makes sense for an event like this to take place in La Descarga, a speakeasy-esque bar on the fringe of Koreatown & West Hollywood known for their rum collection, cocktails and cigars.
Bacardi Reserva Limitada in snifters
As for the Reserva Limitada itself, it had super-smooth and rich texture with a slight sugar-caney taste, and warm vanilla, honey and maple notes plus a tinge of pepper & clove spice. While at ~$110 a bottle it's not a rum I'd be buying anytime soon (particularly since my bar is devoid of any strictly-sipping spirits) I'm definitely open to ordering it at a bar or recommending as a "gift to impress" for friends.
David Cordoba making Mary Pickford cocktail
Equally impressive (and far less expensive for me to emulate @ home) are the cocktails that Cordoba shook up, with the menu running the gamut from famous legacy cocktails like the Daiquiri, rum-swapped creations like the September Morn (a Clover Club with rum instead of gin) and contemporary drinks such as the San Miguel, combining their gold rum with orange blossom water, fernet branca and yerba mate tea.
September Morn
My favorites of the set included the above September Morn, fruity and frothy like a smoothie (and with the pomegranate syrup I can say I'm detoxing while I'm toxing up!), and the Mayas Daiquiri, which combines their 8 year-old rum with lime juice, agave syrup and avocado. A simple spin to an ordinary cocktail setup (a spirit base, a sweetener & an acid) but Holy moly, what a delightful twist it was--the avocado added such a mesmerizing buttery note, it was like having a sweet guacamole (the ones where mangos or pineapples are switched in for the tomatoes.)
Overhead mixing shot
Needless to say, I left the event a little more well-learned about the Bacardi rums and how versatile it can be in mixology . . .
Drago Centro
. . . which was a lovely lead-in to the event on Tuesday, an Autumn cocktail & bar bites preview @ Drago Centro with their PR, Esther and Lindsay. While I didn't run through the entire menu like the hardcore trio, I did enjoy two very lovely drinks: one being the Rimedio del Pazzo that combines Zaya rum with Cynar, sage, white peppercorns and citrus. I don't know about the alleged healing properties of peppercorns, sage or artichoky liqueur, but that herbacious concoction did cure my crazies of a hectic work day.
Dazed & Confused
I followed that up with a Dazed & Confused, made with Casa Noble Crystal Tequila, Cherry Heering, Creole Shrubb liqueur, rosemary and Angostura orange bitters. Like the Rimedio, it's a complex, curiosity-inducing cocktail with a wonderful layering of flavors. A little fruity here, a little earthy there, an occasional kick of woodsiness from the rosemary.
Portobello Fries
And to go with our delicious drinks, tasty bar bites! I was especially impressed with the tempura-battered portabello fries ($5), which held their meaty texture & distinct earthy flavor (most mushroom fries I've had before tend to be bland & mushy since the shrooms themselves release a lot of moisture upon cooking, sogging up the fried coating & diluting its flavor.)
Cheese Duo
Likewise, the $9 cheese duo plate featured sizable hunks of a bleu and hard aged cheese (forgot to ask what kind, but it tasted like a cross between an aged cheddar and a parmigiano reggiano to me) with brighty and tangy dried apricots, glazed walnuts and grilled toast.

And with their bar menu featuring $5-6 drinks and affordable snacks all day long, you can count on me coming back for a nibble and a sip when I hit that part of downtown LA.

La Descarga
1159 North Western Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90038
(323) 466-1324

Drago Centro

525 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90071-2200
(213) 228-8998


the actor's diet said...

i've been wanting to try drago centro forever - portobello fries, oh my!

eastside food bites said...

I've been ridiculously obsessed with avocado lately, so your description of the mayas daiquiri intrigues me.


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