The Tequila Tasting at La Buena Vida
It was a wonderful time, to say the least. In fact, it was much more than I had bargained for. Getting to enjoy the Patron tasting at one of Fort Collins’ best Mexican restaurants was a fun and I’m so excited to get the opportunity to offer a review of the entire experience.
While I knew that I was going to sit down to a journey through the tequila distillation process and tradition and learn about Patron, I didn’t realize was that I was going to be led through that journey by the fun and charismatic owner, Hugo Caballero. Not only was he engaging, comparing the finest tequilas to the top sports cars of the world, but he was informative. To say I learned a lot is an understatement.
Here’s What I Learned
Tequila, or real tequila for that matter, does not come from anywhere but the Blue Agave plant. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. The best tequila is made from 100 percent agave and there’s absolutely no negotiating or questioning that. I also learned that great tequila is never “gold,” as that type of “tequila” is everything but tequila. I learned that many claims are made about tequila in order to drive up the price in certain establishments, mostly surrounding the aging process. Here’s what you need to know.
- Great tequila is a silver, anejo, or a reposado.
- It is made with 100 percent Blue Agave plant, nothing else.
- Anejo tequila is the best. It is aged for 18 months in American Bourbon barrels.
- Patron creates fantastic tequila, using only traditional methods to create their products.
This tequila tasting was for Patron. If you didn’t know, Patron offers more than their regular line of tequila. While still a premium choice, it isn’t quite as flavorful or smooth as their Roca line. During the tequila tasting, I not only was able to try the silver, reposado, and anejo from their baseline, I was able to try all three of those from their Roca line as well.
To finish it all off, I, and the many others that joined me for the tequila tasting experience were given a taste of the Cafe XO from Patron. If you ever thought your morning coffee could be made better with a shot of tequila, you weren’t alone. XO gives you the best of both worlds, combining rich Java with fine tequila.
To serve as both accompaniment and a palate cleanser, the Caballero’s prepared a fresh-made, in-house Sangrita that was not only refreshing but served both purposes extremely well.
While the Tequila was fantastic, the real star here is the tasting menu.
Not only was the delicious menu created by Mrs. Maria Caballero, but it was prepared by her as well. Each dish was delicious, fun, and unique and not to mention the fact that everything on the tequila tasting menu was gluten-free, allowing even the most particular of dietary restrictions to enjoy.
Check out the adventure we took through this delicious tequila tasting food menu.
Each guest was given a choice between the following items.
Smoked marlin and ceviche de pulpo topped on two crisped tostadas.
Empanadas de Marlin
Two empanadas complete with smoked marlin and finished with a chipotle and jalapeno dressing.
While each guest had to choose between the two, I was fortunate enough to try both appetizers. Not only was I impressed with the flavoring and choice of marlin and octopus, but I was immediately immersed in the flavors of Mexico. It was like paradise on a plate.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the food was amazing. But beyond the flavoring, it was a well-rounded menu. Whether you are a pescatarian, vegetarian, or a meat lover, there was something for everyone on this menu, as there was a fish, meat, and veggie option so that no soul was left out to enjoy.
Bacalao en Salsa de Almeja
A seared cod draped in butter and clam sauce served with a side of sauteed veggies and a garlic white rice.
Fresh, flavorful, and fun, this dish was not only prepared well, but the presentation was amazing too. While I’m not typically a fan of cod, the seasonings and clam sauce made this dish absolutely to die for.
Puntas de Filete
If given the option, I’m going to choose the steak, almost every time and this time was no exception.
Served with sauteed bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms, topped with a garlic marinade and completed with white rice and black beans, this dish was most certainly my favorite.
The steak was the perfect temperature, tender and scrumptious to say the least. It was a combination made in savory heaven and I just wanted more and more.
For those who seek a vegetarian dish that is both delicious and gluten-free, La Buena Vida never disappoints and this dish was no exception.
Roasted to perfection and stuffed with potatoes sauteed in butter, the base of this dish was enough to please. Accompanied by black beans and white rice and topped with a creamy salsa poblana, this vegetarian dish for the tequila tasting was one of the best I’ve tried in any Mexican restaurant.
Dessert – Flambe Bananas
Yes, you read that right. Flambe bananas. Like every other dish on the menu, the Flambe bananas were seriously delicious.
Served with vanilla ice cream and silver tequila and topped with caramel and whipped cream, the dessert was both unique and wonderful. Paired with the XO coffee tequila from Patron, this pairing was harmonious and a perfect way to wrap up the tasing.
Once I thought the tastings and food pairings were over, the Caballeros once again surprised me with a tasting of Vida Mezcal. I hadn’t ever tried this spirit before, so I was excited to say this least.
Originating in Del Maguey, this type of tequila is twice distilled and unblended 100% pure agave Espadin. The process for distillation comes from a 500 year-old, artisanal tradition still used today.
I have to give it a five, and I know the table of food and tequila lovers who joined me would absolutely agree. From the lessons I learned about the tequila distillation process to the introduction to Mezcal, everything was unique, informative, delicious, and fun. Both Hugo and Licho Caballero did a fantastic job at hosting and preparing the tequila tasting and menu and I can’t wait for them to host another one.
If you weren’t already aware, La Buena Vida is the sister Mexican restaurant to Los Tarascos Mexican Restaurant located in Old Town, Fort Collins. On February 14th, they will be hosting yet another fine tequila tasting with an exquisite menu to pair with each tasting. Since first announcing this event, tickets have gone fast and they continue to do so. If exploring the rich flavors or Michoacan cuisine and learning about fine tequila not only interest you, but intrigues you to experience something different from your regular Valentine’s Day routine, don’t hesitate to get your tickets now.