Tequila 101 Class – Cinco de Mayo at Public School 612 Gastro Pub

May 5th, 2012, Cinco de Mayo, what a perfect occasion for beverage expert Patrick Thomas and Chef Dante Ascenzi to host a fun Tequila 101 class for media and the public at Public School 612 restaurant and bar in downtown Los Angeles. This is one of many classes being offered in the“ Education in the Art of Food and Beer” series the two are hosting every 6-8weeks for food and beverage enthusiasts.

Chef Dante Ascenzy and Sous chef Nathan Hartman

The restaurant Public School 612 is what the name suggests, the menus are disguised as school note books. The general theme here is a gastro pub with a wide selection of beer draughts, ale, stout, you name it. You can also choose betweenClassic spirits like Bourbon and Scotch, Vodka, Rum, Gin and Tequila.There is a variety of signature cocktails and wine. The food menu is an eclectic mix of bar food:  Pizza, Calamari, Lamb burgers, fries, fish & chips, chicken and ribs.

The Happy Hour menu is called “Recess” and accommodates every budget it offers 2$ pizza, humus, dip and Spring rolls. The $4 handler consists of fries, tacos, dogs and pizza.You can order the 5$ well and 1/2 liter wine for 10$. Recess is every day from 4-7pm and Sunday all day!The bar is tucked in the corner right next to the Daily Grill on Flower and 6th street.

The reason I mention the address is because it could be easily overlooked since it shares the entrance with the next-door Daily Grill. Public School 612 has it’s own bar and plenty of high top tables with bar stools which make for a very relaxed restaurant environment.Right off the bet my education in “the Art of Food and Beer” started with Patrick serving a Mechilada drink that is much like her cousin the “ Bloody Mary” a fuzzy drink that I learned is also the best cure for hangovers. It is a mixture of beer, tomato juice, chipotle salt, horseradish, Worchester sauce and garlic tasted very refreshing.Patrick, originally from St. Louis, who despite his origin and preference for scotch, has an amazing knowledge of food and tequila seemed a very unconventional “teacher”.And so after sipping on the Mechilada, I learned the difference between tequila and MescalMescal is still made in villages in Oaxaca. The agave plant grows 6-7 years and is harvested by hand with a sharp disc. The bulbs, called pena are loaded into ovens and baked for days. Afterwards they are distilled twice, which makes for a very sharp and interesting taste of Vida Mescal.

Vida Mescal

With this Mescal our chef served a delicious Compechana, which is very much like a ceviche just more tasty since you add avocados, cucumbers, siracha, red onion, horse radish and clam juice to cooked rock shrimp, mahi mahi and scallops.Next up, he expanded on the story of the tequila FORTALEZA.

Tequila is still grown and harvested in the mountainous region of Jalisco, Mexico out of the blue Webber agave.It’s also harvested by hand and then the penas are split and cooked in auto claves or brick ovens for about 24-36 hours. After that it is pressed again with machines.Fortaleza, however, uses old-fashioned stainless tanks and yeast is added which makes for a more controlled process.The Fortaleza Silver or blanco is not aged, which makes for the purest flavor.2nd course: Lingua tacos, tacos with beef tongue and sauted vegetables and tacos with chorizo and pickled jalepeno salsa.

lingua tacos

Patrick preceded mixing up a Sangrita that included Orange-, Pomegranate-, and lime Juice with onion, jalapeño, cilantro.

Sangritas and host Patrick Thomas

3rd course: a fantastic Pastor light or pork spare ribs marinated in pineapple juice. The meat was really tender and served with tasty grilled pinapple bits.

ribs with Salsa de Pastor

With it came a taste of the Fortaleza Reposado, which I learned is tequila that is aged in oak barrels at least 2 months but less than a year. This tequila seemed really smooth compared to the blanco and much more drinkable.Last on the tasting menu was a delicious tres leches cake paired with the Fortaleza anejo.

tres leches cake

This tequila is aged longer than a year and less than three years and tasted sweet and more feminine than the rest. Dangerous for girls, if you ask me, it tastes like vanilla and whipped cream. With this dessert the evening was complete and after a few more sips of tequila we were on our way. Leaving the bar, I was looking forward to coming back in 6 weeks for the Tikki tasting. I certainly learned a lot about tequila and enjoyed the wonderful and entertaining presentation.

For more info please go to publicschool612.com































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