Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ant eggs, grasshopper, all included in Quintonil's 10-course meal!

A few months before a recent Mexico City trip (recap of trip in a separate post), I booked reservations for Quintonil—one of the HOTTEST restaurants in the D.F. right now. I debated between Pujol and Quintonil, but figured Quintonil's menu was slightly more interesting and unique. I told traveling sisterhood that this was a splurge meal of the trip. I would usually never do a tasting menu in the states, but it's really quite affordable in the D.F.  

So, on Friday night, we made a trip to Quintonil in the Polanco area. The place is small but very well decorated and uber modern. 

All four of us opted for the 10-course tasting menu with the drink pairings. YOLO! We then proceeded to settle in for a 3-hour meal/experience!

If we only did the menu without drinks, it would have cost us 1300 pesos; with the drinks it was 2425 pesos. After tip and everything, it was around $160USD. Not bad at all in my opinion.

While it was 10-course meal, the meal was started with a palette cleanser of sorts with a ceviche mango freeze—which was kind of like mango dipping dots.

They also brought out house-baked bread, tortillas and bean sauce. The bread and homemade butter was amazing!

Dish #1: Cactus salad with beet root and seaweed

Photo Credit: Frida's Cafe
It was really refreshing and it was served with an amazing beet juice.

We all wanted more of the beet juice! Austinites would freak the F out about this beet juice. It was earthy but not dirt-like (you know what I'm talking about) and sweet from the oj. 

Dish #2: Half moon scallop in orange 'aguachile'

The scallops were thinly slide and placed on a plate with the aguachile. For me, this was a top 4 dish. The flavors were refreshing and delightful!

Dish #3: Charred avocado tartare with escamoles (ANT EGGS!)

Did you know ant eggs in interior Mexican food is a delicacy? It's like their caviar. Fo reals. 

Photo Credit: Frida's Cafe
I will say that the dish was beautifully presented. The dusting of pepper (or whatever the black stuff is) was great. My sister couldn't eat all of her dish so I gladly accepted. The ant egg sacks don't have a distinct flavor, it's more of a soft texture thing. 

Dish #4: Salbute with cuitlacoche and chile powder

Cuitlacoche is basically a corn fungus. Sounds good, right? The dish actually needed a bit of salt but it was basically a snackable gordita. We had a really good laugh when my sister proceeded to make it talk. 

Photo Credit: Frida's Cafe
The dish was served with a nice Mexican IPA but the IPAs they're making are not overly hopped like American beers. It was quite muted and great floral aroma.

Dish #5: Catch of the day with chileatole made with hoja santa and seaweeds, chayote and flowers

I think most of us agreed that this one one of the BEST dishes of the night. The sea bass was perfectly cooked and presentation was amazing. 

Photo Credit: Frida's Cafe
Tableside, the chayote sauce was poured on top. I cook with chayote all the time, but I never make a puree out of it... so I totally came home with a new idea.

The dish was served with a mezcal cocktail that had the perfect amount of spice from the pepper. 
I think my sister approves of the mezcal!

Dish #6: Durango dry-aged rib eye, grasshopper and quelites chimichurri, rutabaga puree

Photo Credit: Frida's Cafe
This dish had very earthy components to it. The puree was really good and you couldn't even tell the grasshopper was made into like a rub of sorts. Meat melted in your mouth!

Dish #7: Chilacayotes (squash) in homemade mole, charred tortilla, basil and lemon thyme sprouts

Photo Credit: Frida's Cafe
While this was was beautifully presented, I thought it lacked any type of flavor. The mole was there but it wasn't as forward as I would like. Overall a mediocre dish.

Dish #8: Cactus sorbet

When Mandy took I bite of this, I nearly died on the floor laughing. The fast she made when she took a bite of the super tart sorbet was priceless. 

This was basically a palette cleanser after the heavier meat dishes. 

Dish #9: Berries "caos"

I dream about this dessert. So light and airy but tangy and sweet. It's the perfect light dessert I don't feel bad about eating.

Photo Credit: Frida's Cafe
A nice brachetto type wine was paired with it and it was delightful.

Last but not least, Dish #10: Mamey panna cotta, sweetened corn crumble and mamey seed ice cream

Photo Credit: Frida's Cafe
Seriously, how beautiful is this?? The colors, the flowers, the "dirt." Mamey is a type of fruit that is reminiscent of papaya. The corn crumble actually reminded me of graham crackers. I devoured this plate, flowers and all. 

Nightcap: Mexican cafe and sweets

Photo Credit: Frida's Cafe
After three hours and a full belly, we all wanted a little cafe before we headed out on the town... and sure enough that was the last thing they brought out. The cafe had the quintessential cinnamon in it which helped settle our tummies after 9 beverages. 

The cafe was served with some traditional Mexican desserts. 

Let them eat cake!

Before we officially walked out the door though, my sneaky friends alerted the waitress to the fact that my birthday was a few days earlier, so the staff brought out this lovely cake!

We were so full we couldn't even make a dent in the cake but the gesture was pure love. 

Quintonil, Gracias for one of the most memorable dining experiences I've ever had.

 I'm just glad I was able to share the experience with an equally amazing group of women.

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