MEZCAL MAGIC AT MAESTRO IN OLD PASADENA
AGGRESSIVE BAR PROGRAM COMPLEMENTS FOOD
Pasadena (Perfect Meal Today) 9/20/17/–On a hot sweltering night in Old Pasadena I got the chance to check out the modern Mexican cuisine at Maestro as well as trying out some of their Mezcal drinks. I am not sure how many partners there mare behind the place, but the enthusiasm and passion they all show is kind of infectious, so yes if you are reading this then make sure you check it out. The restaurant be warned tends to be quite loudnand noisy, especially when there is a large party seated at the very comfortable banquette.
The food is cooked by Elena Vega, a Pomona native who learned all about cooking from her 91 year old grandmother who still has a hand in the menu. The weekend brunch here by all accounts is always sold out, as fans of Mexican fresh farmers market cuisine come to the restaurant.
The tasting menu I tried started out with a Kumiai Oyster Shooter With just the right amount of spice that blended well with the Maestro Margarita. The generational Heads Cheese Tostadita that followed was also quite outstanding, and the Kale Orange Salad had just the right amount of beets.
Next up came Scallop with Huitlacoche Rice and Mushrooms with a Deovlet White Wine, and then a Free Ranging Chicken Mole. At the end of the meal which came after the Carrot Cake Tres Leches the bartenders broke out a Los Javis Mezcal “Cerrudo,” a 95.18 proof from Santiago Matatlan in Oaxaca.
This is just one of a large Mezcal stocked in the bar with some of them at over 100% proof such as the 105.2 proof Real Minero Cuishe from Santa Catalia Minas also in Oaxaca. Most of these will cost you around $23 for a 2ox shot, although prices can vary from a low of $9 to a high of $36.
The Tequila range is equally impressive starting at $8 a shot, although If you are a hedge fund or options trader you might want to splash out $75 for the 80 proof Seleccion Suprema Herradura Extra Anejo.
They even have Mexican spirits such as the Hacienda De Chihuachua Sotol Blanco in various versions, not a liquor I had come across before.
The bar at Maestro is pretty small but three bartenders work feverishly to quench the thirst of the millennials and locals who pack the place on the weekend especially, and why not because it is a lot of fun. I was told they go through at least a case of the new and inexpensive tequila from boxer Oscar De La Hoya every weekend to create the assorted margarita’s on offer at Maestro. The Golden Boy has visited Maestro at least twice to sell his Tequila, which is the way to go to break a brand in today’s market.
Maestro-110 E.Union St, Pasadena, CA 91103