Oaxacan-inspired restaurants are no strangers to D.C.s constantly expanding food industry. Espita Mezcaleria, set to open in Shaw in January 2016, will be the latest addition. The soon-to-open restaurant recently hosted a Mole & Mezcal Tasting Dinner at Dolcezza Gelato Factory + Coffee Lab. The four-course tasting menu showcased the backbone of Oaxcan cuisine: masa, mole and, the eternally present, mezcal. The courses were perfectly matched with four kinds of Fidencio Mezcal: Tierra Blanco, La Venenosa, Derrumbes and Koch Mezcal Espadin, two of them about to be released into the D.C. market.
The first course consisted of a tostada mounted with crab, arugula, avocado and onion to which guests could add any of the available salsas at the pairing: verde asado, habanero, and pistachio.
Sope was the next course, a thick tortilla made of ground maize, topped with eggplant, Salsa borracha-a mezcal-based salsa, and paired with La Venenosa Raicilla Tierra Jalisco mezcal. Nopales, or commonly known as cactus, is a staple of Oaxacan cuisine, reason why the chef included eggplant in the first place as a way to play with the flavors more commonly known around here. The eggplant gave the Sope an earthy taste which was deliciously paired with the smokey La Venenosa, grown in Santiago Matlatlan, Mexico and harvested after 10 years.
After these two very filling antojitos attendees were served another staple of Oaxacan cuisine, mole. Mole is usually made of at least 20 ingredients, with chilli as its base, that are roasted and grounded into a fine paste that usually takes days, if not longer, to make. In Espita Mezcaleria’s concoction the mole was pipian-based and topped with country pork ribs, pepitas, tomatillo serrano, and served with hand-pressed tortillas for everybody to make their own tacos while paired with Derrumbes Mezcal. The result was an extravaganza of smokey flavors which left us hoping for a second round of this match made in heaven.
To top it all off, and my favorite course of the evening, we got to taste a tres leches cake which was the most delicious tres leches concoction I’ve tasted. The cake was made out of Spiced Apple Compote, Salted Cajeta Gelato Oaxacan Drinking chocolate and perfectly topped with Dolcezza’s own, and my all-time favorite, salted caramel gelato.