CLASE AZUL TEQUILA DINNER

TEQUILA. If you’d asked me about it a few years ago, I would’ve scrunched up my face. I, like many others, have had my days with tequila in the form of Patron Silver shots. We’ll call those the dark days, which left me with a bitter taste for the spirit. Fast forward to the last year or so, and my response to tequila has changed. A lot. I’ve learned to enjoy it in a much more mature way, both to my palate and my brain/body, and can now say that it sometimes surpasses my choice spirit of vodka.

MERCADITO has had a lot to do with that change, to be honest. Their cocktails are expertly created by head mixologist, Dylan Stewart (previously mentioned here) with the best tequilas and mixers available. A few weeks ago, we were able to learn a lot more about one of those tequilas: CLASE AZUL.

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Photo credit: Mercadito Chicago

I had never heard of the brand before our tequila dinner, but now I will never forget it. Clase Azul proprietor Arturo Lomeli and Chef Patricio Sandoval of Mercadito hosted the dinner in the downstairs space La Mez. About 25 of us gathered at the tables and browsed the menu of the evening. Arturo opened up the evening by introducing himself and walking us through the production of Clase Azul tequila. What makes this tequila special is its superior quality and rich flavors that come through clearly upon a simple sip of it.

Photo credit: Mercadito Chicago
Photo credit: Mercadito Chicago

The tequila is quite delicious, and the bottle it arrives in is nothing short of gorgeous. One hundred and seven families paint each ceramic bottle. Not only does this mean that you get a unique bottle each time you buy one, but it also allows the company to give back to the community by providing employment. Because each bottle is so pretty, it’s no surprise that after drinking the tequila inside of it, everyone saves the bottle and turns it into a vase or candleholder. To accomodate this trend, the company now uses a sticker label that can be removed easily. Needless to say, between the taste of the tequila and the beautiful bottles, you’ll never forget the Clase Azul brand. Genius.

Photo credit: Mercadito Chicago
Photo credit: Mercadito Chicago
Photo credit: Mercadito Chicago
Photo credit: Mercadito Chicago

Now, on to the actual dinner. I’ve had many a meal at Mercadito, so I knew everything would be delicious. Chef Patricio created the perfect dishes that were not only delicious, but paired so well with each tequila being featured per course.

THE MENU 

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THE FOOD

Ceviche Estilo Puerto Vallarta | lime-marinated white fish, shrimp, cucumber, carrots, pico de gallo, red onion, cumin, black pepper, serrano chile, cilantro, lime
CEVICHE ESTILO PUERTO VALLARTA | lime-marinated white fish, shrimp, cucumber, carrots, pico de gallo, red onion, cumin, black pepper, serrano chile, cilantro, lime

 

TORTITAS AHOGADAS | bolillo, pork carnitas, pickled white onion, chile de arbol salsa, tomato salsa
TORTITAS AHOGADAS | bolillo, pork carnitas, pickled white onion, chile de arbol salsa, tomato salsa

 

TACOS DE CARNE EN SU JUGO | pan seared filet, bacon, tomatillo, serrano chile, cilantro, cured onions, corn tortilla, crispy chicharron
TACOS DE CARNE EN SU JUGO | pan seared filet, bacon, tomatillo, serrano chile, cilantro, cured onions, corn tortilla, crispy chicharron

 

TAQUIZA DE BIRRIA DE CHIVO | braised goat, chile guajillo, sesame seed, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, tomatoes, garlic, cured onion, parsley, blue corn tortillas
TAQUIZA DE BIRRIA DE CHIVO | braised goat, chile guajillo, sesame seed, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, tomatoes, garlic, cured onion, parsley, blue corn tortillas

 

JERICALLA | vanilla & cinnamon custard
JERICALLA | vanilla & cinnamon custard

Our favorite cocktail pairing was in the 3rd course. It was light, easy to sip, and the house-made cilantro oil was the perfect touch!

BIG MARKET | Clase Azul Reposado, citrus, chile guajillo, pineapple, cilantro oil
BIG MARKET | Clase Azul Reposado, citrus, chile guajillo, pineapple, cilantro oil

Chef Patricio’s dishes were all delicious, and while I can’t say that we didn’t have more than one favorite, the tortita ahogada definitely stood out. It was spicy, saucy, rich, and just all-round perfectly done. (Add it to the menu, Chef! 🙂  )

The aftermath of many tastings and cocktails….

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Almost 3hrs after getting seated for this dinner, we left La Mez with knowledge of Clase Azul, a fully and happy tummy, and a slightly tipsy head! PLUS… Clase Azul so generously gave us each a mini bottle to take home with us! Yes, this is my tipsy kissy face. Yes, I was very happy.

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Photo credit: Mercadito Chicago

Thank you to Mercadito & Clase Azul for having us! We had a great time, and met some awesome new friends!

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Photo credit: Mercadito Chicago

MERCADITO & LA MEZ | 108 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654

CLASE AZUL

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