Since the pandemic, we've tightened our borders, trying to starve out the Coronavirus. Like our planes, we're grounded; our only respite from cabin fever is that staycation. But there are other ways to travel…
Spanish-American chef, José Andrés, once remarked that food can transport you to other places. The Loco Group aims to accomplish that with a special dinner and cocktail menu for October. We start with Mexico City, with a slice of its street food culture: the tamale. Like an opened gift, the corn masa reveals pork carnitas that's slow-cooked with serrano peppers and drizzled over with mole verde.
The dish, El Pulpo, is exactly as its stated name: an octopus that's charred to give it that woodiness with its sea tang origins. Spiced frioles crumble and ancho oil top the plate with an interesting addition of cactus figs.
Of course, a good meal needs to be washed down with a cocktail or two. Evoking Mexico City's cuh-razy nightlife scene, we have drinks like Super Macho with its woody oak and crisp pear notes; the vanilla-imbued Pandan Colada and Thai Lime Tommy's, whose namesake may conjure the image of a Cagney's gangster but is more of a refreshing concoction with spiced citrus notes.
Another touchstone is the Empanadas de Calabaza. Perfect for this Hallowed month, cinnamon-spiced pumpkin fills the pocket of this turnover. For another facet to the flavour, try the dipping sauce that is a habanero and piloncillo syrup.
Finally, try the Arroz Con Leche dessert. Working with local ice-cream company, Tom's Palette, the Arroz Con Leche is inspired by the traditional Mexican pudding. For this itineration, we have toasted rice sprinkled over coconut milk gelato spiced with woody cinnamon, mango strips and chia seeds; all these in a hard taco shell. Our snackavist provides a more nuanced review of this treat.