Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Council Oak Cinco de Mayo Dinner featuring Roca Patron

I'll never forget the first time I had upscale Mexican food. I was in my mid-twenties visiting Las Vegas. Back then, my idea of a nice meal out was at a chain restaurant. During that trip to Vegas, we only dined at celebrity chef (or other notable) restaurants on the chain. Those 5 days changed me and it was from that point that I started to obsess over restaurants. You can say I owe my obsession with food to that trip.
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So when Seminole Hard Rock Tampa invited my husband Gabe and I out to their Cinco de Mayo dinner at Council Oak, I instantly blocked my calendar and prayed I wouldn't have a last minute work event that would interfere (I still haven't gotten over missing the Cakebread dinner a few months ago).

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I have been very fortunate to attend a few specialty dinners at Council Oak and I can say without hesitation, this was my favorite pairing meal to date. We also learned that Chef Mike Balles worked many years with Bobby Flay and was on Foodnetworks Iron Chef. Needless to say, when Chef started talking about various Chili Peppers, we knew that we were in for a treat.
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We started off the evening with three Hors d’oeurves and a fresh Roca Patrón Silver watermelon margarita. The Acapulco Seafood Shooter was insane and I seriously want Chef Mike to put this on the menu at Council Oaks lounge. Those baby corn were not from the can either. So good.
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Acapulco Seafood Shooter - Shrimp, Scallops, Mexican Cocktail Sauce
Smoked Chicken Tostada, Roasted Tomatillo Sauce, Queso Blanco
Grilled Baby Corn, Lime-Cilantro Butter, Queso Fresco, Chili Powder

1st Course
Sopa Azteca
Pasilla Glazed Duck Confit, Avocado, Hominy,White Corn Tortilla Crisp, Crème Fraîche
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The first course was tortilla soup on steroids. Instead of chicken, we had duck confit. I usually have self control at these events since there is so much food but I couldn't put my spoon down. The Roca Patrón Reposado cocktail was just as good and was my favorite cocktail of the night.
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2nd Course
Grilled Mexican Grouper
Chorizo-Saffron Broth, Clams, Mussels, Charred Corn, Grilled Ciabatta
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When we got the menu for this event, dish 2 was waving at me. Grouuper, Chorizo and Saffron broth, hi friend! Our grouper was perfectly prepared and flaky. The Chorizo added a smokey spice and everything paired very well together. In fact, Gabe ate his entire dish, even knowing what was up next. The grouper paired perfectly with the Roca Patrón Silver cocktail.
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3rd Course
28 Day Dry-Aged New York Strip
Mole Rub, Ancho Chili Sauce, Roasted Poblano Salsa, Sweet & White Potato Puree
Oh course 3, I don't think we will ever forget you. So truth be told, I am not a NY Strip kinda girl. People are always bashing on the filet mignon, saying it has no flavor due to the low fat content...but I am all for the buttery texture. Well, when you sous vide a dry aged NY strip, you get the flavors of the strip and the texture of a filet. Give it a mole rub, an ancho chili sauce and roasted poblano salsa and you find yourself amongst perfection. Pair that with a Roca Patrón Añejo cocktail and you are in Mexican food heaven.
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4th Course
Banana Mousse
Mexican Chocolate Chili Crumble, Roasted Cinnamon Gelato, Warm Cajeta Sauce
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We were so full by the time course 4 came along. Although I paced myself, I couldn't think of eating anything else. Then the dessert came out and my mind got blown. Banana mousse over a chocolate chili crumble. Then top that with roasted cinnamon gelato and cajeta sauce....seriously guys. If that weren't enough, out comes the cocktail - a coffee infused Patrón Silver with a bacon rim. Yes, I said a bacon rim. The cocktail was like an espresso martini but better.
After rolling out of Council Oak, we were both handed a commemorative bottle of Roca Patrón Silver. Chef Mike slayed this dinner and I don't know how he is going to top it. Then again, I didn't think he would be able to top the butter poached lobster at the Gasparilla dinner. An early congrats to Mike and his lovely fiance who are expecting their first baby boy in June.

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