The News
Tuesday 23 of July 2024

Mexican-Thai Fusion Cuisine Meets California Wines

Mar Del Zur is located in the Polanco neighborhood,photo: Courtesy of Mar del Zur
Mar Del Zur is located in the Polanco neighborhood,photo: Courtesy of Mar del Zur
How do you celebrate the arrival of a luxury British eyewear company into the Mexican marketplace?


How do you celebrate the arrival of a luxury British eyewear company into the Mexican marketplace?

How about a lunch of an eclectic Mexican-Thai fusion food restaurant accompanied by California wines?

Pick a grape variety to study, or a wine region to zero in on. Regardless, the approach remains: Start at the bull's eye of your choice, and proceed to the edges of your wine education dart board. You can't go wrong. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Photo: Chicago Tribune/Michael Tercha

That is exactly how Taylor Morris, the London-based fashion sunglass brand marked its entry into Mexico: with a lavish, three-wine luncheon at the Mar Del Zur restaurant in the Polanco neighborhood.

And the end product was nothing if not eclectic.

The meal opened with fried huauzontle (lambsquarters) patties in a ginger and coriander sauce that was accompanied by a 2014 Robert Mondavi Woodridge Chardonnay.

Wine is poured as Jill Silverman Hough, author of "100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love," shared her wine-pairing tips in a Fresno, California, cooking class on October 19. (Eric Paul Zamora/Fresno Bee/MCT)
Photo: Fresno Bee/Eric Paul

For those unfamiliar with huauzontle, it is a seasonal Mexican weed that has a chard-like flavor and a stem-like texture, and definitely falls into the category of foods that are an acquired taste.

Since about half of those present — including the hosts Hugo Taylor and Charlie Morris, along with the head honchos of Palacio de Hierro, where the sunglass line is being sold exclusively in Mexico — had apparently not yet acquired a taste for huauzontle, the first course went over like a lead balloon.

The battered huauzontle cakes were acerbic and hard to chew, with a definite wild taste, but surprisingly the brightly yellow Woodridge Chardonnay, with a sharp notes of unripened pears and apples and a hint of eucalyptus and other meadow herbs, complemented the dish nicely, echoing the coarse tangs of the lambsquarters weed with crisp tannins and earthy minerality.

The servings of the stringy, bitter lambsquarters patties were mercifully small, and the next course was much more palatable, a bass fillet wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed in tomato, coriander, chives and lemongrass sauce and topped with fresh soy sprouts.

The bass was paired with a 2012 Woodridge Cabernet Sauvignon with a jammy berry flavor intertwined with hints of tobacco and a long and lingering oak finish.

Chardonnay is one of the most popular wine styles because it tastes good by itself, but that can make it difficult to pair as it can compete with the food. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
Photo: Chicago Tribune/Bill Hogan

The wine was good, but could not stand up to the bombardment of flavors that enveloped the fish.

Given the pungent nature of the bass course, a more powerful Malbec or Shiraz would have been far better suited to accompany it.

The subtle, refined cabernet simply could not stand up to the patently brazen fish.

The final course was a pleasant Mexican take on a traditional strudel, a braided pastry of jellied apple and manchego cheese that was presented with an aromatic 2015 Woodridge White Zinfandel with a sweet rose and strawberry bouquet and a soft rosebud hue.

The fruity wine had a touch of sweetness that played well against the strudel, making for a superb culinary matching.

The Woodbridge wines, all produced under the Mondavi label in California’s Napa Valley, were in themselves not particularly exceptional, but quite drinkable and on the more-affordable end of the company’s offerings in Mexico.

Taylor Morris eyewear
Photo: Courtesy of Taylor Morris

As for the Taylor Morris eyewear, the chicly iconic glasses — favored by the likes of Pippa Middleton and supermodel Cara Delevingne — are all the rage now among Mexico’s fashionable and well-heeled elite.

Quirky? Yes, with their retro round frames and aviation-style earpieces, they are distinctively idiosyncratic. But no more quirky than a British company announcing its entry into the Mexican market with a luncheon at a Mexican-Thai fusion restaurant accompanied by California wines.