The Glutster Takes on Rivera’s Honey Tasting

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Curious as I was when first asked to cover this event, I felt cloyed after having finished! A four-course tasting menu sponsored by the National Honey Board took place at the super hip and happening Rivera Restaurant yesterday. Each dish celebrated—yup, you guessed it—honey and its various uses and effects on food. Only three restaurants around the U.S are chosen for this event every year; this year the chosen theme was Latino cuisine and what better representation in L.A. than Chef John Sedlar’s New Mexican fangled contemporary approach.

Chef Los Angeles
Before the meal, Mr. Sedlar came out and spoke briefly about honey’s typical uses on Mexican cuisine as well as his earliest memories of the stuff, involving stories of how he used to smear his Sopaipillas generously as he was growing up. I added a couple of sweet childhood anecdotes myself as he had kindly asked me to do earlier.

Cocktail Los Angeles
Without further delay, we were seated and plopped down with a wide cup full of iced Pineapple and Serrano Licuado with Honey Infused Tequila, a sweet and fiery beginning to the meal, especially after I bit the Serrano and muddled it with the already-spicy juice. Didn’t really pack a punch, but was certainly going to use all that bromelain to help me digest what was coming.

Latin Food Los Angeles
Crostinis of Queso Cotija with Hierbabuena, [pink] Pepper Berry Infused Honey and Figs. Chef Sedlar went on to say how he used to always eat cheese with something sweet, you know…to contrast. He must have really had a sweet tooth back then, the combination of sweet figs and generous drizzle of honey was as sweet as reminiscing in a happy childhood, good thing that subtle pink pepper berry and mint was there to break me out of my sugar daze.

Latin Food Los Angeles
Up next was Spanish Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Honey Raisins, Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese [and cilantro oil]. More savory notes were accomplished here thanks to those wondrous chunks of Jamon and salty, briny melted Manchego. Tender roasted pepper skin and herbaceous oil only helped.

Latin Food Los Angeles
Now was my favorite of the night, Jicama and Tomatillo Salad with Burrata Cheese and Honey Lime Vinaigrette [with cracked black pepper and sea salt] . This dish was exemplary of the interplay between honey and savory. Burrata provided the luxurious creaminess, julienned Jicama added a totally contrasting crisp and texture, sliver of Tomatillo added the only slight necessary acidity, salt added crunch and the pepper added pizzazz. Mmmm.

Latin Food Los Angeles
Last but certainly not the satiating least was Blue Corn Quesadillas of Goat Cheese with Chorizo and Habanero Infused Honey. These were cool for being a rendition of a classic. Tortillas were kind of stiff but the innards made up for it: Goat cheese had that typical “queso fresco” texture but with that pronounced goat nuttiness, chorizo of the cured Spanish kind with that stable meaty bite, unlike the Mexican spiced pork crumbles. The Habanero salsa was expertly tamed and well—And of course the secret ingredient doing its sweet thaang.

By the end of the meal, I still couldn’t pinpoint the exact type of honey he had used for each of the dishes. Tasted rather faintly floral, eventually went up and asked him to found out it was regular ‘ol common Clover Honey. With an inherited sweet tooth and all, I still found myself ‘sweeted’ out by the end of the night. Thanks to the National Honey Board nonetheless for putting this together and showing just how versatile honey can really be when used correctly.

Now, to ride out the sugar high buzzzzzz!

Javier Cabral has a website of his own at The Glutster

Blog Comments

How appropriate — I’ve been playing with honey in bar recently! I can’t really stomach tequila very well, but the licuado looked muy delicioso!

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