Friday, May 20, 2011

Foodie Friday: Don Julio Tequila Dinner at McCormick & Schmick's

I knew that Thursday night's dinner was a splurge night.  I prepared by eating little during the day but made sure what I did eat was totally low carb.

Exercise: Burn It Off workout by Chalene Johnson. 30 minutes of extreme intensity intervals and plyometrics.  It took a good 30 minutes after the workout for my heartrate to slow and my face to lighten from bright red.  It.was.tough.

We arrived at the McCormick & Schmick's in downtown Houston at The Pavillions, a fancy shmancy shopping and dining complex, a little after 6pm. We were shown to the back of the restaurant to a small area where a few table were set up. I would say it was for about 50 people. We were greeted by the manager and told to choose a table.

The table was set with glasses of sips of tequila and the chef's rendition of chips and salsa: fried plantains, habanero salsa, chipotle salsa and cheeses marinated in a tequila, herb and epazote mixture.
We weren't sure if we were supposed to be sipping on the tequila or saving it for later. We chose to sip it right then. Very good. Of course, we found out later that it was supposed to be saved. We weren't the only ones who had chose to enjoy it at the beginning though. And it was a relaxed atmosphere. No big deal.

The menu:
A presentation was given by the "Don Julio Ambassador of Tequila". We learned the history of tequila and Don Julio in particular. It was actually very interesting. I learned a lot. Did you know that it takes the agave plant 10 years to mature? Don Julio started his company in 1942 at the age of 17.

Next drink was a margarita martini. Mmmmm.

The martini was paired with the appetizers: corn masa cake filled with pork bellies and green sauce, stuffed chile peppers with chorizo and fajita meat, and San Luis Potosi style enchiladas.
The enchiladas and rellenos were my favorite.
The chef explained how he came about planning the menu. He consulted the Mexican cooks in the kitchen and talked about their native foods and the method of preparation. From there he added his own touches to the foods and created an amazing menu.

He came around to each of the tables to talk to us.

I wanted to know if he cooked at home or his wife. His wife does the cooking but on the weekend he does the cooking for their family gatherings. His kids like some of his wife's cooking better than his. LOL

Second course: soup duo of vermicelli soup and green seafood soup.
paired with a Mexican Mojito
After we were served each drink the tequila rep and/or the manager would explain a little more.
We were then served a palate cleanser.
A tamarind sorbet with blood orange liqueur. I loved how the chef would explain where he had to go to get ingredients for the dinner and the people he talked to. He had to have the tamarind sorbet made for this.

He also said that he has to call his mom and ask how to cook certain things. I think it's kind of cute that this executive chef with all of his training still calls his mom each week for advice. :)

Then the entree: a de-boned whole red snapper and oven roasted, marinated with garlic, cilantro & lime juice served with steamed achiote rice and Oaxan style refried black beans

I've never had fish with the head.

By the time the entree had arrived I was stuffed. I took a couple of bites just to try it then asked the waiter to box the rest for me sans head and fins. :)

The tequila for the dinner was a glass of Don Julio 1942. Nice warm vanilla and caramel nuances to it.

Just when I think I'm going to pop, they bring out dessert: flan de coco (light coconut custard with cinnamon and Mexican vanilla)
Absolutely incredible dessert.  It was served with an "upside down pineapple" drink feature Don Julio Anejo.
The combination gave an almost pina colada effect.

Chuck and I had a great time and I'm glad we had the chance to enjoy something like this.  I definitely felt bloated afterwards though.  Not used to so much rich food!

Ok, so this was definitely a splurge. Guess what. We have one more splurge dinner next week.  Believe it or not, I have lost a little weight. Not much but it's better than gaining. And now that the splurge is over, it's right back to eating right and exercising. That's life. As I told Chuck, there will be times for splurging from time to time but when I do it's going to be good food. Not just a McD's burger or something.

Have a wonderfulweekend!


  1. OMG I love doing stuff like this dinner - just for the experience of it all! What a wonderful way for you guys to spend some time together. Have a great weekend!

  2. Looks like a lovely dinner! I love how they set the table. Food looks fab.
    Have a great weekend.

  3. Beautiful pictures. I would love to try the green seafood soup.

    Yay to having a wonderful time!!!

  4. It all looks so good - where would ya start!?
    So glad you had a great time!

  5. How fun! Except for the fish, everything looked delicious...but then I don't like fish so take that comment with a grain of salt (ooh, and a squeeze of lime and some tequila!).

  6. OH WOW!!!! What a fantastic dinner!! Thanks for sharing the pics. I am now craving a margarita in the worst way! :)

  7. Wow, that looks so good!! Glad you enjoyed yourself. Have a wonderful weekend

  8. Lots of fitness experts (including the Paleo/Primal crowd) believe the occasional splurge/feast day is actually a good thing, especially for lowcarbers. I have done it on occasion, but it is not a common thing. Some do it WEEKLY. Um...I'd go nuts.

    I remember being very fond of tamarind sno-cones as a kid (and my sis has a tamarind tree and my siblings will harvest the pods and make stuff like tamarind syrup). I just bought some tamarind paste (unsweetened) to make summer beverages. I love tamarind water.

    Coconut flan is one of my weaknesses. Haven't had it since, um, last year. Love the stuff, especially when they use some coconut puree....

    Looked amazing. The relleno made my mouth spurt saliva. OMG.


  9. What a great time!! I've never had fish with the head on either - that would kind of give me the creeps!

    Love that you enjoyed your splurge! :D

  10. I too was at this wonderful dinner! M&S downtown hosts many "themed" dinners. I was at a Classic Malt Scotch dinner last November which was equally as amazing! Glad you two enjoyed!


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