September 25, 2012

Huitlacoche, aka Corn Smut

Huitlacoche: it looks much more delicious after the Frida chefs prepare it!
Learning how to pronounce Huitlachoche is a right of passage for new Frida Bistro employees - while it takes a bit of time to get it right, it sounds much more elegant and appetizing than it's other name: corn smut.

Say it with me: WEET-LA-KO-CHEE.

In Mexico, an ear of corn "infected" with this fungus nearly quadruples the value of the produce!  So while it ruins the crop, it actually ends up being worth more than a healthy batch of corn.

The taste is complex - rich and earthy while retaining the natural sweetness of the corn.  It's even packed full of proteins, minerals, and other nutritious goodies!

At Frida we offer an extremely popular Quesadilla de Huitlocoche, as well as a Plantain Tort with huitlacoche cream sauce (which is uniquely gray and fantastic).

If your curiosity has been piqued you can pick up a package of huitlacoche in the Rico Market and experiment with your own creations!

September 17, 2012

Meet the Frida Staff: Thomas Kreitlow

We just had to get this moment on camera.
To begin with, we are going to attempt to write this blog post without doing a fact check with Thomas (we want it to be a surprise!), so we cannot ensure the complete accuracy of all statements.  With that being said...

Thomas Kreitlow is a man of many talents.  Chef.  Economist.  Triathlete.  And above all: Cleaner of Counter Tops.

Thomas is the Chief Operating Officer for the Fierro Group (Rico Brand/Rico Catering/Frida Bistro) - which means his sole purpose is making sure things operate efficiently for THREE major companies, no matter what it takes.  No big deal.  The above photo is a perfect example of Tom's work ethic.  If we need an extra chef, he jumps into the kitchen.  If the air ducts need cleaning, he climbs a ladder.  And if the counter is dirty...he goes searching for a bottle of Windex.  Aside from that Tom spends his days crunching numbers and creating budgets, interviewing and hiring for all departments, helping to create new products for Rico and Frida, and well, overseeing all operations, big and small.  He knows the answer to just about any question an employee could have about our company.  He's a COO who is not afraid to get his hands dirty...literally.

Without checking with Thomas we couldn't give you the specifics, but we know that he's lived all over the country, cooked/served/bartended/managed at a multitude of restaurants, is an avid runner and cyclist, adores his loyal, yet sometimes neurotic dog, Bounty, received his Masters in Economics in 2011 from the University of Utah, and loves his job with the Fierro Group.  6 day work weeks are the norm, and 7 day weeks aren't unheard of for Thomas.

While Jorge Fierro, the owner and CEO of the Fierro Group, is undoubtedly the heart of the operation, Thomas is the lungs, or liver, or kidney, or some other vital organ we simply could not go on without - he's that important to this company and we're lucky to have him.

September 6, 2012

Tequila: It's Not Just For College Kids Anymore

Frida Bistro is constantly working to change the misconception that tequila is something to be scared of - a harsh drink college kids throw back as a cheap, quick means to getting inebriated.  When offered tequila many people have such painful memories associated with this Mexican spirit that they'll refuse to even acknowledge its existence.

However, we know that good tequila is just as refined, elegant, and complex as any single-malt scotch or fine cognac on the market.  But many of us have simply been turned off by drinking the wrong stuff.

A quick Tequila 101:

Tequila is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant in the Mexican state of Jalisco and in limited regions of a few other states.  There are two main types: mixtos and 100% agave.  Mixtos are no less than 51% agave and the remainder is from less expensive sugars and coloring agents (i.e. no bueno).  100% agave tequilas, which are really the only ones worth drinking, come in a variety of vintages:

  • Blanco ("white") - un-aged and bottled immediately after distillation
  • Joven ("young") - a mixture of blanco and reposado 
  • Reposado ("rested") - aged between 2-12 months in oak barrels
  • Añejo ("aged") - aged 1-3 years in oak barrels
  • Extra Añejo ("extra aged") - aged 3+ years in oak barrels
Each tequila has its own characteristics: vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, floral, pepper, smoke, coconut, butterscotch, etc, and the longer they age in barrels, the more complex and interesting they become.  

The official Riedel tequila tasting glass.  Pitted against hundreds of others, an official committee of tequila makers decided this glass does tequila the most justice - for getting the nose and all of the flavors each spirit has to offer.
Our good friends and Park City locals, Lisa and John Barlow, own ultra premium Vida Tequila, which produces some of the best tequila you'll find (it's made in Mexico, not Utah)!  They currently offer a blanco, reposado, and añejo, with an extra añejo available next year (it takes time to age)!  Lisa and John share a similar mission to spread the word about fine tequila, so it was a natural fit that we would pair up for a six-course tequila tasting dinner.

Last night Frida Bistro hosted 23 eager guests ready to indulge in unique, colorful, and tequila-friendly Mexican cuisine from our fantastic chefs.  Tequila pairs well with acidity (hence the lime juice in margaritas), as well as seafood and fatty meats (reposado tequila and pork carnitas are a classic combo in Mexico).  The dinner was a whirlwind of flavors: polenta asada (grilled polenta), smoked salmon cured in sotol (tequila's cousin), chilled avocado soup with crab meat, beet salad with a citrus vinaigrette, pork belly with a crisp brown sugar crust, and a nectarine tart with a tamarind drizzle.  Each dish was paired with a complementary straight tequila tasting or tequila cocktail (produced by our expert mixologists), and each course was separated by a pallet-cleansing granita (flavored ice) created by our pastry chef using Vida Blanco and fresh teas!  The kitchen staff never ceases to amaze and impress us!

Polenta asada.
Pork belly!
The weather was calm and mild which allowed us to hold the event on our patio oasis, making the evening a true feast for all senses.  Thank you to Lisa, John, the Frida chefs, bartenders, and service staff, as well as our wonderful guests which helped make this event possible.  

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to hear about upcoming special events similar to this one!