Every third weekend of the month, the glamorous and highly acclaimed Tres Agaves in San Francisco throws a distillery dinner featuring multi-course meals and all the tequila one can drink (or have poured down their throat). The featured tequila this month was produced by the restaurant owner’s distillery, El Llano (meaning the plain). Not only does Eduardo Orendain run the distillery operation in the town of Tequila, but he also was once the town’s mayor. The tequila’s name? Tequila Arette. [Edit to add: Arette and Tres Agaves Tequila are produced by Eduardo Orendain at El Llano and owned by Tres Agaves Products. Many thanks to Parker Trewin for that correction!]
This month was special, because the dinner fell on the same day as the 200th anniversary of Mexican Independence. Viva la Mexico! The affair was held outside in a private tent and was served street food-style with tables and carts to walk up to and choose what you wanted. We arrived slightly late (but probably not quite fashionable) and after dropping my purse and sweater off at my seat I jumped right in line for the freshly roasted lamb about to be carved. It was covered in an herb crust, cooked medium-rare, tender and juicy.
I’m drooling right now, I kid you not.
There were several options for tacos, all served on lovely, rustic tortillas, but I opted for the duck. When faced with several choices, I nearly always go for the option that is least familiar to me or most difficult to find back home. I enjoy trying new things. On the heaping pile of shredded and perfectly seasoned duck, I picked a pineapple salsa and avocado sauce. On the side was roasted corn, already cut from the cob and drizzled with a chili crema sauce that was a bit sweet and all amazing.
There were two carts to get tequila from – one served margaritas and other mixed tequila drinks and the other was manned by Eduardo’s son. He was offering up tasting glasses of their different tequilas. My favorite was a 3-year anejo. It was rich and smooth, and easy to sip. Eduardo kept going around the room and pouring shots directly into everyone’s mouth. After a 4-count pour into my mouth the one time I felt fire running down my throat as I struggled to keep it all in.
I still dribbled down my chin. I swear, there is a hole in my lip.
To celebrate the 200th Mexican Independence Day, they attempted to get everyone to stand up and give their best Viva la Mexico yell. I say ‘attempted’ because the only one from our party of five to do it was my husband. I hadn’t had nearly enough tequila by this point to do it. I think he did very well!
Toward the end of the evening’s celebration, churros were brought out on platters, still warm from the hot oil they were fried in. How can anyone not enjoy fried dough? It was drizzled with what seemed like a chocolate-caramel sauce and was amazing. Chewy, crunchy, and sweet, it was a perfect end to the night.
If you are in the San Francisco area the third week of any month, I highly recommend this dinner. It is fun, fine, and memorable.