El Arista Hambriento, which turns out to “not” translate to The Artist’s Hamburger, takes up residence in what is a semi-permanent kiosk until the new tequila bar opens across the way.
The menu here has changed like a dozen times in the last year. I’m actually not sure if they switch over to their other menu on Tuesdays-Thursdays when the rest of the Festival isn’t running or stick with this.
As is tradition.
The Huarache: Grilled Corn Dough topped with Flank Steak, Black Beans, Salsa de Chile de Arbol, Frisee Lettuce, Queso Fresco, Red Cabbage, Shredded Carrots and Chipotle Mayo has quite a bit going on and is a surprisingly large portion considering Mexico is usually home to the $6 1-Shrimp Taco Served with This Year’s Sauce. The one thing holding this dish back is how difficult it is to eat – or at least how difficult it is to break off a piece of the masa underneath and then pile on even half of the advertised toppings. But if you opt to eat it sort of like a salad and then go to town on the corn dough after about half of it is gone, I think you’ll have more luck. And it’s worth fighting over as the ingredients are fresh, flavorful, and abundant with a nice crispiness from the frisee lettuce, cabbage, and carrots, in addition to some heft from the beans and a considerable amount of heat from the chipotle mayo and intensity of the spicy salsa. There’s quite a bit of lean, nicely seasoned, tender flank steak in there too. I think this is better than anything offered at La Cantina de San Angel and certainly better than the salad they serve there. It would satisfy most smaller appetites as an entree and comes recommended, but…
You may want to check on the serving size before committing to a purchase as some of the pictures I have seen of this one are about a quarter of the size of what we received.
I’m less positive about the Choriqueso: Two Corn Tortillas with Chorizo, Chihuahua Cheese, Poblano, Red and Green Peppers garnished with Micro Cilantro, though like with past Festival items, it may end up being more about how fresh the item is than any inherent problems with the recipe. Each taco ended up being about four spicy, greasy, cheesy bites that would probably taste great after four or five margaritas at 1:30am, but didn’t seem to fit into the overall aesthetic of the Festival, where the focus is on fresh flavors and artsy tilts. The dish does look the part with the micro cilantro and peppers on top and you can see how much oozing cheese is packed inside each tortilla. Overall, there’s some value in the pair, but you might want to put your $7.40 (unlike the other Studios, this one charges tax) towards the nachos at La Cantina, which are a ton more food and not dissimilar in flavor.
Unlike The Masterpiece Kitchen and The Artist’s Palate, each of which mix their cocktails fresh for under $10 each, The Hungry Artist serves pre-made margaritas at a price that ends up being about 50% more expensive.
Since I don’t value my own money, we tried one of each anyway. And while the price has gone up to $15.18 from the $9.75 they were charging during Food and Wine, the margaritas are at least the larger, taller size that La Cava used to serve with their to-go margaritas. We thought the Mandarin Ginger version was a lot more thick and syrupy than it was refreshing, though the tequila was prominent throughout each sip.
Passion Fruit Coconut is another seemingly odd flavor combination for a mass-produced margarita though it looks like they got the memo that they were supposed to top every dish with some sort of flower or herb, so we do have a single piece of cilantro going on up top. This was easier to drink than the orange version, but still very sweet and without any nuance or depth of flavor.
I would instead seek out the Pomegranate Mule inside the Odyssey Building.
But you do at least get a lot of liquid in Mexico this year.
We’ll move on to E=AT^2. And yes, that is really what it’s called.