We continue from Shanghai in China.
Las Posadas, which is a reference to the Inn in the story of the birth of Jesus, takes up residency in the usual spot before arriving at the pyramid on the lagoon side.
As is tradition, everything on the menu is new at higher prices than the year prior.
Here’s last year’s spread, when the three food items accompany two margaritas for $38.45.
And this year’s for $40.25.
Enchilada de Pollo con Mole: Chipotle Chicken in a Corn Tortilla topped with Mole Negro and garnished with Shredded Oaxaca Cheese and Sesame Seeds – $6.35
This was above average for Mexico, which suffers because “literally” nothing is prepared inside the “Holiday Kitchen.” Every item gets wheeled over from the pyramid and sits in a heating cabinet. But the Mole Negro was complex and carried a nice, lingering spice on top of the soft corn tortilla filled with a decent amount of spicy shredded chicken. The Sesame Seeds added a little bit of an earthy crunch along with the vibrant peppers on top and a pinch of melted cheese. Comparing this to previous entries, this is a home run, but it’s probably just a bit above average compared to other Festival offerings at this above-average price point.
Tamal de Camarón: Corn Tamal stuffed with Guajillo-marinated Shrimp topped with Mole Rojo and Shredded Cotija Cheese – $6.65
While the lesser of the two savory options, this is another above average take for Mexico with a bunch of tiny shrimp hidden away inside of the tamal, which is topped with a thin, mildly spicy sauce that probably looks like it carries more flavor than it does. Unfortunately, this one ends up tasting largely of bland corn, which is a shame because it certainly looks the part.
Arroz Con Leche: Rice Pudding with Cranberries – $4.25
The Food and Wine Festival’s Rice Pudding, which was topped with Mango Coulis, returns with more of a holiday vibe with the cranberries in place of the tropical fruit. It might not look like much in the bowl, but the tender rice combines with the coconut milk to create an effortlessly creamy dish with a result that’s surprisingly light with a pleasant tartness from the cranberries. It tastes best on warmer afternoons.
Cerveza Mexicana Artesanal: Allende Mexican Craft Ale served with a Floater of Kahlúa – $5
I’m not a big fan of mixing liqueur with beer and there’s probably a reason why most restaurants and bars aren’t adding a floater of coffee liqueur to their beer lineup. With that said, the Allende Golden Ale works much better than last year’s Dos Equis Lager, which was too thin to stand up against the Kahlua. Still, the addition of the liqueur makes for a thicker, more syrupy experience than enjoying the roasted malts and crisp finish of the beer on its own. You might give it a whirl as the beer is somewhat rare, but I don’t think anybody is going to start dropping a shot of Kahlua in their beers at home any time soon.
Noche Buena Margarita: Libélula Joven Tequila, Cranberry and Lime Juices and Agave Nectar topped with Lime Foam and Sprinkles – $12
The website has a long history of fruity Festival margaritas, at least 80% of which are syrup bombs that end up coating the throat for the duration of the event, whether that’s around 45 days like this Festival, or closer to 80 days, like the behemoth that is the Food and Wine Festival that closed up shop just a couple of weeks ago. This also ended up being above average with the tart notes of the cranberry and lime juices doing a nice job of tempering the sweetness of the agave nectar and sweet and sour. The lime foam, which has melted away into the drink at this point, is festive along with the candy cane dangling from the rim. It’s not going to be the best margarita you’ve ever had, and it’s served in a smaller cup than past Festivals, but we were pleased with what we were served, which is a rarity here.
La Posada Margarita: Cazadores Blanco Tequila, Horchata-Cinnamon Liqueur, and Agua de Horchata topped with Cinnamon – $11
This was bland and tasted watered down with just a faint flavor of cinnamon and horchata.
I’d spend an extra couple of dollars and head inside to La Cava if you’re after a similar drink – the flavors there are much richer and while it’s more expensive, the serving size is also larger.
Overall, this is a much better outing for Mexico than usual, but the offerings are still average to below average overall. I’d consider the Enchilada and Cranberry Margarita first and potentially add a Rice Pudding to the order if you’re after something sweet. But anybody that passes by probably isn’t missing much.