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Once again, we reach the end of the year, one of the most special and folkloric times in Mexico, and with it, the new tasting menu of Balcón del Zócalo that this year breaks the schemes that we have presented before.

“Mystic Menu 2022” is the name our chefs Pepe Salinas and Edgar Hernández gave to our fall-winter tasting menu. With it, they seek to impregnate our diners with the irresistible mysticism surrounding Mexican culture, our stories, legends, customs and traditions that are mainly reflected in this last part of the year, mainly with celebrations such as the Day of the Dead. 

It’s interesting to mention that this is the first time we rely more on a concept than on seasonal ingredients. Of course, the ingredients are still a stellar part of our tasting menu, but this fall, we are looking to be more conceptual and, based on the idea of mysticism, develop the stories we tell dish after dish.

We want to tell you about each dish that makes up our fall-winter 2022-2023 tasting menu and the inspiration that led our chefs to create them, giving us true works of gastronomic art.

Beef Skins & Avocado Tartar 

Our tasting menus always start with a dish that includes avocado. Our chef Pepe Salinas is the one who brought this idea to honor the Mexican homes that begin their meals with a little guacamole on the table. 

Thus, year after year, it has become a gastronomic challenge and a pleasure to develop a new dish with this ingredient. In this case, skins and avocado tartar is the dish that opens our fall-winter menu, based on the tradition of homemade Mexican food.

Menonita Cheese Infladitas with Black Mole 

This is a highly theatrical dish, as the infladitas are mounted on chicken bones. The idea of including bones is to remind us that we’re all going to leave the Earth at some point; that is why our chefs want people to smile when they see this dish and enjoy every bite of the menu.

Seasonal Charcolbroiled Pumpkin with Butter 

Although pumpkin is an ingredient that in pre-Hispanic times had a fairly good barter value, it was demerited and degraded over time. Even in Cervantes’ time, it was said “I judged you melon and you turned out to be pumpkin”. 

The concept of this dish is to take pumpkin, which has been minimized but is so present at this time of the year, to use it as the main ingredient of a dish that surprises and becomes one of the favorites of everyone who tries it.

Stripped Bass & Fig Velouté Sauce 

Beyond the gastronomic development and technique applied in the cooking of the sea bass fish, the interesting thing about this dish is that our chefs created a fig velouté based on a “chileatole”, which we can say is a spicier atole with a very light and subtle chili flavor, and which ends with a fig leaf infusion. 

Let’s remember that atole is a drink prepared with corn and water, and that since pre-Hispanic times it has been a breakfast that gives people the necessary caloric and energetic charge to carry out the day’s work. And so, with that same strength, we have this unusual dish that deliciously integrates two ingredients that usually never go together: atole and fish. 

Rice Marquesita 

This mellow rice dish is extremely intense and gastronomically complex in its development. The stir-fry is prepared with a Mexican sobrasada that our chefs Pepe and Edgar created with the flavors of pressed chicharrón, longaniza and Mexican chorizos in mind.

The rice is cooked with our traditional mole de olla sauce and finished with some fried pork ears, a little date puree and a marquesita, which is this Yucatecan dessert prepared with queso bola, to give a slightly sweet taste to the dish and even out the flavors. 

This dish perfectly describes what a tasting menu must be: a high intensity of flavors enjoyed in small quantities that leave you wanting more but ready for the next course. 

 

Moulard Duck Breast with Coffee Kombucha 

Our duck moulard magret is a cross between a Barbarie duck and a Peking duck, resulting in wonderful, juicy, tender meat. The dish is finished with a macadamia nut puree, a coffee kombucha reduction and grapes that we lightly infuse in our homemade vermouth that has notes of hibiscus, mascarpone sugar and herbs such as hoja santa and rue. 

Beef Cheek & Black Chichilo Sauce 

The next dish is a beef cheek with black chichilo. Chichilo is one of the 7 great moles of Oaxaca. It is known as “mourning mole” or “death mole”, as it was formerly common to cook it for wakes. 

The intention of this mole are the points of bitterness due to the burnt ingredients, either by the black chilhuacle, guajillo chiles or tortillas that give that point of bitterness and intensity that marked the mourning that people felt at that moment. 

Amalia’s Sweet Blue Corn Tamale, Hazelnut Craqueline Ice Cream & Chocolate Ganache

As we have discussed in other texts, Amalia was a cook who worked with us for about 12 years and sadly passed away. She made a homemade chocolate cake that everyone loved. In her honor, our chef Pepe Salinas had the personal and gastronomic gesture that every chocolate dish at Balcón del Zócalo has Amalia’s name.

This time, it was our chef Edgar who wanted to make our traditional chocolate Amalia cake (the favorite of the permanent menu), a tamale. It is a blue corn tamale with a flexible ganache, has a little toffee and ice cream with a hazelnut craquelin. The idea on this occasion was to combine ingredients such as corn and cocoa, which are highly emblematic of this restaurant and a great reference of Mexican cuisine.

These are the stories, ideas and inspiration behind each of the dishes that make up our “Mystic Menu” that this fall and winter will be available at Balcón del Zócalo. An assembly of flavors and sensations that leave an aftertaste on the palate to enjoy for a long time. 

Of course, our tasting menu would not be complete without the seasonal pairing that our maître Eduardo Figueroa has carefully selected with wines, distillates and spirits to accompany and enhance each dish.

We invite you to live each of these stories yourself, transformed into a mystical gastronomic experience that will take you from earth to heaven in every bite. 

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Balcón del Zócalo Team.

#CocinaBalcónDelZócalo

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