QUESO DE RANCHO +
2015 TABLAS CREEK VINEYARD COTES DE TABLAS BLANC
OR REY CAMPERO ‘JABALI’ MEZCAL
XOCHI (that’s, so-chee) opened the week before Super Bowl LI (Brady’s a killer!) but you sure wouldn’t know it. While most restaurateurs would shy away from opening the week your city hosts the Super Bowl, when you already run three of the city’s top restaurants (Hugo’s, Caracol and Backstreet Cafe), this isn’t daunting to you at all. You just keep on doing what you already do so well. Running 100 from the day it opened, the new upscale restaurant specializing in the culinary and indigenous richness of one Mexican state, Oaxaca, Xochi is located on the ground floor in the brand new Marriott Marquis, towering over the north side of Discovery Green. Both the hotel and the restaurant space look fantastic. The clean, modern space shows off traditional Mexican style with an entire wall of folk art (alebrijes), lots of natural light from the Discovery Green side windows, rope, decorative tiles and custom tables and seating. The food and drinks, while superb, are as eloquent as you would also expect from this crew of seasoned chef/sommelier/ staff. Some amazing flavors come from abnormal (to us) ingredients. So, let them guide you through the menu, and don’t be afraid to try something new.
While queso isn’t “new,” this housemade, fresh and creamy cotija queso, with its salty, fatty housemade chicharrones, makes one unique “queso.” Oh, and yes, you were right: Those are bugs in the picture. Gusanos (larva), chicatanas (flying ants) and chapulines (grasshopper), as a matter of fact. Nope, NOT KIDDING. Also, not kidding that you should absolutely order this; it’s authentic, and you won’t even know they are bugs. Also, it’s really bueno. You may consider this queso a dare – it totally could be – but it’s one you should take. Anddddd, to help, we give you not just one but two options to make that perfect pair. Take the ease-on-in, salty and sweet-ish route, via the COTES DE TABLAS BLANC, a unique example of a vineyard with a certified sustainable approach to its land, resulting in wine done right. This choice for the pair gives you a nice, easygoing reward for going out on a limb with us. The wine, hedonistic, racy, and floral, is just a tad sweet yanging the rich and salty queso. But say you’re really trying to embrace the Oaxacan culture, and you’re a real daredevil. In that case, the “go big“ option is this REY CAMPERO JABALIL. Harvested at high altitudes, this is one high octane (alcohol) mezcal. It’s a damn shame to call it “smokey,” so instead look for the herbal and tobacco leaf notes within the heat and enjoy the heck out of it. We assume that the locals in the town of a little under 100 where Rey Camparo is farmed enjoy the heck out of it, especially when paired with the queso, too. Go ahead, pick your poison.
XOCHI The Flavors of Oaxaca | 1777 Walker, Suite A | Houston, TX 77010
713.400.3330 | www.xochihouston.com