If Tres Carnales is the swingin' younger sister in hoop earrings and a sequined dress doing tequila shots off of a bare-chested bartender, then Rostizado is her older sister, comfortably laid back in some well-loved jeans, savoring the multi-layered flavors of a good mescal, sans the trendy worm.
That, my Edmonton friends, sums up the two restaurants more than anything else I or anyone else can write about it.
Are you a sequins or jeans person?
I am a jeans person and while some of you may argue that I can party like an animal when the occasion arises (and I completely concede that point to you) I haven't been the hoop earrings and sequins kinda girl in many a year.
Tres Carnales is flashy, quick, crazy-wild fun that has line-ups but no lingering.
Rostizado invites you to take your time, to relax and savour. Linger and lounge. Yes, you'll line up, but there's no rush when you're in.
I sadly missed the media night for Rostizado back in August so when my dinner club ladies and I realized that we hadn't been out yet in September I quickly volunteered Rostizado up as the place to go.
My friend Blackbird and I settled in with drinks while waiting for our third to arrive. The Mezcal Mule, pictured above, was a delightful mix of Mezcal, tequila, bitters, piloncillo sugar finished with ginger beer. You always have me at ginger beer. I loved this drink.
The Paloma, below, is a deliciously refreshing cocktail composed of tequila reposado & blanco, grapefruit juice, sparkling water, fresh lime, simple syrup and pinch of salt.
Dani was our culinary guide last night, taking not only myself but the other gals I was with on a Mexican food adventure. This was the first time that I've had a real chance to talk to him and I am so very glad that I did. I love getting to know the people in the Edmonton food scene more than almost anything else I do on this website. It's one of the amazing perks of doing what I do for a living.
Dani spent a full three hours regaling us with tales upon tales of his youth, his Mexican roots, the love of food shining through in every word and gesture. Between tales, he'd pop out and make sure that all the dishes were sent out to the tables ASAP, do whatever business-like things he needed to do and would be back within minutes with another dish, or tale to tell us.
We watched as dish after dish left the kitchen. We sampled the slow roasted pork and the rotisserie chicken. I honestly couldn't tell you which I loved more, the chicken was so succulent and fall-off-the-bone tender while the pork's seasoning was spectacular.
This dish is the platter for two.
Get in mah belly.
Now, this chips and dip platter sparked a lot of awesome. Do you see what I see?
I saw this and hesitantly asked Dani what they were. Surely those weren't pork rinds….
When I told Dani of my secret love of pork rinds, his eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas and he excitedly had this gorgeous beauty pulled out for me to admire.
I think my jaw hit the blinkin' floor. I might have giggled at one point.
I'm still a bit speechless over this mega pork rind.
And then Dani came back with the world's best “chips n' dip” ever. This photo had everyone on Instagram and Facebook absolutely flipping out over the awesomeness of the biggest pork rind most people have ever seen, myself included.
Chef Edgar manned the kitchen so I didn't get to chat much. Don't tell him, but Dani and I concocted a plan where Edgar is going to teach me how to make mole. It all started because I harassed them about not having mole on the menu, my favorite Mexican sauce.
Chef Edgar did sneak us an absolutely delectable off-menu Taco Vampiro (yeah that's totally Vampire Taco lol) which in all seriousness is one of the best things I have tasted in a long while.
If you doubt me, ask Blackbird. She eats a mainly vegetarian diet with chicken and occasional seafood, and she ate some of this because it was that darn good. It's like the bacon of tacos, it'll turn you.
Now don't worry, rumor has it that it's on the menu soon!
To top it all off, we STILL ordered food! Are we crazy or what?
Starting from the dish on the left with the radishes and going clockwise they are:
CEVICHE DE ROBALO : Fresh Chilean sea bass cured in lime juice, with habanero chiles, white onion, orange segments & avocado slices.
This was amazing. I am in love with this dish. Limey, zingy and rich avocado? Holy Dinah. Come to Mama.
QUESO FUNDIDO : Smoked gouda, monterrey jack cheese, wild mushrooms, poblano chile strips & sautéed onions melted together & served with bread.
This was like eating an amazing pizza topping. That's the best way to describe it. Cheese, poblanos and onions in this gooey, amazingly stringy pile of happy cheese. Flippin' fantastic.
PORK RIND OF AWESOME
TAMALES : Rosti-Pollo rolled into masa flour & steamed in a corn husk with salsa roja & epazote.
Very tasty but a wee bit too spicy for me.
(at the top in the black bowl) FRIJOLES CHARROS :Pinto beans slow cooked with epazote, onion, pancita, garlic, chipotle peppers & queso fresco.
Deeeelicious! I love a good bean dish!
Then the churros were made hot and fresh for us from the churro machine.
I um…need one of these in my house.
The end of the night saw Dani introducing us to mescal and the smokey, multi-layered deliciousness that it is. I had no idea that slowly tasting mescal, sip by sip, could reveal such layers, from smoke to a slightly sweet tang on the tip of my tongue by the fourth sip.
I am intrigued by mescal, no doubt.
It's um, better than belting it back in a shot like I did in my sequins and hoop earring days 😉
All in all, Rostizado was met with rave reviews from the ladies in my dinner club and I must admit, I was impressed. While I'm not a sequins and hoop earrings kinda gal, I am totally on board with sipping me some mescal and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere at Rostizado.
I look forward to the day when they have moles (moh-lays) on the menu. I think Edmonton's ready for them, don't you? Please…just a Mole Poblano….maybe just once a month?
So, who's been and what did you think?
Love you more than Mole Poblano,