Plat du Jour May 4, 2012: Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo

The two main events of May happen to coincide this year, tomorrow on the first day of Saturday. hot brown sandwiches, tacos, margaritas, and mint julips all in one day– or better yet, a hot brown taco and a mint bourbon-rita?

Here’s what you’d find at Trev’s Bistro for this blockbuster first Saturday of May.

For Cinco de Mayo:

Our favorite carnitas from Nopalito in San Francisco. Since we can’t find the recipe, we’ll rely on David Lebovitz for a tender, marinated carnitas recipe, of course to be served with warm corn tortillas.

Or if you prefer an ambitious carnitas preparation, strive for the signature dish of the Yucatan: the achiote marinated, banana leaf wrapped cochinita pibil. I couldn’t find the recipe from the excellent La Flor de Yucatan in Los Angeles that is the standard I hold others by, so here is one from the new, exciting Mateo’s Cocina Latina in Healdsburg, California.

La Casita Mexicana in Bell, just south of Downtown Los Angeles, makes simple Mexican cuisine and complex dishes such as mole, into the extraordinary. Of course you need guacamole while watching the Derby.

La Casita Mexicana may be more authentic than Rick Bayless, but the cookbook and T.V. show master’s restaurants in Chicago continue to shine, including his new tortas and churros spot, Xoco. There can’t be a better dessert than churros and chocolate.

Of course, we need margaritas? On the rocks or frozen? Salt rim or nude?

At Trev’s Bistro we say yes, frozen, and yes to a salt rim, though the ultimate state is a mix of soft slush with some ice melted to a quaffable liquid. Our ratio is:

4 parts Gold Tequila (Jose Cuervo or Patron if that’s allowed)

2 parts Lime Juice…can cheat and use store bought, but as always, freshly squeezed is preferred

1 part Triple Sec

Blend, adding ice to a slushy consistency, and pour into tall, salt rimmed margarita glass


Shifting to Churchill Downs now,

we need of course the famed Hot Brown Sandwich from the Brown Hotel, the richest turkey sandwich you’ll ever encounter with roast turkey, Texas toast, mornay sauce, and various cheeses

superb fried chicken, not from KFC, but from the brilliant mind of Thomas Keller. This is his superb, very juicy buttermilk brined fried chicken from Ad Hoc in Yountville, CA.

Derby Pie! It can’t be Derby Pie per se since that’s trademarked, so we’ll call it Chocolate Pecan pie or Kentucky Derby Pie.

And though I found the famed fried chicken at Kurtz’s in Badstown, Kentucky to be dry, the Biscuit Pudding in Jim Beam Bourbon Sauce is sensational.

and that Kentucky staple, a mint julip. We can’t find the excellent mint julip recipe at Los Angeles’ bourbon bar Seven Grand, so we’ll rely on Jeffrey Morgenthaler, the mastermind behind Clyde Common’s innovative cocktail program in Portland, Oregon.

Speaking of Portland, next week will be all about Seattle and Portland! Have a great Cinco de Mayo and Derby Weekend!

Published by trevsbistro

Exploring the globe in search of what gastronomy means in the homes, restaurants, wineries, breweries, and distilleries that help make each day a little brighter and delicious for us. What makes a certain dish or certain cafe particularly successful? What makes poutine an iconic dish of Québec and cioppino the same for San Francisco? À la santé! Let's learn, discover, and of course, enjoy some wonderful meals together!

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