Tequila Museo Mayahuel – Sacramento
Creating a vegetarian menu
Tequila Museo Mayahuel (ma-yah-oo-well) is a phenomenal fine dining Mexican restaurant on the corner of K and 12th Street in Sacramento. The restaurant is presented as an interactive museum that houses three culinary exhibits showcasing authentic Mexican experiences and culture.
The first exhibit is Mexican tequila, its namesake. Learn the history of tequila and sample some of the finest traditionally made from Mexico. The second exhibit is “Maya’s Kitchen”, a hub that features a bar setting offering a demonstration of traditional Mexican street food (with the preparation of a well trained chef). The central exhibit is the main dining experience. Each dish is an exploration of authentic Mexican preparation techniques and ingredients.
Until now, when eating at Mayahuel, I found very few items on the menu that I could eat as a vegetarian. I have enviously watched on as friends enjoyed culinary delights such as mole. Until now.
The team at Mayahuel has developed an entirely separate vegetarian menu that will make you weep tears of joy. This menu is in addition to their current menu. I promise, you have never tasted Mexican cuisine like this. Not since you’ve been a vegetarian. Marcos and I sat down with Ernesto Delgado, the Owner, and Ramiro Alarcón, the Head Chef, of Mayahuel for a tasting and discussion about the new menu.
Ernesto is a passionate restaurateur who demonstrates an intense respect for his customers. All of them. I was incredibly impressed by his full commitment to this project. He wants vegetarians to have options so they can enjoy the really amazing accomplishments of his chef.
When he began his research he found that vegetarian cuisine fits perfectly into the concept of Tequila Museo Mayahuel. According to the new vegetarian menu, “Mexico’s meatless dishes have a long history in Mexican cuisine. The diet of the Aztecs was heavy on grains, fruits and vegetables.”
He then studied different dietary needs of vegetarians and vegans, crafting commitments which are stated boldly at the top of the vegetarian menu including that “all food must be free of animal flesh (meat fowl, fish, or shellfish) meat or bone stock, animal or carcass fats, gelatin, aspic or any other ingredients resulting from animal slaughter”. He noted, that in preparing the food, no ingredient is taken for granted including stock, seasonings, and gelatin. Work areas are now separated to avoid cross-contamination.
Ramiro, the Chef, is fully committed to the menu he has developed. He uses the same traditional techniques and flavors used in his meat based menu. He needed to take these talents to a new level in order to create main dishes for vegetarians that were not “sides of lettuce”. He provides a cultural experience that will introduce diners to traditional Mexican ingredients such as a squash called chayote and nopales, a variety of cactus. Above all, the dishes must be truly Mexican. One dish that he has promised is truly amazing is the vegetarian poblano mole.
We tasted the appetizers and a number of the desserts. Each were phenomenal. My favorite was a little round of masa that functioned as a base, topped with jamaica, and a creamy chipotle sauce (pictured above). Another tasty bite was a little quesadilla with Oaxacan cheese, flavored with an herb called epazote.
The new menu is full- including starters, appetizers, salads, soups and entrees that feature ingredients from different areas in Mexico. The courses are light to heavy, and there are options for both vegetarians and vegans in every category. Here is a teaser from the new menu: “Calabacitas Mexicanas con nopal (vegan option available): Mexican zucchini on a nopal with a red sauce, accompanied with poblano chile strips, onion and corn with lemon and fried panela cheese.” To this I say, hasta luego lechuga con zanahorias! Or, See ya later lettuce with carrots!
They launch the new menu on Wednesday, November 9, 2011. They are located at 1200 K Street, Sacramento, CA. I will be there for lunch to order the mole.
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