Tequila Ocho and ASU Art Museum Fundraiser Dinner at Macayo's Mexican Grill and Cantina
Recently I attended a special fundraiser hosted by the well-loved Phoenix institution, Macayo's Restaurant, which was founded in 1946. The evening's sold-out event featured Tequila Ocho and founder Tomas Estes along with artist-in-residence Tania Candiani visiting from Mexico City and ASU Art Museum curator Julio Cesar Morales. A portion of the dinner proceeds were donated to benefit the ASU Art Museum.
During the cocktail hour, we were able to mingle with the special guests, including the legendary Tomas Estes. He is also an International Tequila Ambassador for the National Chamber of the Tequila Industry, owner of Cafe Pacifico and La Perla in London, and the author of "The Tequila Ambassador." Tequila Ocho is a collaboration between Tomas and distiller Carlos Camarena, and is unique in that each bottle identifies both the year it was produced and the precise field from which the agave was harvested. In the last eight years, they have harvested agave and brought to the market tequilas from 12 different ranches, with three more to be released this year.
We enjoyed his unaged silver Tequila Ocho Plata in refreshing Macayo Frescas made with simple syrup, soda water, and fresh-squeezed grapefruit, lemon and lime juice, with optional additions of muddled strawberry, jalapeno, and/or cilantro. These were served with addictive fried avocado bites garnished with Pepe's salsa, queso fresco, and chipotle crema.
Once seated for dinner, ASU Art Museum Curator Julio Cesar Morales introduced artist Tania Candiani with a slide show of her works. She told us about her inspirations, which are an intriguing combination of technology, nature, and sound. Her current project revolves around the 3000-year-old geological formation Hole-in-the-Rock in Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona and will be called Boom Rock. Anticipated to take a year to create, this fascinating installation will utilize crystals as a sound system and integrate the zoo located nearby. International electronic musicians will be invited to play a variety of decibels and frequency through the crystals. "They are going to be playing for the animals," Tania says. "Each musician will choose an animal and will play in their frequency. After that we will record the sessions for an exhibition space, so we will be simulating the way the animals would hear the sounds in this composition."
As we settled in for dinner, Tomas talked about his tequilas. We would be sampling lowland and highland tequilas from three different ranches. "Ocho tequila has been prepared to taste a certain way and we achieve that by very careful, loving, prideful means of production," we're told. He notes also that his aged tequilas do not have the dark colors or heavy oak flavors others may. "We have designed Tequila Ocho to be very expressive and lively with the agave flavors. This allows the agave essence to come through to your palate”.
Chef Luis Martinez also explained the menu and his pairing choices. My favorite duo was the smoky, juicy pollo asado (grilled chicken marinated six hours in an achiote and guajillo pepper adobo) complemented by the 2014 Ocho añejo from Rancho La Magueyera. The first Tequila Ocho I ever tried was a plata from this ranch and still one of my favorites.
Macayo's next tequila dinner takes place on Tuesday, April 26th. More information can be found here.
This was a complimentary media invitation.