Cochinito Taqueria: Tacos and Fine Dining
By Tastemaker Ashley Buckner
When you walk into Cochinito Taqueria, the first thing you might notice is the beautiful Día de los Muertos mural on the wall or the giant old fashioned drink fridge. The first thing you might taste is a delicious craft cocktail or one of the rotating agua frescas.
But the thing that is going to capture and keep your attention is the food. Cochinito isn’t one of those Mexican food restaurants with mystery meats and questionable vegetables. The Mexican fare offered here is made with locally sourced ingredients and prepared using fine dining techniques. Everything on the menu from the elote bowl to the churros are sure to please, but the tacos (with the tortillas that they make daily in house) are the perfect example of the high end simplicity that Cochinito excels at!
But did you know that they are more than just a taco joint? Last summer, Chef Travis Dickinson started to offer monthly fine dining dinners. They are reservation only events where he provides guests with a 6 course meal. Drinks are often provided by local breweries, such as Bellwether and Iron Goat, and guests get to enjoy hearing from the brewers themselves as they sample different pairings with each course. There was also a dinner that was paired with tequila & mezcal and another where they teamed up with their neighbors, Tempus Cellars, to offer wine pairings! I was lucky enough to be present for those two dinners, as well as several of the beer dinners, and was blown away by Dickinson’s ability to adapt to so many different pairings while keeping his style and high quality in tact.
The tequila dinner offered bright, summery, dishes like a salmon ceviche served with a rhubarb gel, compressed berries, and sea beans.
The wine dinners offered rich, full dishes like a chicken liver terrine with mole spices and a flank steak vaca frita with a parsnip puree, salsa rojas, and Dr. Pepper gastrique.
The beer dinners offered dishes with a variety of flavors and techniques. One of my favorite dishes was offered during the Sierra Nevada beer dinner. It was a tropical fruit salad that was served with a chile mango gel, duck fat croutons, and shaved foie gras. It was as lovely to look at as it was to eat! Another favorite was from the first beer dinner with Bellwether; a delicious braised rabbit served alongside masa gnocchi with citrus salsa, manchego, chile oil, and a spiced carrot puree that I still dream about.
But there are two constants to every dinner that you get to enjoy, no matter the pairing.
First constant, Chef Travis is ALWAYS gonna figure out a way to incorporate a taco.
Second constant, the passion for food. You can taste it in every dish and you can see it in the chef and his staff who sacrifice their day off to bring you a fine dining experience. Not only that, but you are surrounded by fellow guests who share your love for food and community. Chances are by the end of the night you will have made friends with your table mates as you bond over a great meal.
If this has piqued your interest in trying Cochinito Taqueria’s fine dining side, then you are in luck because Dickinson and the team are back from their brief December hiatus to bring us more of these amazing meals! For their 2019 kick off dinner, they will be serving 6 courses and are teaming up with both Arbor Crest and Square Wheel to offer 3 wine pairings and 3 beer pairings.
Every dish and their pairings sound amazing, but I am particularly excited to try the first and last course!
You can see the full menu here:
2016 Dionysus Vineyard Dry Riesling with plantain tostones with smoked steelhead caviar, tropical fruits, chorizo powder and cider crema
Brewer’s Select IPA with rabbit roulade with pancetta, malt and carrot risotto, and huckleberry-serrano salsa
2016 Avansino Red with short rib agrodolce taco with beet tortilla, pickled mushroom and squash salsa, candied pine nut and parsnip puree
Royal’s Red with fennel-crusted Idaho ruby trout, sweet corn arepa, toasted almond, guajillo and blood-orange vinaigrette, and fried kale
2015 Conner Lee Vineyard Cabernet Franc with mole braised lamb, celery root puree, prune demi glace, Brussels sprout, sweet potato and smoked hazelnut gremolata
V16 Stout with a Mexican chocolate s’more with smoked chocolate ganache, mezcal marshmallow, graham cracker crumble and warm cherry coulis.
The next dinner will be located at Cochinito Taqueria on January 27 at 6 p.m.
The full dinner series has been posted for the year, so it will be easy for you to snag your tickets before they sell out during the year ahead.
Feb 17- A Formal Mexican Cocktail Party featuring Southern Wine and Spirits March 17- Cougar Crest April 7- Iron Goat Brewing May 19 - TBD June 23- Ninkasi Brewing July 21- Whistle Punk Brewing Aug 11- Spiceology Spice and Cocktail Dinner Sept 22- Maryhill Wines Oct 13- Laugunitas Brewing November 10- Founders Brewing
Call the restaurant to make your reservations now!