Xupito your Mexican restaurant & Tequila Bar

535338_963264327074152_6016140457633925203_n“I leaned sidewise against the bar, which was on the same side of the room as the orchestra stand. I was turning a small glass of tequila around on the top of the bar…    The bartender leaned beside me, on his side of the bar…”Do you like that stuff straight,” he said, “or should I smooth it out for you?”  “Smooth it out with what?” I said. “You got a wood rasp handy?” He grinned. I drank a little more of the tequila and made a face. “Did somebody invent this stuff on purpose?”

From Finger Man by Raymond Chandler

Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 14.38.07First let me say I love Tequila, it’s a liquor steeped in history and each brand of Tequila is unique. In his poem Tequila: Panegyric and Emblem, Alvaro Mutis wrote: Tequila is a pallid flame that passes through walls and soars over tile roofs to allay despair.  It is the pursuit of this pallid flame, of the crisp, clear fire it burns within us, that makes us lift the glass of tequila to our lips and to savour the rare fragrance it imparts. There are hundreds of flavours and aromas you can find in tequila, the 3 below are the most common.

3-types-of-tequilaBlanco: Agave nose and flavour should be foremost. Citrus, mint, spearmint, green beans, anise or licorice, freshly cut grass, freshly cut fruits like apple and pear. Peppery and sharp bite – the alcohol is more noticeable in the bite. Slightly oily finish. Should have the strongest vegetal or floral aromas and taste of all the types.
Reposado: Agave still present, although muted. Hints of vanilla, almond, oak, honey, sweet melon, slightly sweet butterscotch or brown sugar. Not too woody. Alcohol is present but less pronounced. Finish is less oily, more silky. Some hint of earthiness is allowed.
Añejo: Chocolate, caramel, stronger butterscotch, burnt honey, sweet potato (yam), vanilla. Sometimes tobacco or leather. Agave may be almost hidden. Alcohol is much less noticeable. Finish is long and silky smooth. Añejos can show off their complexities with pride, but the wood should not be overpowering.

6789_992441114156473_1765029212642725166_nPerhaps even more popular than the actual tequila is the worm crawling around the bottom of the bottle. But the worm, or gusano, actually originated with tequila’s cousin, mezcal, largely as a marketing ploy. The gusano is the larvae of a type of moth that lives on the agave plant.

Tequila, whose origin lies in the Indian civilisations of ancient Mexico, is the one liquor that for me has an aura of magic and mystery. Tequila’s ancestor, Pulque, an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey (agave) plant was first made by the Aztecs around 1200 BC, and was used by them as a ritual and ceremonial drink dedicated to the God Ometotchli.

Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 14.37.26The legend says Mayahuel, a farmers wife, was chasing rabbits from her agave fields, when she saw one dancing in circles and found the rabbit had been drinking the nectar from the heart of the agave. She and her husband discovered this nectar made people joyful, strong and fearless, and so Mayahuel was declared goddess of the agave, and was often pictured by Aztecs sitting in the middle of an agave, with a rabbit nearby. The transformation of Pulque into Tequila happened in the 1500s when the Spanish conquistadors ran out of brandy, they began to distill Pulque to make Mezcal wine which later evolved into what we now know as Tequila. Today Tequila is made only from the blue agave plant. Agave grows differently depending on the region. Blue agaves grown in the highlands Los Altos region are larger in size and sweeter in aroma and taste. Agaves harvested in the lowlands, on the other hand, have a more herbaceous fragrance and flavour.

23561641_1302626623216018_796562797797363533_nSince opening in January 2016 Xupito has become the most hallowed Mexican & Tequila bar in the city. Locals and tourists alike flock to the sprawling cantina in old quarter’s Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, to munch on antojitos (tacos, quesadillas, and more), and to enjoy Mexican mariachi music.  Of course, drinking tequila from the extensive list of producers—can only help for inspiration.

22279398_1268992299912784_5594093477937036953_nXupito has a vast selection of world class tequila, such as Herradura Anejo, Highly-regarded by aficionados worldwide, this wonderful anejo has a beautiful pale gold colour, and a deliciously smooth, sophisticated palate. Silver 1800 Tequila, named after the year it was created, made from pure, 100% blue agave grown on family owned ranches and bottled in Jalisco, Mexico. Each bottle is double-distilled and matured in French and American oak barrels, then rested for 15 days in ex-American whiskey barrels prior to bottling. And Don Julio one of the most respected producers in Mexico is rich, distinctive and wonderfully complex, this is a Tequila to savour. Xupito has a great range of Tequilas each with their own distinctive notes and aromas. You can also try their amazing cocktails like the classic Margarita, Tequila Sunrise, El Dablo and many more… There is also a range of soft drinks, fresh fruit juices and a good selection of beer and wines. 13043447_1030644133669504_7154538033532994212_n

1422381_964547663612485_4243665664268806047_nXupito has a blend of authentic and innovative Mexican food. All the dishes are cooked with fresh ingredients. Here are just a few dishes of appetisers and main courses from their extensive Mexican menu: Empanadas, Tostadas, Grilled chicken oven baked and marinated in Mexican spices, Gorditas, Potatoes Podupin, Mexican BBQ pork ribs, Smoked Buffalo, Tacos, Burritos, Chilli con Carne, Nachos, Quesadillas and so many more.

17862717_1524725237537999_4184716820985088386_nThey also offer a range of salads from Tacos salad, Caesar salad, Greek salad and more, Tex Mex finger food, Club sandwiches, Steak sandwiches, Onion rings, Fried Chicken Wings, Fried Calamari all hot and spicy, but if you’re feeling like something not quite Mexican, they have a range of oven fired pizzas and a menu of Asian dishes like Pho Mai Day, stir fry rice with chicken beef or sea food and snacks like deep fried spring rolls or Bun Cha Hanoi and fresh Nem Chua.

16472926_1884411265138676_9120621995321709902_n10639586_10153244604745843_5676626872876551189_nXupito’s brightly colored Mexican decor will transport you emotionally to the tequila region of Jalisco, this bar is inspired by old-school cantinas with a touch of hipster cool. The decor reflects the history of Tequila, with its mystical Mexican Indian art and the feel of a rustic Mexican cantina with it’s warmth and the party always in full swing.

12495069_1017795214954396_7032124151740462891_n12650943_10206722156316170_7366594434954010027_n12688360_982667521800499_6495746775957342605_n16106028_1209423249177004_5132694628867323142_n12932849_1017795118287739_610424297588674447_n14695436_1114700408648996_3714681668798608289_n14045723_601815046663452_2432960308229736583_nXUPITO TEQUILA BAR & MEXICAN RESTAURANT IS A CREATIVE COMBINATION OF ARRESTING DÉCOR, CULINARY ARTS, FINE TEQUILA AND CRAFT COCKTAILS

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Check it out for their exemplary cuisine, great service, and innovative cocktails.

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Hanoi’s Wine Scene

8343259A wine lover’s dream. Hanoi has a vibrant wine scene and here’s my list of some favorite bars and restaurants with great choices in wine and tasting notes. Whether it’s pairing wine with Vietnamese and Mediterranean food, or a glass of wine with friends at sunset overlooking Hanoi’s lakes, here are some of the best spots. The most amazing bottle of wine you have ever tasted might just be the next one, so never stop searching and never stop drinking. Cheers!

My Top Favourites

La Badiane Hanoi has many restaurants that celebrate the Vietnamese-French culture so If you want to know the definition of “real French” in the middle of Hanoi, go to La Badiane. A Fusion of local and regional ingredients blended into classical French cooking. A great selection of wines, my favourites here are the Beaujolais and Premier Cru from Joseph Drouhin and the Spanish Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro with (Sweet dark cherry overlying pure red fruit with appealing wood smoke and blackberry set among grippy tannins) The restaurant setting is elegant and you’re welcome to pass by for wine and an aperitif. The restaurant delivers interesting tasting menus, including one designed with the most discerning gourmands in mind. La Badiane’s vegetarian menu is as sophisticated as its Dégustation Menu: a four course feast, with authentic flavors, which will convert you into a lover of the French cuisine. 8265104

Avalon Cafe Lounge Refreshments with a view. First I love their amazing roof top terrace with views over the lake, this is one of my favourite spots to relax with friends over a glass of wine and some very delicious snacks. You can eat here too and they have good Vietnamese & Western cuisine. Their selection of wine is varied, I would like to recommend the Pascal Jolivet blanc from the Loire Valley and Spanish Hecula red wine with (plum, fig, berriesintense balsamic aromas) The lounge bar is open all day, till late and a glass of chilled wine on the roof top late afternoon is magical. If you like, top off the experience with a snack to go along with your drinks. Both their Vietnamese and Western dishes are prepared creatively with the freshest ingredients. Then sit back and enjoy the view of the lake while the sun goes down and the city lights start illuminating the night skies. 8344295

Salmonoid Elegant fusion cuisine: There’s a new aroma and a new concept in town and it’s called Salmonoid. The idea is to create a wide range of fusion cuisines all based on salmon. Located in a beautiful villa with terraces and balconies which are filled with exotic palms sets the mood for Wine & Fine dining. A really great selection of wines, my choices would be Chateau Haut Selve, Graves with (Morello cherry, cedar, vanilla toast and black fruit notes) paired with the Grilled lamb-rack & Salmon with ginger sauce or with the Grilled beef & Salmon on potatoe puree. Also try the delicious Salmon Symphony with a chilled white wine. 8344297

Au Lac House:  I love sitting here at sunset on the villa veranda with it’s majestic columns, the black and white tiled floor and the wooden shutters surounded by shady trees it feels like stepping back in time, it’s wonderfully French-Vietnamese, and to have in my hand a glass of Chateau Paveil or Pessac Leognan. The beauty of this villa with its great selection of French wines to pair with the delicious Vietnamese cuisine on offer makes this a wonderful spot for lunch or dinner. Though I love just passing an hour or two here drinking some seriously good wine. Don’t be fooled by the French name though – the restaurant specializes in traditional Vietnamese cuisine, serving all-time favorites such as fresh and fried spring rolls, and more extravagant dishes, like roasted duck in mandarin sauce. 8344380

Sunset Bar at InterContinental Hanoi Westlake. Champagne and sunsets : In a super location with a large terrace overlooking the lake, this is the place to sit and enjoy Hanoi’s amazing sunsets. With large cane and bamboo sofas and shady gazebos it doesn’t get more luxurious than this and if you feel like splurging they have a really good choice of different sparkling wines to enjoy such as Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and Cremant. This is the go to wine spot in Hanoi as they host a Vinoteca event each month with seriously good wine. They also have red & white wines imported from famous wineries around the world. 8344292

Vine Restaurant & Wine Bar Worldly wines & innovative plates. Located in the buzzing restaurant and bar area of Tay Ho, this has to be one of my favourite wine bars in Hanoi. They have a superb selection of wines, the decor has a luxurious ‘wine cellar’ style and if you’re looking for something special this is the place. I enjoyed a Turriga Isola Dei Nuraghi 2003 with two years aging in French barriques, Turriga has notes of Mediterranean herbs, roasted coffee, spices, and licorice with a generous core of black and red fruit.) they also have a good range of Tiganello and South African wines from the Winery of Good Hope. I’ll just add they have friendly staff and really good metierranean cuisine. 8344290.jpg

Local Bar Wines in a party atmosphere, 16 Ta Hien Hoan Kiem. Aimed at a younger generation of wine lovers, this party place serves wines such as light Italian roses and crisp French Sauvignon Blancs.  If you are feeling adventurous and want to go for something out of the ordinary, test their signature wine cocktails. Drop by with your friends in the evening and dance the night away to their cool tunes or come by during the day and sit and chill.  The wines on offer change each week as choices are aimed at good value for your ‘dong’. Local Bar is in the old quarter and has those cute Vietnamese cafe chairs and tables outside the bar where you can sit and watch the ever changing panorama of the French quarter. 8344291

Hanoi – favourite wine bars- by the glass

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By Darren Gall, Writer & Sommelier

Hanoi has always intrigued me, drawn me, a visually beautiful city with a certain charm and character, it smiles at you through the cracks and exhibits style and elegance even amidst occasional chaos and degradation.

Hanoi is also a city being transformed, being modernized and in certain quarters, taking on the signs of wealth and progress that are universal to cities around the world today, some signs good and some signs bad.

Yet, everywhere there is beauty in Hanoi, in the simplest scenes and in almost all of the unexpected places; all you have to do is pause to look and see for yourself…. read on http://www.urban-flavours.com/hanoi-by-the-glass/

An Bang Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam

an-bang-beach-hoi-an-08-600x400Everything you need to know about An Bang Beach and its wonderful Soul Kitchen Bar Restaurant.

“As I sit on the grass perched over the beach, staring out to sea, sated and listening to the vibes of the house blending in with the gentle roll of ocean onto sand, it occurs to me that if I turned to stone and sat here for a millennium or three, that would be perfectly alright with me. Frank’s marvelous, mystical kitchen has once again, saved my soul.” Read on…. http://www.urban-flavours.com/2015/03/soul-kitchen/

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An Evening… at the Opera (House)

A wonderful restaurant in the old quarter of Hanoi

Cau Go Restaurant

Cau Go Restaurant is superbly located in the very heart of Hanoi. The bustling old quarter, the charming Hoan Kiem Lake and many of the city’s finest museums are within walking distance from the Hanoi restaurant… and so is a vast array of exciting evening activities. In our ‘An Evening…’ series, we open up nighttime Hanoi by providing you with the ingredients to cook up a fabulous evening in this charming city. Hanoi is undoubtedly Vietnam’s culture capital, and what better way to spend an evening here than to combine a fabulous meal at Cau Go Restaurant with unique entertainment?

The Neo-Baroque Hanoi Opera House, found near the southeast corner of Hoan Kiem Lake, was modeled on the opulent Palais Garnier in Paris and is a 10-15 minute walk or short taxi ride away from Cau Go Restaurant. This architectural wedding cake is now Hanoi’s premier concert hall and many…

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Bun Cha with good company – Hanoi’s Cat Cafés

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In Asia, there’s a growing demand for quirky cat cafés where customers can enjoy coffee and cake while petting adorable kitties. Once considered a mainly Japanese phenomenon, Cat Cafes are now spreading across the globe. A number of feline-friendly cafes have opened in Europe and the U.S.

Lauren Pears – the founder of London’s first Cat Cafe – said demand is going to increase. “As cities become more densely populated – and the option to have a pet is less likely – of course cat cafes are going to be more popular,” “Cats have a very special relationship with humans, and if you can’t get that at home, people are going to look elsewhere.”

I’ve discovered a fabulous Cat Café here in Hanoi… Actually it’s more of a café cum restaurant in To Ngoc Van near the Sedona Suites… Here, it’s Bun Cha, which has what it takes to shake Pho off its perch as Vietnam’s most-loved dish.  Small, fragrant minced-pork patties grilled over charcoal, then delivered to your table with bowls of hot broth, round rice noodles (bun), loads of herbs, chopped chilli and garlic, and a platter of Nem Cua Be (crisp spring rolls stuffed with crab meat). You dip the pork and the spring rolls in the broth in a multi-textured frenzy of freshness, tang, smoke and scorch…Plus you get the sweet kitty as extra company, Ahh this Hanoi Cat Café is the best…

 

World of Cats – Fishing Cat

Water Cats in Vietnam

Petit Hanoian

Cats are afraid of the water. However, in Vietnam, there is a cat species which is good cat swimming and fishing …

Fishing Cat (scientific name – Prionailurus viverrinus) is a medium-sized wild cat. It lives in South and Southeast Asia, includes mangrove forests in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam.

Regarding the shape, Fishing cat is very similar with the wildcat but it is bigger. Like keen swimmers, rather than hunting terrestrial prey such as other species of cat, fishing cats search for food under water, especially fish. They can grab their prey from above, also can dive deeply to the bottom of the water to chase fish. Kittens are familiar with the water when they are very small.

Currently, due to excessive hunting for meat, fur or pet and destruction of wetland habitats make this unique cat species at risk of extinction if they are not protected well.

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The Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary

220px-12-cub_on_treeSpread over an area of 12 hectares, the sanctuary has over 10,000 square metres of seminatural outdoor enclosure space designed to stimulate the bears’ natural behaviour200px-Ursus_thibetanus_3_(Wroclaw_zoo)220px-Formosan_black_bear_suckling_cubs

 

The Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre is about a two-hour drive from Hanoi and visitors will need to arrange their own transport. Once your booking is confirmed we will send you a map with directions and address of the rescue centre. The tour lasts about 1-1.5 hours.

The Open Days are held on Saturdays only, on the dates listed below, and for administrative and organisational reasons, we cannot accommodate visitors outside of these dates.
2014:
11 and 25 January 8 and 22 February
8 and 22 March 5 and 26 April
3, 17 and 31 May 14 and 28 June
12 and 26 July 9 and 23 August
6 and 20 September 4 and 18 October
1, 15 and 29 November 13 and 20 December
To book your visit, please email info@animalsasia.org

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https://www.animalsasia.org//intl/our-work/end-bear-bile-farming/what-we-do/bear-sanctuaries/vietnam-bear-sanctuary/vietnam-bear-sanctuary.html