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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A New Oasis in Hanoi

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Always on the look out for new fun venues in Hanoi, the new West Lake Station in Tay Ho is one of the best with its garden oasis, pool table, great food by French chef, craft beer and wine, wood fired pizza oven and awesome music!!!

22728824_1993367560942475_1805190416122346124_nWest Lake Station is a new Bar-Pub-Bistro (just opened) located at 24 To Ngoc Van Tay Ho.

It has a peaceful cozy garden where you can relax and chill night and day and if you love having a drink with friends together with a good game of pool this is the perfect place.
WLS offers you a ‘casual-fine dining menu’ with daily specials…. Be curious, be adventurous as everyday they will change…. I’ve had some wonderful food here, it’s a great for lunch or dinner with every dish carefully prepared by their French female chef.
WLS also offers you fresh and tasty wood fired oven pizza, as well as weekly and monthly specials regularly updated on their restaurant standee or Facebook page.
I’d recommend enjoying a bottle of craft beer, great wines or spirits around the pool table or in the garden while listening to awesome music from the worldwide web radio station.
WLS could soon become your next FAV venue…

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VISIT THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE FOR UPDATES AND EVENTS

WestLakeStation-Facebook

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

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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Gerard Bertrand 6 Course Wine&Dine in Hanoi

We are pleased to invite you to our next Wine & Dine event on the Friday 15th of May.

Our Chef “Benjamin Rascalou” has designed for this special occasion a 6-course fine-dining menu including 3 starters, a roasted camembert and a selection of chocolate delicacies for the final touch. The master piece, a marinated Australian Prime be
f Tenderloin in 5 peppers, will be served for main.

Each course will be paired by a different wine from “Gerard Bertrand”, one of the most renowned wine maker of South-West France, including their famous and excellent “Cigalus” and “l’Hospitalitas” (See tasting notes attached).
To know more about Gerard Bertrand, please visit is website: http://www.gerard-bertrand.com/en

Come to enjoy yourself with a delightful and unique epicurean experience at La Badiane for only 2,100,000VND / person. (Please be informed, the number of guests is limited to 25 so we highly encourage you to book as soon as possible if you would like to join us)

Reservation:
Email: florent.labadiane@gmail.com or labadianehanoi@yahoo.fr
Tel: (04) 39.42.45.09

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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…

 

Rigatoni al Granchio – Recipe

Rigatoni sugo granchi

This recipe celebrates all that is delicious about crab. The combined sweetness of the crab and tomatoes is a great flavour match for the fresh, aniseedy kick of the fennel.

 

olive oil
2 large fennel bulbs
4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, stalks finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 lemons
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
250 g cherry tomatoes, on the vine
500 g rigatoni, dried or fresh
250 g undressed brown crabmeat, from sustainable sources
250 g white crabmeat, from sustainable sources

 

Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil. Peel and finely chop the outer layers of the fennel. Set the leafy tops and inner hearts aside to make a salad later. Add the chopped fennel and garlic to the pan and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until soft.

Add the parsley stalks, chilli flakes, cinnamon and fennel seeds to the pan and fry for 2–3 minutes. Finely grate in the zest from your 2 lemons (reserve the lemons) and add the tinned tomatoes. Sit the cherry tomatoes, vines and all, on top to poach. Cover, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

While the pasta and sauce are cooking away, crack on with the salad. Push the reserved fennel hearts and one of the zested lemons through the thinnest slicing attachment on your food processor – or use a mandolin (or a knife). Tip into a bowl and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the reserved fennel tops and gently toss with your fingers. Put aside until you’re ready to serve.

Check the tomato sauce – it should look rich and glossy and the tomatoes should be soft and squashy. Carefully pick out and discard the vine, leaving the tomatoes in the pan. Gently stir in the brown crabmeat and let it heat up.

Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of cooking water, then gently fold it through the ragù with the white crabmeat, adding a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Serve the pasta on a lovely big platter with the fennel salad bang on top so you can mix and toss the two together as you serve. Chop the remaining lemon into wedges and serve on the side for squeezing over. The mix of flavours is a knockout!

BUON APPETITO!!!!

The Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary – Meet Mausi

mausi

MAUSI

Female
Mausi arrived at our Vietnam sanctuary in June 2007 after being discovered with two other tiny cubs in a secret compartment under a passenger bus – headed for a life of torture on a bile farm. Mausi thrived in her new environment and her excitement over anything new was a joy to watch. She has grown into a sweet-natured, playful young bear. She shares her den and outdoor enclosures with a large group of bears, mostly energetic juveniles but also a couple of mature bears. Mausi gets along famously with them all.

Spread 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 behaviour The Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre is about a two-hour drive from Hanoi. You can visit the bears on these dates:

 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