January 2015 - Page 2 of 5 - Please The Palate
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It's not hard to find tacos in Los Angeles. From taco stands to taco trucks, we love our tacos. Now Santa Monica has a new taco spot where, in addition to tacos and other dishes,there is a full bar featuring mezcal-based cocktails and craft beers. The Westside needed another great drinking spot. Welcome Tacoteca! Tacoteca

Bartender Gilbert Marquez has crafted the cocktail program. With over 90 mezcals, he has created a menu of modern cocktails that emphasizes indigenous Mexican flavors.

I started with a Bebibas Ancestrales and ordered the Aguacatero (Mezcal, avocado, green chartreuse and lime). The drink comes with a worm salt rim that was spicy and a cricket garnish. Yes, crickets.....after all, they say that insects are the new protein. I went outside my comfort zone and tried them and despite the visual image, they were slightly salty and crispy and don't really taste like anything. I survived!

Saint Martha may be aptly named for its namesake, the Patron Saint of cooks and servants, but it also pays homage to Saint Vincent, the Patron Saint of wine. But you might not know this from the outside. Located in a run-down strip mall in Korea town, it's neighbors are a "dentista", an acupuncturist, an Allstate insurance office and a shoe repair shop. Saint Martha Exterior And among these business sits Saint Martha behind a heavy wooden door.Saint Martha Exterior But, open the heavy door and enter the cozy, low-lit windowless room, and find a world that honors and celebrates wine and food.
Creamy, semi-soft, hard, cow, sheep, goat....so many cheeses to choose from! I love cheese. Who doesn't? And, like wine, when you have really good cheese, you can taste its terroir, where it is from. But, it can be intimidating or overwhelming when it comes to really understanding French cheese. There are 350-400 types of French cheese, and with many varieties within each type, there may be more than 1000 different types of French cheese. Cheeses of France Have no fear! Cheeses of Europe and the French Cheese Board are here to help. Their mission is to create awareness about the variety of the cheeses of France available on the US market and the multiple ways that American consumers can incorporate the cheeses into their diets, their recipes and their lifestyles. One of the ways they do this is by creating pop-up stores in cities, like they did recently in Santa Monica. An outdoor pop-up store was created in the center of Santa Monica Place and for one day consumers could taste cheese (for free) and buy cheese (at great prices). Here are some of the cheeses we tasted and learned about: