With a Mexican twist, some of Austin’s most creative and exciting restaurants, food trucks and bars came together to support Mexic-Arte Museum’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
Ahead of Cinco de Mayo, a lively throng packed Brazos Hall on May 2 to enjoy bites and sips from more than 50 vendors at Taste of Mexico 2018. And, even though Cinco de Mayo is now past for another year, the great food and drink showcased at Taste of Mexico can be enjoyed year-round in Austin.
Indigenous cuisine was the focus of this year’s buzzing event. How to shell a cacao bean, make tortillas and use amaranth to make a popular Mexican candy called alegría, were just some of the favorites among six live demonstrations held on the rooftop during the evening.
From 6 until 9 p.m., event guests walked, talked and tried different foods and drinks from vendors, while enjoying the live music and dancing. Vendors included everyone from HEB Dessert Shop to local Austin restaurants including Curra’s Grill and Maudie’s Tex-Mex. Variety was also key with food trucks including Cool Beans and other vendors like Cornucopia Popcorn.
“Sometimes people take Mexican food as a monolithic status cuisine,” said Aaron Jimenez, Marketing and Membership Associate for Mexic-Arte Museum. “But there’s definitely diversity and different forms and lineage.”
Diversity is just what Taste of Mexico event participants received. Everything from Mexican meatballs to chocolates and more traditional foods like tamales lined vendors’ tables.
What a lot of people may not realize, and something that surprised me about the event, is that some Mexican cuisines include just three simple ingredients. It’s very interesting how such simplicity can bring such great and satisfying flavor in something like a tortilla—made from maize, salt and water. (With a dash of butter to serve!)
All of the food (well as much as I could fit in my stomach) at the event was tasty, but I do have to say my taste buds were especially partial to the tostaditas served by Cruzteca Mexican kitchen. The deep purple super fruit cocktails with blueberries made by Soley also had a nice kick to them, with Aguas Frescas offering a nice non-alcoholic option.
Taste of Mexico has been part of Austin since 1998 and there are already plans for 2019. “We do need to have these kinds of events where we can all come together and show the best Mexican cuisine in Central Texas,” said Jimenez. “It really is a great way to engage with Mexican food and Mexican culinary arts in one place so people can experience the diversity and beauty of Mexican culture.”
Proceeds from Taste of Mexico benefit Mexic-Arte Museum’s art education program, including the nationally recognized Screen It! program, which introduces youth to basic screen printing techniques and careers in the art field. A complete list of the 2018 vendors is available on the Mexic-Arte Museum’s website.
Cover photo: Taste of Mexico 2018, Marlyn Garcia