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Wine Dinners Give Rise to Other Spirited Events; Barrio Queen Leading Charge

Barrio Queen Presents Tequila Dinner in Honor of Tequila Passport Launch
Barrio Queen Presents Tequila Dinner in Honor of Tequila Passport Launch
Credit: Brian White /Wrap Arizona.

It is no secret that winemaker dinners are the – ahem – toast of the town.

It’s no surprise than that their popularity has inspired everything from beer to vodka to even bourbon dinners in recent years.

And now, thanks to 2014 Phoenix Business Journal Most Dynamic Woman in Arizona honoree Silvana Salcido Esparza, tequila dinners are even entering the mix – and how!

This week, Salcido Esparza’s Barrio Queen Tequileria, named one of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America in 2012, is publicly launching its Tequila Passport, a brand new way for restaurant patrons to track their journey through the most extensive tequila program in the state.

To celebrate, on July 9, Barrio Queen will host a tequila pairing dinner in concert with Don Julio, providing five delectable courses for just $50. As a special treat, Salcido Esparza will be cooking live among her guests in the dining room, and a tequila expert from Don Julio will provide educational points and tasting notes on each pairing selection. The courses and pairings for the dinner are as follows:

Antojito

Chef Silvana’s famous guacamole made tableside

Pairing: La Guerita Margarita

Primer Plato

Seared scallop quesadilla

Pairing: Don Julio Reposado

Segundo Plato

Mango avocado jicama salad

Pairing: Don Julio Añejo

Plato Principal

Choice of seared halibut or duck breast in a pipián verde mole

Pairing: Don Julio Añejo 70th Anniversary

Postre

Homemade churro with Mexican chocolate, Kalua crème and cajeta

Pairing: Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal

​The dinner will be held at Barrio Queen in Scottsdale beginning at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required, as space is limited. To make reservations guests may call (480) 656-4197.

For those unable to attend the dinner, but eager to learn more about the Passport program:

Housing more than 400 tequilas, rare mezcals, sotols and bacanoras, Barrio Queen’s tequila program has been in the works since the restaurant’s inception in 2011 and is personally cultivated by “The Queen’s” four-time James Beard-nominated chef, Salcido Esparza. An expert in her own right, Salcido Esparza is a true tequila aficionado with a prestigious Consejo Regulador del Tequila certification, who sees an ever-growing appreciation for the spirit in her restaurants.

“We have regulars who have developed a real passion for tequila over the years and they enjoy coming in to taste something new. The list continues to get bigger and bigger and it was time to make it a real program,” says the chef. “The Tequila Passport is a fun way for our guests to track their journey and on-going education -- it provides a place for them to take notes and jot down what they like about their selections. The coolest part for me, is that for each taste, guests take home a stamp in their Passport created by Lalo Cota.”

Most that know her are in tune with Salcido Esparza’s long-time support of the local art scene and her lasting friendship with Cota, who created four custom stamps for the Passport program that officially kicked off last night with an exclusive invite-only party. Each guest took home a Passport complete with a commemorative Don Julio stamp to dedicate the evening's custom cocktails, La Mula Mexicana and the Pepino Picoso, which will appear as limited summer selections on Barrio Queen's cocktail menu.

Over the next several months, the program is poised to attract both tequila aficionados and those who want to learn more about the spirit that is ever increasing in popularity, with more events planned throughout the summer.