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Win a Golden Ticket for Four Mexican shows at La Linea – The London Latin Music Festival

Are you ready for Mexico’s finest musicians and DJ’s taking over London next week as part of La Linea, London’s Latin Music Festival? Alongside Grammy winners Jorge Drexler and hip-hop Chilean sensation Ana Tijoux, there are some huge shows coming up.

Thursday 23rd of April: Morgan Szymanski  & Alejandro Escuer at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre. A fine evening of contemporary music showcasing masterpieces of British and Mexican composers.

Friday 24th of April: Mextronica: Featuring Compass (Mexican Institute of Sound & Toy Selectah), Chico Sonido, Santos DJ, Lao at Village Underground. An all-nighter of Mexico’s thriving and exciting electronic music scene with super star DJ’s and Compass live.

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Saturday 25th of April: Mexrrissey, Mexico goes Morrissey at the Barbican. The music of Morrissey and the Smiths gets a Mexican twist before embarking on a UK and US tour spreading the #mexmoz love.

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Sunday 26th of April: Mexacoustico at Rich Mix. An intimate evening with some of Mexico’s young leading musicians and songwriters playing from their own songbooks.

 

Would you like to be in a chance of winning a pair of tickets to each show? Just tweet us your favourite Latin tune tagging @wahaca and @lalineafest with the hashtag #wahacamusic and we will pick a winner at random on at midday on Tuesday 21st of April.

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The Yucatan Peninsula by way of Covent Garden

Last night, a little bit of Yucatecan magic was made in our original Covent Garden kitchen. It was the second stop in our #CulinaryTrip supper club series, where we’re taking you on a tour of Mexico’s finest culinary regions, inviting the country’s most ground-breaking chefs over to London to cook their region’s finest fare and showcase the amazing diversity that the motherland has to offer.

Tommi was joined in the kitchen by a true leader of the New Yucatecan Cuisine, Roberto Solis, whose Nectar restaurant in Merida produces award winning, world class gastronomy, taking classic local ingredients and giving them a molecular twist. In the past he’s been seen cooking for stints in restaurants such as Noma and The Fat Duck. It’s safe to say he knows his way around a saucepan.

Tommi and Roberto
He took the opportunity to try out some brand new dishes on our awaiting guests including some intriguing dishes, such as sweet onions in a jet black recardo negro tempura batter which he served nestled amongst lumps of carbon with a Xcatic chile mayo.  The theme of Yucatecan ingredients reached through to a langoustine salbute starter and bone in pork chop with oregano pipian.

Pork Chop
If you weren’t able to make it along to the supper club last night, fear not, it was just the beginning of our stop off in The Yucatán Peninsula and from Friday 17th April, our Covent Garden restaurant will be exclusively offering a regional Yucatán inspired menu, for 8 weeks only. Highlights on our Yucatecan menu include a scallop and prawn coctel with grilled corn tostadas, tikin xic style sea bass tacos using a classic citrusy marinade and a vanilla panna cotta with passion fruit and guanabana liqueur.

This is one trip you just don’t want to miss.

Yucatecan Summer Squash

Wahaca’s hot picks this April

Hello April, what Mexi-exciting things do you have for us?

These are just a few of our favourites:

1- Wahaca Covent Garden #culinarytrip continues with Yucatan’s finest Roberto Solis.

This is what happened at our first supper club last month:

 

2- Mexico20, the most outstanding young voices of Mexican Literature, a project by Hay Festival, British Council and Conaculta at the London Book Fair

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3- Mexico City’s Festival del Centro Historico- Music, theatre and dance take over Mexico’s vibrant city centre landmarks to showcase the country’s best, like The National Folkloric Ballet who will be visiting London this summer.

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4- Semana Santa / Easter week in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. Indigenous and catholic traditions meet at one of the most important celebrations of the year in this part of the country.

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5- La Linea, London’s Latin American Music Festival- Dedicated to Mexico this year to celebrate the Dual year, this is your chance to indulge in the best Latin Music you can ever dream of, as heard on Wahaca’s music playlist.

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Wahaca’s Top tunes this April

It’s been a busy one at Wahaca Music HQ this month. We have been listening to the Mexican and Latin American talent who took part at Mexico’s biggest festivals in March: Vive Latino and Cumbre Tajin and are currently getting super excited about  this year’s La Linea – London’s Latin American music festival this very month with Mexrrissey at the Barbican and other UK cities, Mextronica at Village Underground and Mexacoustic at Rich Mix.

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Click here to listen to Wahaca’s top tunes for April

Our favourites this time round include the first cut from Mexrrissey, a collective of Mexican musicians who love Morrissey and the Smiths: just listen to Ask while you close your eyes and let the rythms transport you to a latin street carnival via Manchester.

Electro-folklore-cumbia masters Bomba Estereo are back and have a super heavy beats tune to rock your summer, very appropriately named Fiesta, as well as La Sucursal de la Cumbia, a northern Mexico 8-piece whose motto is to combat sadness by getting people to dance and have a good time.

We also have new tracks by Latin indie favourites Natalia Lafourcade, Gepe, Siddhartha and Camilo Septimo as well as London based Latin funk maestros The Fontantas.

Want to find out more? check your Wahaca app when you pop in to discover what’s playing and suggest a track on twitter with #wahacamusic

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Next stop on our Culinary Trip – Yucatán via Covent Garden

Following the popularity of the first stop on our 2015 Cuilnary Trip around the regions of Mexico, it’s almost time for our Covent Garden menu to move on from Oaxaca to The Yucatán Peninsula and tickets for our 1 night only supper club, to kick start this Yucatecan season, with Roberto Solis and Thomasina Miers are on sale RIGHT HERE now.

On 14th April, we’ll be handing our Covent Garden kitchen over to Roberto Solis, known as being the leader of New Yucatecan cuisine, who will join Tommi in showcasing the incredible range of ingredients and flavours the region benefits from, combining traditional recipes from the Yucatán region with the modern ideas and techniques that have made his restaurant, Nectar, world famous.

Roberto Solis

His menu for the night brings a taste of this New Yucatecan cuisine to Covent Garden with dishes such as Onions in black tempura served with a burnt xcatic mayonnaise and Langoustine and sweet breads salbut with Papadzul sauce, salsa verde. Following which the Covent Garden team will be serving a Berkshire pork chop with plantain ribbons, Yucatecan oregano pipian with cured honey onions and a dessert of Coconut pie, fried rosemary & rosemary ashes. To add to the flavour of the evening, our good friends at Olmeca Altos Tequila will also be on hand to shake a few cocktails and introduce guests to their 100% agave tequila. With only 100 tickets available, they’ll not hang around for long, so grab yours pronto.

To buy your tickets click here to visit our Grub Club page and hit ‘Book Now’ to register.

 

Roberto's new Yucatecan Cuisine, in all it's flavourful glory
Roberto’s new Yucatecan Cuisine, in all it’s flavourful glory

 

The supper club is just one way that you can get a taste of The Yucatán, and those not able to join us on the night can drop in to Covent Garden from Friday the 17th April when we’ll be serving an exclusive Yucatecan Regional Specials menu, inspired by Roberto’s cooking, for 8 weeks only.

Hope to see you down there.

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Freshening up for spring

As the seasons roll on it’ll soon be time for our short shorts to come back out of the wardrobe and we can finally start strutting around the place in just a singlet again. To accompany that vision, we need some suitably light and fresh dishes that’ll neatly carry us over the line into spring and beyond. Time for our newest Street Food Specials.

For taco fans (if this term doesn’t apply, please report immediately to the headmaster’s office), we have a rejigged returning favourite in the form of our slow cooked beef barbacoa tacos, which this time have been super-sized on 2 large, grilled corn tortillas. We marinade beef feather blade in a blend of chipotle and guajillo chillies, then cook it low and slow for hours until the beef falls apart. You’ll find it bundled up atop freshly shredded cabbage slaw with our punchy chile de arbol salsa.

Beef barbacoa tacos street food special

Anyone who’s visited the motherland will know it can be hard to have any meal in Mexico without some form of pickled vegetables rocking up alongside you order. No bad thing at all if you ask us. In homage to this unsung favourite, we’ve created a home-cured pickled vegetable tostada which comes with an underbelly of an unctuously smooth pinto bean puree, with or without free range Devon Rose ham. The Mexican answer to piccalilli.

Picked vegetable tostada Wahaca street food specials

Remember that ordering any of our street food specials means we donate 20p to Edinca to support the education of kids working and living on the streets of Mexico City. Check our blog on what happened when we went to visit them last week.

“Viva Morrissey” a celebration of Mexico’s love for Morrissey and The Smiths

Heaven knows he is Mexican now, their fans say…  The fame of Morrissey on Mexican soil is a phenomenon you may have read about in our Ola magazine recently. While chicano communities in The US organise Moz parties and copy his fashion, a bunch of Mexico’s finest rock musicians and producers have got together to create a live tribute to their idol and they have named it Mexrrissey.

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Mexrrissey comes to town this April at the Barbican as part of La Linea Festival, and then will be touring some UK cities before taking off to New York and LA.

To celebrate the arrival of La Linea Music Festival and Mexrrissey, we are throwing a Launch party at Wahaca Soho’s Azulito bar on Thursday 26th of March with Mexican DJ Paola (EDT Club) and the long running Feeling Gloomy’s very own DJ Carl, who will be spinning Manchester and Mexican indie classics to make this a unique evening.

Viva Morrissey party

Viva Morrissey, 26th of March, 7pm until late.

Azulito Bar, Wahaca Soho. Free entry.

Brixton Brewery & Wahaca tasting evening

Did you ever wonder what beers go best with our tacos? Mexico is not only the land of tequila and mezcal but it’s also big on artisan beers. Dark, blonde and ales, vary from region to region and more and more small breweries are opening up across the country.

Last year we teamed up with Brixton Brewery to produce the perfect beer to go with our fresh and vibrant dishes, called Lupulo, a beer exclusive to DF/Mexico and Wahaca Brixton. Take a look at this to find out more:

So since we are very lucky to be almost next door neighbours here in Brixton, we decided to come up with an evening of beer & tacos. Oh yes, cerveza y tacos por favor…

The lucky few will have the opportunity to sample 6 of Brixton Brewery’s finest beers such as Electric IPA and Effra Ale, and have them paired with Wahaca’s most delish nibbles, tacos and churros. While Master Brewer Jez and Wahaca’s very own Anna, talk you through what inspires their beers and Mexican street food respectively.

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When: Tuesday 24th of March at 6pm, Wahaca Brixton, Atlantic Road SW19 8JA

Tickets cost £10 and can be booked by emailing anna@wahaca.co.uk

Getting to the heart of food allergies

Keen readers and allergy sufferers alike will have noticed changes made at the end of last year to how restaurants present information about allergens in their food, and at Wahaca we’ve been working hard, adapting the way we do things to make sure that we’re following those rules and keeping you all up to speed with the latest and greatest when it comes to the top 14 allergens that crop up in restaurant kitchens.

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Here Tommi shares her thoughts on the recent changes to the EU legislation, how Wahaca is making sure we adhere to it, and some of the unseen knock-on effects it has been having for other chefs in the industry.

This week a news article shared some of my thoughts, along with those of other chefs in the industry on the latest changes to the allergen legislation and it is important for me to answer directly some of the legitimate concern raised over comments made in the article, as I fear that my views haven’t been represented fully.
 
Over and above everything, we created Wahaca to be fun and open for everybody to enjoy. Everybody should feel safe and welcome to come in and enjoy freshly prepared food and relax and have a great time in our restaurants – full stop.
 
For that reason we’ve always had a robust and conscientious approach to allergies and intolerances, developed with our customer in mind. As well as consulting with allergy suffering customers, food-science experts and writers, our chefs have put in a great deal of effort into our comprehensive allergen charts.  We have had gluten free menus in our restaurants ever since customers started asking for them, which we’ve regularly reviewed to keep as informative as possible. Initially these menus were two tier, so that those with gluten intolerances could make an informed decision, based on their own personal intolerance, on whether to eat something that contained no wheat, but had been in a fryer with gluten containing foods for example – or whether to opt from a more limited completely gluten-free list. Unfortunately, the new system does not allow for this, which we have found has been putting off some people who have previously been able to eat and enjoy Wahaca’s food with no ill consequences – A shame for them, and part of my concerns that this new approach isn’t perfect for everyone. 
 
Of course Wahaca does adhere to all new legislation and we don’t consider the effort to fully communicate the allergens in our food to be a burden but an important part of the service we give every day and one that we’ll continue to evolve to make sure it’s the best and most helpful it can be.
 
My comments regarding the new legislation came from a place of concern for smaller operations, without the infrastructure that Wahaca has, as well as feedback from our waiters on how these new spreadsheets have limited the informed choices for customers with less serious intolerances, leading to a concern as to whether this is the best way that restaurants can serve their customers. Spreadsheet bureaucracy rather than direct communication with the chef, for example, can seem heavy-handed in cases, and in my opinion not the best way to personally address diners with different levels of allergy. This is not to take away from the seriousness of knowing what is in your food and being able to communicate it, which should always be the base that we start from.

We listen every day to our customers and constantly evolve our menu. As an example, having spoken with blogger @GlutenFree4Kids, whose daughter wasn’t able to eat our corn tortilla chips due to the cross contamination in our fryers, we are introducing a separate range of entirely gluten free corn chips to all sites which are available to order on request. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our allergen menu, then please do get in touch.

I hope this better answers some of the questions raised, and reaffirms Wahaca’s and my commitment into on-going research into best ways to accommodate allergies and provide the best possible hospitality. The staff in all our restaurants are brilliantly well informed and continue to be trained regularly so that they can be on hand to answer any specific questions and guidance on our charts.

Very best,
Tommi xx

Wahaca’s hot picks this month

March is here and as spring peeks in slowly but surely, here are our hand-picked top 5 Mexican things to watch out for this month:

1- Vive Latino 2015: The Ibero-American festival of music and culture.

Born in 1998, Vive is now the biggest and most important music festival in Latin America. This year acts include Interpol, Caifanes, Robert Plant and Molotov.

Mexico City’s Foro Sol 13-15th of March.

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2- Exhibition: Carlos Amorales at Turner Contemporary.

Part of the Year of Mexico in the UK special events, Turner Contemporary presents an installation that explores the use and limits of language.

Opens 14th of March, until September 2015. Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent.

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3- Watch England and Mexico’s future football stars go head to head.

Barnet football club will play host to the U20 teams who both remain unbeaten this season in preparation to New Zealand’s U20 World Cup later this year. Your chance to see tomorrow’s stars for just £3.

The Hive, Barnet FC, London. 25th of March.

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4- Cancun & Rivera Maya Wine and Food Festival

Gourmet dinners, masterclasses , wine tastings and celebrity chefs from across the world will gather at this annual festival showcasing Mexican cuisine and wine.

Head to the Gourmet Tasting Village in Cancun’s Moon Palace Resort 12-15th of March.

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5- Mexican Morrissey & La Linea Festival launch party at Wahaca Soho’s Azulito Bar.

As a collective of some of Mexico’s most talented producers and musicians prepare for a UK tour with their tribute to Morrissey and The Smiths, we will be hosting a party to celebrate Mexico’s love for Manchester’s finest with Wahaca vs Feeling Gloomy DJ’s playing head to head Latin and Manchester classics.

Thursday 26th of March at 7pm. Wahaca Soho’s Azulito Bar, London. Free entry.

Viva Morrissey party