Tara Humata in Alpharetta and tequila reviews!!!

You know how this starts, its friday night both you and your wife worked late after an exhausting week and its about 7.30 with no dinner plans. This usually means hitting one of the local Tex-Mex joints for some generic ground beef enchilada’s covered in cheese or the de facto gringo plate of Carne Asada. We didn’t go to this place we went a bit upscale but still local.

Tara Humata is down the road from us and after our meals last night I’m really starting to wonder why we haven’t been back more. I guess the reason we dont go there often is because its usually filled with housewives drinking lemon drop martini’s and older couples double fisting swill margarita’s. Tis the Alpharetta nightlife but even on a wednesday or thursday this place packs in the local 40 to 50-somethings. This was probably the sixth time we’ve been and the food has always impressed, mainly because its way more gourmet and eccentric than your standard Mexican grub but as happy as I am to see people my parents age having a good time at night the impromptu dancing and overall tipsiness get old. Do not however let this from stopping your visit here. You can have a nice dinner, just dont sit at the bar where the live music is.

As expected it was a friday night at 8pm and the ‘retta cougars were already pounding pitchers of ‘rita’s so we had a 25 minute wait. We killed this time by stepping up to the bar and getting a Modelo Especialle on draft and looked over the tequila menu. A neat thing about their tequila menu is its priced by the “ages” of the tequila’s. Blanco’s were $8.50, Repo’s were $10.50 and Anejo’s were $12.50. Extra Anejo’s weren’t priced but I’m sure they were anywhere from $15 to $75 a glass being that they had Herradura Suprema (about $50/glass), Don Julio Real ($75/glass) as well as some cheaper ones. They had a better selection than most bars that claim to have “proper” tequila bar and I’m sure they’re hiding some treasure bottles below the counter. I decide on the Tequila Ocho Plata which is reviewed below. Great Juice.

Our buzzer rang and we were led to a table in the bar area. A live band was playing behind us and we had the usual let-looser’s having dinner and drinks around us so it was louder than being in the dining area but still way less than heading downtown to some booming chic wine bar. Looking over the menu’s found my eye fixating on the Cochinita Pibil, what can I say I’m a sucker for a great pork dish. My wife, the now reformed vegetarian who’s now eating bits of seafood ordered the Tilapia Traditional. Why the English spelling? I dont know go back and ask the owners.

Our meals came quickly and right after I polished of the remaining drops of the Tequila Ocho. The agaves were calling so I needed to check out the menu and pick my next victim. The puerco was fantastic and served up on top of a banana leaf that harnessed all the succulent juices. A classic but beautiful plating, too bad it was flanked by some generic refried beans and Spanish rice. Man, it was cooked perfectly! It fell apart when I was attacking it with my fork and was extremely tender and juicy. The kicker? It was fuckin’ spicy! Holy shit and I can handle some spicy grub. Fortunately the heat came and went pretty quickly. I understand this is a hot dish and maybe it fooled me as any other restaurants interpretation of it is usually sweet.  My previous experience with habenaro’s wasn’t as kind so I wonder if they’re using some other pepper in here. I’m assuming this is a dish most gringo’s dont order because they have no friggin’ idea what it is but I thoroughly enjoyed it and was happy I got this instead of their delectable Shrimp stuffed with salmon and wrapped in bacon…yes I passed that up, no I didnt regret it, yes I’ll get it next time. 4 outta 5 chaka’s, it would’ve gotten a 5 but the overwhelming heat and generic sides kicked it down a notch. Maybe some white rice with lime and cilantro and some charro type beans would make it a little more fitting but at 10 or 12 bucks the meal was a steal.

Amy’s tilapia was a killer large fillet, perhaps the biggest I’ve seen minus the one from Mi Cocina in Dallas which had to come from Chernobyl Farms. This was more of the Three Mile Island variety. It was lightly fried and topped with a sauteed mix of onion, garlic, peppers, spinach, tomato’s and olives. She really enjoyed it but I wasn’t so impressed with my first bite. I expected the tomato to make it overly sweet, which it didn’t but I could take or or leave it so I went back to my tongue scorcher. She didn’t finish it and since my parents made me believe that kids in China would starve if I didn’t clear a plate I proceeded to give it another try. It was then that I really enjoyed it. All the flavors worked really well together and the fillet was nice and thick so it wasn’t drowned out by the light flour bath. We’ll give this a 3.5 outta 5

Tequila Ocho Plata- I’ve been wanting to try this for some time but its high cost (around $45-50 a bottle) and limited availability have deterred my partaking in this elusive juice. I had a hard time pulling anything out of the nose on this but I was standing in a bar with plates of food all around me. A big agave scent  was about all my schnoz could muster. It was served in a lowball neat so I couldn’t really see the legs/pearls either, the darkness didn’t help either. Its very smooth with minimal alcohol burn and heavy agave notes. I was really digging this as a first sipper to warm up my pallet. It had a long finish that really kept that agave going. 4 outta 5 chaca’s.

Chinaco Reposado- This is another juice I’ve been dying to try. Its got a reputation as a “strong” or “fuerte” tequila with some heavy notes of spice and burn while being extremely drinkable. I had this neat in a lowball as well, although the waiter served it in a shotglass that I immediately poured into a lowball. I was worried about my dinner killing the flavor of this since those habenaro’s were about to reign destruction upon my cujo but luckily they left as soon as they striked. Upon smelling it I could tell Chinaco was a brand I could really dig on. It was light for a repo and with the dim bar lighting I almost couldn’t distinguish this from a blanco. Turns out it was all the red ambient lighting. The nose had notes of vanilla, caramel and oak with bits of sweet fruits like apple or something. The flavors from the nose translated to the pallet but added some smokiness. Very complex but balanced as well. I can see where the fuerte image comes from but it wasn’t as hot or spicy as I thought it was going to be. I think this might just be my favorite repo and will more than likely be the next bottle we buy. 5 outta 5 Chaka’s and very highly recommended.

All in all we had a great night out, tried some new dishes and had some killer tequila’s. This place has the best tequila bar in the area (so far) and we will definitely be going back more often both for dinner and the occasional tequila and apps night. 4 outta 5


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