If you combine great food, exceptional people, and a joint purpose in building bridges and relationships in Medina, NY, the result is an evening we had a couple weeks ago at Mariachi De Oro Mexican Grill.
Though we have frequented Mariachi since our move home last August, we jumped at the chance to attend this special event with many like-minded individuals in Medina. Not only did the evening boast incredible conversations with friends of Mariachi and several business owners from our small town, but we had a chance to truly get to know the owner of Mariachi, Leonel Rosario, along with several staff members who make every experience there one-of-a-kind.
The purpose? To enjoy a special tasting of the authentic flavors of Oaxaca, Mexico where the family from Mariachi originally hails. Tacos and burritos are one thing, but after spending a week in Mexico last October, Scott and I crave some of the more authentic and traditional dishes that are inherent to that region; dishes that take hours of babying to produce, though the finished product is out-of-this-world.
It’s no surprise that my favorite part was when Leonel demonstrated for the group his approach to guacamole. I was across the room with my camera, but when I saw him wheel that guacamole table to the front I shot Scott a look that only he could understand: my deep and abiding love for the green stuff was the perfect way to kick off the night.
Oh – and INSIDER TIP – tableide guac is always available – it might be slightly more in price than regular guac off the menu, but TRUST ME: there is no other way to do it. Just ask for it prepared at the table and then thank me for the insider scoop later.
Traditional Mezcal was poured (several times!) and we were assured that this is how Mexicans start a meal, enjoy a meal, and end the meal….our kind of people! Tequila is good, but I opt for Mezcal every time. But you can’t go wrong with a classic margarita…
Jonathan Oakes of Leonard Oakes Estate Winery was also in attendance, and provided pairings and samples of several prominent varietals grown on the vineyard. It was the obvious passion in Oakes that made everyone at that table feel an overwhelming hometown pride, a pride that has only grown over the past few months that we are back to calling Medina “home”.
It’s my blog so I’m going to be honest. For many years, people have made excuses for this dilapidated little town on the Erie Canal. “It’s too cold”….”There’s nothing to do”….”Poverty prevails”….”why move home?”…..And while this sentiment broke/breaks my heart, there were many occasions that I felt foolish for continuing to defend my home to people wherever I traveled. But people here in Medina can feel the history combine with the excitement of this generation, and the current is so powerful it is tangible when walking down Main Street.
At the end of the evening, Oakes made a final toast and thanked our hosts for an incredible evening. He said it best, that “we need to build bridges” in this world, and there is no place better to start than in our own backyard.
Mariachi de Oro – you continue to be an integral force in this community, enriching the lives of those in town and coaxing those from afar to travel the distance. You know how to bring people together over the global common denominator: great food. But the authenticity of what you do combined with your love of Medina makes you stand apart. Thank you for providing an opportunity for us to get together as a group to really continue the conversation of what makes Medina so great and so different than other small towns. We take our hat off to you, and can’t wait to do it again with more folks who love this place as much as we do.
Cheers, Medina, to building bridges and keeping that current alive!