Tequila Is The New Scotch – Midnight Menu +1 – It’s New Orleans
Chef Richard Papier still remembers when Mexican food in New Orleans meant Taco Bell. And he’s not that old.
Chef Richard is changing how we experience Mexican dishes with authentic recipes from Mexico steeped in his fine dining training working alongside Emeril, Susan Spicer, Nathaniel Zymet, Donald Link and Guillermo Peters.
Chef Richard’s new Uptown restaurant on Magazine Street is a few thousand giant steps up from Nacho Mama’s, the space it now occupies. Arana Taqueria y Cantina is the real deal – Yucatan soaked flavors paired with the only imported Mexican craft beer in town and a range of fine tequilas.
If you think the leap from Nacho Mama’s to Arana is about the most incomparable comparison you could imagine, how about this one: the leap from Cairo, Egypt to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. That’s the trajectory Cal Zayed’s life took.
Cal is Arana’s front of house face and a tequila sophisticate who turns drinking tequila into an art form. Cal can take you on a flight with the finest tequilas from Mexico or have you climb a tequila ladder from ground to kissing the sky. Just don’t ask him about “angry grapes” (raisins) or how those dancing raisins from the TV ads back in the day terrorized him as a child and haunt him still.
Chef Richard’s and Cal’s complementary pasts, tastes, humor and passion make for a lively night out, whether it’s at Arana or here on Midnight Menu +1.