July 29, 2013 by caitlinvaclark
Last week I went to dinner with a group from the food writing class I took a few months ago. Turns out that my never ending search for good Mexican food in London, is a shared hunger, so we tried out La Bodega Negra, a Soho joint that serves Mexican street food and an extensive list of tequila focused cocktails. Perfect.
The evening certainly started off a bit interesting. I had to circle the block twice before daring to open the secret entrance and trust that I was in the right place. Yup, this is signage:
As you can probably infer from the entry, the restaurant is a bit on the trendy side. When we called to make the reservation, they informed us of their bazaar dress code: men are NOT to wear a jacket or tie. I can only imagine they are too cool for the after work crowd. Once you are dressed down enough, and are over the fear that you are wrong about the door and going to be caught in a sex shop, you head down to a lounge and dining room that feels a bit like you have been washed up somewhere between an old beach bar, a pirate’s treasure chest, and a Mexican czar’s wine cellar. In keeping with it’s own trendiness, the restaurant is very dark, to the point where I went to the rest room and couldn’t see the M or W painted on the doors and inevitably chose the wrong one. Oopsies!
I started the evening with the Reposito cocktail, which is tequila muddle-up mojito style with mint and lime and then topped with ginger beer. I did think that the ginger flavor was a bit lacking. But the Pepino with pineapple, cucumber, and jalepeno had the right balance of flavor and a nice kick of heat. And the margaritas were nice and strong.
As far as food to soak up our alcohol, it was all good, but nothing blew my mind. The stand outs were the pork belly tacos, but how can you go wrong with fatty pork bites right? And I loved the Ceviche Baja, made with sea bass, super citrus-y and fresh. I was relieved to find out that it was properly prepared with the citrus acid being the cooking agent for the fish. Lately, the ceviche I have come across here is really just cooked fish or shrimp that is then tossed with some lime juice and served. That’s just wrong.
Since it was too dark to take pictures of my dining experience at La Bodega Negra, I do have a quick, easy, casual, opposite-of-trendy, Mexican-inspired dinner for you to make at home: Tequila Lime Chicken Tostadas.
Start by sautéing the seasoned chicken until brown, then adding the tequila and lime juice to deglaze the pan.
After drizzling with honey, stir in the corn and diced tomatoes and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Finish by turning off the heat and stirring in the scallions.
Then serve the chicken on a crisp tortilla and a bed of refried beans and lettuce topped with sour cream (and guacamole if the avocados you had purchased were not rock hard like mine were…)
Or skip the crisping of the tortilla and wrap up all the tasty goodness into a burrito!
Tequila Lime Chicken Tostadas
¾ lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 ½ tsp ancho chili powder
2 Tbs. tequila
Juice of ½ a lime
1 tsp honey
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
2 Roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup refried beans
2 cups shredded lettuce
4 Tbs. sour cream
Dice the chicken into bite-size pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes before stirring. Then once the chicken begins to brown, stir and continue to cook fro 3 more minutes. Then deglaze the pan with the tequila and lime juice. Drizzle with honey and mix. Add the corn and tomatoes and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until heated through.Turn off the heat and stir in the scallions.
Meanwhile toast the tortillas under a broiler or on a grill pan for 1-2 minutes per side until crisp. Heat the refried beans and spread ¼ cup onto each tortilla.
Top each of the prepared tortillas with ¼ of lettuce, then the chicken mixture and sour cream.