I’ve already given my praise to Bar Clavel in past blog entries but I feel like they deserve their own special Cinco de Mayo post. As I’ve said before, Clavel is on the map now, so we went right when they opened at 5PM on Thursday. First in line, score! It’s the little victories. We like to sit at the bar when we go to Clavel. Watching the bartenders on a day like this truly is a form of art. They were all in good form and they kept up with the demand of people sitting at the bar and those waiting for tables.
Throughout the night we had 4 drinks, I won’t say how many of each. Their margarita is always my go to for Happy Hour. My husband doesn’t respect the laws of Happy Hour and goes straight for whatever he wants on the menu so he gets the Negroni. Their Negroni is pretty special, they age it for 2 months, which is a work of art in itself on display for all to see. The Mezcalita is like a margarita but made with mezcal instead of tequila. My adventure was ordering the Amado Nervo, which is made with El Buho espadin, raw cilnatro honey, Priorat natural vermut, limon, sparkling cava rose, and smoked black salt. It basically tastes like you are drinking cilantro juice and I love cilantro so it was delicious. Husband was not a fan, more for me. My favorite part was the smoked black salt that I managed to get with every sip.
Always willing to try something new, i went for the Esquite for the first time. It’s like Mexican street corn in a cup with crema, melted butter, mayonnaise, limon, cotija, and chiltepin . I hate eating corn on the cob so this is perfect for me. Those of you who still have the wire on the back of your bottom teeth from braces understand. I recommend you mix it all together first or you get a big bite of the chiltepin which is not pleasant, keep your margarita on hand just in case. Of course we cannot go without getting the queso fundido. Get it with the chorizo or it’s just sad. Even if you aren’t a big fan of chorizo, you will be with this dip. Their fresh chips are amazing. I eventually poured my esquite into the empty queso dish and ate it with the chips.
Everything Clavel does is delicious so no big surprise that they make some of the best ceviche in Baltimore. I want to try a different one each time but I keep coming back to the Ceviche Sinaloense. It’s made with wild caught pacific shrimp, diced tomato, serrano, and cucumber cured in lime and chiles, and topped with avocado and cilantro. Don’t be scared, it truly is a treat.
My husband knows what he likes and he always orders the Cochinita Pibil in some form. This time he went with it on tacos. Cochinita Pibil is tender pork with bitter oranges and achiote. The taco comes topped with HEX Fermernts Clavel Kraut. One bite of this taco is savory with a perfect accent of acidity and sweetness.
One of the special offerings for Cinco de Mayo was carnitas so I was certain to partake. I went with carnitas in taco and mixta forms. The taco was fully loaded with tender carnitas that fell apart in my mouth. It would have been a shame to ignore the toppings even though the carnitas was so good on it’s own. My favorite was the mixta because melted chihuahua queso, duh. I love me some carnitas with melty cheese and it’s easier to eat in between two tortillas. Not saying I didn’t make a huge mess, it was very juicy.
Since Cinco de Mayo is a celebration we had to finish off our meal with cake. Tres Leches Cake is always hit or miss with me, either too soggy or too dry. Clavel has found the secret to Tres Leches Cake. Somehow you get a bite that has the perfect level of moisture in it. I don’t know how they do it. Even the fellow next to me at the bar went on and on about their cake when he heard me order it. He said it was the best he’s ever had and I have to agree. Clavel has ruined me on Tres Leches Cake. Now that I’ve had the perfect one, why would I ever stray?
Speaking of the perfect one and never straying, that is how I feel about the overall Bar Clavel experience. I know there are other mezcalerias and taquerias but I really don’t think anything could be better than this, at least not in Baltimore. Consider this my Ode to Clavel, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways….