I recently got to participate in a Chef’s Tasting at the soon to be opened Mayan Bar and Grill here in Monrovia. The Mayan will be in the historic Aztec Hotel in the space formerly occupied by the Brass Elephant. It was a fun experience. Tasting and rating menu items for a new restaurant before it goes public. The Mayan will focus on Central American cooking a first for my little corner of L.A.
The food was simply pretty terrific. First up was Ensalada Esmeralda which was a simple mix of roasted chilis and greens tossed with a bright avocado and cilantro dressing. Next up was a Puerco Mole Verde, or pork medallions in a somewhat spice, but deeply flavored mole sauce. The last course they gave us was the Tequila Lime Shrimp…with a spicy sweet mango salsa. All in all I rated them all very highly, made comments where appropriate but really enjoyed the experience. The new Chef at the Mayan did not disappoint.
Do you want to get in on the tastings too? Simply friend the Aztec Hotel on FB and watch for their notices and instructions on what to do for the next event. Its really as simple as noting date, time and emailing the hotels General Manager Art Desaultels that you want to attend. This Thursday is nearly full and they just added in Friday for another tasting. They fill fast so act fast.
The Mayan Bar and Grill is targeted to be opened in time for Cinco de Mayo (May 5) barring any unforeseen circumstances. The new restaurant is really nice, bright and completely different than the old Brass Elephant that occupied that corner of the hotel for many years. It is all bright yellows and light greens with the original murals still in place and nicely restored. The goal is to eventually add live light Latin Jazz to the Sunday brunches there. (As part of their conditional use permit they will not be allowed to have loud metal bands, punk bands or similar…that should delight the neighbors who complained of the old “Brass”).
The Aztec Hotel has been blogged by me before. The Aztec has had a change of hands and the new owners are charging fast forward into a complete renovation while maintaining historical accuracy of the place. The hotel lobby is near completion and they are in the process of redoing all of the rooms. The latter is why I was unable to get any new pictures of the 2nd floor…those will follow. What I have seen has impressed me. The future of the Aztec here in Monrovia is pretty bright. Unlike that last iteration that was a frustration to many, I think they will be pleased to see the changes made in the hotel and the clientele they hope to attract. A few more pics of my visit to the Aztec can be found in a flickr set.