Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Salud! The naked truth on Lola's Partida Dinner

Jamey Fader, with pants.

“Tequila is a very expressive spirit,” says Sofia Partida, whose family tequila was first introduced to this country in Colorado in 2005. “That’s why we get so expressive when we talk about it.”

And how. “Tequila has its fun side,” says chef Jamey Fader. “Like Sometimes you wake up pantless in your front yard.”

Everyone kept their pants on through last night’s Partida Tequila Dinner at Lola, 1575 Boulder Street, but those pants were definitely loosened as Fader brought course after course out of the kitchen, each one paired – and paired amazingly well – to a Partida tequila. (Pork belly also seemed to play a prominent role in each dish, but that could have been a happy accident.)

For the Partida Blanco, for example, Fader had concocted a smoky coconut horchata shooter with fried shrimp and a spicy pine nut crumble. For the Partida Reposado, it was duck chorizo and roasted apple hot pockets with a peanut-sweet potato mole – a dish that had taken Fader four hours to make, since the pocket was created out of the time-intensive yuca. And for the Partida Anejo, there was a charred fresno chile and olive oil poached salmon over sofrito braised cabbage.

By the time the Partida Elegante and the definitely fun cookies and milk (a young coconut-canela milkshake) came out, the belts and buttons were coming off.

Lola already has the town's Best Brunch; last night’s dinner was the first in a seres of nine special event meals that Fader plans to continue offering at Lola. Next up: Turkey and Tequila on November 25 (that’s something to be thankful for!); and a Mexican Holiday Comfort Food Dinner on December 3.

But while the all-Irish Fader has given himself over to coastal Mexican fare, he hasn’t forgotten Colorado. By this spring, he hopes to use 100 percent locally sourced ingredients -- with the exception of fish or tropical fruits, which don't exactly grow on Colorado trees.

And one more exception: all that Mexican tequila. Salud. -- Patricia Calhoun