This past Tuesday, there was a jojoinstameets media tasting at Hotmess Tex Mex. If it weren’t for jojoinstameets, I would not have known about this neat little Tex Mex restaurant! Hotmess Tex Mex resides on Queen Street West where there are a number of notable eats already; it seems like Queen Street West (Little Italy) is becoming quite the food scene for different types of cuisines!
The media tasting began at 6 p.m. and I arrived just a bit after the clock struck twelve being afraid that I was going to be late. When I got there, there were a few dishes from the kitchen out already and the instagrammers were doing their thing and photographing the food already.
I really liked the character of Hotmess Tex Mex. It had some old school signs, beer logos, pinups, an old car grill planted on the wall, a slot machine near the door, and tons of merchandise like old cans and cactus plants with their restaurant name on them. It was a very cozy and unique restaurant and the Tex Mex (a fusion of American and Mexican food) vibe was clear from the way the restaurant was decorated.
We took over the entrance area of the restaurant and photographed each dish as the kitchen came out with them. Meanwhile, the inner part of the restaurant was reserved for their customers that night.
After we photographed the items (it was about an hour’s time into the event by this time and many people were getting hungry), we actually sampled from the display food items.
We started snacking…
The snacking began inconspicuously with the Frito Pie. The Frito Pie looked like a trendy food item that hit the food scene a few years ago (at the CNE) where you could eat the seasoned beef and toppings straight from a Doritos bag of chips! For this though, the Frito Pie consisted of Frito Lay corn chips, chili con queso, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, and “Truck Stop” or “Three Bean Chili”. This was delicious! (I love a good tortilla dip!)
The Chili Con Queso (Tex Mex Fondue) “Bob Armstrong” was the best nacho dip I’ve had in recent memory! It had chili con queso, taco beef, sour cream, and guacamole. It was really cheesy — so smooth — and really delicious with the tortilla chips. It was like comfort food to me!
The Guacamole on display looked like it was the “Straight Up” Guacamole with pico de gallo and lime. This guacamole was also admirable. It was very smooth and tasted just right! Mmm.
The Pico de Gallo Dip had tomato, jalapeno, and lime and I liked how refreshing it was!
By the time we tried the Cheese Fries, they were all cold. I can’t comment on the true taste because I believe that cheese fries of any kind should be eaten fresh and hot from the kitchen. However, many instagrammers commented that they love cold fries. To each their own. 🙂
The Carrot Slaw was also eaten with tortilla chips. This slaw had pineapple, pepitas, goat cheese, and chipotle dressing.
I tried a corner of the Pork Rinds which was seasoned with lime vinegar and loved it. I could have finished an entire serving by myself. They’re addictive like potato chips!
The kitchen brought out hot and fresh Taquitos (rolled and fried tacos) for us to try. There were three flavours: Bean and Cheese (ranchero sauce); Jalapeno Cream Cheese (bacon mayo); and Garlic Shrimp (avocado and tomatillo crema). I tried the Garlic Shrimp and Jalapeno Cream Cheese ones.
We didn’t get to try the Green Chile Cheese Burger or Chimichanga. Here are their photos though. 😛
As the photoshoots were going on, we also witnessed the making of the cocktails. I only tried a sip of the Margarita. This is the photo of the other cocktails that were made for us to photograph:
We were split up into three groups to watch the Coke and Bourbon Float being made. This was a dessert and consisted of three items: A shot of four roses bourbon, a bottle of classic Coke, and a mug full of buttermilk ice cream with salted dulce de leche and brown sugar pecans coating the rim of the mug. There was also a stick of crispy bacon added to the mix. We were asked to have our cameras ready and to video the process.
The shot of bourbon was first poured into the mug and then followed by the coke. There was immediately a “float” seen from the mixture of ingredients. We tried this right away and it was an interesting mixture of bourbon, coke, and buttermilk ice cream. If you want to enjoy this, you definitely have to share this with more than one person! 😛 The crispy bacon was indeed crispy.
We also got to watch a brunch item getting doused in syrup (and to take the appropriate action shots :P). This was the Buttermilk Hotcakes which had aged cheddar and green apple. It was served with a helping of roasted jalapeno Aunt Jemima syrup! We got to take a bite of this brunch item and oh, my goodness, this might be the best hot cakes I’ve ever had!! The buttermilk hotcakes were so smooth, soft, fluffy, and PERFECTLY done! You could taste the cheddar cheese in between the three layers of hotcakes too which I thought was so creative and different. The green apples added a cut of acid to the carb-heavy item and the slight heat and spiciness (yet still sweet) of the roasted jalapeno Aunt Jemima syrup made the entire dish so special and tasty. I would totally come back just to have this for brunch!
After all of this tasting of the display items, the main host of the restaurant did a speech for us about how Tex Mex came to be. I learned something new! I didn’t know that Taco Bell was considered to be Tex Mex and that Tex Mex food is not quite all Mexican — like I mentioned before, it’s a fusion of American and Mexican food. That’s why they have hard taco shells and they have dips like the chili con queso. I realize that my love for Taco Bell and nacho dips all these years are actually because I enjoy Tex Mex food! In his speech, he also commented on how there aren’t many Tex Mex restaurants in Toronto that do the cuisine justice and he was right. All of his menu items that were displayed so far really showcased a lovely selection of various Tex Mex items. He was very elaborate about the food and cuisine in his speech.
Finally, we were able to grab a seat and enjoy ourselves with the actual tasting meal at Hotmess Tex Mex! (We were all starving because it was two hours into the event already — it was 8 p.m. — and we only had nibbles from the display food.)
The first item to be served was the Chili Con Queso (Tex Mex Fondue) that we tasted already from the display items. However, this one was “The Classic” one which only included old cheddar and monterey jack cheese; it didn’t have any beef taco in it. Also, this one was served straight from the kitchen which was great because it was actually warm.
Next, we were served two types of the Quesadillas, the “Dr. Pepper Pork” (ancho mayo and charred pineapple) and “Hot Chicken” (valentina hot sauce and buttermilk ranch). There weren’t enough quesadillas to go around for our table of six people so we cut some of them in half to share with each other. I liked the “Hot Chicken” one.
We shared one of the Hotdogueros (bacon wrapped hotdog). I believe this was the “Nacho” one with pico de gallo, guacamole, cheddar, and crema. We split this single hot dog into four so that we could all taste it (we all got 1/4th of a hot dog to taste…). The bacon was a good choice to have in a hotdog.
Next, we received the Old School Taco (the one that we also photographed earlier). This was a hard shell corn taco filled with jalapeno bean, guacamole, chili con queso, shredded lettuce, and buttermilk ranch. Again, we had to share this single taco between the SIX of us. How do you share a hard shell taco?! We made do with it by crunching the hard shell into parts with a knife and grabbing whatever we could to try a taste of it. It was tasty. I wish we had a single one to ourselves to really enjoy it though…
The last item for tasting were the Enchiladas (baked tacos). We received the Corn and Black Bean Enchiladas. This had chili tomato, avocado, and monterey jack. We again cut this single serving up into halves so that the six of us could enjoy at least one bite of it. This was a vegetarian dish but it was so “meaty” that it would be quite satisfying for one person.
The enchiladas was the last item to come out of the kitchen at 8:30 p.m. It didn’t appear like anything else was coming out so we assumed that was the conclusion of the tasting. It was getting really late and by 9 p.m., we would have been there for three hours!
We thanked the server for their service, left our tips, and we left.
I’m really glad that I got to try Hotmess Tex Mex and to sample some of their feature items. I do agree that Tex Mex food is a bit of a hidden gem in the Toronto food scene and I hope that more exposure is given to it because the food was mostly tasty! Thank you to jojoinstameets for hosting this media event and to Hotmess Tex Mex for serving us.
FTC Disclaimer: Although Jojoinstameets and Hotmess Tex Mex invited me to a complimentary tasting, the opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the companies.