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Eugene Daily News
Ben Maude

Ben Maude

Growing up in the Napa Valley meant that Ben was surrounded by food and wine culture from a very young age. It began a life long love of food, and all of the wonderful libations that go along with the perfect meal. Ben attended the Napa Valley Cooking School, in St. Helena, California. Under the tutelage of Chef Barbara Alexander, and other renowned chefs such as Master Chef Dieter Doppelfeld, Ben honed his skills in the kitchen. He was fortunate enough to spend time in some of the best restaurants in the country, including a stage at The French Laundry. After working his way through the kitchen ranks, Ben decided it was time to try a new challenge. That is when the opportunity to become a partner at Hard Times Distillery was seized, and the rest of the story remains to be seen. Being an owner of a distillery has helped him bring together the love of food, and drink. Since one is never complete without the other, it only makes sense to write about them both. Ben lives in Eugene with his partner, Dr. Beth Washak, and two year old son, Jaxson. When they are not busy working and chasing a baby, they enjoy nothing more than relaxing with a local brew and friends.
hardtimesdistillery@gmail.comhttp://hardtimesdistillery.com

Eugene on the Rocks: Tacos and Tequila

There are perks to being a food and beverage writer.  On top of being wined and dined by all the best restaurants, or being sent scores of beautiful new products to try, critics get invited to unpublicized soft openings of the newest spots…hopefully.  Although it has never happened for me yet, maybe one day?  So, lets call it luck that a friend called and said, “Get down to Tacovore, it is their soft opening.” As luck would have it, tacos and tequila were just what the doctor ordered.

taco2

The new Tacovore is in the Whiteaker Neighborhood and features a chef that’s well known in Eugene.

Usually EOTR focuses on an Oregon made spirit being used at a local libation location, and Tacovore has a selection of Oregon made spirits, but tacos and warm weather call for one thing: Tequila!  Over thirty different kinds of Tequilas and Mezcals, actually, from well known to obscure and affordable to top shelf.  If you consider yourself a connoisseur of tequilas, this new spot will surely get your fire started.

The bar manger, Amy, may well be a familiar face to local foodies.  She was formerly with Soubise along with Tacovore’s chef, Gabriel Gil, who is serving up some seriously tasty tacos.  Amy has put together a well rounded cocktail menu that beautifully ties in the theme of the restaurant while incorporating spirits other than just tequila.  Bourbon with strawberry and tamarind, vodka with guava, lime and quajillo pepper, rum with horchata, and the list goes on.  The tequila drinks are just as appetizing, but for the sake of sobriety, I’m highlighting just one.

www.facebook.com/tacovore

Tacovores Tequila selection is sure to lure tequila lovers from far and wide

The Abuelita starts with 100 Anos 100% agave blanco, grapefruit soda (made in house), pink peppercorn, and sea salt.  The grapefruit is tart, but not sour; the peppercorn is present, yet not intrusive; the salt ties everything together.  Creating a craft cocktail with bold flavors while holding onto the taste of the spirit is a challenge – a challenge well met by this scrumptious summertime beverage.  The tequila is still front and center, while the other flavors dance around the palate highlighting it.  Scrumptious may be a fun word to say, but it also fits this drink perfectly. Grapefruit soda tingling with tartness then being mellowed with a slight warmth from the peppercorn is blissful.  Every time I took a sip it made me feel like bouncing around the room like a child with too much candy.  The Abuelita is a fun drink, on a fun menu, in a fun restaurant.

Tacovore will undoubtedly become a very popular place.  Located in the ever-growing Whiteaker neighborhood, it’s the right locale to catch people who may want a quick bite between brewery tours and wine tastings – and the price is right on.  The tacos are inexpensive (and so is the rest of the menu for that matter), the drinks are affordable, and the space is cool.  Let it not go unsaid, for the dedicated cocktail enthusiast out there – they are also open for lunch.  In a neighborhood without a lot of lunch options, it feels good to know that lunch and a shot of tequila at twelve noon is a possibility.  Expect great things from both the bar and the kitchen at Tacovore.  They opened just in time for the summer weather with exactly what this particular reviewer was looking for.

www.facebook.com/tacovore

Tacovore blends right into the vibe of the Whiteaker

Find Tacovore at 530 Blair Blvd., Eugene, 97402. Check out their Facebook page here.

 

 

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