Not all tacos are created equal: Ajax Tavern launches new summer dinner series aimed at locals | AspenTimes.com

Not all tacos are created equal: Ajax Tavern launches new summer dinner series aimed at locals

Cesar Gonzales, sous-chef at Element 47, picks herbs from the Little Nell's garden to use in his dishes.

If it's all in the details, as they say, it makes sense that a consentido, crafted from a wagyu fat-infused tortilla, puts all the other tacos I've tasted (especially those prepared in my kitchen) to shame.

A consentido is a taco from Nogales, Sonora, near the Northern Mexico border, according to Element 47 Sous-Chef Cesar Gonzales, who calls the region his hometown.

In the Spanish language, the word "consentido" translates to "spoiled" or "indulged," which seems perfectly fitting for a taco made from the superior breed of Japanese cattle.

Paired with a glass of cool rose on the patio, friends and a view of Aspen Mountain equal a perfect summer evening.

New on the calendar this season, the Little Nell's Ajax Wine Dinners is a series designed for locals (albeit Aspen visitors are more than welcome) that features diverse culinary and wine pairings each week.

Set at a 10-person table on the patio of Ajax Tavern on Saturday evenings through Aug. 25, the series boasts a three- to five-course prix-fixe menu created by one of the Nell's chefs as well as five selections of wine chosen by one of its sommeliers.

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The dinner is priced at $100 plus tip and tax and caps at 10 people, creating a more intimate and communal experience, said May Selby, spokeswoman for the Nell.

While rosé may not seem like an obvious pairing with classic taqueria fare, this is, in part, the beauty of the program — leaving it to the experts to dream up and then being able to take that knowledge home with you.

Interacting with the chef and sommelier and learning the inspiration behind each dish or wine pairing also is a unique part of the inaugural summer series.

Sommelier Jesse Libby graciously walked this wine novice through his delightful selections of summer water during the dinner I attended mid-July, while Gonzales explained his creations, including roasted local vegetables and cherry tomatoes tossed in lemon oil served over an ancho chile tortilla with an avocado-tomatillo puree; a lobster taco with frisee tossed in olive oil and a pineapple pico de gallo served over a corn ash tortilla; huitlacoche tamales and fried short rib in chipotle sauce tamales — though I would have eaten everything sans-introduction based on the sites and smells alone.

The fact that Gonzales used herbs from the Little Nell's garden, too? Swoon.

Visit http://www.thelittlenell.com or contact Ajax Tavern at 970-920-6334 for more info on the series.

erobbie@aspentimes.com