Are you a fan of dinner parties, tacos, meeting new people, or all of the above? If so, you should clear your Thursday night schedule and sign up for MASA Taco Club. You will not regret it.
MASA is a weekly dinner club that is hosted in the homes of different porteños and expats across Buenos Aires. Every Thursday, chef and yankee expat Kevin Vaughn sets up shop in a designated home and whips up some of his famous Mexican inspired cuisine. Kevin created MASA in September 2012 with hopes of bringing people together over great food, and he has done just that. He credits his mother, sister and grandfather for his cooking skills.
The MASA dinner experience is unlike any other, with more emphasis on the intimate conversation than the food itself. With a fixed menu, guests do not need to worry about selecting from a menu and are encouraged to get to know each other.
My dinner date and I both received an email a few days before our Thursday reservation with directions to the apartment that would be hosting that week. The email said that water would be provided but advised us to bring our own beverages. As we approached the apartment, we spotted another couple with a plastic bag full of Corona and knew we were in the right spot.
Once everyone arrived, we sat down to the table on a beautiful Abasto patio and delved into conversation. As we got to know each other, the first course arrived: fried plantains topped with guacamole. This unique and tasty appetizer certainly set the mood for the rest of the meal. Next up was a corn salad with cherry tomatoes, red onion, peaches, cilantro, mango and lime vinaigrette. The splash of fruit in the salad gave normal Mexican food a twist and made this dish unforgettable.
The conversation flowed perfectly and, between delicious bites, we were able to make small-world-connections and relate to one another. The next plate was the best of them all: one fried fish taco and one Korean pork barbeque taco situated side by side on one incredible plate.
“I love mixing something spicy/hot with something sweet/cold,” Kevin explained.
The mix of fruits, vegetables, meats and sauces were all paired perfectly together to create two of the best tacos I have ever tasted. The best part: they were created in the kitchen just metres away from where I was sitting. And the chef, Kevin, was there to chat with us, accept our compliments and answer any questions we had.
Desert was a sweet, fresh watermelon. Then Kevin placed a hat on the table and explained that there was a $70 minimum for the meal and we were to place however many pesos we would like into the hat. One of Kevin’s main goals was to make culture and dining out less exclusive.
“I wanted to open the experience up to anyone no matter how much money you make or where you are from,” he said.
After we all chipped in, we exchanged some contact info and then went our separate ways. While we may never see each other again, we will always remember the delicious taco dinner we shared together on that beautiful Abasto balcony.
If you are interested in hosting or attending a MASA taco club dinner, visit their website masa.moonfruit.com. Dinners are limited to 12 people so be sure to make your reservations in advance. In addition to Thursday dinners, MASA will be hosting Sunday brunches starting 20th January. Every Sunday from 2-6pm at El Quetzal cultural center (Guatemala 4516) Kevin and crew will be serving tacos and drinks while dj Ritmo Madre provides the tunes.