Raleigh, N.C. — When the Out and About team heard that Jose and Sons in the Raleigh Depot was holding a Spice Festival featuring spicy cocktails, beer and food, we knew we had to head there.
We got a chance to try out the menu this week and it has a nice variety of spice. Nothing was too much to handle, but you can definitely find something that fits your comfort level.
First up, the drinks: There are two beer options - the New Holland El Mole Ocho (9.79 percent ABV) and the Ghost Face Michelada.
The New Holland ($5) is served in a 10 oz portion, which is a perfect size for this thick and decadent beer. The spiciness in this one is subtle. You taste the mole, but you also get great coffee and cocoa tones that help balance it out.
The Ghost Face Michelada ($6) is made with Ghost Face Killah (a very spicy six-pepper beer, not the rapper), lime juice and the house sangria. This one is more spicy and is best compared to a Bloody Mary. I liked it, but my fellow diners loved it!
(Note: Beer enthusiasts stay tuned because Crank Arm's spicy mole beer is coming in a few weeks to Jose and Sons.)
We love a good margarita and we really love the ones Jose and Sons, so we checked out the Chipotle Mango Margarita ($8). A delicious and only slightly spicy take on their traditional margarita. Loves the fresh citrus in this one. They are also offering a Serrano Pineapple Margarita ($8).
Mojito lovers, you must try their Habanero Mojito ($9). Made with a Kaffir lime, basil Habanero syrup, this drink has a wonderful amount of spiciness but the coolness of the cilantro and the rum really helps tame it. Just a smooth drink!
We ordered the Pimento Poppers ($7) - battered jalapenos stuffed with house made pimento cheese. The plate was a great starter with six fairly larger poppers. Spicy (obviously - it is a jalapeno), but the cheese really helped keep the heat down.
We shared a few entrees.
The Chile Fundido ($7), also a great appetizer option, featured their melted Chihuahua cheese blended with roasted peppers and served with three warm corn tortillas. This could easily be an entree for someone because you get an entire small skillet of this addictive cheese. On the spicy scale, it is fairly tame.
We opted for the Butternut Squash Chile Relleno ($15) over the Lentil Chile Relleno ($15) and it turned out to be a great selection. The Relleno is served panko-crusted and stuffed with sage, brown butter, ricotta cheese and a butternut squash puree. It is served with salsa ranchera, charred brussel sprouts and toasted pumpkin seeds. Big enough for two people to share, this dish was delicious. The salsa really gave it a spicier kick, but overall it was pretty mild. The butternut squash and ricotta combo was seasonal and spot on.
We also tried the Spiced Fried Chicken ($14). This is also big enough for two people to share. The buttermilk fried chicken was moist and flavorful.The side items are where it got spicy. The turnip puree and turnip greens topped with a mild tomato salsa held the heat. The fried yuca on the bottom were also a huge highlight. We really hope that they add this chicken to the menu!
Are you a fan of spicy food?