By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The gourmet Mexican eatery in Leblon, La Calaca, will be hosting the Rio Film MixUp on Wednesday, March 23rd, in partnership with The Rio Times, Latin American Training Center (LATC), Viva Filmes and XperienceRio. The event, which runs from 7PM to midnight, is a chance for filmmakers in Rio de Janeiro to come together, connect and talk about the art and industry.
La Calaca opened in September 2014 and immediately established itself as the benchmark for Mexican cuisine in Leblon, with tasty gourmet tacos and a sophisticated style that touches everything from the drinks to the decor.
The latest news is that the restaurant has brought on another partner and chef, Gery Lopez, who is originally from San Juan de los Cerritos, commonly known as “Cerritos”, a city in the central part of San Luis Potosí, a state in Mexico.
Lopez has worked in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv and Melbourne, and wrote the book “La Comida Popular de Cerritos” (“The People’s Food of Cerritos”). He joined the La Calaca team to revamp the menu and lead the kitchen with the intention of showing Brazilians the true cuisine of Mexico.
When asked to share his thoughts on Mexican cuisine here in Rio, Lopez says, “Here is the thing, there really isn’t Mexican food here in Rio. The food that is called Mexican here is really Tex Mex. Which is a tasty and legit food that was born from the Mexican and American cultures coming together in the state of Texas when this state was acquired by the United States in 1846.”
“Mexican food in contrast is a rich cuisine that has 31 different regions all with very distinct flavors, dishes and culinary heritage. Some more indigenous, others more Spanish influenced, and others simply a mix of all.” Lopez adds, “Above all, Mexican cuisine if fresh, and not heavy on the stomach, unlike its Tex-Mex counterpart.”
With Lopez on board there has been a brand new food menu that launched in January, a new drinks menu and remodeled ambiance. The drinks menu, according to Chef Gery Lopez, is inspired by the street flavors of Mexico like tamarindo, horchata, lemonades, cucumber and pineapple.
Editor and publisher of The Rio Times, Stone Korshak, explains how the Rio Film MixUp event took shape with the venue. “When La Calaca opened we were immediately interested because of the co-owner Kristen Caverly Peixoto, who is from California (she opened the restaurant with her husband Marcos Peixoto – who is from Bahia state).”
Adding “Besides my own personal love of Mexican food and the restaurant, we are always trying to focus on foreigners doing interesting things in Rio, and try to host our events at places owned by expats, to support the community.”
For Lopez, he explains the appeal of hosting the Rio Film MixUp, “We love having events at La Calaca because we are able to bring some interesting people together in a fun and festive atmosphere. Film always brings creative people together and we are looking forward to meeting all these amazing people come together for this one passion. We are hoping to be able to host and provide the best Mexican drink and food to their mingle. We hope they find in us a new destination in Leblon.”
Hosts La Calaca and the Rio Film MixUp will offer a drink promotion of 2-for-1 glasses of sangria and bottles of Sol and Budweiser, from 7-8PM and 10PM to Midnight. Music will be by DJ Slim the Boogieman, who has recently been playing at Caesar Park’s rooftop and the new Bar 48 among others.