13. Rivera's Tortillas Florales.
It's perhaps fitting that John Sedlar's downtown restaurant Rivera is on Flower St., as one of the few dishes that has been on his ever-changing menu since the place opened is the stunning tortillas florales, simple corn tortillas into which have been pressed fresh flowers.
Of course the tortillas at Rivera are hardly ordinary tortillas anyway, as you'd expect from a chef who spent many of the last few years working on a tamale museum. The folks in the kitchen make nixtamal for the tortillas every day, then the tortillas are formed and griddled for each order, the fresh flowers pressed into the masa one by one, the rose petals and pansies and chives laminated onto the dough like a quilter's gorgeous applique.
When your tortillas arrive at your table, tucked into a folded white napkin to keep warm, they come with a little bowl of jade green “Indian butter,” which you would be loathe to ignore. This is Sedlar's take on guacamole, the avocado and citrus and onion and cilantro whipped into a velvety emulsion that has been purposely spiked with quite a bit of serrano chile — for pleasant heat, of course, but also to keep you from devouring it too carelessly.
Not only because licking your plate might be unseemly in such pretty environs (well, depending on how many shots of tequila you've had, always a happy concern at Sedlar's restaurants), but because you have many other courses — the house version of cochinita pibil, the duck enfrijolada — to consume. This, after all, is just the beginning.
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