Cinco de Mayo Pop-up 2016 with Donnie Masterton & Angela Lewis Serrano

Posted by Ivy Knight, May 05, 2016

Donnie Masterton and Angela Lewis Serrano have been coming to Toronto for the past two years to help The Drake throw a Cinco de Mayo party. Jeff Stober discovered Donnie's cooking while he was visiting The Restaurant in San Miguel and decided he'd be the perfect chef to execute The Drake's first Cinco de Mayo pop-up in 2014. I sat down with the couple, on the eve of Cinco de Mayo, to talk about how they met and what new projects they're working on, and, most importantly, what exactly they'll be showcasing in tomorrow's pop-up menu at The Drake Hotel.

What's your background?

Donnie - I was born in LA and moved to New York at 15 where I started cooking. I lived in New York, Washington and San Francisco before moving to Mexico with my family almost 14 years ago. I opened The Restaurant eight years ago.

Angela - My dad's American and mom is Spanish, I grew up in Mexico in San Miguel de Allende. At 17 went to Barcelona to study for six years and have been back in San Miguel for the last six years. I've never lived in the States. When I was studying in Barcelona I was spending every summer in San Miguel. Donnie and I met one summer eight years ago, and that was it. When I moved to San Miguel I started organizing festivals and events. I did that for a few years while helping Donnie on the side and getting more and more involved. Eventually he asked me to just work with him at The Restaurant. It’s been 2½ years now. We started Sabores de San Miguel (June 17-19), a summer festival, this June will be our fourth edition. It’s a free event with the best restaurants in San Miguel and lots of local producers participating – cheese, wine, olive oil, mezcal. Last year we had Ted Corrado as one of our guest chefs.

You have been coming to Toronto for a few years now, what do you think of the city?

Donnie - What we most love about Toronto is that the food scene is so exciting, there are so many new restaurants. Also everyone seems to get along so well, the community is really strong. We went to Bar Raval last night, super simple but great food and the staff was really great. People in TO are super friendly, especially at The Drake, people are super cool. The cities I visit the most; LA, San Francisco , New York and Austin. I feel like Toronto is just as fresh and exciting.


What are your favourite spots to eat in the city?

Donnie - Bar Isabel, Buca, Valdez, and Jon Pong took us to Imanishi last night. We really like Sneaky Dees for going out with The Drake crew. We’ve eaten at the Hotel at least three times this trip and the food is great every time.

You've just opened a bunch of new restaurants in San Miguel, tell me about them.

Angela - We opened El Vergel Bistro & Market in April, that’s in the countryside and serves breakfast and lunch. The bistro is French cuisine and the market has some gourmet items, wine and cheese, takeout salads and sauces made in-house. Birdie’s Burgers and Taco Lab are two small quick-service spots located in Dose 18 Concept House, a new project that combines design, art and gastronomy. Birdie’s [Burgers] was born from the burger night that Donnie has been doing every Thursday for the last 7 years. Taco Lab by Tacolicious is a partnership with Joe Hargrave, who has a number of Tacolicious locations in San Francisco. Another place, Casa Blanca, is opening at the end of the year.


What can you tell me about the menu for the pop-up?

Donnie - We’re dong spring pea and morel mushroom tostada. We smoked the morels and we’re going to do a light purée with raw and cooked English peas, favas and asparagus. That will be puréed with dried avocado leaves that I brought in from Mexico. The morels were smoked over avocado leaves and applewood. There will be tacos, burgers, fries and boozy shakes. I’m really excited about the Miss Piggy, that's one of the burgers. It's all pork - ground pork, pork belly that we marinated and cooked carnitas-style and chorizo. La Borracha which means ‘The Drunk’ is a burger served with beer braised bacon and onions and pepper jack cheese. For boozy shakes we’re doing a tequila shake with vanilla ice cream, salted caramel and orange peel – it’s called the El Cholo and the other, El Pendejo, is made with tequila blanco mezcal, chocolate ice cream, ancho chili, whipped cream and a chocolate covered chicharron to garnish.

Well of course. What else would you garnish a tequila milkshake with!

Tonight's pop-up starts at 6PM at The Drake Hotel.

Posted in: Food + Drink