Quintonil (Mexico City, MX)

Quintonil
Newton 55
11550 Mexico, D.F.
Dining date: 8/12/17

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Quintonil opened in 2012 and quickly established itself on the world stage. The restaurant is currently ranked 22nd in the world, two spots behind fellow Mexico City restaurant Pujol. Chef Jorge Vallejo worked for three years at Pujol under chef Enrique Olvera before opening this restaurant. He also spent a short period of time working at Noma in what has been a relatively brief, but spectacular, career for the 35-year-old chef.

Our party of two was able to squeeze in for a weekend lunch reservation. An 11-course tasting menu is available for both lunch and dinner ($1950 MXN). Given it was lunchtime and we had a large dinner at Pujol the previous night, we opted for building our own a la carte meal.

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Pujol (Mexico City, MX)

Pujol
Tennyson 133
Col. Polanco
11570 México, D.F.
Dining date: 8/11/17

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On my first trip to Mexico City, Pujol was high atop my desired restaurants to try. Reservations fill up well in advance, but I was able to get an early dinner reservation on a Friday that I would be there (OpenTable can be your friend with some persistence).

Pujol chef Enrique Olvera is the most internationally acclaimed chef from Mexico City. The chef opened Cosme in New York at the end of 2014, which was a hit from the beginning, earning the 40th spot on the top 50 restaurants in the world. Pujol, generally regarded as one of the top fine dining establishments in Mexico, is ranked #20 in the world.

The restaurant recently moved from its original location into a modern, new property in March – it ‘s really a beautiful space. I don’t know what the original location looked like, but I felt like I could’ve been in LA or NYC here – virtually all of the diners were speaking English and the music was loud American hits.

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Salazar (Los Angeles, CA)

Salazar
2490 N Fletcher Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Dining date: 7/24/16

Salazar

Salazar is the latest concept from Esdras Ochoa of Mexicali Taco with business partner Billy Silverman. Located in the Frogtown neighborhood just north of downtown, it’s been a big hit since opening in May.

The concept, to me, is sort of a taqueria-steakhouse mash-up. A variety of tacos are available, similar in style to the ones at Mexicali (of course), as well as large format proteins eaten with tortillas. Appetizers and sides round out the food portion of the menu. A full bar is also available with cocktails and spiked agua frescas. With a party of seven, we were able to try quite a bit of the menu during this visit.

Salazar

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Broken Spanish (Los Angeles, CA)

Broken Spanish
1050 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Dining date: 12/19/15

Exterior

Broken Spanish opened in June replacing Rivera in the South Park neighborhood of downtown LA. While Rivera had a notable chef (John Rivera Sedlar), notable partner (Bill Chait) and notable mixologist (Julian Cox), the restaurant never seemed to catch on. Chait partnered up this time with Ray Garcia (Fig) to open Broken Spanish, a modern Mexican restaurant.

Broken Spanish’s menu is very shareable, composed of a selection of snacks, tamales, tortillas, starters, and main plates. Between a party of two, we ordered one item from each section of the menu.

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Petty Cash Taqueria (Los Angeles, CA)

Petty Cash Taqueria
712 S Santa Fe Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Dining date: 10/21/15

Petty Cash

Petty Cash’s Arts District location officially opened a couple of months ago. I’ve been there once during its soft opening when Javier Plascensia and Tim Hollingsworth were guest chefs. I’ve also been there for post-dinner drinks, but this was my first time having a full meal.

In a city full of cheap taco options, one of the primary criticisms is that Petty Cash is too expensive. It’s definitely above average pricing at $4-6 apiece, though the quality of the ingredients is a differentiating factor. Sustainable fish for the fish tacos, Cook Pigs Ranch pork for the carnitas and prime grade ribeye for carne asada are a few examples. Happy hour (weekdays 5-7) is a great time to score some of these tacos at more approachable prices. On top of a couple of drink specials, tacos are 2-for-1. On this visit, we just made the cutoff coming in at 6:45.

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Javier Plascencia & Tim Hollingsworth @ Petty Cash Taqueria (Los Angeles, CA)

Javier Plascencia & Tim Hollingsworth with Petty Cash Taqueria
Petty Cash Taqueria

712 S Santa Fe Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 8/12/15

Petty CashI’ve never been to mid-city’s Petty Cash, a modernized taqueria from chef Walter Manzke and restaurateur Bill Chait. The restaurant has been pretty popular since opening two years ago spawning this second location in the red hot Arts District of downtown.

The restaurant recently soft opened with a number of ‘Test Kitchen’ dinners. Night one included a mashup of Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria and Wes Avila of Guerrilla Tacos. Night two, the one recapped here, featured Javier Plascencia (Tijuana’s Mision 19 and San Diego’s Bracero Cocina) and Tim Hollingsworth (The French Laundry, Barrel & Ashes, Otium) pairing up with the Petty Cash team to cook up some tacos.

Kitchen

I’ve seen and heard about Plascencia’s cooking for some time and have never tried it so this was a great opportunity to get a taste of his Baja-Mediterranean cuisine. I’ve been a fan of Hollingsworth since his days at The French Laundry so I’m always in for a peek at what he’s cooking. This served to be a sort of preview of his forthcoming concept Otium at the new Broad Museum downtown.

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