Copita Tequileria y Comida, the modern Mexican restaurant in Sausalito, CA that is co-owned by iconic restaurateur Larry Mindel and celebrity chef Joanne Weir, is going local with a new series of seasonal and regional menus created by executive chef Gonzalo Rivera, inspired by his culinary journeys through his native Mexico.
Introduced this week, the first installment in the series is a spring menu celebrating the specialties of Mexico City. This assertive array — which Dibs investigated last night — includes Beef Cecina (thinly sliced dry-aged flank steak, served with plump Rancho Gordo black beans and salsa cruda) and Queso Fundido (house-made chorizo verde, Niman Ranch pork, epazote, cumin, poblano peppers and charred tomatillo salsa).
Also on the menu is another Mexico City must-have, Mancha Manteles — tender goat mole poblano served with sweet peas and rainbow carrots, quinoa a la Mexicana and soft fresh handmade tortillas.
“When I told my friends that I was going to make goat mole, they said ‘No way,’” said Rivera, an alum of the Michael Mina restaurants and Capella in Ixtapa, Mexico. “But I went ahead and made it anyway.”
He makes this velvety-rich dark mole — which many call Mexico’s national dish — with well over a dozen ingredients including nuts, raisins and CacaoBerry chocolate. The dish’s name literally means “tablecloth stainer” in Spanish — and as you want to spoon up every drop of this seductively complex glory, it’s easy to see why.
Also on the spring menu are Tacos al Pastor, made with spit-roasted Niman Ranch pork loin, guajillo chile adobo, roasted pineapple and roasted serrano chile salsa. The juicy kiss of the pineapple lingers long in the memory.
“Mexico City,” Rivera told Dibs, “is home to a lot of Jewish and Lebanese people” whose tradition of preparing spit-roasted shawarma inspired this smoky, slyly sweet-tart dish.
Future regional menus will be introduced throughout the year. A summer menu will spotlight Mexico’s northern Michoacán region; a fall menu will focus on southern Oaxaca; a winter menu will embrace central Jalisco. Creative cocktails — such as the Chaparrito, comprising cherry-infused tequila, whiskey, house-made hibiscus tea and ginger syrup (depicted above) and the Bloody Maria, comprising tequila, caraway-flavored Kummel, house-made sangrita and lime — make bold companions for Copita’s intensely fresh fare, served indoors and outdoors amidst warm spicy colors within sight of San Francisco Bay.