Brilliant, Progressive Mexican Cuisine
In a pint-sized, 12-seat restaurant operating out of a once abandoned rail car on the outskirts of San Antonio, chefs Diego Galicia, Rico Torres and the rest of their 5-person team showcase regional Mexican cuisine with modernist techniques. Every six weeks they create an entirely new menu highlighting specialties from one of Mexico’s 31 states. It’s an ambitious concept, and they execute it perfectly. The 10-plus course meal may include dishes like a brilliant roasted blue corn tostada with black bean mousse, charred onion ash and chapulines (roasted grasshoppers are a staple protein in Oaxaca); braised pork ribs rolled in crushed chicharrones and seasoned with chiles and pineapple (a tribute to tacos al pastor found in Jalisco); butter-poached shrimp with chile de agua and crema Mexicana; and genius desserts like the “piñata” I ate there in March… a sphere of housemade white chocolate filled with goodies meant to be shattered at the table, surrounded by elements of tres leches, mango and strawberry. The food at Mixtli is out of this world, but what’s really wonderful about these folks is that they donate all of their tips to local farmers and purveyors to help them install new irrigation lines, reinforce fencing or anything that will improve their farming or ranching.