Every apprentice must learn all they can from the master before striking out on their own, as Ryan Howard sits in the dugout watching with father-like pride. Showcasing what they've learned from their years under one Chef Garces: the guys behind Cantina Feliz.
From the mind of the former Distrito chef (who also served as the Iron Chef's sous chef) and Distrito's former drinks manager, CF's taken over the former Alison Too space, serving Mexican standards, custom creations, and cocktails in an interior looking like a cleaned-up roadhouse (thanks, Dalton!) with desert-toned walls, clay tile floors, four tops, and a mural of skeletons getting down on Dia De Los Muertos, presumably thanks to the music coming from those four tops. Starters include clams & chorizo, calabaza tamales stuffed w/ butternut squash & mole manchamanteles, sandal-shaped huaraches topped w/ artichokes or BBQ chicken, and the shrimp/ scallions/ avocado/ spicy tomato vuelva la vida, roughly translated as "back to life", also a decision you make when Stratego proves too daunting. Meanwhile, big-time dishes offer caldo de res short ribs in a red chile beef broth w/ garbanzos, chayote, and arbol chiles; black bass w/ poblano cream, potatoes, spinach, and pearl onions; and the gloriously gluttonous, slow-roasted, easily shareable whole suckling pig, separating it from the Ziggy Pig, which Napoleon refuses to share with Deacon.
Drinks include choice bottles and cans like Isastegi Cider from Spain, bottles of sparklings, reds, and whites, custom cocktails, and a healthy smattering of tequila flights -- also what another strikeout master named Pat Burrell refers to as "flights".
Photos by Daniel M. Schwarz