Yes, you can find plenty of Tequila and an array of Margaritas at Padrecito, but bar manager David Ruiz can make even a scotch or gin drink seem appropriately Mexican. The gin-based Pasa Tiempo, for example, balances celery and lime in an elixir capable of extinguishing any chile-sparked fi re. Not that the food is simply hot—chef Luis Contreras puts a modern spin on Mexican dishes, making carnitas from duck, filling tacos with pork belly and dressing chicharrones with sikil pak (a Mayan pumpkin seed sauce). He also adds mezcal to the blood orange popsicles, a terrific way to finish off an evening. Or if liquid mezcal is more your style, order the verdant Copa Verde cocktail, chlorophyll-green with cilantro and dusted with ancho pepper spice, to warm you on the walk back home.
901 Cole (at Carl), San Francisco, California
This story appears in the print issue of October 2013.
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