Encinitas’ New Death By Tequila Blends Baja Cuisine with Encinitas Scene

Death By Tequila Jessica’s Hibiscus by Cole Ferguson

Inspired by the local vibe of Encinitas and the fresh, coastal cuisine of Baja Mexico, the new Death By Tequila (DxT), located at 569 South Coast Hwy. 101, reimagines Mexican food and cocktails with locally grown fruits and vegetables and global influences.

“Death By Tequila was inspired by our surf trips to Baja and the excitement of the region’s growing food and wine scene; it’s so imaginative and fun,” said Jessica Mestler, co-owner of Death By Tequila along with her husband, Chad Mestler. “Our vision for Death By Tequila was to bring the flavors of Baja together with the energy of downtown and the surf culture of Encinitas.” Chad and Jessica, who are first time restaurateurs, engaged “Top Chef” and “Top Chef All-Stars” alum Angelo Sosa and local designer, Cindy Courson, to bring that vision to life.

Sosa, along with Chef Ben McBrien, has created a menu of share plates that are both vibrant and colorful, made primarily with produce from local farms. Signature dishes include ahi tuna crudo, served in a coconut kaffir lime broth with jicama, chile oil, cilantro and dill; red mole potato, grilled fish and carnitas tacos; the elote tostada, topped with sweet corn, aged cotija cheese, arbol chile, jalapeño and garlic mayo; and Spanish octopus served with house chorizo, Castelveltrano green olives and cherry tomatoes. The carnitas are made from Duroc pork that is marinated in a red mole and pineapple skin for tenderness and then braised for several hours. The reimagined tres leches uses corn cake; made with freshly ground corn, house crema and kaffir lime leaf; and is served with wild strawberries. Every selection on the dinner menu is gluten free, and most of the ingredients are organic and sustainable.

More than 100 tequila and 30 mezcal selections are complemented by beers from Tijuana, wines from Valle de Guadalupe, and twists on classic Mexican cocktails. Signature drinks, created for pairing with the cuisine, include Tres Cacti, made with Hacienda Silver tequila, lemon, prickly pear, agave and Jarritos served on the rocks in a Collins glass; Los Muertos, made with Milagro Silver tequila, lime, mango and chile ash, served on the rocks; and Frothing in Puerto, made with Gracias a Dios mezcal, lemon, vanilla, pineapple and egg white served in a coupe glass. The drink is finished with a DxT logo that is airbrushed through a stencil with bitters. The cocktails are made and garnished with fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables and spices.

The design is clean, comfortable and modern, blending the surf cultures of Baja Mexico and Encinitas. Along with Mucho Aloha Beer Co., the Mestlers commissioned local artist Juan Marante, also known as “El Gran Tocayo,” to create a Baja inspired 25’ x 8’ multi-layered mural that covers an entire wall of the restaurant. To create a street art vibe, Marante wheat pasted vintage Mexican imagery as the first layer, topping it with multi-layered stencils and then a light wash to achieve a weathered look. The mural is finished with a hand-painted illustration, his signature style, with a pin-up style Latina mermaid at the center. The mural was created so that each of the layers is visible, with the intention that each glance reveals new details.

DxT is open daily. The bar opens at 3 p.m. and the dining room opens at 5 p.m. More information is available on the website atwww.deathbytequila.com, by calling 760.230.6108 or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @DeathByTequila.

About Death By Tequila:

Inspired by the local vibe of Encinitas and the fresh, coastal cuisine of Baja Mexico, the new Death By Tequila (DxT), located at 569 South Coast Hwy. 101, reimagines Mexican food and cocktails with locally grown fruits and vegetables and global influences. DxT is the first restaurant project for North County locals and husband and wife, Chad and Jessica Mestler. The Mestlers brought Chad’s background in real estate investments and Jessica’s background as a former marketing executive for Playboy together in the development of DxT. The bar opens daily at 3 p.m., followed by the dining room at 5 p.m. More information is available on the website at www.deathbytequila.com, by calling 760.230.6108 or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @DeathByTequila.

About Angelo Sosa:

Angelo Sosa is a renowned celebrity chef with a wide range of trendsetting experience and successes, including a runner-up finish on BRAVO’s hit reality show, “Top Chef” and subsequent participation in “Top Chef All-Stars.” Other television appearances include a runner-up finish in “Knife Fight” and as a judge on “Chopped,” as well as in “Beat Bobby Flay,” “Iron Chef America” and the “Today” show. A Culinary Institute of America graduate, Sosa’s mentors include Christian Bertrand, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Alain Ducasse. Sosa has written two cookbooks: “Flavor Exposed: 100 Global Recipes from Sweet to Salty, Earthy to Spicy” and “Healthy Latin Eating: Our Favorite Family Recipes Remixed,” a collaboration with TV and radio personality, Angie Martinez.