Executive chef Chef Angelo Sosa of Death by Tequila (DxT) in Encinitas, draws inspiration from the farm and local ingredients. “Everything is fresh and colorful, and the ingredients have an amazing story,” he says. “The name Death by Tequila was inspired by Chad Mestler, one of the co-owners, and his love for tequila.”
The décor at DxT is simple and clean, but with pops of color, a space that compliments the beautifully presented cocktails and cuisine. An eye-catching multi-layer and hand-painted Baja inspired mural by a local artist covers an entire wall, showcasing the surf cultures of Baja Mexico and Encinitas. “We’re firm believers in supporting the local community, so many of our décor elements are made by local craftsmen,” says Sosa.
The tequila program at DxT is curated with the intention of finding unique tequilas and mezcal that are high-quality, but also have a unique story. Currently, diners can choose from about 75 tequilas, 25 mezcals and 5 other agave distillates. The mezcal collection continues to grow, and the owners are constantly sourcing new agave distillates that represent different areas of Mexico. “We are so passionate and driven to mentor our entire team, that we recently took a trip to Mexico, where we were educated about tequila, mezcal and Mexican culture,” Sosa explains. “We all came away with more knowledge and understanding of the beauty of the country.”
Sosa uses organic ingredients as much as possible, and nearly all of the produce is sourced locally. “We thrive off of what the farmers are doing, not only in North County, but in the region. As chefs, we are really inspired by the terroir, and the amazing vegetables that are growing here,” says Sosa. “Our aim is to have our pulse on the seasons, offering only the freshest, available ingredients.”
Sosa also says that he often likes to run specials in order to highlight his particular ingredients. One of the most unique dishes on his menu right now is Arroz Negro, or squid ink fried rice. It has country ham, smoked bacon, Sichuan peppercorns, and a good amount of squid ink, making for a dark and luxurious color with loads of unparalleled flavor.
The Hawaiian ahi crudo with coconut kaffir lime broth is the most popular dish, but for Sosa, the sleeper dish is the Elote Tostada comprised of a locally-made organic white corn tortilla topped with sweet corn, aged cheese, and jalapeño. “Its simplicity and flavors remind me of Mexican street corn,” says Sosa. “It’s almost like comfort food for me, even though I’m Dominican and Italian.”
When guests dine at DxT, Sosa aims to serve his guests with humility, hoping they will feel transported into a complete experience. He wants everyone to sense the love that his team has put into the restaurant; from the dishes, to the cocktails, to the atmosphere.
Sosa says he is honored to be a part of the dining scene in North County, “There are so many amazing places here, and the culinary landscape has drastically changed since I moved here from New York City. The caliber of restaurants is truly amazing!”
Death by Tequila is located at 569 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024/(760) 782-2240
©Written by Maria Desiderata Montana