Petty Cash Taqueria and the team at Sprout was clearly looking to crank up buzz by hosting three straight nights of Test Kitchen to preview their second modern Mexican restaurant in the downtown Arts District. Guest chefs included Wes Avila (Guerrilla Tacos), Carlos Salgado (Taco Maria), Timothy Hollingsworth (Otium), Javier Plascencia (Bracero Cocina), Trey Foshee (Galaxy Taco), and the family from Tamales Elena.
Now that trial by fire is done for Petty Cash staffers, Walter Manzke is leading the concept’s DTLA culinary charge, and a group of talented Sprout bartenders are contributing cocktails, including Julian Cox and Dave Kupchinsky. Kupchinsky is bound to get a reaction with his Mustache Ride ($12) cocktail for multiple reasons. First, there’s the name, which you can Google. Kupchinsky had a mustache when he developed the drink a few years back. Thus the “fun cheeky name.” Next, there’s the vivid color and bold, balanced flavor. This cocktail combines a single village mezcal with sungold tomatoes, serrano chiles, lime, and smoked salt. The garnish involves skewered lime peel and a single sungold tomato.
Kupchinsky loves summertime SoCal tomatoes. He said, “[It’s] almost to the point that I don’t even want to eat a tomato any other time of year.” He experimented with larger heirloom varieties, but found consistency and cleanliness problematic. Thankfully, he discovered the sungold cherry tomato. “They are as sweet as candy and are the perfect size and super easy to use during service. You can just grab a few, pop them in your tin and and muddle.” Del Maguey Vida is the single village mezcal they’re using because “it’s a nice rich Mezcal with a pleasant mouth feel and just enough smoke to complement the sweetness of the tomatoes.”