WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Death by Tequila. We know, we know, muy oscuro. We don’t mean it literally, of course. After all, our vibe is all about passion, community and good times. But there’s no light without darkness. No life without death. And the tension between the two is our source of creativity. It’s where we feel alive. It’s the space that represents the death of the predictable and the birth of something new and exciting, a celebration of life.
As the saying goes, “los muertos al cajón y los vivos al fiestón” (the dead to the coffin and the living to the party).
WHO IS SKULLITO?
Meet our antihero. Skullito embodies the rebellious spirit of Baja. He’s the hombre at the end of the bar with intriguing black eyes and deadpan humor, dry as a sun-scorched arroyo. He’ll amuse you with tales of adventure on the high seas, evocative as salty skin, and stories that would make your abuela blush. By day he stares down the barrel of a wave off a deserted Baja beach. After dusk, you’ll find him with a sinfully smooth mezcal in bony hand. Join him and he’ll tip his sombrero.
Offer him bad tequila? “Sobre mi cadaver” (over my dead body).
CHAD & JESSICA MESTLER
Owners, Chad and Jessica Mestler live in Carlsbad with their two boys. Together, their love affair with Baja’s flavorful cuisine, fresh cocktails and tequila was sparked during their many surf trips south of the border with friends and family. Death by Tequila was created to share their passion for Baja with their local community.
CHEF ANGELO SOSA
What excites me about Baja cuisine is that it’s undefined. It’s being defined right now. My philosophy is that great food is never about ego, it’s about surrendering to the ingredient. From delicate peas to Hawaiian ahi or sweet Japanese turnip, I focus on beautiful products and apply the filter of Baja. My inspiration draws on what I’m doing right now and how I connect to the ingredient. And I love that because we grow our own produce, we’re often cooking with unusual varieties not found elsewhere in this region.
Death by Tequila is a life’s dream. The team is incredible. Humility and kindness are core to who we are. We’re kind to each other, we’re kind to the food and we give all of ourselves to our guests. For me, we’re all about nourishing our communities and ourselves--an ethos that spills over into my work with Feeding San Diego.
The San Diego food scene is exploding right now and has earned its place on the map as a culinary destination. I’m particularly proud to be part of the vibrant food scene in North County where we’re championing Baja-inspired cuisine.
Chef Sosa moved to Encinitas from New York where he ran Michelin Recommended Añejo in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, Añejo Tribeca, and Abajo, a Mexican cantina speakeasy serving cocktails and small bites. You may know Chef Sosa from Top ChefSeason 7, in which he was runner-up, and from Season 8 Top Chef All-Stars.
We’re so particular about great produce that we insist on growing our own at local heritage farm, Aschbrenner Acres. Small batches of special varieties you won’t find anywhere else. They may not be the easiest to grow, but they’re packed with flavor. Each day, we roll up our sleeves and get our hands in the dirt. We crunch into this, bite into that and pick only the plumpest, ripest, tastiest organic vegetables, gently seasoned by the ocean air.
Luckily for us, Gene Aschbrenner and his family has farmed for generations, so they know a thing or two about growing ingredientes hermosos. And we share a dream of spreading joy to our community through delicious dishes and cocktails made with locally-sourced produce grown in harmony with nature.
El amor. The start of every memorable dish and the best ingredient there is.