Restaurant: Tequila's Town Mexican Restaurant
Chef: Sergio Ortiz
Cuisine type: Simple, traditional Mexican food with diverse influences
Restaurant bio: The newly opened Tequila's Town bring more than 50 years combined food industry experience from owners Sergio and Temo Ortiz and their business partner Sergio Calderon. The cuisine is described as simple, traditional Mexican with a modern twist, and they serve up signature burritos, carnitas, seafood, grilled steak and their unique Molcajete, a lava rock filled with grilled meats and topped with special sauces and Oaxaca cheese. The full bar stocks more than 30 brands of premium tequilas, as well as wine and beer.
"My son came up with the name," Sergio Ortiz said. "He said it would be an easy name for Americans to pronounce. â€¦ I loved it."
Chef bio: Sergio began his career in the Savannah restaurant business in 1990 at El Potro where he developed a taste for cooking and adding his signature twist on common Mexican cuisine. He then went on to cook at the former Pepe's at Habersham and Bay Street where he was in charge of the kitchen. Sergio said he was excited to team-up with the rest of the Ortiz family with the launch of Tequila's this year.
"I like to take my work home with me and practice my cooking. I like to practice with lamb, pork, barbecues for my family, and I practice with family parties," Ortiz said. "That's my best teacher, practice."
Favorite dish: Sergio's Carnitas de MichoacÃ¡n
Why: According to Melody, the chef's sister-in-law and business partner, "Sergio makes the best carnitas! It's everyone's favorite."
Sergio's Carnitas de MichoacÃ¡n
4 pounds fatty pork shoulder, cut into 3 inch chunks
1Â½ cups water
1 can of beer
1 orange, cut in half
1/4 cup pork lard or vegetable oil (dietary preference)
7 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons of sugar (brown sugar adds kick)
2 teaspoons fine salt, or 4 teaspoons kosher salt
Put all the ingredients in a wide 6 to 7-quart heavy pot (don't worry if the pork is not completely covered) and bring the water to a boil, browsing the surface as necessary. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring only as needed, until the pork chunks are fork-tender and the liquid has completely evaporated. This could take 1Â½ to 2 hours. Discard the orange and lemon pieces. If the liquid hasn't evaporated after 2 hours, transfer the pork pieces to a bowl and let the liquid continue to bubble away, stirring often, until it has evaporated completely.
Preheat the oven to 450Â°F. Transfer the pork and fat to an ovenproof dish, if necessary, and brown the pork, uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes.
TEQUILA'S TOWN MEXICAN RESTAURANT
Address: 109 Whitaker Street
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday noon to 11 p.m., Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Lunch served Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.