Dana Rodriguez’s championing of Mexican cuisine in Colorado has just about come full circle. After all, Casa Bonita was the first restaurant she applied to when she moved here from her native Mexico in the late 90s. She didn’t quite get the dishwasher job back then, but now she’s a three-time James Beard award nominee and the executive chef of one of the most highly anticipated restaurant re-openings in recent history.
Her take on fresh, high-quality ingredients and traditional flavors will be a welcome change from the assembly line cafeteria plates drenched in Denver-Bronco-Orange nacho “cheese.” Almost every Colorado native has a Casa Bonita memory, and Dana and team are looking to create many more with their promise to “change nothing and improve everything.”
With no re-opening date in sight for Casa Bonita quite yet, Dana has definitely been keeping busy with her other highly-acclaimed restaurants: Work and Class, Super Mega Bien, and her most recent, Cantina Loca. The latter has been a great conduit to show off her line of tequila and mezcal, Doña Loca. This project (a partnership with Karen Ashworth-Macfarlane, CEO of Certified B-corp, Dígame) has been a great way to highlight women-led distillers and families in Mexico making tequila and mezcal in small batches with decades of tradition.
If you want to try one of Dana's recommended cocktails, we suggest the Doña Loca Paloma. It's a balanced sweet, salty and sour drink that packs a refreshing punch.
Doña Loca Paloma
Ingredients for one drink
1 grapefruit wedge
¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup Doña Loca Espadin Mezcal
¼ cup Topo Chico
Pour some kosher salt on a plate. Rub half of rim of a highball glass with a grapefruit wedge; dip the rim of the glass in salt. Combine grapefruit juice, lime juice and sugar in glass; stir until sugar is dissolved. Add in mezcal, ice and top off with club soda. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge. Cheers!