Mina Test Kitchen has announced its seventh iteration: Mi Almita, a “journey through Mexico” with Houston chef Hugo Ortega, whose restaurant Xochi recently won a spot on Eater critic Bill Addison’s Best New Restaurants list. Following the completion of MTK’s current coastal Italian theme on August 5, Mi Almita will launch on August 23 with a five-course tasting menu for $39.
The story of the collaboration centers around a trip Mina took to Houston earlier this year, when he dined at Ortega’s restaurants — Hugo’s Restaurant, Backstreet Cafe, Caracol, Origen and Xochi — which have garnered critical acclaim, including a James Beard Award for Xochi in 2017.
The chef, who was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States as a teenager, worked his way up from dishwasher to executive chef of Backstreet Kitchen (which he now co-owns with founder Tracy Vaught).
For his San Francisco debut, the menu will include dishes like pozole verde with little neck clams, hominy, and pumpkin seeds, and huitlasquites corn soup. Mezcal, tequila, bacanora, and raicilla (all agave spirits) will headline the beverage program, alongside Mexican and California wines produced by Mexican winemakers and vineyard managers.
Reservations for Mi Almita, which means “little soul,” can be made here.