Las Almas Rotas is a highly regarded mezcaleria in Exposition Park whose food program until very recently was built around Mexican antojitos—snacks like tacos and sopes. But after it received a prestigious James Beard semifinalist nod two months ago for Outstanding Bar Program, the three owners decided to raise the bar on the food they served. “We wanted the food service to stand up to the bar service,” co-owner Shad Kvetko says. “Before [the nomination], I never thought much of the food beyond as just a reason to keep people in their chairs and drink more. And so we started looking for somebody that could afford to take the kitchen to the next level.”
The trio hired chef Armando Aguilar, who went to culinary school in the Mexican state of Puebla, with the agreement that he would start after he returned from his honeymoon. On Aguilar’s first official day on the job, Dallas officials shut down restaurants and bars for dine-in service because of the coronavirus pandemic. Suddenly, food became more important than the stellar selection of agave spirits. “None of us wanted to do food service in the beginning, but it may just be the thing that actually carries us through this whole ordeal that we’re all going through right now,” says Kvetko, who owns Las Almas Rotas along with his wife, Leigh Kvetko, and Taylor Samuels.
The improvised drive-through and delivery menu is an ever-changing list of options including taco family packs, a small selection of other snacks, and weekend breakfast items. The tinkering allows the staff to track customer preferences. But there is one standout that’s been constant: the chorizo verde burrito. A sausage preparation that’s a specialty of the city of Toluca in Central Mexico, green chorizo is a rare find in Texas. At Las Almas Rotas, the ground pork gets its color from ingredients like Swiss chard, poblanos, pepitas, and two types of vinegars. In the burrito, the garden flavors are cushioned by creamy rice, al dente beans, and a touch of smokiness. It’s all wrapped in a large, thin Sonoran-style flour tortilla from Dallas-based Tortilleria la Norteña, which makes the best flour tortillas in the state. The burrito is big enough for two meals, and it keeps well in the refrigerator, a nice perk during this time of sheltering in place.
Even though the team is experimenting with takeout items, they assure me the chorizo verde burrito will be on the menu when dine-in service is allowed to resume. But there’s no reason to wait for that when you can get your well-washed mitts on this portable, bulky gem now. “Regular chorizo you can find anywhere,” Aguilar says. “But you never see a green chorizo or a black chorizo. [Green chorizo] is something different.” And you can still wash it down with your favorite agave spirit: the to-go offerings also include bottles of mezcal and tequila, as well as margarita kits.