Chingón bartender Joe Valdovinos has moved on from Playground, landing at Anepalco's at the Ayres in Orange and giving owner Danny Godínez a Latino Dream Team. Cesar Cerrudo still mans the bar here, but Valdovinos is now his back-up--the greatest pinch-hitter since Manny Mota.
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He only started last week, but is already raising desmadre with his drinks, many using Ilegal Mezcal due to Valdovinos' association with the fine brand. Principal among them is a special he whipped up just the other night: the Tea Party.
It ain't a reflection of Valdovinos' politics, son: he's as Azlanista as the rest of it. Instead, it's a callback to the vanilla tea bag that's the starter and finisher to Ilegal reposado, grassy aloe liqueur, and a nice smack of Nardini amaro. You get the vanilla's aroma at first, but not much flavor; however, as the bag steeps in the cocktail, the Tea Party gets sweeter and sweeter until what you're left with is a magnificent digestif. Congrats to Valdovinos, Cerrudo, and Godínez, and warning to the competition: they're already a'scheming for further Reconquista...