Elisa Ludwig checks out Xochitl and finds a restaurant where “the liquids are as serious as the solids.”

Indeed, bartenders whip up inspired cocktails like the Señor Barriga, a tart tipple of blanco tequila, lime juice, sugar and thyme. Another intriguing offering is the Michelada, a frozen beer mixed with spicy tomato juice and lime with a cayenne- and smoked-salt-rimmed glass — something like a mellow, carbonated Bloody Mary.

There’s no arguing with one of the house specialties, the decadent chiles en nogada. Two mild Poblano peppers are stuffed with ground beef studded with dried apricot gems and pine nuts, then bathed in a creamy walnut sauce sparked with bright pomegranate seeds and served at room temperature. It’s a traditional Poblano dish that’s usually eaten at harvest time, though it’s no less tempting in late winter.

Mexicali Rose [City Paper]

Xochitl [Official Site]