If all goes to plan, May 5 could be a mighty trifecta for Cesar Chavez Plaza at 9th and J streets. Not only does that date double as Cinco de Mayo, but the first edition of Concerts in Park 2017 kicks off at 5 p.m.
And finally, Cinco de Mayo 2017 is being eyed as the opening date for La Cosecha. It’s a new Mexican restaurant operated by Ernesto Delgado of Mayahuel, in the former space of Cafe Soleil at Cesar Chavez Plaza.
It remains to be seen if La Cosecha will make this target date given the amount of construction and permitting that still needs to be completed. But menu planning and testing is well underway, and those La Cosecha recipes are being created by chef Adam Pechal.
Pechal is best known around Sacramento as the former chef and co-owner of Tuli Bistro and Restaurant Thir13en. He was also a semifinalist on “The Taste” in 2013, an ABC reality show and cooking competition that included such judges/mentors as Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson.
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Pechal was tapped recently by Delgado to serve as a consultant for La Cosecha’s culinary program, including developing recipes and planning the overall menu. La Cosecha translates as “the harvest,” and the restaurant plans to tap into seasonal ingredients – including those found at the Wednesday farmers market at Cesar Chavez Plaza – for its offerings of Mexican food.
“I love Mexican food and I’ve worked in places before where I learned how to make tortillas and mole,” said Pechal, as he tended to a skillet of queso fundido. “This is going to be a combination of Sacramento and Mexico. The exciting part for me is that we’re going to be able to tie into the (Wednesday farmers market) and maybe do chef demos.”
Pechal created the hashtag #SacraMexico to describe the spirit of La Cosecha and its localized interpretation of Mexican food. Pechal has previously cooked in Mexican restaurants, including the former Amigos in Napa where he learned traditional methods of preparing carnitas.
Planned items include queso fundido, a melty dish of cheese and chorizo, carnitas, queso asado – a kind of grill roasted cheese – and frijoles puercos, a hearty bean dish that’s signature to Sinaloa and Michoacan. The restaurant plans to use heirloom tomatoes when possible for its salsa and local chiles.
La Cosecha will also create a range of tacos, including breakfast tacos geared for nearby office workers in search of a quick morning bite. Grab-and-go items such as salads and salsas will also be available.
Pechal and Delgado initially connected at a tequila tasting held at Mesa Mercado, a Mexican eatery run by Delgado at the Milagro Centre in Carmichael. Pechal, who recently left his position as culinary director of The Murieta Inn & Spa in Rancho Murieta, is primarily working for La Cosecha as a consultant and recipe developer rather than cooking in its kitchen.
“La Cosecha is as much about Sacramento as it is about Mexico,” said Delgado. “Adam has that Sacramento flavor and that’s what makes it unique. I think he’s the right person.”
Day-to-day cooking operations will be overseen by Ryan Pile, who Pechal previously hired as chef de cuisine at The Murieta Inn and a former chef at Red Hawk Casino. La Cosecha’s bar program is being developed by Chris Sinclair, a former bartender at Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar.
Once La Cosecha opens, the restaurant will carry a limited menu and add more items as time moves along. Pechal hopes to add a barbacoa program where patrons can purchase meat by the pound and create their own tacos, potentially while watching Concerts in the Park from one of La Cosecha’s patios.
“We want this to be the next evolution of Mexican restaurants in Sacramento,” said Delgado.