Michael Mina Test Kitchen Announces Mi Almita as Next Concept

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Mina Test Kitchen's ceviche
Mina Test Kitchen’s ceviche

Photo Credit: Michael Mina

Two years ago chef Michael Mina secured a restaurant location in San Francisco’s Marina District and turned it into his personal test kitchen. However, the space was no ordinary test kitchen, instead, Mina planned to invite his top chefs and other collaborators to test out an entire restaurant menu of dishes for a limited amount of time. They would  serve the food to SF’s hungry dining population, in a ticketed format, Wednesday through Saturday nights. The concept was dubbed the Mina Test Kitchen and it’s turned into a delicious, genius culinary adventure that’s proved to be wildly successful. Mina and his crew have tried out six different concepts including Middle Eastern meets Mediterranean, Italian-American, and international barbecue. The later of which was a partnership with Ayesha Curry and will soon become a full blown restaurant, International Smoke, in the space where Mina’s wine bar RN74 currently resides.

The current concept is Postcards from la Costiera, a coastal Italian theme heavy on seafood. Mina and his right hand man, Adam Sobel were having so much fun that they extended its run to experiment with more dishes. However, today, the Mina team has released the news of the next (the seventh) concept. Mi Almita (which means ‘my little soul’ in Spanish) will pay homage to the traditional cooking of Mexico. The menu will feature time honored cooking rituals, agave spirits, and the wines of Mexico. Mina has joined forces with Houston-based James Beard Award winner Hugo Ortega to take diners on a journey to Mexico. “I had the opportunity to dine at Hugo’s restaurants when I was in Houston earlier this year,” Mina said in a statement.  “I was blown away by the hospitality and cuisine. The bold flavors and ingredients worked so well together, and everything was light and flavorful. I knew I wanted to find a way to work with Hugo.”

Traditional Mexican dishes like this one are on the menu
Traditional Mexican dishes like this one are on the menu

Photo Credit: Michael Mina

The dishes on the menu are Mexican soulful and will include items like corn soup with fragrant chicken broth, huilacoche, and housemade queso fresco; ceviche with seafood sourced from the local tide pools in Fort Bragg; pozole verde with calms and hominy; grilled octopus with sweet peppers and housemade tortillas, and Mexican chocolate. “It isn’t often that one gets to work with someone they admire greatly from afar, but when it happens it is an absolute honor and pleasure,”  Ortega said of the invitation from Michael Mina to partner on a pop-up series at test kitchen.  “I have enjoyed collaborating with Chef Mina and his team to create an exciting Mexican menu for the discerning diners of San Francisco, and can’t wait to see how they enjoy it!”

For food lovers, trying out the latest concept is an exciting and tasty experience—one that has quickly become a talked about event amongst locals. Postcards from La Cositera’s last night of service is August 5 and Mi Almita opens on Wednesday, August 23. Tickets are $39 for the five course menu with additional courses available for a supplemental price.

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