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What Are We Drinking?

The Build: What Are We Drinking?

The Build takes a deep dive into the process of building up a new restaurant, from signing the lease to opening day. In this episode, not only do you get more glimpses at the fun aesthetic bits, but you’ll also hear about the processes and systems behind making sure customers feel taken care of in the space that Eric and Team Ursula are in the middle of creating. Between architects pointing fingers at plumbers, and deciding on plate ware, you’ll hear about the nitty-gritty required to build up (and out) your brick and mortar world.


On the last episode of the Build, we dove into some of the POS flows of where people order, you know, sourcing for the space and you know, all the details of the physical interior of the restaurant that are the fun part as the owner and the person picking them out. But also those are things that the customer can really engage with immediately when they walk in the space, whether they sort of know it or not. You know, those tiles will make an impression, Those chairs will make an impression. Those, you know, pictures on the wall lead to what the menu is about and what the culture of the space is. So that's the really fun part of last time, we've got some exciting stuff to talk about this time as well.

So today will be continuing our conversation about choices, but heading in a slightly different direction. You'll hear some updates about designs and the team, but we're also talking menu and new food. Food, finally, the good stuff, right? So specifically about how Eric is trying to build a drink and food menu that supports marginalized communities that he is part of and in solidarity with. And they will also touch on how we came up with our menu of right goods, some more time travel, and our thought process was behind that. So let's dive on in. 

As we heard last time, Eric and Lani decided to roll out their new dinner menu slowly, while continuing with their famous breakfast burritos and brunch offerings from Ursula 1.0. So in today’s episode, we’ll hear from Eric himself, in conversation with his collaborators, as he spends time intentionally sourcing ingredients, wines and spirits for his new beverage menus at 2.0. Let’s take a listen. 

It's Wednesday, February 15th. I am about to meet with John DeBary, our cocktail consultant. Well, we're about to talk. But you're here. You're here in the room already, and I can't do anything about that. And then we're going to meet up with a liquor distributor to see some of their offerings. John's working on the first rendition of our cocktail program, and we're going to go over that now.


I'm going to. Oh, I've got it pulled up already. 


Oh, look at that.


So this was like it for me. Felt very on track, very much what I was hoping looking for. I love the Juniper lemonade idea. I love the idea of a desert herb infused mule.

Do you like the name? "Not even."

I mean. 

For a non-alc drink? No. 

Oh, I didn't get that.

Yeah. (laughs) 

I was trying to. I mean, I think Angels on your pillow should be a churchy, exact layover, and I did, like, landed up. I like that You pick that one. I had not. I didn't even. That's perfect. I. Yeah. I think the only thing out of the titles that I am just really hopeful and optimistic will make it in. There is dance, dance, dance is a teen thing. 

I could tell.

I feel like. I feel like the daiquiri. It could be. Feels like dance, dance, dance. Yeah. However, maybe it can be. You can. You can. My brother is also here working on the construction. And you can see he is. He's over there sulking away because he's not allowed to talk or interject. You. I just. The churchy, apostolic sense and aromas.


I don't know if that will end up being too linear. And there are two parallel to the Palo Santo.

Yeah, I mean, I mean, this is I mean, we talked about doing five and I think I'm good. I want to give a bigger number so you can carve it out. 


And it's like they or. One, eliminate, whittle it down, replace a couple. So this is just more of them. 

I mean, do you envision angels on your pillow fitting a palo santo or a churchy daiquiri? Sort of feel like it can be that two and a margarita? 

I don't really know what the traditional use of palo santo is anyway. So like. What would that how would a name like reference it; i don’t really know.

For me, we use it in the tea latte over here, very slow right now. And it has rose water, rose petals, Palo Santo hibiscus. 

Just a very. Soft, floral, smoky, aromatic that reminded me of being in the church. And so for me, Palo Santo is a churchy, apostolic scent. 

They're kind of like they're kind of like the same. Yeah. I wasn't sure what churchy herbs Actually are (laughs).

They frankincense and myrrh? Have you not been to church before? How were you raised? 

I was. I was. I was very non consensually brought into Roman Catholic Church. 

Well, same for us. Yeah. 

But, yeah, that was just, uh. A sensory Memory for me. Yeah, that was cool playing off of. 

But we could do it. I think churchy would be good and palo santo would be a good.

Do you wanna have a have a spicy drink?

I feel like people are going to expect us to have something with either green and red chili. Okay. 

I wasn't sure because you said the menus in these places. So it's like, do you want to have a spicy drink in? 

Yeah, I think the spicy margarita would work because I like the idea. 

It's a bit obvious, but sure you’re right.

I know. I know it is. I know it is. Actually, there's a lot of people have been like, Are you going to have a green chile margarita? And I was like.

It would crush it too. 

But yeah, but people, that's the expectation. When we did a pop up, at Winonas I did a red chili and passionfruit margarita with mezcal. That was really.

Good. Yeah. Yeah. I think for the for the margarita because you could do a mezcal tequila. 

Yeah. Oh a little mix of the two. Yeah. I'm into that. 

Yeah. Just enough mezcal to make it like a smoky thing, but I mean, like a mezcal. 

Yeah. Yeah. So I think that, uh, that's one, two, three, four, six. Yeah. 

So you can cut one. 

Yeah. So, I mean, I, I like the names. I like the direction of all the drinks. 

They're names that I want a new Mexican to come in and just get it right off the bat. But we'll have a glossary. 

Because I want to be able to talk about the spirits wines and like why they were selected or what's special about me too

If you're new to the John deBary fan club, you can check out his brand new nineties inspired cocktail called Saved by the Bellini. There's info on our show notes for that.

And you can find the info on where to get it in our show notes and stay up to date with our journey as we're counting down to opening day on this podcast for Ursula, where you can actually head over to Ursula soon to quench your thirst, which we actually did. 

We did. What was the drink that you had? 

I had the “Dance, Dance, Dance - It's a Teen Thing,” which is like a prickly pear margarita and was hot pink and absolutely delicious. 

Sounds delicious. And I had ene horchata that was made with some sort of pecan flavor in there. That was fantastic as well. 

And then it smelled really good, too. And because I me and I never sip one drink at dinner. I did also have a really delicious glass of natural wine with skin contact from Zev Rovine wine selections, which was also delicious.

So I think last time we talked you are about to take off to go to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest and you were still frustrated with the architect and the permitting process. 

And I've also got that Simon was able to start the plumbing once the separate permit was received um I certified it rather incorrectly but we talked about that he would be able to certify once you see it and that the press plan was on hold until you're over there along the backyard was on hold until you had some conversations, perhaps with the landlord. You're doing some wine liquor tastings. Um, you're evaluating the actual physical move of stuff from one point out of 2.0. We talked about a sign painter coming in to do a window in the bathrooms, which is an exciting something to see happen. Employee handbook and manual is on the way. And a menu was like sort of under development. 

I feel like that's a pretty good review and a reminder for me. Thank you. I always feels like I haven't gotten anything done, so thank you. Yeah. I got back from Austin on Friday. Lani got COVID right when we got back. And I had been in the kitchen also just kind of dealing with some other weird, energetic stuff going on here. So haven't made a ton of progress since returning from Austin. However, the DOB plans were submitted. I think that week that I left to Austin, I don't remember the exact date. 

They were returned with comments sent back, returned again with other objections. And then my architect asked for them to be reassigned to a different officer working with small businesses. I don't know what all that means. So they were we were reassigned and it was put back into the system right before we got in here. I saw that there was another objection. But when I open the file, it looks like it's something to do with verbiage or the way that they filed, which seems like it should be easy for them to get around. I don't know what all this stuff means, but Simon came through yesterday to start making plans for what works can be done. First. 

What work’s gonna be done first? I think we're gonna start tiling the counter today, actually, but they have their license for the plumbing work so they can get started on any of that. And something that was a really good revelation to me from our architect… So the John the architect that works at this firm that I was first introduced to that's been along this whole ride with me has been a lot more present in the last couple of weeks and is working hard to expediate this as much as possible on his end. So I think that maybe some of our complaints and frustrations were being heard with the firm. But he said that we don't actually have to pass the DOB inspection to open. Like that can come later. So I've been frustrated by like waiting for all the timing of this. But he was like, Well, you guys can open the door. You can start your business before this all get signed up.

What happens if the DOB comes in and it's like, you can do this, right? Do they shut you down?

I have to find out more about that. But I imagine that it would be like a you have a week or two weeks to correct this. And if it's something that would require closing to do it, that's where the risk is. But if they're like, this dimension is different, I would imagine that they just like. Resubmit with that change or we're not doing anything in this space that really. Is high risk for having to be like upend everything. Everything that we've done to correct something. 

So that's I mean, that's a that's a positive development.

It was relieving. Yeah. But then also it's like, okay, now it's back on. Now. We definitely have to. But get our hands in the books and heads in the game and get going. 

And I know last time we talked, the menu was still something that you had on your mind that you needed to work through. How are we doing there? 

I am hoping to tackle some of that today. So hopefully in the next recording I'll actually have it finished. Just trying to figure out the roll out program or schedule. I have ideas like I have plenty of things that we've done in the past that are successful and easy pickups and I'm just I'm still trying to get some equipment out of the kitchen now so that I can get a better scope of the layout that we will have possible. 

So can you say roll out for. 

A menu items at work? 

When you say roll out program, are you are you meaning that you're going to start with lunch and dinner and then add in brunch? Or are you talking about like the actual, like physical pickups of each dish?

No, like, I don't think we'll start with dinner. I think that will I'm going to want to exercise the use of the liquor license as much as possible. So I think we'll probably start with having the bar or the space open at night, but just small bar snacks and then roll out dinner later. I don't think that it is a good idea to start without brunch and then add brunch because it's going to completely alter the way that the service and flow is captured on the weekends. And I think if we open just one take out the way we do, and then for however many weeks we offer that, then all of a sudden be like, All right, no more sitting down at these tables unless you're sitting down and eating off the brunch menu. I think that'll be too confusing and I think it'll be easier to pepper in the dinner later.

So, Alex, what was on our menu over at Goods?

We had a menu that was basically a breakfast and lunch menu. So we had a breakfast was a biscuit sandwiches, basically. Um, we had a sausage biscuit. We had just an egg biscuit, you know, sausage and cheese combo situation. And we also have beanies on the menu. Um, you know, these were things that drew from where I'm from, New Orleans, you know, Southern breakfast food. Uh, not the lightest on the planet, but, um, certainly delicious and certainly fit into the concept of what kids wise with this, you know, retro mod, uh, take out window. And then for lunch, it was, uh, burgers. Uh, we had, like, a farm sauce, hot hotdog, and then we also had a really great, uh, vegetarian sandwich that was actually my favorite on the menu, which was the fried green tomato,um, purple cabbage slaw. And I had this, uh, locally sourced polish cheese and homemade hot sauce. That was an awesome sandwich. I need to bring that back some kind of way somewhere. So any chefs out there that want to make that sandwich give me a holler.

And do you remember how we built the menu of TILIThow we came up with a business plan and then how we communicated that to our customers and started collaborating with people.

I think that, you know, when we started to it, it was, you know, a new, um, a very new concept to the market, the idea of, like, elevated uniforms. Hadn't been done before. Um, uniforms had always been quality products. People, you know, work as they had to. Wanted it to be easy to clean, cheap, easy to dispose of. 

A high end uniform company we knew would be a little bit of a challenge just in talking with friends and, you know, sort of, you know, getting their skepticism in general at that idea, which ten years ago was kind of a silly idea. But today, obviously you can say it, it was something much needed for the market. But I think that, you know, our goal when we approached it was to be very clear, you know, our company at the time was name TILIT Chef Goods. Um, we talked about why our clothes were different, um, why you know, why the price point was different, why the quality level was different, um, how the styling was different and how, where the designs and styling came from, you know, that they were coming from within the industry rather than people who just made clothes to, to sell to people in the industry. Um, and we continue that today. I think it's, you know, part of, you know, our menu and our description of what makes us successful is, you know, staying very connected to the people that are wearing and using our product and then, you know, being very clear and communicative with them about why we're doing what we're doing, you know, having somewhat of a transparent business where we talk about where our clothes are made and what goes into them and, um, and the labor and, you know, standing behind them when there is issues and always, you know, being behind the wearer and ready to help them get into the products. So too long winded. 

So I'm about to have a meeting with Peter Redmond. He is a long time friend of mine, but also just got his somm certification not too long ago. Going to talk to him about curating a wine list for the new spot. I'm going to have a quick meeting with him to start going over some of the parameters of that. 

Hey, Peter, How are you? 

Thanks for having me. Ready to get to Work? 

Thank you. Yeah. 

So where is it from? (pouring sounds)

This comes from Sonoma. And. 

Are people drinking California wines out here yet or again? I remember when I first moved here, it was like anti California and you want to be like the most obscure. 

There's definitely still a California contingency out there. And, you know, you can't you can't like nothing. No one places is a monolith. Yeah, there's definitely some good Cali stuff going on.

Oh, I'm sure there is. I just remember like moving to New York. It was like nobody wanted like in New Mexico, all the wine list were very California. Yeah, Yeah. But then coming out here, it was like everyone wanted every obscure, like Eastern European island 

Peter: you'll get that still because a lot of somms and wine tastemakers are here

Tastes like riesling

I think there might be riesling in here too

Question. You knew or you met John DeBary? 

At The little toast. The other night. I feel like if there's parts of the creative process where I need to outsource, trying to keep it in, in our in our family. Yeah, yeah, in our community. So I wanted to talk to you about putting together a little succinct wine list for us and working to, like, give our staff some wine education too. Yeah.

Yeah. Which is totally, totally down for that. And just thank you so much. Big, big honor to not only work with you as a friend, but work with a restaurant that I've been a big fan of since the beginning. 

Oh, you don't have to thank me. I'm I'm more thankful that you were, like, willing to take on this, like, diddly little project. You're like, oh, four or five wines. And because it's not going to be a catalog, you see how small this space is. 

Yeah, yeah. But there's a big, you know, like you said, you can get creative and there are so many director nuances so. 

And yeah, some of the cocktails, like I'm trying to put a very concerted effort towards selecting spirits that are either distilled by or owned by any marginalized group of people. So women on there or women distillers or black owned spirits, companies like 10 to 1, I'm going to use them for rum straight there. 


I've heard that one's good too. I haven't picked my whiskey. Saw that John about that. But Condessa Gin is one of them that I want to do that's distilled in a in a of all women run distillery in Mexico City. Yeah. There is a vodka called Good vodka, but I'm thinking about putting on the list but also vodka. 

Good vodka is supposed to be like a zero carbon emissions, zero footprint vodka because it's made from the cascara of coffee beans. Oh, nice. But one of the owners I used to work with in New Mexico. So there's certain things that I'm like, I want this because I like it. Yeah. And initially I was like, I want Condessa gin because I love that gin. And then I found out more about the story. Yeah. Oh, this is perfect placement. So I want to put the same emphasis. Emphasis on the wine. Yeah. As well. Yeah. So we can work with vintners or winemakers that fall into any of those categories.

What price point - have you thought about Price point for beverage? 

 I have because I still. I want it to be accessible. Yeah. To a certain point, I'm not talking like nine over glasses. Yeah. Or maybe we have a $9 glass. But that part of my part of my thing is that I would love to be able to have stuff that feels good and feels right for the space, that feels right for our budget and like how much money we need to bring in. Yeah, but also is not negating to welcoming people. Somebody could come in and everybody could get something. Yeah. Which summit? Well, I'll have some beer too. But I've talked to John about doing the cocktails to land between like 12 and 16. Yeah. So we'll have.

And as far as wines, were you that, they would more so, like, complement the food, complement the food and the cocktails because they're kind of a running thread through the entire program. 

Eric: I… 

Peter: …besides what you told me about like. 

I feel like that would be the running thread if I wanted to necessarily be, like, disjointed. I can talk to you about. Some of what I've discussed with John in terms of the cocktails. I don't know where he's going to land with them, but I sent him a list of flavor profiles for food or aromatics. 

That would make sense. And the cocktails to pair. High desert herbs. Pine. Rosemary. Sage. Lavender. Among other things, the sentiment. Super hot chili, prickly pear palo Santo Rose. I wrote down churchy and apostolic sense or concepts or myrrh. Frankincense, rose, herbs, fennel, aloe sumac, fig, Tamarind, corn. The cocktail names - I'm anticipating being very playful. Yeah. I gave him my list of, like, Albuquerque colloquial colloquialisms or things that you would only really understand if you're from there. Yeah, but you would immediately clock, like.

Names of highways or names of like institutions. 

So there's the we on like late night radio requests there. These girls would always call in to like, send out a request to their their boyfriends. Yeah. And they were intrigued by that. Well, yeah, they were always the and so it was like these shows that were like request sending a request, a love song to their to their boyfriend, telling him that they were waiting for them to get out. And they would always like, sign off angels on your pillow, babe. And so if you grew up there and you heard angels on your pillow, you would know exactly where they came from. So that was like at the top of my list. We used to have this thing called dance, dance, dance as a teen thing. Yeah. And it was this televised, like teen dance event that took place on the weekends. And they had these, like, high school hosts. But it would take place like during the nighttime news on the weekends. It was just it was silly, but it was also like very quintessentially Albuquerque. 

It's like your own Soul Train. 

Or the Ditch Witch. La Llorona, She was like, you know, that's the that urban lore was actually a big part of like municipal public service announcements because we have all these arroyos and Albuquerque for the flash floods and kids like to skate in them. And so there were like public service ads everywhere saying to stay out of the arroyos or the ditch, which would get you. Right. And so we had this like cartoon which that there were bumper stickers and all these things everywhere. 

Like like this PSA campaign. Yeah.

So that's the direction of the cocktails. If, that's helpful. 

Yeah, that is super helpful. 

So, like, wines that feel playful, too. Yeah.

I had another kind of interesting thought with like educational versus inspirational, it sounds like kind of more enticing a feeling more so then like, I think that that that's at least my reaction from what you just shared, like something very personal about, you know, the New Mexican culture and things you grew up with that feels like it's kind of like getting at your heartstrings a little bit. But there is also the other side of like, do you want something that kind of makes people think or is it more so people being playful? 

I'd rather you feel, than think. 

Perfect. That's super helpful. 

That's also part of the design that I've been working through. Even more so with my brother, is that if you grew up out there and you walk into here, you'll be like, Oh, this is like my grandmother's house. 


A little bit like my grandma's house is not this nice, but I like she's part of the inspiration, so I want you to, like, connect. 

Yeah. Yeah, that's. That's great.