April 2019  /  Tasting


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Chef Israel Gonzalez is bringing the heat to 'ritas Cantina!

Chef Israel dishing up some flare!

We Funner Californians are very lucky to reside in sunny SoCal. Just a short drive from “America’s Finest City”, AKA San Diego, we have all of the same draws as our big city neighbor. Can you name any? Here are a few: gorgeous weather, laid back style and incredible mexican food! So it should come as no surprise that Harrah’s Resort SoCal is spicing things up in Funner, CA’s number one mexican food restaurant ‘ritas Cantina. Say hello to our newest culinary genius bringing the heat to the kitchen – Chef Israel Gonzalez.

A 12 year veteran of the culinary world, San Diego native Chef Israel has cooked in kitchens around the U.S. including Las Vegas, Portland, Yellowstone National Park, St. Louis and more. His kitchen skills have seen everything from high-end fine dining to pub grub and everything in between including an executive chef position at a minor league baseball stadium. “Over the years I think I’ve seen it all,” says Chef Israel. “I’ve eaten some of the best food in the country, but I still love a good medium rare burger or some spicy buffalo wings!” he admits.

Grillin' and Chillen'

So what does a chef with an incredibly diverse culinary background bring to a mexican restaurant? We’re so glad you asked. A delicious combination of heritage, inspiration and creativity. “My mom’s family is from Guadalajara and I’m really interested in those ingredients, but I draw inspiration from the entire country of Mexico and its authenticity,” says Chef Israel. “I want to elevate what we already have, yet offer things that can’t be found in a normal San Diego taco shop, all while keeping true to our Southern California style... I’d also like to utilize our local farms and businesses.”

Even though he’s at the kitchen’s helm, Chef Israel is a big supporter of stoking community creativity. He’s very proud of his team’s creative drive and contribution in spicing up the menu at ‘ritas Cantina. What can you expect during your next visit? Quite simply, an experience! “Come in to eat with an open mind and you might discover something new.”

Confit Octopus now available at 'ritas Cantina.

Chef Israel is being modest. He dished up a special offering of confit octopus and minds (and taste buds) were blown!

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