Friday, February 24, 2012

Puesto

Puesto, an upscale casual Mexican street food eatery, recently opened in downtown La Jolla.

I was recently invited to check out the new eatery and meet one of the owners, Eric Adler, who co-owns the restaurant with his brother Alan Adler, and the restaurant Chef, Luis Gonzalez.

The restaurant makes everything in-house, including their salsas and stone ground corn tortillas. They also use local and seasonally organic produce from Specialty Produce, all natural meats, grass fed beef, and sustainable seafood.


Once we entered, we were greeted to bright vibrant colors. Food is ordered at the counter, but to help make the process easier, servers present you with a paper copy of the menu and help you choose your order before you reach the front. You can check out the full menu here.


I was most interested in the tacos, so I chose two tacos. I was hoping FH might choose the salad bowl or guisado bowl, but he chose tacos as well. Oh well, we’ll have to try them next time.

For each taco, you can choose one meat (fish, shrimp, chicken al pastor, carne asada) and one gourmet vegetable (Huitlacochoe (corn truffle); zucchini flower; potatoes with chiles or soy chorizo; and mushrooms with Guajillo chiles). Or you can choose two vegetables. You then choose a variety of toppings, fresh vegetables, and salsas.

You can also choose to add grilled cheese to your taco, which I highly recommend. If you ask for grilled cheese, the cooks will sprinkle a layer of shredded cheese onto the grill. The cheese melts and toasts up a nice crispy brown bottom, almost like a pancake. Your meat and vegetable choices are wrapped in the cheese before being folded into the corn tortillas.

I was a little overwhelmed by all the choices of salsas and toppings, but the workers helped suggest good combinations and I trusted them with my order.

And here are our tacos:

Chicken al pastor, with grilled pineapple, avocado, cilantro, molcajete salsa

Shrimp with hibiscus flower, caramelized onions, mango salsa  (habanero, tomato, cilantro)

Carne asada, zucchini flower, verde tomatillo salsa

Carne asada with corn truffle, tomatillo roja

Potato with soy chorizo, Pistache salsa (pistachio, jalapeno)

Look at the melted cheese wrapping the ingredients. Yummy

It was hard to choose a favorite because I honestly enjoyed all these combinations. The tacos were chock full of flavors from the salsas and topping, the meat was moist, the crisp grilled melted cheese was a great addition.

What I loved most about these tacos though was that they didn’t feel heavy. There’s been a big movement in San Diego for farm to table, all natural, organic foods and when the trend first started happening, I have to admit, I didn’t understand the big deal. But the more I’ve been dining at restaurants offering fresh ingredients, everything made in-house, etc, I have begun to notice a difference. The ingredients taste fresher, the meats are less heavy, and I just end up feeling better after my meals.

We finished off our dinner with a Mexican street cup of sliced jicama, cucumber, carrots, mango and dried mango sticks with lime, chili and sea salt.

Both FH and I really enjoyed this. The crisp fresh vegetables was refreshing and I love the dried chili mango slices.

Puesto will also be offering Mexican beer on tap, frozen margaritas with agave nectar. Their current soda fountain drinks are all sweetened with sugar cane.

We really enjoyed the food here and this would be a perfect spot for a weekday lunch in my opinion. The guisado and salad bowls also seem like a great alternative if you need to get something on the go. The owner we met with, Eric, was laid back and engaging. I loved that he was talking to all the customers and helping them out. When we first walked in, we didn’t even realize he was the owner since he was so involved with helping the customers. I will definitely be coming back here to check out the guisado bowl and for more tacos.

Disclosure: I did not have to pay for my meal but my opinions are my own.

Puesto
1026 Wall Street
La Jolla, CA 92037
http://www.eatpuesto.com/
Puesto on Urbanspoon

 

10 Responses to “Puesto”

  1. 1

    caninecologne — February 24, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    lots of great fillings for the tacos, like hibiscus flower, grilled cheese (yum!)and even zucchini flower. you don’t see that too often. i like how they disguise huitlacoche as “corn truffle”. i’ve seen it described on some menus as “corn smut”. it’s this black fungus on diseased corn. that being said, i’m still willing to try it! what did you think of the huitlacoche taco?

    • Kirbie replied: — February 24th, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

      I totally did not research what huitlacoche was until reading your comment. Corn truffle is a nice way to put it because reading the wiki description of corn smut really does not sound appealing at all. Haha. I really liked the huitlacoche taco though. My two favorite (though I liked them all) were actually the carne asada with huitlacoche and the shrimp with hibiscus flower and mango salsa.

  2. 2

    Linda — February 25, 2012 @ 3:07 am

    Because of you, I am definitely heading here for my lunch tomorrow :) I’ll let you know how it goes. it would be great to have another local gem in the neighborhood :) Thank you again for a wonderful post.

    • Kirbie replied: — February 25th, 2012 @ 8:34 am

      I hope you enjoy this spot as much as I did! I’m not expert on Mexican Street food, but I really loved the flavors of the tacos. And the fruit cup was really yummy too.

  3. 3

    Dennis — February 25, 2012 @ 10:14 am

    This place looks great! I can’t keep up with all the new places opening. Not a bad thing though. Thanks for sharing…

    • Kirbie replied: — February 25th, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

      Yeah, there’s so many new places opening! I’m happy to see more diversified restaurants opening in San Diego.

  4. 4

    ami — February 25, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

    I had the salmon salad few days ago, I was disappointed by the tiny piece of grilled salmon and I thought it was over priced! Guess I should ordered the tacos :P

    • Kirbie replied: — February 25th, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

      Aww, I’m sorry to hear that. =( I didn’t try or see the salmon salad. I enjoyed the tacos, so I guess next time try those instead.

  5. 5

    Rodzilla — February 26, 2012 @ 1:19 am

    I’ve been waiting for a full review from someone. I knew premium priced tacos would be a harder sell in San Diego, but these look like their worth it.

    I really, really, really want to try corn truffle – I’m excited that they have it as a regular item.

    • Kirbie replied: — February 26th, 2012 @ 9:28 am

      I think downtown La Jolla is a good place to try out premium priced tacos. The fresh ingredients, grilled cheese, and the gourmet vegetables definitely justify the price. And it’s still a pretty cheap meal if you order 2 or 3 tacos.

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