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)
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.
1026 Wall Street
La Jolla, CA 92037