A simple street taco Puesto is not. The structure of a signature Puesto taco has the shape of the familiar street snack – with hand sized corn tortillas, a sprinkling of meat all topped off with a bit of salsa – but La Jolla’s new upscale restaurant is hardly your typical street vendor.
In fact, the streets of Mexico might shudder by the sheer flavor combinations Puesto serves – particularly with its signature cheese roll, where Mexican cheese is tossed on the grill, fried up and served burrito style inside your personalized creation. The real trick at Puesto is to find a flavor combination that blows the mind – not difficult when well-seasoned, sustainable items like carne asada or pollo get involved, but particularly unique with potatoes with chilies, corn truffle and zucchini flower are around. Add a sauce like grilled pineapple or nopales and you’ll find yourself transformed – incapable of conquering a frozen bean and cheese burrito ever again.
Owners Eric and Alan Alder are local boys who found their Mexico City chef Luis Gonzalez serving to-go orders at parties and turned their obsession with classic Mexican style street food into an around-the-town eatery. The Chipotle style order-up gives customers unversed in traditional Mexican ingredients a little sneak peak, with a glass window overlooking chefs of the hour.
Still squeaky clean, Puesto flashes customers with a bright space and florescent signage that almost retracts it’s very authentic flavors, if only for a moment. Despite the hot pink and rainforest green hues, Puesto delivers on shockingly original flavors with a sharp twist ideal for the La Jolla setting.
Owner Eric directed us through the line with suggestions like a cheese, chicken and nopales fusion while dealing with a keg leaking (luckily, the beer only started flowing to order shortly thereafter). The rest was up to us, with experiments like carne asada and papas con rijas turning out well beyond our expectations. Alone it was fresh, but without our sampling of salsa – of which we tried all five homemade recipes (asada molcajete, tomatillo verde, Jamaica hibiscus flowers and chipotle, pistachio and jalapeno, habanero and tomato and tomatillo) – the bite sized tacos just wouldn’t have been the same.
1026 Wall Street
La Jolla, CA