Eat Puesto!

3 Tacos: Chicken Al Pastor, Carnitas, and Shrimp

Puesto Mexican Street Food is a bright, trendy, and hip Mexican casual restaurant in downtown La Jolla! When you first walk in, you notice big boards that tell you what you can order and its prices. Two main items on the menu are the bowls and the street tacos. The tortillas are made fresh, and you are able to see first hand of your tacos/bowls put together. They ask you what type of meats, salsas, and toppings you want, similar to Chipotle, but with way more options. Avocado slice comes free, but guac is extra. At the end of the line, there is a drink menu. Puesto serves a variety of cocktails, such as Micheladas (icy cold beer served with spices and fresh ingredients such as tomatillos, cucumbers, and lime), and frozen Margaritas. In addition to drinks, there’s a variety of side items to choose from such as black beans, corn, chips and guac, and the Mexican street fruit cup!

My experience:
I was able to meet with one of the co-owners, Eric, during my visit for this review. He, along with his cousin and brother, were fans of their executive chef’s authentic Mexican street taco creations and wanted to build upon that. They jumped right in with limited restaurant knowledge, but word spread fast of this fun and hip joint, and soon became recognized in the San Diego community as a place to go to for good Mexican food. They are opening a second location in Downtown San Diego later this year, and I am delighted to go once again when it opens. 
Best things there: huitlacoche taco and the fruit cup!!!
Tacos
Chicken Al Pastor, Carnitas, and Shrimp
I was very eager to try their tacos because of the freshly made tortilla, grilled cheese, and all the crazy freshly made salsas they had. I got the huilatcochechicken al pastor with tomatillo roja salsa, carnitas with tomatillo verde salsa, and shrimp tacos with mango salsa
Let me tell you the huitlacoche taco is AMAZING. THE BEST THING EVER. I still think about it, and want to go back specifically for this. For those of you who have never heard of this wild thing, let me educate you!!!!! It is a FUNGUS (corn smut) that grows on corn. Google it! It’s black, oozes out like black sesame, and has an earthy flavor, like mushrooms. Some call it the Mexican truffle! Eric, the owner, told me that those who know what it is order it and are in love with it. Well I have definitely seen the light! It might look/sound gross to some people, but trust me, think of it as black sesame or something and you will be fine once you put it in your mouth. TRUST ME. ORDER IT NEXT TIME YOU GO! ITS DELICIOUS! Here is a delightful picture:
Huitlacoche taco with grilled cheese
The chicken taco was good, and full of flavor. I was a fan of the salsa blending very well with the marinated chicken. However, it was a good taco, but nothing too OMG.
The carnitas taco was delicious! I am a HUGE fan of salsa verde and perfectly salty and flavored carnitas. I really enjoyed this one. The meat was really tender. Sort of inspires me to make my own carnitas!
The shrimp taco was my least fav. The shrimp itself was big, not like the dinky little ones you normally get at Fred’s or World Famous on taco tuesdays. But the shrimp taco itself, combining all of the other stuff in it was lacking in flavor, immensely. I wasn’t a fan of the rice in the taco…or the meh mango salsa. Those two things could definitely be worked on. Like the mango salsa being either sweet or salty, but it was neither. :(. This was just too bad because I normally LOVE shrimp tacos. If you do decide to get them, I suggest getting them without the rice, and choosing a different salsa! 
I was also able to taste the pistachio salsa. Earthy in flavor. Its supposed to be sort of spicy, but I didn’t really notice the spiciness.
Drinks
Green Michelada
Sangria Margarita

Micheladas are beers with fresh lime, fresh ingredients of choice, with a salt lined brim. The GREEN one here has tomatillo, charred jalapeno, cucumber and lime. I really enjoyed this drink! Its refreshing, and has a bit more flavor than a regular beer. Get it next time on a hot day!

Eric, the owner, said that the Sangria Margarita is a popular drink. I can definitely taste the strong agave of the tequila in it. Wasn’t a big fan of the sweetness. It was sort of wine-y and fruity, but because I am not a fan of tequila in the first place, I didn’t really enjoy this one. But I am sure many of you would enjoy this drink! It has a slushy texture. Good for a hot day too!

Lastly: THE MEXICAN STREET FRUIT CUPS!!!

I personally have never had one, even on those drunken nights in Mexico back in the day, or my cruise trip senior year. Let me say that Puesto’s cup is delicious!!! I really liked the lime, chili and sea salt sprinkle mixture with the fruit!!! The cup contains seasonal fruits, so its bound to change when summer rolls around. The one I had contained mangoes, pineapples, jicama, dried mango with seasoning, cucumbers, and carrots. It was the best thing to end my visit. SO THANKFUL!

If you like them, or want to get to know more about this restaurant, follow them on Twitter at @eatpuesto, or Like them on Facebook at facebook.com/eatpuesto, or follow them on Instagram at @eatpuesto. They have a food truck that sells tacos and fruit cups that drive around SD too, so if you are interested, follow them and be informed! Tag #eatpuesto on Twitter or Instagram, and your photos and/or comments may be shown on their tv screens inside the restaurant! 

Fig and Olive – Melrose

My first DineLA eating out adventure! I go to Restaurant Week in SD a lot because I just want to try everything! I could not wait to go to LA to eat again– they have the most amazing restaurants and also the chefs there have space to create. SF and SD restaurants are usually very small because of space constraints and the way the cities are set up.

My friend and I chose this restaurant because 1. We have heard it before; 2. We know celebrities go there all the time. I looked at the menu and it looked great. Mediterranean food! Done deal. We were going! We ended up walking up Melrose looking at the clothing shops to kill time because we got to the area a bit early. By the way, if you have never been to Melrose and you love clothes, you should really go. There are sooo many shops and each have their unique style and flavor to it. You can literally find everything. Anyway, we got to the restaurant a little bit before it opened…they open at 6pm for dinner! When you walk in, the walls are lined with olive oil and you immediately see couches and candlelight. Beautiful decor.

They presented us with 3 different olive oils: One from NorCal, another from Italy, and Spain. We all agreed we liked the NorCal one the best- it tasted less olive oil-y, like less bitter. And because they are famous for their crostinis, we got a plate of 6. The fig&prosciutto and mushroom ones were outstanding! The shrimp and salmon one were alright– sort of plain. Goat cheese one was sweet but tasty.

For appetizers we got 1. Mushroom Croquette; 2. Salmon Crostone; 3. Beef Carpaccio. The mushroom croquette was super creamy and flavorful. The salmon crostone was just a bigger version of a crostini. It was alright… and the beef carpaccio was tasty- the beef was sliced very thin and the tomatoes were an amazing paired with it. The service was great there and they even stopped by to talk to us and asked us where we were from and what brought us there! I love it when they interact with you!

For the main course we got 1. Chicken Tagine; 2. mushroom risotto; 3. filet mignon. The chicken tagine was pretty bomb. Not as many spices as the one I had at Kous Kous in SD, but the Fig & Olive one was pretty tasty in its own way. It had figs and olives, and apricots! Cous Cous and 2 different sauces came with: chimichurri and this spicy one. Very good! The mushroom risotto was rich and creamy. And the filet mignon was pretty good. 
Finally, the dessert! We had 1. dessert crostini which was crostinis with mascarpone? and dried cherries. The dried cherries were very tangy and paired well with the crostini. 2. Dark chocolate pot de creme. It was thicker than I had expected, but it was a rich dark dark chocolate. Amazing!
What a great Sunday evening with friends! And I cant wait to try more LA restaurants!!!