puesto mexican street food / la jolla – san diego, ca
Puesto Mexican Street Food is a new taco shop located in the heart of Downtown La Jolla. The concept is fun and simple – you get to chose what you want on your tacos, selecting from a variety of fresh, healthy choices as toppings for your tacos. In addition to tacos, you can get a guisado bowl or a salad as well as a variety of sides and drinks. I was recently invited to come in and check it out for myself – bringing Jake along to help me sample all that Puesto has to offer.
We were greeted by one of the owners – Eric – who showed us the ropes. You start by grabbing a laminated card that shows you all of the possible options – meat choices, toppings, salsas and more. He helped us decide on a few combinations and then we leaned the cards up against the glass divider so the chefs could start making our creations.
[My tacos on the grill]
One of my favorite toppings was the crispy grilled cheese that you can have added to your tacos. They just layer down a good amount of cheese right onto the grill and put your main ingredients onto the cheese. Above I have the huitlacoche and zucchini flowers on one taco (I decided to try an all veggie one), pork on the other and shrimp on the non-cheesy taco.
Toppings and fixings galore!
[Making my salad]
Oodles of salad toppings (including nuts and cranberries and the like). I was surprised to see nuts and cranberries, actually. Especially at a taco shop.
[Mango salsa, Jamaica salsa, and Pistache salsa]
Puesto also offers up some interesting salsas for topping your tacos. I asked for all of the on the side so I could try them before deciding which tacos to put them on. The mango salsa is more like a salsa fresca, with mango, habanero, tomato and cilantro. The Jamaica salsa has hibiscus flowers and chiptole and the Pistache salsa (my favorite) has pistachio and jalapeno in the mix.
These are my creations – all topped with a beautiful slice of avocado. Oh yes!
This is my weird veggie taco. Actually, now that I’m looking at this again, it looks kind of gross. That weird black stuff is huitlacoche, which is basically a corn fungus. I had this paired with zucchini flowers and that crispy grilled cheese. While this was probably the most interesting item of the bunch, the texture and flavor of the huitlacoche is just not for me. It was kind of chewy and looking at a big glop of black stuff is, well, not the most appealing thing. But at least I tried it! I like trying new things. Even if I don’t always end up liking them.
The shrimp taco on the other hand was totally excellent – nicely sized pieces of shrimp. I liked the combination of fresh flavors with the plump shrimp.
Jake was braver than I and got all of his salsas put directly on top. I’m not as adventurous when it comes to sauces.
[Guisado Bowl with a mixture of pork and chicken, catcus, black beans and white rice]
If you’re not feeling the taco thing, you can opt to get a Guisado Bowl with a lot of similar ingreidents to the tacos – minus the tortillas. All guisado bowls come with black beans and your choice of white jasmine rice or brown rice.
The salad bowl is the last option that you can get at Puesto – with a number of toppings available to you. They make the salad right in front of you and you get to pick it all. I had my salad topped off with the Puesto Vinaigrette which has cilantro and chile in it. The vinaigrette had that fresh flavor that I love from the cilantro, giving the whole salad a lovely hint of flavor. It’s a huge salad, too – plenty for a couple of people to share if you’re all willing to get the same toppings.
The sweet lover in me was also excited to get these sample sized cups of Frozen Horchata. Exact same flavors as traditional horchata, but in a fun, frozen way! I actually kind of liked this better than normal horchata. The slushee-like consistency just made me like it even more. I don’t think I could drink a full sized cup of this stuff, but the sample size was perfect – so to me, it’s better shared with a friend or a cute guy that you know.
Puesto is definitely a fun, new concept for Mexican Food. This is kind of more like “gourmet” street food with the various options and salsas available – things you’d probably never actually see in Mexican street food. But I think it fits into the area very well and will be a good addition to the other La Jolla restaurants in the area.
[Disclaimer: My dinner was complimentary. I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own.]
Puesto Mexican Street Food
1026 Wall Street
La Jolla, CA 92037