I was actually recommended to this restaurant by my boss, who described the tacos with the “crispy cheese.. it’s something different.” Crispy cheese? I had to check it out.
Located in downtown La Jolla, Puesto is decorated like a cute, fusion-y, fast casual restaurant. It is brightly lit and open to the outside, which is pretty typical of San Diego restaurants (ahh the good weather…)
The menu is pretty simple: you choose salad bowl, guisado bowl (guisado = grilled foods), or tacos. You pick your guisados, salsa, toppings, etc., and they assemble it as you desire.
I ordered two tacos, a carne asada and a huitlacoche. I’ve never had huitlacoche, or “corn truffle”, before, but when I read about it, I knew I had to try it. (This is going to sound a little gross, but I promise you that once you’ve tasted it, you’ll think it’s awesome.) It’s basically a fungus that infects corn, called corn smut in the US. Somehow, the Mexican farmers who discovered this fungus attempted to cook it – and found it to taste pretty darn good. I owe these people a great big THANK YOU because huitlacoche is delicious.
The tacos are served on a cute little tray:
Two tacos, $6.45
Carne asada & Huitlacoche, with crispy cheese and avocado
Yes, that crispy layer you see is cheese. They basically take shredded cheese and cook it on a griddle until a crispy layer forms on the bottom (kind of like cooking hash browns actually). Then, fold the guisado into the cheese, place cheese into the tortilla, and voila – you have a perfectly neat little taco.
If you order the guisado bowl, you could add a variety of toppings (I think you can do that on the taco, too, but I didn’t really want anything). SK chose lettuce, corn, and tinga, a hibiscus-chipotle-onion mix, for his carne asada guisado bowl.
Guisado bowl, $8.95
There were also several salsas, which we could sample. They are, of course, homemade, and tasted pretty different from the ones I’ve had at burrito joints around here. We ended up choosing the pistache, which is a pistachio and jalapeno mix, and tomatillo roja, a spicy red salsa. SK liked the pistache a lot, but I preferred the tomatillo. But all the salsas are pretty interesting, and I would recommend asking for samples and venturing into the unfamiliar… :P
The bottom line? I really liked the food here, even if it is a bit on the pricey side for “fast casual”. They really brought a new twist on Mexican food (as I knew it, anyway), and it was delicious!
Puesto Mexican Street Food
1026 Wall St, La Jolla, CA