Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Puesto, La Jolla - Upscale Mexican Street Food

Never tiring of Mexican food, my dear husband could eat Mexican every day and be a very happy man.  Spicy, robust and flavorful, a tasty Mexican meal sprinkled with cilantro has long topped his list of favorite foods.  As such, we are always on the lookout for restaurants to meet his high expectations, but unfortunately are often disappointed.  Puesto, however, is a far different story!

Expecting a good lunch at the recently opened La Jolla, CA, location, Puesto not only met his high expectations, but exceeded them with a fantastic meal that we can't wait to repeat.  It's not often that I walk away from a restaurant with the perfectly satisfied feeling that I've had not only a good, tasty meal, but a healthy one to boot.  Puesto left me wanting more.

Corn tortillas made just for me!
Boasting "Mexican Street Food", Puesto met all of my criteria for a healthy meal.  Grass fed beef, local and sustainable produce and fish, as well as hand cut and blended foods, have Mexican-native, Chef Luis Gonzalez, relying upon fresh ingredients and pure flavor rather than the usual "top it with an avocado and it's Mexican" fare.

Innovative tacos, Guisado Bowls and salads make up the majority of the menu items with guests orchestrating creations of their own by checking the desired ingredients on their laminated order form.  Next, we place the order form in front of the vast griddle and the chefs begin preparing our meats, fish and shrimp.  As my salmon was grilling a smiling lady was hand pressing and cooking fresh corn tortillas just for me (at least she made me feel that way).

My husband took owner Alan Adler's recommendation of his favorite tacos, and in no time three freshly-made tacos topped with various salsas were ready and waiting.  The grass-fed Carne Asada taco with crispy melted cheese, Nopales (cactus), and toasted jalapeño topped with pistache salsa immediately brought a grin to his face.  Taking him up on his offer to taste, I have to agree that this taco ranks up there as one of the best ever.  With the Fish al Pastor taco, we both enjoyed the tinga de flor de jicama topped with a tomatillo roja salsa, and rounding out the triple taco crown was my favorite, the Shrimp taco topped with grilled pineapple, more of the tinga de flor de jicama and a sedately spicy mango salsa.

After tasting all of my husband's tacos, I did feel it necessary to share my Salmon Guisado Bowl.  Again, following Alan's suggestions for some of his favorites, the topping of grilled zucchini flowers, Nopales (cactus), grilled pineapple and more of the mango salsa enhanced my brown rice and black beans.  A topping of grilled salmon perfectly complemented the sweetness and spiciness of the salsas and the large bowl was more than adequate for lunch.  My husband happily set out to polish off the remainder of the bowl after I was finished.

Mango Salsa topped my Grilled Salmon Guisado Bowl
Feeling it would be inappropriate to leave a Mexican restaurant without a taste of the frozen margarita, I begged a small sample (simply for review purposes, of course...) and am happy to say that the margarita too passed muster.  Not as sweet as other Mexican restaurants, this margarita actually had flavors of my beloved lime and I can imagine a nice frosty mug on a warm La Jolla afternoon.

Family owned and operated by La Jolla High School Grads Alan and Eric Adler, Puesto leaves me with only one request.  How about opening restaurant in Carlsbad??

Lunch with a view


  1. How about one in Walnut Creek too! I was craving Mexican this morning, my daughter has been going on and on about me making tamales while she is home on break. I guess I'm gonna have to make a trip to the Mexican market this week. Hope all of you had a wonderful and relaxing weekend. I love that we can hang outdoors now.

  2. I vote for Winston Salem. I so much miss good Mexican food, especially since the only place I've had it is in Mexico. Nothing at all like that around here. I am especially in love with the sound of the Carne Asada taco. Wow.

  3. Great restaurant review, Kim. I could eat Mexican for lunch every day, myself...I agree with your hubby!
    We have a local "mom and pop" Mexican cute little restaurant that is so incredibly authentic, and a little Mexican family owns it and prepare everything home made...I need to stop by and do a review, and enjoy one of their delicious tacos.

    Now that I'm craving one of your yummy tacos, just can't get on a plane for California...will have to do my best here, in S. Florida...ha, ha!

  4. Oh my, I'm ready to jump on a plane from the East coast! Of course I'd stop and visit you too!

  5. How about opening one in S.E. Wisconsin. I love good Mexican food and this looks to be right up my alley!

  6. What a fabulous Mexican review - I love the look of the food, so fresh and delicious :D


  7. I'll be sure to try it next time I'm in La Jolla! Glad to know about good new places to eat! With avocados on the menu too!

  8. I work in La Jolla and keep meaning to try this place but now after your review and pics, I most definitely will soon :)


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