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Taco Tuesday: A Street Food Taste Test at Puesto

Puesto is a casual Mexican restaurant on Wall Street open for dine in and take out.

Puesto, a street Mexican food eatery in La Jolla, opened one month ago and the buzz has already spread across San Diego. Locals, UC San Diego students, visitors to La Jolla, Mexican food junkies and foodies are flocking to the latest restaurant to open in 92037. All are in search for a delicious bite to eat.

Ordering is a bit confusing at first, but the concept is simple. First select if you are having tacos, a rice bowl or salad. Next select a grilled meat, fish or veggie cooked with homemade sauces. Puesto is a lean meat and vegetarian's dream. There are more non-meat selections than meat and fish. Options include grass-fed carne asada, pollo al pastor, salmon, potatoes with soy chorizo, nopales asado (cactus), and zucchini flower. The third step, and probably the most fun, is to select your toppings, dressing or salsas.

All six salsas, like everything at Puesto, are made in house. If you are feeling adventurous try the pistachio and jalapeño salsa. If you want something a little sweet, go for the mango and habanero salsa. Or you can stick with the flavorful verde or roja salsas.

The food is made fresh in front of you. So ordering is a bit entertaining as well. Stone ground corn torillas, tacos, and bowls are built to order.

Patch hit up Puesto a few days ago and we tried enough food to keep us full for a week. We had the three taco plate for $8.95, a salad with grilled salmon for $12.90, a side of zucchini flower for $2.95, a side of jasmine rice cooked with tomato and spices for $1.95, a half dozen Boylan soda flavors made with natural sugar cane, a frozen horchata, and dessert.

Eric Adler, who owns the restaurant with his brother Alan, was on hand when we stopped by. He told Patch that the tacos are best selling items on the menu right now.

Patch's taste buds liked the carne asada, and the potatoes and soy chorizo tacos best.

"I've wanted to do this for 10 years now," said Adler, who attended La Jolla High School. "It's been really great so far."

Eric and Alan teamed up with Executive Chef Luis Gonzalez, a Mexico City native, to create the menu. Gonzalez ran a catering business in San Diego for a number of years before joining Puesto.

While Puesto’s dining room is set up for quick bites to eat at stools and tables, it might seem a bit more comfortable with a beer. The restaurant, whose name means street market stand or stall, applied for a liquor license.

After the tacos and salad, we feasted on a Mexican Street Cup dessert filled with mangos, jicama, carrots, lime, chili and sea salt. It was a perfect combination of crunchy, sweet, salty and spicy.

Patch’s local staff will definitely be back to Puesto. Next up to try is the shrimp tacos and huitlacoche, which is also known as corn truffle or corn smut. Huilacoche is a fungus that grows on corn and, apparently, is a delicacy that tastes earthy and a bit smoky. Sounds interesting. We will wash it all down with a bottle of Mexican Coke and hopefully a cerveza.

Puesto:

Address: 1026 Wall St., La Jolla

Phone: 858-454-1260

Web: eatpuesto.com/

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily

Payment: Cash, credit and debit

Seating: Indoor tables and stools

Dining Options: Eat in or take out

Meals Served: Lunch and dinner

Food: Mexican food such as tacos, bowls and salads

Price Level: $

Handicap Accessible: Yes

Parking: Street parking

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