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Friday, July 15, 2016

¡Se Habla Fresh! Mexican street food coming soon from Puesto in Irvine, California



Puesto, known for its fresh Mexican street food in San Diego, is opening a location in Irvine this fall. With two locations in San Diego near the Gaslamp Quarter and La Jolla, fresh and inventive are just two great words that describe Puesto.

 

Puesto gave us a first look at this popular concept with a pop-up dinner at Manassero Farms Market in Irvine. This location is surrounded by farmland.

Within the market, a courtyard is bright green with beds of fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, mint, and more.

Antique agricultural equipment add to the décor.

On the other side of the courtyard, a small barn-like structure can be used for private events. It is decorated with a country farm motif. It has plenty of room for a bar area, serving stations, and even an outdoor kitchen.

Wooden picnic tables are used for seating for the guests.

Strawberry Margarita is made with Casa Noble Organic Blue Agave Tequila, Manassero Farms organic strawberries, organic lime, and agave. Since the pop-up was on a farm, they were able to use fresh ingredients right from the source. This margarita was fantastic! The sweet, sun-ripened strawberries were balanced with the tangy lime. Casa Noble Tequila provided a smooth drinking experience. Rating: 5/5

Chefs started to prepare dinner on the outdoor flat-top grills.

Tortilla Chips are served with three different sauces. Molcajete Salsa is mild fire-roasted roma tomatoes, jalapeño, and garlic. Tomatillo Roja Salsa is medium intensity tomatillos, chile arbol, and garlic. Spicy Pistachio Jalapeno is Chef Luisteen’s specialty hot salsa made with serrano chilis and garlic.

Mexican Street Bowl made into a jenga-like structure for guests. It was almost too pretty to eat. Stacks of vegetables like jicama and zucchini were intertwined with fruits like pineapple, strawberries, and watermelon and seasoned with chile, sea salt, and lime.

Coctel De Campechana is made with local fish, shrimp, octopus, avocado, salsa campechana, and tajin roasted peanuts. It is a like a tomato-based ceviche with a spicy kick – think gazpacho meets ceviche. Rating: 4.5/5

A variety of Mexican craft beers were also available: CervezaFauna Belgian Blonde, Wendlandt Cerveceria Vaquita Marina Pale Ale, and Agua Mala Sirena Pilsner.

A big wedge of parmesan cheese in Mexican cuisine? You’ll see what it is used on. Keep reading…

Tortilla chips with the three different sauces.

Puesto Perfect Margarita made with Casa Noble Organic Blue Agave Tequila, organic lime, and agave. It really is the perfect traditional margarita! The balance of tequila, lime and agave are perfect! Rating: 5/5

Puesto Perfect Guacamole is made with avocado, parmigiana reggiano, cilantro, onion, fresh squeezed lime and orange, and chile habañero. The parmesan unexpectedly paired perfectly with the guacamole lending its creamy and salty flavor to the mix. The habañero provides a little spicy kick. Rating: 5/5

Mango-Limón Agua Fresca are made daily from scratch in the restaurant. It is sweet and tangy with a slight mango texture. Rating: 4.5/5

Spring Harvest Taco was a special taco inspired by Manassero Farms fresh vegetables and cactus encased in crispy melted cheese topped with avocado and cilantro-tomatillo. This is a great vegetarian option. The crispy cheese adds texture making it almost meaty. The avocado provides a nice creamy texture to round out the dish. Rating: 4.4/5

Chicken Al Pastor Taco is chicken and hibiscus & chipotle tinga encased in crispy melted cheese topped with avocado and piña habañero pico. The chicken is juicy and a tad spicy. The pineapple adds a tropical sweetness and the crispy cheese adds texture. Rating: 4.7/5

Fresh lobster hitting the flattop grill!

Chefs putting the finishing touches to the Maine Lobster Tacos.

Maine Lobster Taco is topped with black beans, crispy onions, avocado, crema de cilantro, and jalapeño pico. The lobster is wonderful but is overshadowed by the pico. The flavors and spices in the pico just take over the taco. I would get the pico on the side if ordering in the restaurant. The crispy onion added a crunchy texture. Rating: 3.3/5

Filet Mignon Taco is filet mignon encased in crispy melted cheese and topped with avocado, spicy pistachio jalapeño. The filet is very tender but a fattier cut of meat like brisket or ribeye would work better. The crispy cheese is just amazing. The crispy texture contrasts well with the creamy avocado. Rating: 4.4/5

Chefs preparing dessert.

Fresas con Crema Torte is a special dessert idea from Pastry Chef Jessica Scott. It is sort of like a layered cake meets panna cotta along with mescal pistachio brittle, raspberry merengue, and jamaica gel. It is amazing! It is a dessert with all of the combinations of flavor and textures you look for in a dessert – cake, mousse, custard, brittle, fresh fruit, sweet, tangy, tart, and creamy. Chef Jessica definitely needs to add this to the regular menu! Rating: 5/5

Credit: Paul Basile of Basile Studio
Sneak peek at the artist rendering of the exterior.

Credit: Paul Basile of Basile Studio
Sneak peek at the artist rendering of the interior.

The restaurant will feature:

  • Chefs table
  • Indoor/outdoor full service bar specializing in tequila, mezcal, margaritas, and an artisanal take on your favorite tropical cocktails
  • Fresh stone ground corn tortillas freshly cooked on a comal throughout the day
  • Exhibition kitchen 


Keep this on your foodie list and look for the opening this fall in Irvine!

For more information:
Puesto (inside the Los Olivos Marketplace)
8577 Irvine Center Dr.
Irvine, CA 92618
Parking: Free shopping center parking lot

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