Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tacos Salceados Tijuana - The art of the taco

With literally thousands of taco options in Tijuana its hard to find one taco establishment that stands above the rest. As far as I'm concerned a long time favorite of mine Tacos Salceados, or "La Ermita" as referred to by locals, is the pinnacle. I'm not talking about your average everyday street tacos. I'm talking about taco art, and it does not get much better than this.

The experience here is unique. The open kitchen allows you to watch all the action up close and personal. You can witness line cooks all responsible for a particular area in the production of your taco. It starts with the thick fresh hand made tortillas and ends with the Master Chef(Marcos)putting the finishing touches on your taco.

The Master

Omakase is the expression used at sushi restaurants to leave the selection to the chef, and its exactly what I do here. Omakase for tacos you say? On a recent visit I was pleasantly surprised by the artistic performance of the chef. The result was an innovative creation of mouthwatering goodness.

Salmon, jalapeno, cheese, mushrooms, topped with various house made salsas

New York Steak and Shrimp

The menu offers many choice fillings for your taco, I advise expanding beyond the carne asada taco and ordering some of the interesting combos. They offer more than just tacos, but the tacos are the reason I come here. In addition to the variety of tacos they have over 30 extraordinary house made salsas to choose from.

Tacos Salceados also happens to be the originator of the Quesataco. The creation of the quesataco starts with flakes of cheese spread across the flat iron stove. Your choice of cuts are then lined down the middle and then ultimately encased in the crisp golden cheese. The stuffed crisp cheese roll is then placed in a fresh thick tortilla, and topped with house dressings and avocado. Leaving here without trying one would be a crime.

Shrimp Quesataco

And the ultimate creation shrimp/pineapple Taco Dulce.

Tacos Salceados is just a 10 min ride from the border and is located at 30-A, Avenida Ermita-Norte, Fraccionamiento Santa Cruz La Mesa, Tijuana. Major cross street Blvd Agua Caliente and Avenida Ermita. Closed on Tuesdays.Open from 6 p.m. to midnight 6 days a week. Prices are very reasonable coming in about 10 dollars a person.

Here is a video I put together of the taco mastery,enjoy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oaxaca in Ensenada

************Closed ************************************

Opened just a few weeks Oaxaca at Viento is located in El Sauzal Ensenada, three miles south of the last toll station (San Miguel) on Scenic Hwy 1. Once you pass El Trailero Taqueria look for the El Viento Billboard. El Viento is a coastal development that is basically in the conceptual phase.

At the end of the long wooden corridor you are suddenly embraced by breathtaking views and Oaxacan hospitality. The husband and wife owners, Laura and Salavador, were more than willing to discuss their passion. Utilizing products shipped directly from Oaxaca, the menu is ever-changing. Laura and Salvador's goal is to introduce Oaxacan regional cuisine combined with local seafood to form a fusion between Baja California and Oaxaca.

The menu, which is not in print, is based on what they receive from their fresh Oaxacan shipment. I did not get to sample the Baja-Oaxaca fusion but I did get a taste of Oaxaca. The menu items of the day included

Mole Negro Tamale

Chiliquiles con Tasajo

Blanda con Mole Negro y Queso Fresco

Estofado de pollo

Chessecake with Oaxacan Chocolate

The Mole Negro Tamale with its perfect masa, balanced with the sweet and spicy Mole Negro, was worth the trip alone. The Oaxacan coffee and hot chocolate are also not to be missed.

While enjoying some Mezcal I was delighted to try the accompanying Maguey worms. Gusanos de maguey (chinicuiles) are edible worms that live in the maguey and agave plants. They are considered a delicacy and are often crushed in a spicy red salsita which is the wonderful concoction I was served.

Mezcal not your thing? They have access to a large variety of Baja wines from the wine cellar at Viento. For those interested El Viento has a wine club on Friday nights.

Come taste Oaxaca in a beautiful coastal setting.
Opened Wednesday - Friday 1pm - 10pm
Saturday 8am - 10pm
Sunday 8am - 5pm
KM.104 Scenic Highway 1 No 5826 El Sauzal, Ensenada BC Mex
The video I made of this wonderful coastal setting

Tijuana's Newest Culinary Gem - Erizo Cebicheria

Those familiar with Tijuana establishments Guiseppi's, Casa Plascencia, Villa Saverio's and Chula Vistas Romesco will be pleased to know of the newest addition to Familia Plasencia "Erizo Cebicheria".Erizo has been opened for just one week and is located in the affluent neighborhood of Chapultepec. Open daily from 11-7 Erizo is a perfect spot for a casual lunch, especially for you ceviche lovers. I would describe the Menu as Baja Peruvian fusion. Many of the ceviches are Peruvian influenced which explains the spelling "cebiche" in the their name. Some ceviches can be ordered as tostadas, and the specialty's by the plate. Highlights of my recent visit included...

Mesquite grilled Oysters in butter ponzu/chili serrano

Chili Gurreos stuffed with Crab and Shrimp (Toritos) with soy, citrus , and serrano

Green shrimp ceviche tostada. Chile serrano, chili habanero, cilantro, avocado, and red onions

Shrimp calamari dried mango ceviche tostatda. Toasted coconut chili habenero, cocunut milk, tamarindo, penut, and scallions. This is listed as a plate on the Menu but they were kind enough to let us sample a tostada

Some very exciting dishes indeed. I usually pick a stand out but everything I had here was perfect. The exotic combination of the shrimp calamari ceviche is unlike any other flavor combo Ive had, simply amazing! If that's not enough to excite you, perhaps you need a shot of Leche De Tigre (Tigers Milk), a favorite amongst Peruvians for hangover cure. It certainly packs a punch of vigor.

To complement the exciting menu they offer a selection of premium local beers and wine. The decor is clean and simple and the kitchen is open. Some menu items are written on a chalkboard and they also have an extensive paper menu. The service is what you expect at Villa Saverios (exceptional )and the value is hard to match.

Erizo Cebicheria Located in the same center as Caffe Saverios and walking distance(3 Blocks)from Villa Saverios

Ave Sonora No 3808-11 Major Cross street Blvd Agua Caliente Tel 686-1564