Everyday Eats: Tacos at Puesto

Huitlacoche, cactus, and zucchini flower are a few of the options for fillings at this new taqueria in La Jolla.

Taco shops may be as ubiquitous as Starbucks, but no one had applied the "Starbucks formula" to the taco, until now. Enter Puesto, an upscale taqueria in La Jolla where you can trick out your taco with fillings like nopales asados (grilled cactus), zucchini flower, and huitlacoche (corn smut). Did I lose you for a second there? Never fear: all of the standard meats are also in place, plus fish and plenty of other non-smutty vegetarian options. 

Ordering is a bit different than most taco shops. Grab a card and select your filling, followed by toppings and salsa. You can also add crispy melted cheese. If you're not going with fish, this is a smart move. Instead of the standard sprinkle of cheese on top, the cooks at Puesto create a cheese crepe (of sorts) by placing a handful of cheese on the grill, which melts down and gets crisp one side. Meat and fillings go on top, and the whole thing is rolled up and placed inside a fresh corn tortilla. Take a look at the taco on the left and you'll see what I mean.

Options for toppings include avocado, grilled pineapple, cilantro, and tinga (a spicy mix of hibiscus, chipotle, and sauteed onion). There are also six different salsas, ranging from mild to hot (all made in house, daily).

Ordering can be a bit overwhelming, but I found that getting one mild taco, one that was a bit spicer, and a veggie-based option was a good way to taste the full spectrum of flavors. The best taco I created had crispy cheese, chicken, and pineapple, with tomatillo salsa and cilantro on top. If you like more heat, try the carne asada with pistache salsa (a blend of pistachios and jalapenos), and while you're at it, add some huitlacoche. I promise, it sounds a lot crazier than it tastes.

Tacos are 2 for $6.45 or 3 for $8.95. Each taco comes with two fillings, plus toppings and salsa. 

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About the author: Erin Jackson is obsessed with finding the best cheap and tasty eats in San Diego. Keep up with her other food finds on EJeats.com

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Restaurant reviews, food trends, top cocktails, wine, beer and generally the best eats and drinks in San Diego, with reporting (read: eating) lead by food editor Troy Johnson. Looking for the Erins? Erin Chambers Smith and Erin Meanley? Find their most recent musings over at the Around Town blog. And yes, we know that one needs a new name. We're working on it. 



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