Chef driven street food in Mexico can trace its genesis to the landmark Tijuana taqueria, Tacos Salceados, created almost a decade ago by a formally trained saucier, Javier Campos Gutierrez that introduced creative salsas emulsified with egg whites, fried cheese envelopes filled with surf and turf, and a line kitchen-style taqueria.Then came Tacos Kokopelli, from Tijuana Culinary Art School grad, chef Guillermo "Oso" Campos, and his innovative brand of grilled tacos featuring regional ingredients and sensibilities from the Yucatan, Puebla, Baja Californa and Oaxaca.
The trend has continued with food trucks from two young chefs that both made the Latin America 50 Best Restaurants list this past year–Edgar Nuñes Magaña opened Barra Vieja in Mexico City, and chef Diego Hernandez has parked Troika on the Villa del Valle property in the Valle de Guadalupe. With the latest entry into this fast growing sector of Mexican cuisine, Chef Rodolfo Luviano's (formerly of Tijuana's La Diferencia) Ta'Costeño formerly of Tijuana's La Diferencia–the third wave of chef driven street food is about to explode.
Luviano was the chef de cuisine at Tijuana's haute cuisine institution, La Diferencia, where he prepared classics like chiles en nogada in the fall, pre-hispanic cuisine, crepes filled with huitlacoche, and Tijuana chef Martin San Roman's layered crepe cake in a colonial-style room gathered around a soothing fountain.
Lucky for us, Luviano has been drawn into the exciting street food movement happening in Tijuana, which has seen rapid growth in the past 3 years. Some taquerias have already come and gone, but it's clear that more of these types of restaurants are in the works-by next year this time there will be at least a half dozen or more contemporary taquerias, stands, trucks and carts.
The tuna ceviche tostada is flavored by the yin and yang of Mexican street food–tamarind fruit.
A few years back, I addressed a conference on Tijuana cuisine at Tijuana's Cecut, and called on the young students at the Culinary Art School that were in attendance to follow Tacos Kokopelli's lead, and get into the street food movement. I've been hoping for places like Ta'Costeño to liven things up–yes–Tijuana's is just getting started.
Ta'Costeño, Blvd. Cuahutemoc Sur Pte. No. 2721, Tijuana, Baja California at the Food Truck Court Estacion 55, 011-52 (664)166-2030
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