Baja is blazing hot right now in the food world, and the breakout chef has been Javier Plascencia, who now owns two of the more progressive restaurants in Tijuana, Mision 19 and the recently expanded Erizo Cebicheria. Stops at both establishments bookended a raucous group trip to the inaugural Baja Culinary Fest that left a lasting impression.
Plascencia’s cafe and market sports a sea blue awning and now houses communal tables, flat screen TVs and photos of local musicians and seafood workers. Blackboards list the latest catches, including pescado (fish), conchas (shelled seafood), ceviches and pescado ahumado (smoked fish). We enjoyed a series of small bites, none better than the scallop ceviche. Instead of tortilla chips, Chef Plascencia cleverly used chicharrones. The firm, naturally sweet slices of sea scallop joined red onion strands and sliced cucumber in an acidic, chile’d broth that worked wonders on its own, and played even better on slabs of crunchy fried pork skin.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.