Erizo Cebicheria is one of the latest concepts from rising chef and tireless Baja proponent Javier Plascencia, and it’s just one of the places that Street Gourmet LA founder Bill Esparza introduced us to on a culinary tour of Tijuana during the inaugural Baja California Culinary Fest.
The recently expanded Baja Fish House and Market resides next to sister establishment Caffe Saverios. The space features a blue awning, communal tables, flat screen TVs, photos of local musicians and seafood workers, and a full bar by the jukebox.
My favorite dish, and that week’s Dose of Vitamin P, turned out to be callo de hacha 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.
Since Erizo is the name of the cafe, we had order an additional sea urchin (erizo) taco ($3) with a similar complement of toppings, plus mixed greens. The corn tortilla was dry in comparison to the chile’d tortilla in the octopus taco, and while the taste of the urchin was good, there could have been more of it. Of course it wouldn’t have been a $3 taco at that point, but that would have been fine.
Plascencia is a proponent of local beer, so he served bottles from a fairly new Tijuana brewery, Cerveza Frontera. Their Guera Coquetona was a citrusy IPA that won’t replace Kern River Citra or Ballast Point Sculpin any time soon, but it was fine with the seafood.
Bill Esparza posed with Chef Plascencia before we boarded the bus and headed home to Los Angeles. The two men were instrumental in organizing our latest Baja trip, and Erizo was just one final reminder of what Tijuana has to offer in terms of compelling local culinary products.