It’s often said that we eat with our eyes, and if I were to categorize Puesto’s plating aesthetic to anything, it would be “Andy Warhol goes to Mexico.” Here, bright green guacamole is often contrasted with neon-purple cabbage, and festive red guajillo chipotle tortilla taquitos stick out like surfboards stuck in technicolor sand. The restaurant’s aguachile, equally as peppy, looks like an Oingo Boingo album cover, where ahi crudo, carrot whisps, and cucumber curls resemble a Roy Lichtenstein-inspired Swatch I wore in the ‘80s…back when my older sister would Aqua Net my bangs straight up to make me look cool while skateboarding.
Then there’s the virtual piñata of drinks, and the hangover I was nursing begged for the nearest michelada. “Which one, we have four different styles,” asks the bartender, furiously juicing a bucket of limes for the day’s service. “I’ll take one of each for my table mates,” I say, referring to my gang of four who look equally as deflated from the previous night’s shenanigans.
When delivered, the micheladas are served with a salt or Tajin-rimmed pint glass filled with ice and a small carafe of life-giving ‘chelada mix. “You can do beer first, or mix first, or blend a little bit to your own taste,” says our server. I started with the dark-colored Cubana, drizzled half the glass with mix, topping it up with beer. Others sipped the mix and tried different variations…it was seriously like watching four drugged monkeys do arts and crafts for a quick minute.
After passing our various colored beer concoctions, my absolute favorites are the Cubana and El Rey Del Patio (dark one and green one). The Cubana has such a nice peppery finish to the acid, whereas the El Rey was akin to a spa day at a Baja resort…cucumber, chilies, and lime is a hangover cure on its own. The Puesto Red and Tijuana Lime versions are pretty standard classics.
While there, I spotted the Cinco de Mayo menu, which is full of happy-hour-esque specials, including my favorite filet mignon and chicken al pastor tacos to pair with $3.50 Modellos.
If you want to make your own El Rey Del Patio at home, Puesto was kind enough to pass on their recipe (yields 6):
- 4 cucumbers
- 2 tomatillos
- 3 jalapeños
- 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 3/4 tablespoons black pepper
- 1/4 cup Tabasco, green bottle
- Peel cucumbers and roughly chop
- Shuck tomatillos and roughly chop
- Grill jalapeños until blistered and slightly blackened
- Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Strain the mixture into a large container and refrigerate (Suggested: 5 ounces of mix to a 12-ounce beer).
- Drink like we did above!
Find Puesto at their two Irvine locations here.