Irvine has new tacos to look forward to next month—and not just any tacos. Puesto is slated to open its third location, in the Los Olivos Marketplace in January, bringing one of San Diego County’s most famous Mexican food names—tied, perhaps, with Aqui es Texcoco in Chula Vista, home of insanely delectable lamb barbacoa—to Orange County. Puesto’s first two restaurants are in San Diego and La Jolla, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this foray into O.C. is but an opening volley.
There can never be enough tacos in the world, especially when there’s a commitment to quality. Puesto’s tortillas, for instance, are made in-house with organic blue-corn masa from cutting-edge supplier Kernel of Truth, and fillings range from mushrooms, zucchini, and nopales cactus to striped bass, filet mignon, and lobster, with fresh salsas, organic local greens, and a signature crispy, frica-like cheese layer tucked in. The company is def in expansion mode, recently adding Katy Smith as executive creative chef, who joins founding executive chef Luisteen Gonzalez. Smith came to Puesto after working with Rick Bayless on his PBS series, accompanying cookbook, and podcast.
Between O.C.’s newest Whole Foods and soon-to-open Puesto, Irvine’s newest retail-residential corner ticks a lot of boxes. Maybe that aforementioned barbacoa will be next.