The love for Baja California and Chefs Benito Molina and Solange Muris was beaming off of the diners at El Take it Easy in San Diego, on Monday night. A taste of their Ensenada restaurant Manzanilla and Baja’s beautiful ingredients were represented in an exquisite five course meal.
The evening started off with this litte gem. An amuse bouche consisting of a tostadita topped with abalone, achiote, and micro greens. The one bite wonder was washed down with a shot of El Take it Easy’s cocktail Condesa Güera. The little shot glass packed a punch as well with Gin, Cointreau, citrus, and an added dash of Tabasco hot sauce. The two preformed their own dance number in my mouth, and immediately opened up my palate for what was to come.
The first course was called Marine Surprise. Chef Benito Molina recommended starting with the fresh oyster and working your way around the plate in a clockwise fashion. So it began, a mini colorful adventure tasting the fruits and treasures of the ocean. On the plate was one of the tiniest Kumamoto Oysters that I have ever seen. It had a dash of soy sauce, and that was all it needed. Its natural flavors shined through, and set a nice tone for the rest of the tastings. After that was a piece of Yellowtail with a touch of ginger and serrano chile. This was a contender for my favorite of the plate. The brightest of the bunch was the Sea Urchin, with its striking buttery texture. To the left was a manila clam topped with smoked tuna. I just can’t get over how many flavors were packed into the few bites it took to finish it. The last and also a contender as my favorite were the barnacles. This was admittingly my first time trying these tiny creatures, and I was taken away by their odd beauty and delicious flavor. Every ingredient on the plate was incredibly fresh, and each had their own characteristics and personality representing them. There was a moment when I went off into my own memory of standing at the tide pools as a child. I will never forget the smell of the refreshing salty air. There you have it, a dish that took me right down memory lane.