Restaurants San Diego Tijuana

Chef Javier Plascencia’s Pop-up at El Take It Easy

March 9, 2012

Monday night Chef Javier Plascencia brought a piece of Tijuana to San Diego’s restaurant El Take it Easy. Jay Porter the owner of both El Take it Easy, and The Linkery, invited Chef Javier Plascencia to showcase his food on this side of the border. The dinner consisted of five courses, with each representing one of his restaurants in Tijuana. We have had the pleasure of visiting and tasting his beautiful creations in Tijuana, and could not wait for this event.

Amuse Bouche- “Dos Callos”

The first bite to begin the evening was beef tendon and scallop topped with nopales. This spoonful was full of different flavors and textures, and went perfectly with the shot pairing. The shot consisted of Tequila, lemon juice, fresh agave, and tabasco hot sauce. Alone the shot had a definite kick to it, but you couldn’t have had a better pairing with the beef tendon and scallop. This opened your palate, and had you ready for the dishes ahead.

Chef Javier Plascencia's Pop-up at El Take It Easy
Tostadita Trio / Sea Urchin / Green Shrimp Ceviche / Ahi with Short Rib Chicharrón

The first course of the tostaditas had one of my favorite bites of the evening. I started off with the Sea Urchin flan tostadita, which created quite a competition for the other two on the plate. It was so smooth and creamy, with a nice crisp bite added from the thinly sliced radish. Our table was already craving another one, before we had even finished chewing. The Ahi with short rib chicharrón was the second contender. This was another delicious tostadita, and I have been a fan of the short rib chicharrón ever since we first were introduced on the oyster at the LA Street Food Fest. The green shrimp ceviche tostadita was so fresh and full of bright flavors. The pickled onions brought a nice texture and pop of color to this bite sized creation.

Chef Javier Plascencia's Pop-up at El Take It Easy
Tableside Authentic Tijuana Caesar Salad

The second course will make you never want to try any other Caesar salad again. The Caesar salad was originally created in Tijuana, which becomes very apparent after your first bite. It was presented beautifully with the whole lettuce leaves, and topped with a crunchy garlic crouton.

Chef Javier Plascencia's Pop-up at El Take It Easy
Heirloom Bean Risotto / Wild Mushroom / Black Truffle / Huitlacoche Powder / Epazote Air

The third course was another favorite of mine that evening. We had a very similar dish the last time that we ate at Mision 19, and I couldn’t stop raving about it that night either. I loved the addition of the Huitlacoche powder, which added even more to the black truffle flavor. I remember as we sat down at our table, we had already started talking about being able to smell the aroma from the truffle. This has to be some of the best risotto that I have ever eaten.

Chef Javier Plascencia's Pop-up at El Take It Easy
Berkshire Pork en Caja China / Mole de Fiestas / Root Vegetables / Chochoyones

The fourth course was the Berkshire pork that was covered in a Mole, and surrounded by root vegetables. The waitress set the plates in front of us before the mole was poured on, and the aromas were just intoxicating. Pork really does some wonderful things while it’s in the caja china.

Chef Javier Plascencia's Pop-up at El Take It Easy
Mexican Chocolate / Coffee / Cardamom Cotton / Mezcal Compressed Strawberries

The fifth course I felt had the perfect amount of sweetness to end a night full of savory. The cardamom cotton was my favorite part of this dessert. It was light and airy but packed with flavor. Why don’t they sell this version at the circus?! The cardomom spice tied in beautifully with the hints of cinnamon from the Mexican Chocolate and the richness of the coffee.

Chef Javier Plascencia's Pop-up at El Take It Easy

A beautiful Cheese plate was just one last offering that rounded out the evening quite nicely.

Chef Javier Plascencia's Pop-up at El Take It Easy
Chef Javier Plascencia's Pop-up at El Take It Easy

This is the Caja China where all of the magic happens people. The smoky smell brought me right back to the Festival de Las Brasas. Don’t you just love when a certain aroma, can bring back a wonderful memory? I could easily eat that pork for any meal of my day.

Chef Javier Plascencia's Pop-up at El Take It Easy

Chef Javier Plascencia’s pop up was yet another memorable evening.  It was night chocked full of amazing food and great company. We are definitely looking forward to the next Baja Pop up at El Take it Easy.


  1. Everything looks & sounds delicious! So exciting that you could go to this wonderful tasting. I’m totally jealous :). I love your restaurant reviews! Future career I see wink-wink :)

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you so much Krissy! I know..I miss you, and I hope that all is well with you guys!