Meet Chef Jair Tellez’s latest project: Verde y Crema. The story behind the name of Tijuana’s newest restaurant, stems from the fact that during the 1960’s and 1970’s this very location was a union site for the green and cream Tijuana public transportation drivers. Today this urban spot is filled with an array of colors, owed to the local artists and muralists that expressed their work as a reflection, passion, and praise for the wonderful city of Tijuana.
Hermosillo born, and Tijuana raised Chef Jair Tellez not only was chosen by GQ Mexico this week as “Chef of the year 2013”, but his other two restaurants Laja (#46) in Valle de Guadalupe, and Merotoro (#26) in Mexico City earned spots in Latin America’s 50 Best list this year. Merotoro also just recently won “People’s Choice” at Travel+Leisure’s 2013 Gourmet Awards.
Dark lacquered wooden tables, modern lighting fixtures, and recycled materials all make up this gorgeous restaurant. The attention to detail is refreshing, and I couldn’t help but notice them more as I walked throughout the space.
The kitchen runs only on wood fire, which adds and unforgettable flavor to the food. As always Chef Jair Tellez, like at his other two restaurants, pays very close attention to the products and where they are sourced that are being served. There is no doubt in my mind that being able to taste that attention to detail only enhances your meal. A focus on tying in the border region of San Diego’s exploding craft beer scene, and Baja California’s bounty of regional spots and products inspires what Verde y Crema has become today.
With one glance at the menu, we tried to hold back and not order every single item. This is a great place to order a few dishes and share them amongst the table, especially along side a crisp glass of craft beer. The small bowl of lime drenched, seasoned nuts and seeds that is brought to your table will have you ordering one first thing. Take a look at their carefully selected craft beer collection that lights up the back of the beautiful bar.
A young and talented Tijuana born, and graduate of Culinary Art school, Martin Vargas was head of the kitchen for the evening. He has worked under instruction of Jair, as well as different kitchens in Puerto Vallarta, Tepoztlan, and Mexico City.
I apologize for any hunger that these following pictures may provoke, but hey just sitting here writing about it makes me wish I was sitting back at that table filled with all of these delicious dishes.
Ensalada de durazno parrillado, lechuga, pepitas de girasol
The citrus dressing on this salad was on point. So light and refreshing, with the sweet peaches that cut the tang just perfectly. I will be ordering the other salads from their menu on my next visit no doubt.
Essquites Verde y Crema
I’m not going to lie, the second I saw “esquites”, I knew that this would end up on our table. This ramped up version of a street food classic is nothing short of amazing. The addition of thinly sliced radishes, and pieces of crunchy tostada combined with the tender corn kernels, altogether rounded out the creaminess and hints of citrus and spice.
Hamburguesa de res “Normanda”, queso de Valle de Guadalupe, y papas fritas
Of course knowing my husband, we knew there was no doubt that the hamburger would not be ordered. I am so glad it was. One bite into the juicy, cooked to a perfect medium rare patty actually brought back childhood memories. There is one burger that will always stick out in my mind, that I ordered all the time during the summers of sailing as a youngin’. Absolutely mouth watering. Oh, and you can’t forget to dip the crispy potatoes into their house made take catsup.
Tacos de carne asada oriental, kimchi, cacahuate japonés
My husband took his first bite of this taco, and all I heard was, “Yes.” That statement makes perfect sense. I mean, we could live off of tacos de carne asada, and the oriental flavors and textures are a fresh and tasty variation.
Verde y Crema has a vibe like none other. It’s very relax, and ideal for a night out with friends or family. The food that we tasted left us yearning for more, and we can not wait to return.