Misión 19 is a Tijuana restaurant under Javier Plascencia's buzzed-about dominion.
In a year's existence, the seasonally focused Zona Rio spot has been drooled over by travel-dining TV hosts ( Rick Bayless on "Mexico - One Plate at a Time"; Anthony Bourdain for an upcoming "No Reservations").
Meanwhile, New York media have heaped attention on Plascencia. (Please say you've read about "the master of a re-imagined Tijuana," Tijuana's culinary missionary, in The New York Times and The New Yorker.)
On Monday, March 5, Plascencia is guest-cheffing at North Park's El Take It Easy gastropub.
"It's the time for Tijuana," Plascencia says of all the good press. "It's not just for me, but for the whole Baja California food scene." Below is an expressive dish from Misión 19: Pato añejado con frutilla y chiles tatemados / Aged duck with small fruits and roasted chilies.
The overall dish
"Duck has always been a great seller at my restaurants," says Plascencia. "We sell it in Villa Saverios, Romesco, Misión 19, Casa Plasencia and Caesar's. Mexicans love duck tacos, too!"
Pechuga de pato / Duck breast
It's a Pekin duck raised in the Guadalupe Valley, aged in a restaurant cooler for up to five days before it's pan-seared. "I find the taste is less gamy and it's more tender when you age meat."
Pure de col de Bruselas / Puréed Brussels sprouts
The veggie purée adds silkiness to the dish. These sprouts are from Maneadero, a Baja fishing village with a climate like California's Central Coast. The Mexican farm where they're grown is "run by some crazy Americans," Plascencia says, laughing.
Zanahoria Thumbelina rostizadas / Roasted Thumbelina carrots
The Mexican chef's first encounter with Thumbelinas was years ago at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. He fell for their color and shape. "I brought some back home and liked the way they maintain their bright orange color when cooked. ... They just look very sexy on a plate!"
Read the full Dish Deconstructed piece and more on utsandiego.com