4 Great Baja Chefs Coming to Tacolandia

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Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 8:59 AM

click to enlarge a Javier Plascentia dish - LIFE & FOOD
If you're planning on spending the afternoon of June 23 watching a baseball game (the Dodgers will be in San Diego anyway) or catching a matinee of World War Z, you maybe haven't been paying attention. You have tacos to eat. TiVo the game, watch the movie later, after you've spent the better part of the day stuffing yourself with sea urchin tostadas. From about noon to 5 p.m. Tacolandia will be going on in the Hollywood Palladium parking lot. Because these days the best food is mostly found set up outside on concrete, isn't it. And there will be mariachi music. And Miss Latina Los Angeles. We could go on.

And while there will be plenty of stellar folks from this town, there will also be four chefs who've trekked up from Baja to bring you their remarkable cuisine. (Next time, maybe go to them, right? Tijuana is only 150 miles away.) Turn the page for a brief preview of what you'll be eating in a few weeks.

click to enlarge Mariscos El Mazateno - LIFE & FOOD
4. Mariscos El Mazateno

A family-run Sinaloan-style taqueria located in northern Tijuana, Mariscos El Mazateno has specialized in the fried shrimp taco for which it is named for the last decade. In their large and airy and perpetually crowded Tijuana shop, repeating plates of marlin tacos and glorious camaron enchilados, styrofoam cups of shrimp consommé, clusters of beer bottles and aguas frescas and bowls of limes and shredded cabbage and bottles of hot sauce fill the communal tables. It's a place that, despite the crowds, you never want to leave, like the best patio party on earth.

click to enlarge a taco from Tacos Kokopelli - LIFE & FOOD
3. Tacos Kokopelli

Chef Guillermo Campos Moreno, better known as Oso, runs a street cart in Tijuana -- that is, when he's not up in Los Angeles helping to open the new Bill Chait and Walter Manzke project Petty Cash, which is where the chef has been cooking lately. Moreno is a product of Tijuana's Culinary Art School and has staged at three-star Michelin restaurant Oud Sluis in the Netherlands. Not a bad route to take on the way to a taqueria, which Moreno opened with his brother Pablo Campos and Orlando "Cricket" Miguel del Monte. (There are now two locations in Tijuana.) Among Tacos Kokopelli's specialities: the gringos en vacaciones, a taco composed of a grilled Anaheim chile, melted cheese, pickled onions and avocado; and the Kraken taco, with mesquite-grilled octopus.

See also: Our continuing coverage of Baja's culinary scene.

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