Populist favorites like the Grilled Cheese Truck, Frysmith, and Starry Kitchen were all on hand, along with Mexican street food vendors such as Mariscos Jalisco, Mexicali Tacos, and Antojitos Carmen. But it was the “Baja Row” that stole the show. This small collection of booths featured a stellar array of culinary talent from south of the border, gourmet and otherwise. Chef Javier Plascencia (of Tijuana restaurant Mision 19) served up an Oyster Asada, a smoked oyster drizzled with serrano ponzu, lemongrass foam, and crispy bits of chicharron that proved to be the most elegant dish of festival. Mariscos Guerrerense, a street vendor from Ensenada, also doled out spectacular stewed uni tostadas topped with a variety of fresh chile-spiked salsas.
The all-star cast of judges, which included Walter Manzke, Michael Voltaggio, Marcela Valladolid, Jonathan Gold, and our own dine editor Lesley Barger Suter, crowned the winners at the end of the night, leaving the other participants to console themselves with a Singha beer or a CoolHaus ice cream sandwich.
Best in Show: Javier Plascencia – Mision 19 – Oyster with Chicharron and Sea Pickle
Best Old-School Street Food: Antojitos Carmen – Huitlacoche Huarache
Best Nouveau Street Food: Ricardo Zarate – Peruvian Cau Cau
Best Original Showmanship: La Guerrerense -Sea Urchin Tostada with Pismo Clam
Best Sweet Tooth: Bulgarini Gelato
People’s Choice: Javier Plascencia – Mision 19 – Smoked Oyster w/ Chicharron and Sea Pickle