And the Award Goes to?

Well, this is a novel concept…San Diego with not 1, not 2 but 3 James Beard nominees

Final nominees to be announced March 15th, but other than William Bradley and Addisson, San Diego has never had this level of representation. I think we could debate Barcero’s inclusion but I was delighted to see Polite Provisions nominated in the bar program category.

Good stuff! WRT Bracero, Javier has created his own novel cooking invention by the modification of a standard Caja China design, into a monsterous **“Baja China”**with windows and the ability to cook multiple things simultaneously. This alone warrants recognition. How many other chefs can make such a bold claim as to have invented a whole new way of cooking in the restaurant?

1 Like

Did he invent it or did the builder of the unit invent it?

And FWIW, I think his cooking is better SOB…but that’s neither here nor there. I think it’s great that they’ve at least been recognized.

If Bracero isn’t the best new restaurant in the country, it’s certainly the most important new restaurant that’s opened locally in the past year. I’ve said so before (link below) and continue to believe that San Diego is going to be known as the epicenter for this new, cross-border, Baja-Mex, “cuisine of the roots” – whatever you want to call it.-- cuisine. The writeup in SD mag. is spot on, IMO. Bracero is a giant step beyond fish tacos in terms of a local cuisine that will come to be identified with SD, along with the justifiable expectation that the best of this cuisine is to be found here.

DC, I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it the BEST new restaurant in the country, but it certainly is many, many steps in the right direction from the standard taco/burrito fare that passes for Mexican in this town

I think we’re in complete agreement, actually. My wording must have made it sound otherwise.

You need to get out more, Doc.

Hmmmm…sounds like you don’t agree. Well, which restaurant do you think has had the greatest impact on our local culinary culture in the past year?

First of all you wrote best restaurant in the country which isn’t about local restaurants and there are even “simple” restaurants in LA like Gjusta which are far better than Bracero on many levels. And even in SD Bracero might be the most hyped one but restaurants like Crack Shack and Kindred and Grand Ole BBQ get me more excited than the stuff we had at Bracero

OK, let me try to clarify things here. When I said “If Bracero isn’t the best new restaurant in the country”, I meant “Bracero probably isn’t the best new restaurant in the country, but”. Sorry for the confusion, but that was the meaning I intended…

But I did mean that it’s had the most culinary cultural influence in our area over the past year.

I think there’s no question that Bracero has broken new ground. Restaurants like Crack Shack, Grand Ole BBQ, etc., are wonderful additions to our local scene, but unlike Bracero, they’re not a newly germinated local cuisine.

You may not have liked what you got the one time you were at Bracero, but maybe someone else will open with the same kind of cuisine that blows you away. I hope so.

Have you been to Galaxy? DD calls it Bracero w/o the hype. I’ve only had tacos there, but others have sampled more.

This is a new kind of cuisine that will be affixed to our local culinary identity in the decades to come. In two years, it’ll be in all of the travel books on SD, called “Mexiterranean” or whatever. Mark my words; wait and see.

We had this discussion before on CH but you overestimate the influence of Bracero on the restaurant scene in SD and it hasn’t broken new ground. You are really doing excellent chefs a true dishonor if you from now on every time a new restaurant in SD opens with Baja influences credit it to Bracero even if another chef started something without any influence from it. Galaxy Taco is a perfect example - we had several years ago when nobody talked or even thought (including Plasenica) about a restaurant like Bracero a discussion with Trey where he talked about such a restaurant like Galaxy Taco and his direction he wants to go. Bracero had zero influences on Galaxy Taco. You really seem to think that all other chefs have no own ideas and they now just copy just Bracero - as Ipse said you should go out more and start talking with chefs.

Fair enough. I respect your opinion.

Honk, I think you are a bit off base here. These guys have been exploring the regional food scene together for longer than you might think. I wholeheartedly believe that Javier definitely had an impact on Trey and visa versa. I’ve seen them collaborate together many years ago at the Baja California Culinary Festival and Celebrate the Craft. I know that they are good pals (not just peers and colleagues) that discuss many things culinary especially Mexican Gastronomy (their words not mine). Javier is in fact currently getting blue corn meal from Trey at Galaxy and I understand that the two bounce ideas off one another quite frequently.

1 Like

Grand Ole- now we’re talking.

Absolutely a breakthrough here in San Diego- after so many years of getting it completely wrong at so many places.

Finally someone doing it right.

And now, my home smoker is for sale.

Of course chefs are close friends with each other and in general discuss food with each other and also influence by this way each other. But Trey (as every other chef) has multiple chef friends and DrC now make it sound that Plascenica is the only influence for every Mexican/Baja influenced restaurant in SD (or Southern California) restaurant. This is definitely not the case (as you can possible see where for example the CdC of Galaxy Taco went to stage before opening the restaurant or the close connection with Chef Salgado)

You are selling your smoker because just one place has opened which delivers good BBQ ?


It also dominates our postage-stamp sized urban backyard. Had I more space, I might keep it, and if I don’t get a decent offer for it, I still will.

But I bought it because I couldn’t get decent BBQ in town at all- now, things are finally changing.

Even if (nonspecifichigherpower forbid) Grand Ole were to close, it has brought sufficient pressure to the market that others are appearing- witness Paul McAbe’s BBQ in Mission Valley, Mark’s Bark and apparently Ironsides in PB has decent product. Coops is still ok.

VDWow FN, that’s a beaute (or brute)! Puts my smoker to shame. I would love to buy it from you, but am very pleased with my POS Smokey Mountain Big Block which has more than enough capacity for me. It also can do double duty as another oven for big meals like Thanksgiving .

Hey, I just collected and cut to size 50 lbs - 60 lbs of local Manzanita last Sunday. Over the last few years Manzanita has easily become my absolute favorite wood to smoke with. Long burning, sweet and mild , but not too mild. Kinda like apple with a hint of hickory. These last few years of severe drought means that their is a fair amount of free unattached deadwood that is the only way it’s legal to collect.

I do love to collect different smoking wood and have some Pecan from TJ’s house in Montebello, Apple from a 1000 year old German castle’s orchard, kiawe from Hawaiia and Hican from Arkansas. Not to mention plum, nectarine, fig, and pomegranate from trees at my home.

The Linkery was using manzanita for their Smokehouse Sunday BBQs I think? Really liked it.

Yes I’ve been informed that Manzanita was a traditional smoking wood for our local Kumeyay Indians. Especially good with seafood and poultry, but I love to make bacon with it as well.