The best restaurant outside of San Diego might not be in Orange County or even Los Angeles. It just might be Misión 19, a restaurant at the center of the Baja Med food movement. Located a few floors up in a LEED certified building, Misión 19 and its chef/owner, Javier Plascencia, are one of the main reasons people have been venturing south of the border for the past 6+ years.
My husband and I were recently invited to a private event hosted by 1800 Tequila at Misión 19 which consisted of a five-course dinner along with tequila pairings. From our home in San Diego to the Tijuana border is a 30-minute drive, and the taxi ride from the border to the restaurant is approximately 10 minutes. After factoring in the walk thru customs, it takes us about an hour from "door-to-door". It's an exciting process to get to one of our favorite restaurants in the world! As usual we arrived to a warm greeting and after finding our seats were promptly served a refreshing cocktail. The community style seating was perfect for making friends with neighbors. The representative from 1800 Tequila began the event by providing background information on how their tequila is made and the tasting notes we could expect with each pairing.
To my surprise, the first tequila was poured in a flute glass, which I usually associate with a sparkling wine. The other pairings were also served in various glasses. The first tequila was the 1800 Blanco, clear in color and surprisingly very drinkable. It was paired with our first course: octopus with cucumbers, peas, and uni.
The second tequila was Cristalino and was served in a crystal shot glass (hence the name). This drank incredibly smooth, and ended up being our tequila of the night. I could've sipped on this all night. The dish it was paired with consisted of local tuna with melon, chipotle, and jalapeño.
On to the third tasting... 1800 Reposado, the first dark colored tequila which was served in a traditional shot glass. The accompanying dish was beef tongue on top of a tamale. This was my very first time having any type of tongue and it was quite tasty.
Our last savory course was pork belly paired with the 1800 Añejo. This was my favorite and the most substantial dish of the night. While I enjoyed the tequila, I found myself going back to the Cristalino!
The best was saved for last: an apple ice cream dessert. Also served in a flute glass, the final tequila was the 1800 Milenio. The color was a rich amber and had a hint of sweetness that perfectly complemented the dessert.
We had a memorable experience making conversation with fellow guests, learning about the tequilas, tasting delicious food and catching up with Javier. If you haven't done so already, make sure you get down to Misión 19 and reward yourself with a fun-filled foodie adventure.
Misión 19 location:
Misión San Javier 10643
Zona Urbana Río
Tijuana, B.C., México
Email through their website or send them a Facebook message for reservations.