We had a great time hanging with the guys from Local-Ismo from Guadalajara, Mexico a few months back. The crew dropped by our studio during a trip to San Diego, and asked us about our work. Always fun to talk shop with creatives from other parts of the world– thanks for stopping by guys!
After nearly a decade in Barrio Logan, we’ve moved just up the road to Sherman Heights. We are still getting settled in, and so happy to be sharing this beautiful old Victorian house with J. Walcher Communications. We are loving the natural light, the antique details, and the proximity to downtown. Keep your eyes peeled on IG for an office-warming happy hour announcement!
The Brewers Association, the national body made up of craft brewers, launched a new campaign geared toward educating the public in the battle against big beer. The campaign's core tool is a seal that craft brewers will include in packaging and other marketing spaces. The emblem states, "CERTIFIED INDEPENDENT CRAFT" as shown below, in an effort to allow consumers to discern between a craft brewery (defined by the BA's criteria) and a "faux-craft" brewery owned by one of the giants in the alcohol industry (e.g. AB-InBev).
The seal is less than two weeks old as I write this, and we are already working on incorporating it into packaging for multiple clients. Needless to say– craft brewers are pretty stoked about this. Most everyone we talk to in the industry has felt at least somewhat helpless in the last few years, as multinational corporations have bought large craft breweries in key regions across the US such as Elysian, Goose Island, Golden Road, Saint Archer, Lagunitas, Ballast Point, 10 Barrel, Wicked Weed, just to name a few! With every acquisition, the landscape became more murky for consumers looking at beer on the shelf. Who is still craft? Who's been bought by big beer?
To further complicate the challenge for craft brewers competing with big beer, many folks wondered, why does it matter if a multinational owned their local brewery, if the same people brew the beer the same was it's always been brewed, and it still tastes great!? Let's assume the product is still brewed the same way, still tastes great, and is still supporting local jobs. What's missing? Independent ownership, that's what. And it translates to not just local jobs for the lower end of the payroll, but a lot more money staying in the local economy.
Some in the industry, notably Stone Brewing or Rogue Ales, have always tied themselves closely to this idea of "Independence" in their brand story and marketing initiatives. And for many consumers, the culture of a small local brewery is one of if not the most important reason they love the idea of craft beer as a whole (besides the taste!).
The story of craft beer as a whole is one of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, forging a path that's been hindered since Prohibition, and brewing your way toward a piece of the American Dream. This romantic idea of craft beer holds great meaning for many in the industry, but it's has been challenging for breweries to communicate this to consumers in a widespread fashion, so the BA's campaign feels like a breath of fresh air.
The media coverage of the BA's "INDEPENDENT" campaign has been strong and it was released just prior to Independence Day, giving us something deeper to think about while we drink at BBQs from San Diego to Asheville. What makes craft beer "craft" (in the BA's eyes)? Should I care about "independent craft"? Do I care that this other "former-craft" beer doesn't have the BA's seal on it?
For the many craft brewers, their employees, families, local vendors, and patrons across the US, we hope the people rally behind you and vote with their dollars.
Check back with us for another post about independent craft beer as it relates to the San Diego region. We're currently working on a parallel campaign for the San Diego Brewers Guild which digs into some of the same ideas from a local perspective.
We were honored to have Mother Sponge principal Sean Kelley speak at the latest PechaKucha event, hosted by Border X Brewing over the weekend. Sean shared his thoughts on the rapidly changing neighborhood of Barrio Logan, as witnessed over the past 5+ years through the lens of food and beverage (tacos & beer, namely).
The outdoor beer garden behind Border X was the perfect venue for PKN– surrounding the audience with local artist murals, the smell of grilled food, and the flow of beers with Mexican-cuisine inspired ingredients (including dried hibiscus flower infused "Blood Saison").
We are proud to keep our headquarters in this historically and culturally profound neighborhood, and are inspired by the new businesses and projects blossoming around Barrio.
Cheers to the SD Architectural Foundation for putting on a great event. Stay tuned for future talks!
Our shared studio space, The Bakery, will be participating in Open House San Diego on Saturday, October 17th, 2015 - an architecture and urban design event hosted by the San Diego Architectural Foundation in collaboration with the Downtown San Diego Partnership.
Our studio doors will be open to the public from 10 am – 2 pm to show our shared studio space in Barrio Logan, which also houses the following:
- The studio and workshop of mi-workshop (architecture / design studio)
- Set & Drift (our art consulting "arm")
Join us for some refreshments, and check out the forty locations that will be open throughout downtown San Diego and Barrio Logan, including our neighbors at Bread & Salt, La Bodega Gallery, La Esquina, MW Steele Group, and Woodbury University.
Location: 1701 National Avenue, San Diego, California
Preview photo by Jim Winslet.
Some thoughtful words on independent bookshops from David Abbott; the eternal copywriter, legendary founding partner of Abbott Mead Vickers, and humble author who passed away last year.
Extending an enormous THANK YOU to all who contributed toys and donations to The Bakery's toy drive this week to support the families of the IRC San Diego! We're so happy to contribute to the cause this holiday season. Mother Sponge and our studio-mates at The Bakery wish you a very Merry Everything and Happy New Year! We'll see you in 2015!
Please join The Bakery (our shared studio space) in a toy drive to support the families of the IRC San Diego this holiday season! Bring a new, unwrapped toy to The Bakery - 1701 National Avenue through December 10th. Details here >>> thebakerydesigncollective.com
We are lucky sons of bitches in San Diego, sharing a border with an internationally celebrated culinary hot spot. This place I speak of, Northern Baja, consists primarily of the restaurants of Tijuana, Valle de Guadalupe, and Ensenada. The region's food is luring folks like Anthony Bourdain and Rick Bayless to fly in, eat, become enlightened, and write glowing reports for the rest of the world to drool over. And we in SD are a mere 15 miles away from this wonderland.
Needless to say, I’m slightly excited to be working with an incredible group of people to create a dinner and exhibition in Valle de Guadalupe called Death for Food. My comrade Jaime Fritsch started this photographic project in 2012, documenting the life and death of small-farm animals, humanely raised for food. The event is going down today, July 13th, and will be a hybrid of food and art. The feast features local animals prepared by Baja chef Javier Plascencia paired with Jaime's images displayed in an art installation conceived by my wife Stacy Kelley in collaboration with architect Manuel Martinez.
Jaime's images ask tough questions about eating meat, and for me personally, have unearthed a deep reverence for the animals that died so I could eat. The phrase "fully connected eating" is at the heart of this project-- it's about knowing where your food comes from, from the farmer to the animal to the land, and embracing the entire process, not just the parts that we're comfortable with.
Working on the project over the past few months, I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve gotten to know the food of our region, known as “Baja Med” cuisine (a term I often use despite my hatred of labels). What follows is that story...
Sometime around 2008, Tijuaneses (the citizens on Tijuana) were starting to get out on the town more frequently after a few years of gnarly violence (a product of a cartel power grab). A military general was brought in to clean up the situation, but San Diegans were still extremely weary of crossing South as the media remained fixated on a problem that TJ had been able to overcome. TJ continued to get lumped into articles about violence in places like Ciudad Juarez, and most Americans were scared to cross South.
My perspective of TJ was much different. We had a few American friends living in TJ telling us things were getting better, safer. Stacy and I visited some new artist friends down South, and we ate well as they showed us around town, but we had no clue what kind of food culture was building down there at the time. I recall being perplexed by octopus on pizza, shoveling it down out of excitement for something new and respect for our hosts. It was just fun and very new. The horrifying stories about corrupt cops or vigilante drug lords were soon squashed by an unsung natural force known as foodie wanderlust.
Meanwhile, a bunch of excitement about Baja food was spreading through our SD foodie friend circles. Sometime in 2009, a farm to table restauranteur friend Jay Porter of the Linkery invited us to join him on a bike ride, visiting a new organic farm in Imperial Beach and continuing Southward for lunch in TJ at a place called Erizo. Stacy was riding a piece-of-shit bike from a thrift store, but we went for it! It wasn't scorching, but plenty warm as we trekked slowly through two lane traffic across town to the neighborhood of Chapultepec. The restaurant is in an affluent section of TJ, nestled at the bottom of the hills on the South side of town. Our arrival was a relief. 15 miles from our house in South Park ain't a long journey, but everyone was hot, sweaty, tired, hungry, and ready for a beverage.
I remember having that first sip of Quinto Bueno like it was yesterday. A local blend of five grape varieties grown and produced near Tecate, it was an explosion of grassy, citrusy, but very very smooth wine unlike any white I had ever tasted. I was admittedly still unlearned in the ways of vino (and big deal if a cold crisp white wine tastes good after a bike ride), BUT I still know how important that glass was to my wine education. As a wine writer buddy of mine says, that was one of my breakthrough moments.
The wine was just a prelude to what happened next. Without much warning, my foodi-verse expanded in a major way. The morsels that would grace the table over the next hour would feel like an international foodie mind fuck. Octopus carpaccio, chicharrones de atun, Peruvian-inspired ceviche built on a foundation of Ensenada... it felt like a parade of dishes designed to make me feel like I'd been living under a rock for five years, yet made me feel nourished and taken care of. I didn't care if my helmet-head and goofy outfit made the other guests chuckle under their breath. Insecurities dissipate when you see the holy light.
After I came back down to earth, 2 orders of chicharrones de atun and another bottle from Valle de Guadalupe later, I wanted to know where this ridiculousness had been dreamt up. Who's responsible for this madness? Jay gave us a little more depth on the chef and proprietor of Erizo--Javier Plascencia. He was using a lot of local fish, working closely with farms, and rethinking traditional Mexican cuisine through a newfangled Baja seafood lens. He was opening a couple other places, and had majorly influenced Jay's perception on how our region's fare could evolve.
To me, Javier was an artist. Just like Jay, this dude was asking new questions about food and life and where culture might want to go. Devouring a mashup of Asian favors and traditional Mexican comfort food at play on a foundation of fresh local tuna in those chicharrones was like listening to Sergeant Pepper's for the first time. Devour, repeat.
So, needless to say I came back. I started riding my bike more, joining Jay for adventures in East TJ barbacoa. My buddy Ethan and I would drive down, park at the border and ride taxis around TJ like some 2-person Baja street food pub crawl. We'd always start at Tacos Fitos hopefully before they sold out, then beers or Palomas at Dandy del Sur, and who knew what would come next... maybe Mazateña up near Otay, surely Kentucky Fried Buches deserves a visit, Bar Suiso, or maybe Erizo if we felt like splurging. It was always a rush to decide on a given morning to head South, find myself on international soil, and soak up another part of what I'd come to realize was a true cultural phenomenon.
Eventually, Stacy and I would get to Laja in Valle de Guadalupe-- a pilgrimage of sorts that the Linkery folk had mentioned countless times. Plus, the aforementioned bottle of Quinto Bueno at Erizo was made by a vintner who also happened to manage the bar at Laja. The interconnected Baja food community was beginning to emerge. Heading to Laja, we were joined by fast friends Jaime and Donna, who each had an impressive depth of food knowledge from traveling to places like Copenhagen and throughout Central and South America. Eating with them is inherently intimidating, but through the grace, humor, and encouragement that is their natural presence as a couple, a shared meal quickly morphs into pure enjoyment with a side of mindfulness.
The sunset bled over the garden at Laja, and revealed a new frontier. A hidden gem, further out of reach than riding a bike across the border, and slightly more contemplative than the hot neon mess of TJ. I'm still not into urchin, but there was something powerful in the seafood informed courses, the understated service, and the clarity in presenting the Laja vision despite a near empty dining room.
Returning to Laja another time with Ethan and Stacy's old friend Linsey, we had a funny time and a more epic meal within a thick fog bank of red wine. The experience got weirder as local olive oil ice cream provided little satisfaction to taste buds, but strange fascination in its freezing melted butter texture. Cicadas buzzed in my head as darkness washed over the Valle on that warm late-summer evening. The place, the atmosphere, even the way vast amounts of time lapsed in the blink of an eye (or seemed not to pass at all), did not seem real. The most striking takeaway was the pace of this place-- the Valle's pulse would bore its way from my heart to my head.
In 2012, I finally got a chance to visit Plascencia's flagship restaurant, Misión 19 in Tijuana. Javier had prepared a special luncheon for the Slow Food Urban SD board, I came along for the ride. The building itself is substantial-- a modern LEED certified skyscraper (first in Baja Norte) with an immense geometric glass and steel atrium-as-throat, stretching up toward sun and sky. The restaurant itself is a beautiful modern space designed by Manuel Martinez (the aforementioned DFF collaborator).
As the slow food group was seated, a barrage of courses arrived, from steamed oysters on a volcanic rock plating to grilled octopus with pistachio oil, black garlic, burnt habanero and seared tomato paired with Diablo Blanco beer. Wait... what? The foodiest of foodies show up to a white tablecloth restaurant that looks like Dwell magazine took a permanent Baja vacation, and the chef gives us a pairing with some beer that sports a bright red label depicting a devil? No wonder Anthony Bourdain came here! This dude's an artist with cojones -- he does fine dining his own way and doesn't apologize. That pairing was excellent of course, can't imagine a better amalgamation of flavor and texture.
As the meal began to wind down and the group sat back in a lulled state of over indulgence, a giant cart quietly burst from the kitchen doors. All eyes gravitated to two cooks as they wheeled out an enormous leg of pig. We guessed it a local take on cured jamón ibérico. It's scale, and the design of the cart itself gave the presentation a sculptural emphasis that demanded attention. We did not taste, nor have room in our bellies to do so, but the image of that ham slowly rolling into place on the floor of the dining room has stuck with me.
The next chapter in my Baja food education came courtesy of new buddies Kristen and Antonio of Life & Food. They’ve taken Stacy and I to places all over the region, from torta carts in TJ to wineries in the Valle, to birria enclaves in Imperial Beach. Most recently, they took us to Finca Altozano in Valle de Guadalupe to see what Javier Plascencia had done with an informal “ranch” menu concept. The delicious food was very different from Erizo and Mision 19, but with a common thread.
Partly because I really hate labels, and partly because the setting at Finca was vastly different from the urban setting of those other two joints, I started wondering about this aforementioned label that food writers, foodies, and Mexo-philes have been throwing around a lot – ”Baja Med”, short for “Baja Mediterranean”. Did it really mean anything, or was it just a shallow label for the region’s new food?
Growing up in TJ, and now a veteran foodie tour guide for the entire region, Antonio was the man to ask– what is this region’s food all about, what is “Baja Med”? He paused, somehow ignoring the enticing birria on the plate in front of him, if only for a moment, and told me this (I’m paraphrasing here); Baja Med is about the region’s incredible local ingredients colliding with traditional Mexican recipes through the varied perspectives of a group of talented local chefs. That sounded a little predictable, but then he emphasized; this cuisine is very new, and entirely unfixed aside from the grounding in local ingredients and some inspiration from traditional Mexican recipes. In other words, the food of Northern Baja is a quickly evolving cuisine that the most influential chefs are inventing as they go. Sounds kinda like an art movement.
The idea of this cuisine bursting spontaneously out of the minds of a handful of local chefs brought it all home for me. It took be back to Michael Pollan’s fascination with hunting and killing his own local boar, with Alice Waters infamous farm-driven menu, with The Linkery's experiment and transformation of San Diego’s connection between farm and table, and ultimately with what makes food and art truly exciting to me.
With Antonio’s words still fresh in my mind, I headed down to the Valle with Jaime Fritsch on a trip to discuss a DFF event collaboration with Javier Plascencia and his assistant Diana. Over the next two days, we visited the cattle and sheep at the traditional Rancho el Cortez, talked with the inspiring intellectually minded Natalia at the holistic farm/ranch/winery of El Mogor, learned how to make tortillas with the Valle's infamous Doña Estela, and had a meal at Corazon de Tierra that felt more psychedelic than any meal in my life. Most importantly, each place we visited provided another angle of the Valle through Javier's eyes. The startling amount of Baja hospitality we witnessed at each turn seemed to ooze from the warm blanket of sunlight over the landscape.
Without getting into an ignorant claim from a wine novice like myself on the potential of terroir in Baja's wine country, did the Valle de Guadalupe have terroir in a broader sense? The years of slowly getting to know Baja food had formed a deep emotional attachment to this concept. As you might imagine, a weekend spent experiencing one chef's perspective on what makes the Valle special only solidified and focused that idea into a context by which to tie all my Baja food adventures together. The fuzzy thread of Baja Med was now a tightly woven myelin cord ripping through my head.
Perhaps I am a nerd first, and a foodie second. I want the whole story about a place, a farmer, a chef, an artist. And I want to visit the farm and taste greens right out of the dirt, ride my bike through the city where the chef grew up and opened his restaurant, and get to know a place like the Valle from many angles.
And yes, before and after the nerdy thoughtful stuff happens upstairs, I will drink and eat with hedonist abandon. This is precisely why I’m a part of DFF, and it’s why I still can’t believe how lucky we are in SD to be minutes away from the treasure of food found in Northern Baja.
Even if you don't make it to the July 13th Death for Food dinner and exhibition at Finca Altozano, carve out some time for Baja food. Sooner than later, and especially before they put a golf course through an olive grove, get yourself down to Valle de Guadalupe. Your head will get some exercise, your heart will burst open, and your belly will thank you.
All photos by Jaime Fritsch (except the black & white image of Sean at the barbacoa joint)
We were lucky enough to win 2 Gold Addy's at the American Advertising Awards this Spring. But the real story is this – we are incredibly lucky to work with people who are creating radness in beer, wine and other edible and inedible pursuits. It is their vision and dedication that inspires us! These awards are really a testament to their passion.
The first award was for the tap handles we designed for Societe Brewing Company that feature unique silhouettes cut out of solid metal and aged to look as if they'd been sitting in a factory for a century.
Our studio-mates mi-workshop helped with early R&D, while Terry at MakeFab did an incredible job putting all the materials together for us at the shop. We also had major help from Jaime Fritsch, who shot the photos that led to the silhouettes cut into these tap handles.
The second award went to the Le Metro Wine 'Zine, a mini-magazine that is delivered across the nation to wine novices and snobs alike (along with 6 bottles of hand-selected vino of course!).
The illustrations for the 'zine were drawn by Wes Bruce, an old buddy of ours from when we had time to produce art exhibitions on a regular basis. The 'zine is written by Aaron Epstein, who curates the monthly selection of wine that comes in the package. His vision for this project was grandiose, and it's been well received by the wine community.
Looking forward to sharing some unpublished work that was sparked by the vision of some other clients and collaborators in the near future. Somehow we keep meeting these people!
We love our clients for the passion they put into their product. We spend a lot of time getting to know their craft and the particular elements of eccentricity that make their product different from everything else in the marketplace. And ultimately, we have an incredibly informed appreciation when tasting the fruits of their labor (especially those that are served in a pint glass).
So when our clients win accolades, we are beyond proud.
Needless to say, the pride flowed like wine (actually, like beer) when The Harlot from Societe Brewing Company was recently named "Beer of the Year" by the Brewing Network, it meant a lot to us. We've loved that beer since day-one for its complex flavor and session-ability (yes, that's word). But it is the stubborn Blue Ocean direction while the rest of the industry seems enamored with the Belgian IPA that really makes The Harlot special.
It took big-time vision by Douglas and Travis of Societe to lean on The Harlot as a lynchpin within their product-line, essentially betting on a new style of beer.
MARKETING LESSON: A "brand" is not built on marketing fluff. In order to follow the strategy of building a "brand", you've gotta bake it into the business itself. (huge thanks to Austin McGhie for enlightening us, and Higgy for tipping us off)
Photo compliments of our bud Antonio from Life & Food
Yes, the title of this blog post is a lame play on the title of a new mag / blog I just heard about from local culture hound Edwin Himself (who is opening a new store called Gym Standard this summer here in San Diego). The premise for MOOD is the meeting of music and food... a perfect pair in my opinion.
I've always loved Terry Gilliam's films (Monty Python & the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, Time Bandits, 12 Monkeys, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas), but the stuff that always brought a smile to my face were the animations from the Monty Python's Flying Circus TV series. I was reminded of the genius, humor and endearing quirkiness of those animations when I saw this advert by Frank, for Grans Brewery in Norway. Amazing work, Frank!
It was only three years ago that I first stepped foot on the soil at Suzie's Farm -- introduced by restaurateur Jay Porter -- and WOW have they come a long way in a short time!
Suzie's Farm officially started their organic veggie program in 2004, spent a long while planting/failing/learning and had begun to pick up steam with restaurants and foodies around San Diego when Stacy and I stopped by for a visit with Jay and crew in '09.
Fast forward to today and Suzie's is now the largest urban farm in any major city in the United States – and all organic at that! Their CSA program has exploded. Restaurants across the county feature their produce. And perhaps more than any other success, Robin & Lucila are most proud of the community building that has occurred through their special events and tours on the farm.
Watching some of this transformation occur made it even more of an honor to be asked to help them more effectively tell their story online. Yep, a new website for Suzie's was due.
We were blessed to work with an incredible team on this project – from Suzie's motivated "in-barn" staff & visionary leaders Robin & Lucila, to the tireless programming of Joseph Niu & the whimsical hand of illustrator/designer Holly Jones. And now, we are proud to say that the new Suzie's Farm website is now live!
Go check it out and tell us if it doesn't make you want to eat more veggies – we dare you.
One of our good friends, the photographer and dreamer Jaime Fritsch, has started a new series of images documenting animal slaughtering on small farms. Using a 50mm lens, Fritsch hopes the images will help the viewer get one step closer to everyday food without distorting the reality of the subject. Jaime's vision for the series is to faithfully depict the reality of the slaughtering process happening on small farms, arguably the best-case scenario in terms of humane meat production. In Fritsch's words,
This is not a series on brutal, cruel slaughterhouses; nor is it a series on ethical, humane practices. This is about the sheer act of death for food.
WARNING: The chicken slaughter in the second half of this post is very graphic, so don't scroll down if you're concerned about seeing some pretty intense imagery of blood.
The first shoot includes two pigs, eating and mulling about their pen, with eerily human eyes and cute little curly-Q tails.
The second shoot was during a chicken slaughter, capturing some intensely graphic images of the process, including some breathtaking mid-air blood droplets unlike anything we've ever seen.
We're excited to see how the series unfolds and would love to hear what you think of Fritsch's work.
It's always fun for us to see clients getting attention from the press, especially when it steps outside their typical audience. With that in mind, we can't help but share this little snippet on Societe Brewing Company's tasting room decor, featured this month in Riviera Magazine's Design Hot List.
Words & images are the most basic tools we use at MoSpo, so we're always on the lookout for interesting examples that could inspire our work. The latest such inspiration, The Lexicon of Sustainability, is a series of photo collage pieces that attempt to decipher slow food terms that are becoming more and more common in the media.
The project came out of the minds of Douglas Gayeton and Laura Howard-Gayeton, who traveled all over the country creating images and gathering the input of food & sustainability experts (read, Joe Salatin, Alice Waters). Lucky for San Diegans, the project founders chose Slow Food Urban San Diego as curators to exhibit the images in our community.
Here are a few samples, and check the MoSpo Facebook page for news about shows in the San Diego area.
A couple months ago at Mother Sponge headquarters, we were on cloud nine when we discovered some new neighbors in the giant Frasier boiler warehouse, half a block from our doorstep – a PUBLIC MARKET! The San Diego Public Market is coming. And unsurprisingly, people are stoked. A final tally today found close to 1,400 people backed the project on Kickstarter, raising close to $150,000!
Catt White (one of our most prominent farmers' market managers) and her partner in crime Dale Steel (public market guru) have spent many years researching and plotting to make this happen, so this current and highly social chapter is actually somewhere in the middle of their story. Lots of hard work lies ahead, but these two couldn't be a better fit for the job.
Check out their Kickstarter video for more info... and we'll drop more news as things progress down here in Barrio Logan.
A new chapter in the book of MIHO opened last night. The Vetted Table held a pop-up dinner at El Take It Easy in North Park, greeting guests at the entirely re-styled entry, complete with vintage love seats and service staff looking impeccable. (photo above by MIHO)
The Vetted Table crew brought in collaborators from the weddings & special events they cater to transform EZ into a one night Vetted Table experience. Mother Sponge was honored to be asked to develop the brand for The Vetted Table – and we were stoked with the results. Take a look at our portfolio to see some of our design work for MIHO's newest brand.
Cheers to the successful launch and a bright future for The Vetted Table!
Finally. We've been slightly obsessed with Cebicheria Erizo for a few years now, so it was only a matter of time before a pilgrimage to Javier Plascencia's flagship Misión 19 would materialize. And the other day, materialize it did.
Our buds at Slow Food Urban San Diego extended an invite our way for a lunch that Javier was putting together – we did not, could not, should not decline. Here are some photos from the experience...
Part of the experience at Misión 19 is walking through the gorgeous new building that houses the restaurant. This is a shot taken directly under a giant skylight and glass-flanked atrium that winds through the center of the building.
One corner of the restaurant has a private dining area on a platform, with copious amounts of sunlight streaming through skylights above. I recall zero light fixtures – this is the first LEED certified building in Tijuana.
Restaurant entrance with signage. The tagline, "cocina de autor" is an apt description – where Erizo hosts Plascencia's ceviche studies in charcoal, Misión 19 is a refined conceptual masterpiece in marble.
The long communal table setup especially for the SFUSD board members, with MoSpo tagging along and giddy with excitement at this point.
Now, onto the food! Disclaimer: some dishes were not documented as their aroma and plating were too enticing not to dive right in.
Seared ahi with mole, chicharrones, radish, grilled shishito pepper.
Heirloom bean and Summer mushroom risotto with huitlacoche dust and epazote spume.
Mezcalero with chapulin sea salt on the rim!
Local cheeses with guava puree, candied hibiscus and honey.
Banana brulee with oatmeal ice cream, strawberries and bougavillea.
Slow Food Urban San Diego board (and MoSpo's Sean Kelley) with Javier Plascencia atop the Via Corporativo building where Misión 19 resides. Our SFUSD buddy Chelsea Coleman took the above photo, and many others, along with great notes on the courses – check them out here.