A few days ago during a Comic-Con interview, somebody asked Anthony Bourdain for advice on dining in San Diego. Usually protocol dictates that you should have the courtesy of humoring the people who are hosting you… but Bourdain is not a big fan of protocol so he replied: I don’t mean to disrespect San Diego, they really have great restaurants… but I would personally go down to Tijuana, to Javier Plascencia’s restaurant Mision 19; that place will change your world”.
Javier’s popularity as well as that of Misión 19 have been growing rapidly; in just the last year and half it has gone from being a venue with local potential to becoming a destiny for fine dining lovers throughout the country and even from the rest of the world. It has taken over entire pages of The New Yorker and The New York Times amongst many other publications. A few weeks ago Rick Bayless, who called Tijuana “one of the best cities to eat in all of North America”, visited Mision 19 with over 30 people of his staff. They weren’t working nor were they filming… their sole purpose was to enjoy Baja and Misión 19’s cuisine. Binomio had the opportunity to chat briefly with Javier Plascencia about some of his ideas and plans for the future.
B1+4: Javier, you were just in Panamá, right now Rick Bayless is here, then you are going to New York… What is the purpose of traveling to other parts of the world and of bringing personalities from that level over to your restaurant?
The idea is making Tijuana known through its gastronomy, which is what I do, we are taking a little piece of Baja California and Tijuana to all those places; people are very interested in knowing about what we are doing over here. This is thanks to people like Rick Bayless, they are personalities with a huge following, so what they say or twit about is heard and seen by millions of people. It is a task we, as people from Baja California and Tijuana, have to live up to all of the good reports we are receiving.
B1+4: What can you tell us about the New York event, what are the expectations?
We are very happy and excited to be there, of taking our distinctively Norteña cuisine to New Yorkers, this time we are definitely going to be fusing what they do on the 4th of July, their BBQs… They wanted to know how we make our Carne Asada.
B1+4: The Haute cuisine boom here in Tijuana is rather new, and it is mainly happening because of what you’re doing. Can we say the gastronomic world has already notice or is there still a long way to go?
We have had an enormous amount of press of all kinds and levels and that has helped us a lot. That is what is causing Tijuana to be recognized and making people curious about what is happening here, they want to come and taste it. If you look around, half of the restaurant’s clientele is from the United States, tourists who are finally willing to come back; we are very proud and happy to be a part of that.
B1+4: What are your plans? You have a restaurant coming in the Guadalupe Valley, don’t you?
Yes, in the summer from the end of July to October we will have our Asador Campirano right in the heart of the Valley; it is our next project and we are very happy and eager to set the mesquite on fire.
B1+4: What is the restaurant’s concept? Outdoor?
Yes, it is outdoor casual with local cuisine made with products from the Valley. We will be cooking with a lot of firewood, we’ll have roast lamb, goat, local chicken, duck, and different meat cuts as well as fish, of course; it will be a very fresh cuisine, we will go and take what is available from the vegetable gardens and what we have on that day, that’s what we’ll cook. We want to make this restaurant a bit more formal and with a hotel, if possible; we are working on that.