San Diego

Why San Diego is ‘a Very Flavorful City’ for Chef Javier Plascencia

“I want people to experience San Diego in a mouthful,” says chef Javier Plascencia, who opened Bracero Cocina de Raíz in the city to much acclaim last year.

Inspired by the ocean, Plascencia’s menu of modern Mexican fare features a variety of fresh seafood dishes, including a tuna tostada with a sea urchin topping.

The flavor of sea urchin is “like kissing a mermaid,” Plascencia says as he discusses San Diego and his cooking style for “Flavors of the USA,” produced by Brand USA and Discover America.

“Wherever you are in San Diego, you’re close to a beach,” he says, explaining his love for seafood, but adds that his style is also influenced “by Baja California, since we’re close to the border of Mexico.”

Plascencia’s food is a departure from what he grew up with after growing up in his parents’ Italian restaurant. “I used to eat lots of pizza and spaghetti and fettuccine.”

But he’s not too far from home, having opened Bracero Cocina in San Diego’s Little Italy.