Years from now, San Diego food lovers will talk about this week.
That’s because two restaurants from two of the area’s top chefs—Galaxy Taco by Trey Foshee (George’s at the Cove), and Bracero by Javier Plascencia (Mision 19, Romesco)—are about to help San Diego’s Mexican food scene take a giant leap forward.
Up first is Galaxy Taco. Foshee has long been one of the most respected chefs in the country. In 1998, a year after Food & Wine magazine named him “One of America’s Ten Best New Chefs,” Foshee joined owner George Hauer as chef of George’s at the Cove in La Jolla. It’s been one of the city’s iconic restaurants ever since. It only took them 16 years to spin off another concept—a 4,200 square-foot taco joint with craft tequila and mezcal cocktails, house-ground masa and wood-smoked specialties from Foshee and chef de cuisine Christine Rivera.
“For years, George wanted to keep all partners focused on George’s,” explains Foshee. “It was the right decision. We first started talking about Galaxy two years ago. The original idea was to do something super simple and fun and not very expensive. We were just going to do tacos and good music and good drinks. That got turned all upside down. The space dictated what we were going to do.”
The space is half of the old La Jolla Shores Market (2259 Avenida de la Playa) in the Kellogg Building. They also annexed two adjacent cottages (one a former kayak rental shop) with room for 160 guests (about 80 inside, 80 on patio seating). It’s an area where, right next to one of San Diego’s most bustling beaches, neither locals nor visitors could get a good taco and a margarita—until now.
Foshee designed the menu along with Rivera, who’s been at George’s for four years. They’ll base as much food as possible off their wood-burning grill (a staple of Baja cuisine). Also key to the food: grinding their own masa from scratch. Foshee and Rivera have been working for a couple years on the recipe and technique; Foshee built on his past experience working with chef John Rivera Sedlar and consulted with chef Carlos Salgado (of Tacos Maria in O.C.). To do it right, Foshee sent Rivera to work with chef Daniela Soto-Innes of famed NYC restaurant, Cosme. They had a $10,000 molino (masa grinder) custom-made for Galaxy, and will use heirloom, non-GMO corn from Masienda in Mexico.
Foshee also helped design the space with Mark Steele (of M.W. Steele), enlisting his neighbor Ross McDowell to paint a skeleton mural and surf icon Brian Szymanski (owner of Ding King and a paddleboard champion) to build weatherproof patio tables out of surfboard materials. The end result? Well, we’ve got the first photos in the known universe below. As for why one of the country’s top chefs would open a taco shop (albeit a pretty fancy one)?
“All those conversations we’ve had about what is San Diego food,” says Foshee, a longtime surfer. “Well, fish tacos and Mexican food and margaritas are part of that and I love that. You get off the beach, you go have some ceviche and a good margarita. It’s the little things done well. We’re not reinventing the wheel. People aren’t going to come in here and say ‘Wow, I’ve never seen that before.’ Hopefully they’re going to come in here and say, ‘Wow, that’s fu**ing delicious.'”
Galaxy Taco opens to the public Monday, July 13.