No trip to Bracero would be complete without Chapulines. Chapulines are fried grasshoppers, but don’t shy away because of the name! Chapulines are loaded full of protein and have been a staple in Mexican diets for centuries. Perfect by themselves or to add a little crunch to your tacos, make sure you don’t miss out on this Mexican delicacy before you say “La Cuenta Por Favor!”
Keeping a restaurant alive in the ultra trendy Little Italy neighborhood is no simple task. Even more difficult when you’re serving Mexican food in an area known for its pasta. Bracero Cocina De Raiz first opened in 2015 to rave reviews and has yet to slow down. Today the restaurant continues to thrive and bring eclectic Mexican fare to the heart of downtown with Chef Eduardo “Lalo” Covarrubias in the kitchen.
Bracero Cocina was created as an homage to all the men and women who harvest the food we take for granted. Bracero means ‘manual laborer’ and the restaurant doesn’t take the sacrifices of those laborers lightly. During WWII President Truman enacted the Bracero Program, which brought Mexican laborers into the United States to assist with low-paying agricultural jobs. To shed light on the roots of agricultural labor in our country the restaurant has installed “The Bracero Art Project,” which is on display in the middle of their dining area. If you want to know more about local cuisine, the area, and try a Bite at Bracero you can catch our Little Italy Tour at 12 pm on Friday’s or Saturday’s.
Bracero Cocina aims to bring the vivacity of a Mexican family kitchen to your plate. The restaurant is a two-story masterpiece with open kitchens, a floor to ceiling bar and artwork throughout. Down to the personalized plates, Bracero is as aesthetically pleasing as it is tasty. It is no surprise they have been voted best new restaurants in America by Eater as well as nominated for a highly coveted James Beard award. The food and atmosphere are sure to please and keep you coming back again and again.
San Diego is oversaturated with Mexican taco stands and late night burrito joints, but Bracero Cocina is Mexican cuisine in a way few experience without going south of the border. The menu has some familiar options like the Mexiterranean Adobado Tacos, which are deliciously complemented by jalapeno tzatziki sauce and pineapple. If you find yourself at Bracero you must try the Mexican dishes that rarely make their way out of the country, like the Chiles En Nogada, a poblano pepper filled with ground beef, sprinkled with walnut goat cheese and pomegranate. The dish is seasonal and can only be found from late summer through the fall in Mexico.
Another must is the Tijuana Original Ceasar Salad. If you’re not one to grab your passport for a dinner date Bracero is the perfect way to taste Baja’s best without the hassle. If you’ve never been to the original Hotel Caesar in Tijuana you may not realize that the Caeser salad was created right across the border. Unlike the chopped up romaine you get at any other restaurant, the original Caeser salad is prepared tableside with whole chunks of romaine.
Bracero has recently launched their Brunch Menu, which can be enjoyed from 11 am – 3 pm every weekend. The new menu has all your favorite Mexican breakfast staples; Chilaquiles En Salsa Verde, Huevos Rancheros, and Machacha Con Huevos. If you’re looking for something raw they have an amazing selection of raw and cold small plates with tostadas and aquachile to name a few. Brunch would just be lunch without a beverage so the bar has you covered with bottomless mimosas and mezcal infused cocktails. Our favorite is the cold brew, tequila, and Kalani coconut cocktail Not Your Abuelito’s Cafe. If you need something a little easier on the stomach they have Tecate, Modelo, Victoria, and Indio as well. Sounds like a fiesta to me!