Farm-to-Table Street Tacos from the San Diego Convention Center Print
Written by Ann Shepphird   

San Diego Convention CenterIt's one thing to provide farm-to-table fare in the home or a small restaurant. It's quite another when you're doing it for really large groups, but that's just what Executive Chef Jeff Leidy does in his position at the San Diego Convention Center. At a recent gathering of, oh, a few thousand people, Leidy provided a reception-style Mexican fiesta with ingredients sourced from within 100 miles (which includes the northern Baja region of Mexico) of the center. Even better, Leidy is now offering some of his signature recipes sized down for home cooks. Below (click "read more") is his recipe for Carne Asada or Chicken Street Tacos, filled with all sorts of great spring and summer produce like tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, limes and cilantro. Additional recipes can be found on the San Diego Convention Center's site. Enjoy!

Carne Asada or Chicken Street Tacos

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6-8 guests


3 lbs. carne asada or top sirloin (thinly sliced) or boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups orange juice
1 cup lime juice
5 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup achiote paste
1 cup olive oil
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ancho chili powder
1 onion (julienned)
3 dozen 4-inch corn tortillas
4 limes (cut into 8 wedges for each)

Salsa Fresca:
4 large tomatoes (diced)
2 jalapenos (diced)
2 limes (juiced)
1/3 cup red onion (diced)
1 bunch cilantro (chopped)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic

Cilantro & Onion Mix:
2 cups cilantro (diced)
2 cups white onion (diced)


In a blender, add orange juice, lime juice, garlic cloves (chopped), cilantro, achiote paste, olive oil, salt, ground black pepper, ground cumin and ancho chili powder and mix until all ingredients are well blended. Please meat in a large contained or 1 gallon Ziploc bag. Pour mixture over meat and add julienned onions; mix well so that meat is evenly coated. Marinate for at least 4 hours. On a hot griddle, sear meat on both sides for about 3 minutes. Place on cutting board and chop into small pieces. If using chicken breasts, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Sear chicken on both sides and place in over for about 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Dice chicken into small pieces. Serve with salsa fresca (see below), cilantro onion mix (see below), lime wedges and heated corn tortillas.

Salsa Fresca:

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit for at least 1 hour.

Cilantro & Onion Mix:

Combine in a small bowl and reserve for later.