• Jarnard Sutton

In the Kitchen: Chef Elias Gonzales


Photo Courtesy: Jarnard Sutton

OB Warehouse, located in Ocean Beach, is the spot to be if you're looking for global eats, amazing cocktails, good vibes and a laid back atmosphere. Chef de Cuisine Elias Gonzales is responsible for adding Mexican culture and San Diego-inspired eats to the menu. This 6,000-square-foot restaurant invites everyone to experience its fresh eats, unique craft beers, a variety of wine and stiff cocktails.

Watch as the Chef de Cuisine Elias Gonzales prepares this delicious dish: braised carnitas sopes, which is traditional fried corn cake, topped with pork carnitas, lime pickled onions, avocado, cotija cheese and cilantro.

Tell us about this dish?

This is a very traditional fried corn cake, topped with pork carnitas, lime pickled onions, avocado, cotija cheese and cilantro.

Why is this dish a good addition to the menu?

Being that San Diego has a very rich Mexican culture, most native San Diegans as well as tourists are both attracted to the cuisine and it naturally fits perfectly at the “world food” concept at OB warehouse.

Describe the taste to someone who hasn't had this dish?

The base of this dish is a crispy yet soft corn cake bottom, topped with rich, sweet, and salty pork, balanced with the lime pickled onions, to bring balance, then topped with cotija cheese, and cilantro.

How are the sopes prepared?

The sopes take around five hours from start to finish. They are seasoned and fried for about 15 mins. We then take them and place them into a braising liquid consisting of Coca Cola, chili de arbol, onions, coriander seed and they are braised for about three hours. They are then shredded and placed back into the braising liquid.

You use coca cola for flavor in the carnitas, Why?

The Coca Cola flavor is very profound in this dish. The sweetness of the coke comes through with helps the balance of the carnitas. This is a very typical “secret ingredient” in great carnitas.

Any inspiration for adding these dish to the menu?

My grandmother is a big reason for my influence of Mexican Food. While my parents worked, my brother and sister and I were cared for by her. She would make us all sorts of food, but between you and I, her Mexican food was the best food she made.

What's a good beer and/or cocktail to pair with this dish?

I would definitely pair this with a classic Paloma, which is a grapefruit juice and tequila cocktail. Also, the phenomenal beer made by The Lost Abbey: Agave Maria.

Slow Braised Carnitas Sopes

Price: $7

Photo Courtesy: Jarnard Sutton

What kind of experience will a diner get at OB Warehouse?

A fun spin on classic comfort food, fresh ingredients and fun inventive ideas.

About Elias Gonzales:

Are you from San Diego?

I am born and raised in San Diego. I have been fortunate enough to never have to leave. I come from Chula Vista and lived there for the majority of my life.

How long have you been working at OB Warehouse?

One and a half years.

What inspired you to become a chef?

Since I was young, I have always had the drive to be a chef. At the age of three, I would cook for my older brother and sister. I would push my dad out of the way when he was barbecuing and finish dinner. Although there are many chefs I can pay credit to being my inspiration, many of the chefs I have worked under have given me a small piece of them and I’ve been able to construct myself into who I am today.

What's your favorite meal?

My favorite thing to eat would have to be… this question always stumps me. The reason being is that being a chef, I am never content with one thing. I love trying new food items. But anything out of my Mom’s cookbook would definitely make the cut. Comfort food always goes to the top of my list.

What's your favorite dish to prepare?

I love to learn new things, challenging things. I enjoy making a lot of various dishes and never enjoy making just one thing all the time.

When you're not coming up with delicious food items for OB Warehouse, what do you enjoy doing on your spare time?

I enjoy spending time with my loved ones.

OB Warehouse

4839 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach. (619) 222-1700 or cohnrestaurants.com/obwarehouse

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