Ensenada Eats

Our singular reprieve from non-stop boat projects has been keeping ourselves well fed, and Ensenada has had a lot to offer.

There seems to be a proud culture of food trucks, specifically, shellfish food trucks. The first few times I walked by them, and food trucks are on just about every corner surrounding the marina, I was a a little put off by the idea of eating ceviche out of a large plastic bin in the middle of the road, seemed to be asking for an upset stomach. But we noticed swarms of people eating at them everyday and remaining seemingly unscathed; and then the women in the tourist information center said everyone eats ceviche for breakfast ("It is a great cure for hangovers!"), and chefs from around the world travel to El Guerrense, the most famous of the food trucks, to learn the art of ceviche. So we were sold, and have been eating ridiculously tasty ceviche tostadas, topped with avocado and salsa, ever since. I ventured into the fresh oysters and the fish patés, while Dominic has developed a liking for the smoked marlin tostada as well. 

Further up the road, there is a fresh fish market where, inspired by our favorite meal we had in Brazil a few years ago, we purchased Barracuda to cover in salt and sautee in the Helios galley. Just outside the fish marked is a row of taquerias where one can gorge themselves on fish tacos and quesadillas day in and day out (But not too late! Taquerias start closing up around 7 or 7:30.).

All of this deliciousness, the tacos and the tostadas, cost about $1 US. A full meal, seated at a taqueria with beverages and tip, will usually run around $10. 

By way of beverages, we've learned to just keep it simple. Hussong's, the first ever bar in Mexico that invented the margarita (or so they say), not surprisingly, makes an excellent margarita. The beer selection is minimal, and despite being in the wine region of Mexico, taqueria wine leaves something to be desired. I tried sangria, but found it to taste more like soda and lemonade. Perhaps this wasn't too far off, as we found sangria being sold in two liter bottles while grocery shopping.

Hugo, our guiding light at Baja Naval, recommended a taqueria called La Comadre. He said it was where the boat yard orders from when they have catered events. They have an array of moles and guisados, which seem to be assorted meat stews that change on a daily basis. They had an incredible pork that was prepared similar to carnitas, but crisped with a cinnamon rub, absolutely to die for. Hugo also recommended two traditional dishes from the region, quesadillas with squash blossoms, and chapulín. Chapulín, Hugo explained, are fried grasshoppers.

Chapulín on the right, delicious cinnamon pork in the middle, and birria on the left.

Mmmm. Grasshopper tacos are tasty. The crickets were very small, about a quarter of an inch, and had the texture and consistency of a fried veggie, but the flavor was meaty and savory. Dominic was disappointed that there wasn't more actual meat involved, but I would not have wanted to see a larger, meatier insect on my plate. What would that even be--a cockroach? Beetle? I think I'd rather graduate directly to lobster. Squash blossom quesadillas, on the other hand, I would gladly eat on a daily basis.

Empanadas and oysters!

We've been eating out and cooking for ourselves in about equal measure. Within walking distance, there are two grocery stores, a tortilleria, a panaderia, and the fish market. There is the occasional reminder that we are not in the US--a container full of chicken feet next to the breasts and thighs, for instance, or the assortment of peppers that are increasingly small and increasingly dangerous. Costco in Mexico is nearly identical to Costco in the US, which I find very comforting despite not having been a Costco member for the last ten years. Can't be too far away from home if I'm eating Costco pizza, right?