On a seemingly cloudy start to a Saturday, a group of nine ventured across the U.S. and Mexican border for a foodie adventure. What I am about to share in words and pictures, cannot fully explain or describe the experience and food we had. It is something to be enjoyed first-hand and then one can appreciate it fully.
The day started early in Tijuana at Marisco el Mazatenos. Now this place has been highly recommended by coworkers for the past couple of years and I finally got to taste it myself.
They start with providing chips and salsa, along with a seafood consommé. This consommé is your preview to the amazing food that one is about to partake. The broth is rich with flavors of shrimp, tomato, garlic and spices we could not pin point. With a little shredded lettuce, a squeeze of lime, you had yourself a cup of delicious soup to warm your belly.
Our first indulgence was their ceviche. It was refreshing, tart, sweet, and tangy and the appetizer to continue to excite the palate.
The main attractions and the reason why we were all there for: the La Mazatena tacos! Plump shrimp with garlic, tomato, peppers, and again probably with spices the restaurant will keep guarded. Melted on the tortilla itself, was a layer of cheese to make it more tantalizing.
All that was left was for us to dress them up with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, crema/white sauce, and a spicy green sauce (their “secret” sauce that even when asked by my coworkers on different occasions, no one knew since it was a made by the owner in secret). With a squeeze of lime, we were taken into taco heaven.
I’ve had my fair share of seafood tacos, but it was the complete package that took me to a food bliss that no other taco has ever taken me. Maybe I am over exaggerating, but from coworkers who have visited this restaurant on multiple occasions will proclaim again and again that this is the best seafood taco you will ever have.
That day, we had not only the shrimp tacos, but also the marlin and the octopus. The octopus was amazingly tender and melted in your mouth. There was no need to chew repeatedly on the meat in attempt to swallow it because it fell apart in your mouth. (Sorry, we only had a fuzzy picture of it sadly…we were all a little busy eating and given it was our first meal of the day, we were quite hungry.)
Breakfast was delicious, the service was friendly, and with our tummies full, we headed south.
The beautiful and off-season Rosarito beach is so relaxing. We came the weekend right after the colleges’ spring break, so we pretty much had the beach to ourselves along with locals and the few vacationers. The day was just absolutely perfect to just lounge around, play ball or kicking the ball around. The was way too cold to swim; I tried putting my feet in the water and my muscles immediately cramped up from the cold.
Well after spending a few hours on the beach, we were all getting pretty hungry so we headed off to Puerto Nuevo. However, along the way we did make a pit stop to get a snack:
I forgot what this was called, but it translates to “coconut shrimp”. As you can see, it’s not the fried coconut shrimp you would think. This is literally a shelled out coconut, filled with cooked shrimp and cucumbers. Refreshing, sweet and tangy, a perfect little snack on our way to our meal. (Actually, we also bought some tamales too along the way, but we ate those up so quickly that no one remember to take pictures sadly =(…they were quite delicious though!)
We arrived to the port town of Puerto Nuevo and for such a small town, there was no end in our choices for dining. However, our intended destination was La Casa de la Langosta:
And if it was not obvious what we were here for by just the name of the restaurant…
Delicious, delicious lobsters! At La Casa, you have 3 lobster options that they’ll either steam or fry (aka “Pueto Nuevo” style). There is the large, medium, and smaller lobsters and rule of thumb from what I found is the smaller the fish or crustacean, or anything from the sea in general, tends to be sweeter and tastier. Everyone went for the smaller, local lobsters, and most went Pueto Nuevo style, only couple went for the steamed version. The meal came with soup or salad, rice, beans, and tortillas.
Look at that pile of awesome, juicy, deliciousness. Geez louise! I can taste it just looking at the pictures. The meat was juicy, sweet and just a little spice for good measure. Who can say nothing taste better with a little spice? Butter wasn’t even needed since it was plenty succulent on its own. Just pile on some rice, beans and unbelievably soft and warm tortillas, we were in eating heaven.
Needless to say after our meal, we all kind of felt like Don Pisto…
So what’s a team of foodies supposed to do with the sun slowly setting and full bellies? Well…we enjoy the sunset, the scenery, and a couple of brewskis leftover from the beach earlier that day. Aaaah…life is good.
BUT WAIT!!! What was that? We needed more food? Tacos? Street tacos? Why yes, please bring us more!
At Tacos el Franc (yes, the name was not lost upon us when a coworker suggested it because it was just too funny…or maybe we were suffering from food-induced dementia), they serve a simple menu of meat on corn tortillas. Street meat…BRING IT!
Oh delicious cone of carnivorous delight, why do you tempt me so? How is it that you can still tempt me to consume you when my own stomach is still filled with the delights of the sea?
I do believe at this point in the day, we were all just delusional and following our gluttonous instincts – especially one of us, whom probably won in the day’s eat-a-thon. JA at the end of the day, polished another 5 tacos at el Franc and was still smiling at the end.
And although one would think that would be the end of the foodie trip to Mexico as would any normal, sane person would, but no, we were not sane nor normal to begin with. We needed dessert before calling quits – off to find some ice cream! Which we did and again, forgot to take a picture of our delicious and palate cleansing passion fruit ice cream.
That my friends, is how we have a good foodie adventure. No diets. No logic. No room for weaklings or food-a-phobes. All you need is a will of steel and determination and be willing to hand yourself over to pure pleasure of food.
Least to say, in order to truly appreciate what I’ve shared with you in this post, you have to experience yourself first hand. There are no words to describe the experience without it sounding repetitive, so just soak it all in via the pictures and pretend you were there…until you finally make it there yourself!
Disclaimer: We had two guys with us who grew up in Tijuana and has made multiple trips back and throughout Mexico. This made the trip a lot easier to navigate having someone who knew the landmarks and roads. It’s helpful to have someone who knows the city/country, or if you were to travel there on your own, do a lot of research and mapping of your destination beforehand. This is to keep you safe in a country that is more than willing and wanting tourists to visit, but to travel without preparation is not advisable. But most importantly, remember to have fun and be willing to take on the unfamiliar because in the end, you’ll find yourself in a more familiar state of mind then when you first started.