After two decades of visiting Ensenada my most recent visit will definitely be one of the most memorable. I had some great food and wine from the best street food vendors and restaurants this fine city has to offer. If you don’t feel like reading my novel you can catch everything in the 5 Min video I will post shortly.
The Culinary Highlights …………
Manzanilla Restaurant -Teniente Azueta 139, Across from shipyard
What can I say? 2008 was a challenging year for my family. As soon as I stepped into Manzanilla all of my issues seemed to melt away. We were greeted by a gentleman I can only identify as “Javier”. Javier was a very warm and gracious host, and we soon left everything in his capable hands.
What followed was an inspiring display of refined combinations created from exquisite local products. Tortilla Espanola, Ostiones Naturales, Tiradito de lengua, and Albondigas de camaron. Each offering was consistently pleasurable and the house Red was a perfect compliment. If I had to choose a favorite it would have to be theTiradito de lengua. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63...
As a finale to the wonderful evening our gracious host was kind enough to present a sampling of the chocolate soufflé, crème brulee, and strawberry mousse. Incredible! http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63...
The great food and value at Manzanilla along with Javier’s hospitality were defiantly a main highlight of the weekend.
Restaurante Del Parque - Corner of 6th and Moctezuma
Restaurante Del Parque was our destination on two consecutive nights.The first night we wanted to stop in just for a glass of wine. Our initial intentions soon faded after sipping on some great Baja wine offerings. One glass turned into three, and we found the perfect pairing with the three local cheeses they offer.
On the second night our meal consisted of Cachete de res braseado en su jugo (Braised cow cheek au jus), Betabeles al horno con queso de cabra, and Chamorro de puerco al horno con calabaza almizcerla y acelgas.Sitting on the patio on a beautiful night, gazing at the stars, sipping on a wonderful Baja wine, experiencing the culinary delights rolling out of the kitchen, the outside world seemed to be lost. I still have dreams of the Chamorro de Puerco al horno.
The adjoining La Conda wine shop is a wonderful addition. I had a great discussion Adrian Garcia who was running the tienda. Adrian was very knowledgeable and we shared an equal passion for the gastronomic movement in Baja. Another great surprise of the evening was running into Sabina Gonzalez and family dining at Resturante Del Parque. Sabina along with her family just happen to run the best mariscos cart (La Guerrerense) in Ensenada if not all of Baja.
La Guerrerense -Corner of 1st and Alvarado
I can’t believe all these years I’ve missed the exotic delicacies created here. Based on commentary form chowhounders (Kare Raisu, Streetgourmetla, and Bigotes) who’s opinions I’ve come to respect, I knew I would not be disappointed.
Upon approaching the cart we were quickly greeted by the lovely and warm owner Sabina. Sabina’s the type of person who I felt I’ve known for years such a great outgoing personality. Sabina along with her family have been in business for 49 years!
El Guerrerense specializes in ceviche in a variety of choices. Fish, Shrimp, Octopus, Clam, Cod, Sea Urchin, Mussel, Abalone, Crab Salad, Sea Snail and Sea Cucumber. I ordered the Erizo (Sea Urchin) topped with Almeja (Clams), and campechana which is a mix. The second Day I ordered a sample of Pepino (Sea Cucumber) and the Pismo Clams. El Guerrerense works wonders with Mariscos and the quality and freshness of each creation is unmatched. The Pismo clams are the standout for me, if I had more room I would have cleaned them out. My wife (a native of Baja) stated the shrimp ceviche was “the best she has ever had”.
This is the Sea Urchin with topped with clams http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63...
If the ceviche alone is not enough to excite you they also have a incredible choice of homemade salsas. The fantastic avocado habanero was my choice of topping, I wanted to take it home. Most of the salsas are available for purchase. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63...
Guerrenses homemade Agua fresca also blew me away and was the perfect drink on an unusually warm January morning. Sabina shared several articles from various magazines that the cart was featured in, including Travel and Leisure. I was also amused by some pictures she shared with us of the huge Oyster Huaraches.
Muelle Tres - North end of the Malecon
This casual waterfront restaurant on the Malecon turned out one of my favorite dishes of the weekend. Almohaditas de camarón which simple translates to “Pillows of shrimp” http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63...
This delicate pastry like delicacy will also be the subject of my dreams.
I had to hold myself from consuming all the Croquetas de Atun, without sharing with my wife. By the way hats off to my wife for not throwing in the towel on this incredible crawl. I wish I would have snapped pictures of the tuna filling but I was pre-occupied by the flavor burst.
The succulent Mejillones al vapor 6 chiles, steamed mussels with 6 chilies and tomatillo. I almost went through the whole pot of this meaty and juicy goodness.
You seriously cant go wrong here, I just wish I had more time to sample other goodness.
The rest of the trip was filled in by ……..
Guava Martinis while sunset watching - Punta Morro
Buche tacos - Hermanos Ramirez Carnitas
Fish Tacos - El Fenix a long time favorite
Borrego a La Plancha - Birria Guadalajara
Tacos Campechana (Tripe/Asada mix) - Asadero 17
Tostada de Pata, Taco de chicharron en Salsa verde - La Comadre
Bacon wrapped Hot Dogs from another long time favorite - 2nd and Ruiz
In closing I would like to add the incredible value at all of these establishments. Manazanilla, Muelle Tres and Restaurante Del Parque all came in under $45.00USD for two adults and a child are you kidding me!
Ensenada Great food, Great wine, Great Value, Great people, whats not to love?