Yesterday's drive from the OC to Ensenada stretched from the usual three hours to an exhausting six due to traffic delays. Instead of crossing at Tecate and leisurely eating our way through Valle de Guadalupe in the morning, we had to double back to cross at San Ysidro and brave Tijuana's traffic congestion. On the positive side, I got to enjoy Mexico's Hwy 1/1D and see the coastline. On the negative, we missed all the eating and shopping stops I'd planned for that day. We finally hit town after 3pm, starving since we'd not eaten anything since 9am. My eating itinerary for this visit included some quick snack stops in the center, and I picked one of those, Doña Gordita, to try.
Doña Gordita is but a small storefront with an L-shaped counter and stools for seating.
I was pleased to see that the gordita masa cakes are cooked to order, not reheated. The gentleman manning the stove speaks perfect English so it was easy to order. I asked him where the doña was today, and he sheepishly said there isn't one.
We got the 60-peso promotion that includes three gorditas filled with your choice of guisado and an agua fresca. The chicken tinga shown here was my least favorite of the three. The chipotle chile was too subdued.
The carnitas in salsa verde was a step up in flavor. Or as my friend Dave said, "Pork beats chicken any day."
My favorite of the three was the rajas con queso. Mildly piquant roasted poblano peppers, sweet corn kernels and melted cheese oozed together. The gordita shells themselves were soft and creamy in the center and delicately crisp, toasty and golden brown on the outside.
The gordita de rajas became an even more memorable bite when doused with some of the pungent garlic sauce. Bam! That stuff is killer.
The agua fresca de jamaica was a shade too sweet for my taste. Overall, we liked this place. It's makes for a quick bite of authentic Mexican comfort food just a few steps away from the tourist congestion.
Avenida Gastelum entre 2da y 3ra, Plaza Los Arcos #216
Ensenada, Baja California
646 174 0226
Pro tip: We had a little trouble finding it because the streets are not well marked. And when we asked stores located in the same small plaza where it was, they had not heard of it. Sears can be a landmark, a block away. Then Doña Gordita is across the street from OXXO, closer to 2da end of the block.