Baja Bites: Adventuring in Ejido

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Last column we left off with a teaser about the great place where I took Diane for her birthday dinner on Dec. 20. Before we get to the dinner lets me explain how we got to this point. In a nutshell, (and I hate to say it) Facebook. Now as a lot of you know (especially my ignored friends requestors) I’m not a big fan of social media even though I’ve been on Facebook for over 10 years. I very seldom post anything about myself, I’ve only hit the like button a few times over the years, and I have more ignored friends requests than actual Facebook friends.

All that being said, when we first came down to San Felipe the realtor and others we met all said we needed to join the Facebook group called San Felipe Chatter (SFC) because that was where we could get information and ask questions about the goings on and how things work down here. They were not wrong, SFC has almost 8000 members and some of them have been around the area for a long time.

I’d asked the group a few questions up to this point about things like crossing the border or if there was a Chiropractor in the area but this time I asked, “What restaurant is considered to be the most gourmet or high end for a special occasion dinner?” We’ve eaten at a few restaurants and do have our favorite so far, but we wanted to try something new so that’s why I asked for recommendations.

I got quite a few suggestions, some that we had already tried but one that a few different people suggested was called Paco Y Miguel’s. I’d never heard of that one so I tried to look them up on Google Maps, but nothing came up. I asked for more info and someone wrote that they were in the Ejido and you needed to call them for reservations, then they would give you directions. Someone else posted that after you get directions you need to do a daytime drive by to make sure you can find it after dark.

I’ll take this opportunity to explain my layman’s knowledge of the where, why, and what of the Ejido. Officially it’s called Ejido Plan Nacional Agrario and it was probably designated in the first half of the 20th century. There are many Ejido’s throughout Mexico that were established as part of post revolution land reform where landless peasant farmers could get the rights to farm the land that was expropriated from wealthy landowners and now owned by the government. That system changed after the establishment of NAFTA and the plots can now be privatized and sold. All that being said, this Ejido is located between where we live and the town of San Felipe. It’s approximately 50 square unpaved blocks of mixed housing, everything from big haciendas to metal and cement block shacks as well as a few shops and markets, there is also a park, school, and community center. In essence, it’s its own little community or neighborhood.

So I called Paco, made my reservations and got direction. The directions were basically come up the highway to the street where the Orange Pharmacy is, turn right, go up five streets, turn right and look for the house on your left past the tree in the middle of the road. He also said just look for the parked cars and if you can’t find it call me and I’ll come out and get you.

Taking the advice of one of the Facebook posts, I asked a friend who’s lived here a few years but never eaten there if he wanted to try and find it during the day. He said sure since he’s been all over the Ejido doing odd jobs and visiting people. We ended up driving around for half an hour going up and down streets thinking this or that might be the place or this or that might be the tree in the middle of the road but eventually we gave up. I figured worse come to worse on Diane’s birthday I would get in the vicinity and call Paco to come out.

The only reservation they had when I called was for 7:30 p.m. which is later than we normally eat (since we usually start our day around 6 p.m.) and it’s also way after dark which makes me nervous to drive especially since I’m still unfamiliar with the area. So we headed out, followed the directions and this time when I got to the tree in the middle of the road there on my left, all lit up with Christmas lights was a large house and a lit path leading to a large enclosed Palapa. As we got out of our car, we were greeted by an older gentleman wearing a chef’s apron and speaking in a thick Spanish accent. I knew we were in for a treat so stay tuned I promise to get to dinner, next column.


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