<![CDATA[In my last column I wrote about the holidays here in San Felipe, Baja California and I got such a good response that I figured let’s try another one (seeing as how I have plenty of time on my hands). In this column I’m going to write about food because it’s one of the great values of living here. Sure, I still miss the selection and quality of the Nugget Markets where I used to shop every week but what I don’t miss is the hundred plus dollars I would spend each time, and for just the two of us. Here at El Dorado Ranch (EDR), the development where we live, they have a Saturday “Swap Meet” where there are all types of vendors set up. There are still some actual swap people selling dune buggy parts, used tools, housewares and the like but the majority are locals trying to make a living. There are stalls filled with souvenir t-shirts, clothing, blankets, pottery, metal art, and on and on. There are fresh baked goods, sausage, produce, eggs, and seafood. Diane and I mainly go for the produce and seafood so that when we go into town to the grocery store we only need staples like milk, cereal, canned goods, and wine. We’ve found some very nice Baja wines in the $5 price range so that’s good. But let’s get back to the swap meet and the seafood because I still can’t believe the prices. It’s still a little confusing because I need to convert kilos to pounds and pesos to dollars but as best as I can figure I’m getting fresh shrimp for around $6 per pound so needless to say we’ve been eating a lot of it. Shrimp tacos, shrimp pasta, shrimp stir fry, and today I’m making a seafood stew with fish and shrimp. I did buy some chicken last week at the grocery store because no matter the price you can still only eat so much shrimp before you need a change. In Winters, Diane and I weren’t ones to go out to eat very often, usually on special occasions, but we would get takeout once every week or two and that hasn’t really changed for us here either. The takeout we’ve been getting is pizza because there’s a little place down the road that sells a large pizza for 200 pesos which is around $10, and the taste and quality rivals the ones you get from Putah Creek Café. We do like to go every few weeks to another restaurant just across the road from EDR that specializes in seafood. Now I know people either love them or hate them, but we love raw oysters and this restaurant has them for 80 pesos per half dozen or about $4. These are farm raised on the Pacific coast of Baja just like the ones you get from Hog Island but the last time we got those I think we paid $18 for a half dozen. We each get six oysters and share a chilled appetizer platter with shrimp, octopus, and scallops, add a glass of wine and some garlic bread and you have our perfect meal all for around 25 bucks plus tip, not a bad deal. Oh, did I mention that on Saturdays there is a duo of violin and guitar playing live music, just even more perfect. Just down the road from this restaurant, tucked behind a small market and next to a lumber yard is another restaurant that has great Mexican (or do we call it local/native) food. A few kilometers in the other direction is the cantina at Pete’s Camp with a great mix of foods and a terrace overlooking the Sea of Cortez, then past that is the club house for EDR that on Fridays has dollar night with your choice of margaritas, tacos, chili rellenos, and a couple of other items all for $1 each, what a value. There are also a couple of bars that serve food (we haven’t tried them yet) as well as a two breakfast/lunch places all within a five-minute drive from our house. If we wanted too, we could do like some of the other retired people we’ve met and eat all our meals out for not much more than it costs to buy groceries. All this within a short distance from home, but if we want to venture the 10 minutes into the town of San Felipe there are many, many more places to try. There is everything from Chinese to Sushi, Italian to Argentinean, and did I mention a taco cart or asado stand on almost every block. So much to try and explore, we just can’t wait. Now believe it or not my plan with this column was to tell you about the place we went to dinner for Diane’s birthday but I’m out of room so let me just leave you with a teaser; Paco Y Miguel’s prix fixe three-course dinner $22.]]>
Baja Bites: Birthday dinner
Edmund and Diane explore the local cuisine options for Diane’s birthday dinner.