Why it’s taken me nine years of living in Los Angeles to drive a few hours and cross the border into Mexico is a mystery to me. Well, not so mysterious I guess. Maybe I was nervous, things weren’t always so peaceful and safe down there, and the thought of waiting hours in line in my car to cross back into the States wasn’t appealing either. But the food/wine/beer scene in Tijuana, Ensenada, and Valle de Guadalupe was calling my name. So I answered the phone and was like, “Hello. I’M COMING.”
I went down with my boyfriend for a quick but relaxing four-day getaway. We stayed in Playa La Mision near La Fonda closer to the beach, but right off the main route that takes you straight into Valle de Guadalupe wine country. We ate and drank a lot of great things while we were there, but one of my favorite meals was our lunch at La Cocina de Doña Esthela. The food was homemade, fresh, flavorful, simple, and humble. You know you’re at a legit place when even the free snacks that come to your table upon arrival are top notch. Cool and creamy quesco fresco, spicy tangy salsa roja, and just-fried chips.
But the real star of the show – in our enchiladas, or a gordita stuffed with cheese and chorizo, or wrapped around slow-roasted beef and dipped into cilantro + onion-flecked jus – were the handmade tortillas. Made by that lovely goddess right next to our table in the picture above. Praise.
I highly recommend a visit here for lunch when you’re out tasting wine in the valley. I also had great experiences at: Finca Altozano, Corazon de Tierra, Loncheria La Mision (get the chilaquiles), Magañas (tasty cheap as hell margaritas), and Erizo (tostadas and local craft beer) in Tijuana. I’ll be back up again soon to check out more of the wine (and food) scene, but I really enjoyed my visits to Lechuza and Vena Cava. If you want to dig a little deeper, Life & Food is an amazing resource for all things Baja. And if you want to see more pictures of my trip, make sure to check out and follow my Instagram (@ubriaca) for this and more adventures.