If you read my post Ejido Erendia 19 you’ll know that I popped down to Baja not too long ago with a couple of pretty cool cats. That post let you in on a small and whimsical sliver of our adventure. However, unbeknownst to you, I left out the crucial impetus for our trip, which was, gloriously, to EAT FOOD. In particular, street food. So I’ve prepared a little tour. Once again, this is only a glimmer, the tip of the proverbial ceviche tostada (as they say). If this list doesn’t make you want to visit Baja, I don’t know what will.
Walk with me…
Caution: Consuming less than recommended doses could be dangerous.
1. La Guerrerense
Let’s cut right to the chase, La Guerrerense is the mecca of all food carts. If you find pleasure in eating you cannot visit Ensenada without stopping by her stall. This wonderful woman has served ceviche tostadas to the people for decades and is described by some as running “the best food cart in the world.” Check her out here and here. Her fresh, limey seafood mash-ups are TO DIE and include fish, mussels, pismo clam, sea snail, shrimp, sea urchin, abalone, octopus, and crab. She also serves delectable tomato based clam and oyster cocktails topped with sliced avocado. Garnish whatever you order with scoops of homemade salsa in an array of flavors (and take a jar home with you!) And if your mouth is burning from the chili grab a refreshing cup of milky “agua de cebada” for relief.
Find her: On the corner of 1st and Alvarado
Eat: Fish or clam tostadas with peanut chili and mango salsa
Dose: Two tostadas and one clam cocktail to be taken with agua de cebada thrice weekly on sunny days. Visit often, particularly for brunch.
Possible side effects: May induce sensation of tiny dancers happily prancing on your tongue.
2. Tacos Marco Antonio
Right behind La Guerrerense on the leader board is Marco Antonio’s. He’s got a more permanent setup, tucked away in the neighborhood. The open air seating is covered by blue tarps to protect from the rain and sun and you’ll see Marco’s jolly caricature painted on the wall outside. This place makes wonderful tacos but their real claim to fame is their signature fish stew. Eat it on a taco or right out of the cup. This steaming creamy mixture looks simple but the flavors will blow you away.
Find him: Ave Rayon between 3rd and 4th
Eat: Fish stew
Dose: One large cup of fish stew to be taken once weekly with water. Increase dosage on cold days or when it rains.
Possible side effects: Warm and fuzzy feelings with a propensity for smiling at strangers.
3. Tacos de Pescado de Ensenada
And now, finally, for some proper fish tacos! The pride of Ensenada, you can find fish tacos many places but I venture to say this cart is one of my very favorite purveyors of this fine delicacy. The fish is light and flaky and fried to perfection. The tortillas are fresh and the condiments ample.
Find them: On the corner of Gastélum and 5th
Eat: Fish tacos with guac, cabbage and salsa
Dose: Two fish tacos taken thrice weekly (increase dosage when on holiday).
Possible side effects: The urge to dive head first into a lake of homemade salsa and float off into the sunset.
Disclaimer: Highly addictive
4. “The place next to Hussong’s”
This place gets extra points for flair. Hunker down on one of the stools that surround the grill and enjoy the panache of the dudes behind the counter. They’re super fun and serve up a top-notch taco (served plain so you can gussy it up yourself). Choose from numerous bowls of delicious toppers (salsa, radish, cabbage, white sauce, pickled veggies, guac…) to make your taco just right. The fish tacos here are excellent but don’t ignore the meat options.
Find them: Open front bar style taquaria next to Hussong’s Bar on Ruiz between 1st and 2nd, open late
Eat: Carne asada taco in a flour tortilla
Dose: A taco a day keeps the Dr away. Take six tacos weekly with cerveza. For best results: rotate between carne asada, pescado, pollo, and carne cerdo.
Possible side effects: Development of taco dependency is likely.
5. Mercado de Mariscos
Take in the sights and smells of the local fish market. Leer at massive clams, piles of crab legs, chunks of smoked marlin and tuna, and piles of fresh fish. Impress your travelling friends by preparing a deluxe seafood meal to share.
Find it: At the end of Miramar where it meets the water
Eat: The smoked fish
Dose: One large hunk of smoked marlin and one bag of crab legs to be taken weekly and shared with others.
Possible side effects: A surprising tendency to whistle while you work.
6. Puesto Fenix
This is yet another great spot for tacos of all kinds. Watch out for the pickled vegetables, they are no joke! Those delicious things will burn a hole straight through your tongue. As an added bonus, this stall seemed to be open later than most others.
Find them: Espinoza at Av Benito Juárez
Eat: Fish taco with pickled veggies
Dose: Two taken twice weekly with water on rambling walks home.
Possible side effects: An eagerness to explore uncharted territory.
Not to be forgotten, indulge yo-self worthy, extra mentions
Margie’s favorite snack: chicharrones
It is always best to supplement your main meals with tasty snacks. Margie’s favorite is a bag of chicharrones smothered in orange sauce. Eat while taking in the ocean view and pondering the people occupying the massive cruise ships in the harbor.
Options galore: tortas
It’s hard to go wrong in Ensenada. Tacos de Pescados de Ensenada was closed the first time we tried to visit but a great torta cart was open right across the street. Know that there is always a delicious alternative just around the corner.
Find this particular alternative on Gastélum between 4th and 5th
For your sweet tooth: fruit popsicles
Keep walking one block past Hussong’s and pop into the ice cream store there for some delicious fruit popsicles. They come in every flavor you could want!
Finally, a place to enjoy good company and to rest your tired head and full belly before embarking on the next day of taste bud adventuring.
Find them on 2nd between Av Floresta and Aveida Guadalupe
The Tijuana eating map, inspired by Anthony Bourdain.