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Escamoles in Baja

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Retaurante Capricho in Ensenada has escamoles on its menu but it's seldom available. My wife is willing to spend the dollars/pesos to try ant eggs but the question is when. The restaurant claims there is a "season" for escamoles, but waiters don't give consistent answers as to when the season is. Most "eggs" don't have a season. Do escamoles? Google suggests that escamoles are usually available in Central Mexico (in restaurants that feature them) in March and April (before the rains come). But when we were in Ensenada in March, the waiter (who may be an idiot) said the season was autumn. And I have no idea whether escamoles at Capricho are "local" or whether they are from Central Mexico, e.g. Michoacán.

Chowhounder help would be appreciated.

Speaking of Ensenada, has Restaurante 623 reopened? The rumor was that it was out of business, but when we were there in March, the sign on the door said it was going to reopen (after remodeling) in late March. What's the truth?

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  1. I had escamoles in Toluca in May, but have no idea about their season.La Diferencia in Tijuana has escamoles, chapulines, and gusanos de maguey, but, not all the time.

    1. I had escamoles twice in D.F. last July. I was also told it was seasonal and depended upon the rainy season. I know the start date for the rainy season in central Mexico is variable but it is usually in the May-June time frame. Diccionario Enciclopedico de Gastronomia Mexicana by Ricardo Munoz says escamoles are usually acquired during March and April. Of all the insects Mexicans eat, escamoles are my favorite.

      1. Like Dining Diva, I had escamoles in DF in summer, I believe in early August. They are delightful.

        1. Hello !
          These eggs are seasonal !! The season goes April / May sometimes you can find them before and after dependinng on the weather ,chinicuiles go next in season and then gusanos de Maguey. You can find escamoles year round in mercado de San Juan in D.F. about $100 U.S a kg. of course that they are frozen when not in season . Baja does not have escamoles unfortunatly , they come from central Mexico. The traditional way to prepare them is sauted in butter with epazote acompanied with guacamole and corn tortillas. Last year during the Arzak de Oro competition in San Sebastian I won the prize for the most original Pintxo presenting Escamoles served over suckling pig crispy skin it was called " Caviar terrestre sobre crujiente de cerdo " The spanish chefs were totally blown away ,the contestants all try them and they love it. I`m not in Ensenada right now but when I get back I will find out if they have some in Caprichos and I will let you know , I ate some ther a couple weeks ago and they were fantastic.
          623 is still closed and it does not look like they are going to open any time soon.
          Another Ensenada note Silvestre in the Guadalupe Valley is now open for the 2008 season saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m t o 6 pm
          Salud

          2 Replies
          1. re: bigotes

            Is Silvestre open on Friday? We are headed down this weekend for Fiestas de la Vendimia. We would love to try all three of your restaurants if possible!

            1. re: ysp

              Silvestre will be open saturday and sunday.
              There will be a guest chef from Casa Oaxaca cooking in Ensenada saturday night where 623 used to be seating is very limited if you are interested let me know check the web page for Vendimia www.fiestasdelavendimia.com there is a section dedicated to gastronomy where it says Programa .
              Friday is probably the craziest nite in Ensenada of the year so recomendation is to have lunch in Manzanilla because at nite it will be a total circus , or Saturday but I strongly recomend eating the Oaxacan menu.

          2. We just had escamoles at Capricho's this past Friday(7/4) and they were paired a Baron Balche rose.Fantastico.Another great recommendation by Bigotes!! The wine and the escamoles.

            1 Reply
            1. re: streetgourmetla

              Thanks for the heads up streetgourmetla. It would be nice, since we get to Ensenada only 2-3 times a year, if we knew, in general, when seasonal things like escamoles regularly showed up in Ensenada restaurants. But since the escamoles don't come from Baja, I guess that's impossible. (Unlike knowing when the Baja grapes are harvested or when the huauzontle in the garden of El Taco de Huitzilopochtli is in season.)

              Maybe I'll just be brazen and, when we're thinking about coming down, just ask all you guys what's currently available and/or very good at the moment.

            2. This reply is obviously out of date, but I'm thinking that, since the esacmoles I've had are specifically from ant larvae found in the roots of the agave or maguey plant, there might very well be a season. And since most of the "good" agave and maguey is grown in the state of Jalisco, escamoles are probably not native to the region around Ensenada.

              They're not cheap in Jalisco, either!