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Los Quesotraficos take on the TJ Cartel:KR and SGLA do TJ and Ensenada

I started out smuggling extra bottles of alcohol past customs, but when I began to smuggle Mexican cheese and Chicharon prensado, I had now hit rock bottom.Like KaireRaisu, I had to air out my bag after crossing the border on Sunday to get rid of the queso sicho de Guerrero smell out of my backpack.Actually, I didn't mind at all.If Homeland Security didn't have enough to worry about............

This weekend, KR and I did 36 hours in Tijuana and Ensenada where we ate at 16 different restaurants/stands, by my count,reconed another dozen establishments, smoked Cuban cigars,"tasted" fine Mexican beers, drank Baja wines,slammed tequila con vivora,did a tequila tasting, a barrel tasting at La Escuelita,braved the mean streets of Tijuana in the wee hours of the morning, and experienced the "Miles Davis" of the culinary world in Benito Molina, a true bon vivant.

This report shall be a joint effort between KR and I, who will also be throwing up those delicious photos as the narrative unfolds.Here are the highlights of our trip.

Chapter 1)Ensenada the Benito way.

The mission.Meet the chef extraordinaire for a little taste of Ensenada and trip to La Escuelita, the wine school located in Francisco Zarco and run by the great Valle de Guadalupe winemaker, Hugo D'Acosta.

After stopping for a fabulous fish taco located about 5 blocks behind the main drag, and having an Ensenada style ceviche tostada at El Guero, we were ready to hang with Benito.Now, I like Mariscos El Guero, the guys are great and the mariscos fresh and tasty, but alas, I will not be returning.Why?Benito took us to El Guerrerense, the place he mentioned on a previous post about Ensenada for the best seafood stand of our lives and I will now only go here for mariscos on the street.This place is the Water Grill sobre ruedas.Exquisite tostadas of bacalao,sublime tostadas de herizo(urchin) topped with the profoundly delicious local clams, a huarache(giant oyster), and fresh abulon served unadorned.The superlative Ensenada style ceviche de pescado tostada, finely chopped. The agua fresca de cebada!Amazing! I never imagined such a level of street cuisine, in fact, I don't know many fine restaurants that could achieve such amazing flavor and creativity.We are ruined.Sorry El Guero, but I have to move on.

The genius of Miles Davis(Benito is a fellow jazz lover) was his ability take fine local ingredients and let them play.In the 50's, Coltrane,Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and "Philly" Joe Jones;the 60's,Tony Williams, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Herbie Hancock.This is the brilliance of Benito Molina, and his restaurants Manzanilla, Silvestre, and Muelle Tres, the latter of which we had the priviledge of dining with the maestro himself.Benito's cooking talent is only rivaled by his generosity and passion for the finer things in life.That fresh cut rose and view of the Valle.... It takes a sybarite to know one, verdad?Bigotes, eres mi hermano, totalmente!Super bien chido,buey! Anyways, go to Benito's restaurants when in town,any or all of them.Go to La Guerrerense and any of the places Benito talks about in his posts.If you miss these places you are not in Ensenada and will be forgoing true chow worthy destinations.

More to follow:
KR, the barrel tasting at La Escuelita and degustacion at Muelle Tres.Go!Let 'em
see those pix.

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  1. "smoked Cuban cigars,"tasted" fine Mexican beers, drank Baja wines,slammed tequila con vivora,did a tequila tasting, a barrel tasting at La Escuelita,braved the mean streets of Tijuana in the wee hours of the morning"

    "This report shall be a joint effort between KR and I, who will also be [throwing up] those delicious photos as the narrative unfolds.Here are the highlights of our trip."

    Quite understandable!

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

      Looking forward to read about your experience. Won't be able to go home this year but will live it through your words.

      By the way, if you see Benito and Solage tell them Pedro and Monique say hi!!

      1. Kentucky Fried Buches

        If there is any doubt on how amazingly chingon [& naco :^)] streetgourmetla is, I offer you the fact that this is the first place he took me to at 1:30am, only an hour into our crossing into Mexican soil and start of our trip.

        I don't think there is a better restaurant that exists that better exemplifies the Tijuana after hours experience than this temple of the chicken neck. The idea is comedic, strange, pioneering, and fascinating all at the same time.

        We slipped in from the streets of Zona Norte, sat down under the fluorescent lights and street simply stated una ordene.

        What arrived changed my life - we are still talking about KFB even this morning. Considering the name, you might expect to be served food that could be considered a joke as well and far from serious cuisine.

        But I'd be damned if the plate of crunchy, salty and juicy chicken necks flanked by a salsa cruda that could be argued is crack laced (hey its Zona Norte cabrones) was not one of my most pivotal dining experiences ever.

        Add to the mix a stack of supple sweated white corn tortillas and a ton of napkins....and heaven.

        Next time you find yourself in Zona Norte and see the sign - Don't just wet your pants laughing at it - go in and experience the chicken neck love that is KFB.

        Pictures:
        http://www.ericrench.com/MEXICO/TIJUA...

        2 Replies
          1. re: kare_raisu

            This entire thread is just wonderul and very helpful for those of us who travel in northern Baja in search of good/great food. But . . . the link to your recipe for Kentucky Fried Buches salsa (off of the website containing your pictures of KFB) doesn't work. Could you please either fix the link or post the recipe here? I'm more than a little curious. Thanks.

          2. I am so jealous. Seafood, wine, tequila, jazz AND Benito? UURRGGGHHHH

            P.S. I've met a number of Mexican chefs over the years and they are (by far) some of the nicest people in the world and extremely generous.

            1. Awesome, cant wait to hear about more of this debauchery.

              I've always wondered about KFB, I definetly need to check it. Whats the exact location of La Guerrerense ?????