Antojitos "Mi Ranchito", Primo Tapia (Roughly Twelve Miles South of Rosarito Beach, Baja California)
This little gem is hidden away at the end of one of the anonymous concrete-faced storefronts on the west side of the main highway through town.
The glass front door opens into a impeccably clean, small-sized dining area which expands to two other dining rooms, on different levels, ending up at the back where there is an open kitchen.
The decor is a mix of personal and functional; there is a giant-sized fire extinguisher on the wall next to the anonymous framed pictures of pastures and other landscapes. Flimsy tables and chairs of unknown plastic origin populate the spaces. Two racks hold newspapers and magazines in Spanish and English left by customers.
But there is care evident in the placement of tableclothes (plastic) on the tables, the silverware is wrapped in a napkin and the napkin holder on the table is a small, two-handled Mexican clay pot with a decorative design.
And the food, yes, the food! A basket of very thin corn chips, fresh from the fryer, along with a cup of fierce, red salsa de arbol is delivered while you go through the menu.
The most expensive item on the menu is a shrimp dinner, prepared as you like it ("al gusto"), $75 pesos (apx. $7.00 US). We have tried the diabla style and it is the best I have ever encountered; well-balanced with the creamy and spicy and not "drowned".
The growling gourmet loves the omelettes; today he had mushrooms, onions, chorizo (hold the nopales), topped with cheese; it came rolled and perfectly cooked with no burned egg protein, This was accompanied by fresh fried potato wedges and rice (I think) plus a big basket of steaming-hot (Ouch!) tortillas. That was about $45 pesos (apx. $4.00 US).
They offer familiar Mexican staples - Tacos (fish and meat), and burritos, but there are some intriguing other items on the menu - sopes, gorditas and enchilada in mole, for example.
There is chicken breast meal prepared a couple of ways and pork ribs in barbacoa or green chile sauce, which I want to try.
But, oh my goodness, I can't get to anything else on the menu but the pescado al mojo de ajo (fish fillet in garlic butter sauce). It comes with a salad (lettuce, tomato, avocado), rice and beans. I know my meal is coming soon because I can smell the perfume of the garlic wafting from the kitchen. This feast costs $65 pesos (apx. $6.00 US).
Antojitos "Mi Ranchito"
Open 8:00 am to 8:30 pm