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WSJ: "Best Fish Tacos in Baja California, Mexico"

From the above-referenced article:

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The history of the Baja fish taco is somewhat murky. It is served throughout the peninsula, a narrow, mostly arid spit of land that extends for almost 800 miles along Mexico's northwestern coast (the state of Baja California occupies the peninsula's upper half). But two spots in the northernmost part of the region—Ensenada and San Felipe, a speck of a town between the parched landscape of the Baja Desert and the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez—claim to have invented the dish. The supporting evidence is anecdotal at best.
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Read it all here: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/S...

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  1. It might be bad for your health to dine in Mexico right now. I think I will restrict my fish tacos to San Diego.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Antilope

      It might be bad for your diet to dine in San Diego right now.

      1. re: Antilope

        The violencia is mostly confined to the eastern parts of Tijuana and there aren't any fish taco foodie destinations there :-).

        The reality these days is that the food in TJ is better...more interesting & more creative. The dining scene in San Diego is rather mundane & pedestrian

        1. re: DiningDiva

          so what's the best fish taco in Mexico ????

          1. re: kevin

            In Tijuana or in Mexico?

            Traditional or specialty?

            1. re: DiningDiva

              Traditional. Anywhere in Mexico.

              1. re: kevin

                Taco Fish La Paz on a street corner in Guadalajara

                I also very much like the non-traditional tacos at Kokopelli in Tijuana

      2. What's the wait time like to cross back to the US, I think that would be a deal breaker for a few tacos.

        6 Replies
        1. re: treb

          Treb, a Baja fish taco experience should be at least a 3 day excursion.

          1. re: Veggo

            A Baja taco crawl, interesting! Please elaborate a bit.

            1. re: treb

              I did a well-lubricated trip through Ensenada, then across to the Cortez side to Santa Rosalia and Rosarito, then to La Paz for a week to eat more. Then I took the ferry from Pichilingue to Mazatlan to carry on. Next San Blas (cool place - cenotes, pineapples, beware the skeeters) followed by Guadalajara where I made some money at the cock fights and stayed a week at a med school dorm, then D.F. a while. Good chow the whole way. My favorites were the marlin tacos and smoked marlin and the turtle steaks in Mazatlan and ceviche and oysters.

          2. re: treb

            On a weekend the trip back to the US at the SD POE can be upwards of 5 hours by car.

            If you're secreting drugs in your car, the trip back to the US can take as long as 10 years. Weekend or weekday.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Holy cow. I haven't lived in San Diego since 1999, but the wait back then was an hour at absolute most.

              1. re: LorenzoGA

                You need a cooler with iced beer, 3 per hour, empty at the crossing. Makes you guess a bit.

          3. Spring Break in San Felipe in the '80s always involved fish tacos. I believe the fish was corvina. Ensenada is definitely the heart of fish taco land, but it sounds like the foodies have "discovered" it--I moved away some time ago and have no idea what it's like there nowadays. When I lived in San Diego there was no Internet, and finding fish taco stands was mainly by word of mouth. No disagreement with this article, and I even learned a few things. I had never heard the speculation that Japanese immigrants may have had a hand in the fish taco.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LorenzoGA

              When I lived in Tijuana in the very early 80s, the fish of choice for fish tacos was always cazón: baby shark. Absolutely delicious. I still remember the thrill of eating my first one, in 1981, from a cart on the street in Ensenada. I'd eat one now, if there were a decent one in Mexico City.

              Today, the closest thing in Central Mexico to Baja fish tacos is Taco Fish La Paz, in Guadalajara. This street stand, in Guadalajara's Centro Histórico, is the real deal.

              http://mexicocooks.typepad.com/mexico...

              Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

            2. Please disregard the trolls.

              That being said, the WSJ "Journal of Record" article is a fair representation, if not comprehensive or up-to-the-minute.

              Dining Diva is an expert on the up-to-the-minute dining scene in TJ and I second her advice.

              I live on the coast, halfway between TJ and Ensenada and here are some reliable and delicious places to try, listed north to south.

              Tacos JR, on the free road, just south of the Rosarito Beach Hotel. If you sit on the enclosed patio in the back, you get a small slice of ocean view. We have known the family for years and they serve ifresh, cooked to order fish and shrimp tacos, along with quesaron,and aguachile. Along with the beautiful food, the condiments always include a bowl of xnepec, the marinated red onions that are a specialty of the Yucatan. Along with pico de gallo and many various other salsas, they have a jar of hot sauce inside on the counter that is marked with a skull-and-crossbones warning. I have tried it - once.

              Farther south, another Tacos JR (Tijuana) and no relation to the above. The menu is more varied and I think they offer carne asada as well as fish and shrimp tacos. The outdoor picnic tables offer an expansive ocean. We like this place, too, but usually to the other JR's because we know the family.

              Much farther south, past Cantamar in Primo Tapia, Mariscos Alegria. Freshly prepared-to-order fish and shrimp tacos and I had a killer shrimp and oyster cocktail the other day.

              Splash Restaurant is next,in Campito off the Ensenada Libre exit on the toll road. A gringo steak-and-seafood favorite with full bar and breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. I had killer fried oysters and a fish taco and a shrimp taco there two weeks ago.

              Ensenada is forty miles from us to the south and we haven't visited for a while.

              27 Replies
              1. re: Gypsy Jan

                Cool. Let's take it to Ensenada, then El Rosarito?

                1. re: Veggo

                  Road Trip!

                  I am game if someone else (reliable) is driving.

                  Recent reports say that the slip-and-fall toll road from the Miramar outlook to the toll booth at El Sauzal is slipping and falling again.

                  Maybe the Baja 1000 drivers who did the race today will have more-up-date road reports, hopefully, something better than, "Bro, I was thundering down the road and then I was airborne!"

                  1. re: Gypsy Jan

                    GJ, I have scars from that trip. I was airborne, until it hurt. 980 miles.
                    It hurt, I repeat for emphasis.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      You are a better man than I - oh wait, I am not a man :)

                      1. re: Gypsy Jan

                        Ladies are not discouraged. But I can guarantee not everything will go according to plan.
                        EDIT: nothing will go according to plan.

                  1. re: Gypsy Jan

                    Hey Gypsy Jan, would you be interested in showing off your local food area to some turistas? We are hopping in the convertible monday morning, completely leaving thanksgiving behind in the states, and spending 9 days eating in your neck of the woods!

                      1. re: SUmoldoll

                        What a fun road trip that'll be :-)

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          La Paz could easily be within striking distance. I think it's the prettiest place in Baja Sur, and good food. CSL is OC.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Hola mi amor!
                            East Cape is where its at..

                            After 30 years going to Cabo and tho' I love it, I long for the old school Mex that I grew up with and friends rave of Rancho Leonero Resort for the food and great fishing and diving.

                            Friends say the food is off the chain and its all line caught fish and local produce.

                            Looking to fly down from SD early Spring for 5 days..2 hour flight to either La Paz or San Jose del Cabo.

                            This is your kind of place to poppi..
                            xo,
                            Viva 916 novia

                            www.rancholeonero.com

                            1. re: Beach Chick

                              Voy a leer y mirar mas de alli! Parece bonita, it's beautiful, and I sure enjoy dorado, guapa!
                              Besos

                              1. re: Veggo

                                Dorado fresca is fantastic but they are such a pretty fish and when I catch them, I always release them and tell them lo siento pesca..
                                ; )

                            2. re: Veggo

                              90 minute flight from TJ :-)

                              I need to visit, I have only heard good things about LP

                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                The only place in Baja Sur with history and architecture. Worthwhile, DD. And you will eat well. Some would say honeymoon quality.

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Hmmm...pretty much a confirmed old bachlorette here, but never say never...right ;-)

                                  I just checked my vacation balance right before I left work today. It said I had 61 vacation days!! So always time for another little trip.

                                2. re: DiningDiva

                                  DD..
                                  You would love La Paz and East Cape!

                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                    I already do like the East Cape :-). But for some reason La Paz has always missed my travel schedule. I have some time coming in February and lots and lots of vacation days, perhaps it's time...

                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                      If you've got a lot of time, you can take the ferry over from La Paz to Mazatlan or Topo..
                                      The isla's off La Paz have some of the best diving.
                                      I've not a fan of Mazatlan but to go over for a couple of days would be fun.

                                      www.bajaferries.com.mx

                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                        I took that ferry when it was an old slow boat and the crossing was 24 hours (of fun). I think the new boat is 14 hours. It leaves from Pichilingue near La Paz.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          Part of the fun was provided by the large jug of home made pulque I bought at the dock. I went to Mazatlan. Saw hundreds of flying fish, it looked like you could have caught them in a butterfly net with a long pole. I didn't yet know how delicious flying fish eggs are. Cool critters with great predator escape techniques. They can glide 100M through the air.

                                          1. re: Veggo

                                            Now, if you had a bottle of Raicilla, that Indian homemade liquor, with you, the darn things would have landed on your lap.

                                            1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                              OMG..someone else knows about that wicked Mex moonshine!
                                              Friends from PV and their crew came into SD marina and brought this stuff out..
                                              I just had a sip but others had a shot or two and were out in the heliosphere.

                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                I have heard that you can purchase it from the local .Kumeyaay here. It's legal for the indigenous population in Mexico to produce it for "personal use".

                                3. re: Veggo

                                  Can't beat the history and cerviche in Loreto if you want Eastern Baja.

                                  1. re: glbtrtr

                                    Hot, dusty memories there, but one of my first introductions to ceviche!

                              2. re: SUmoldoll

                                That's a great possible possibility - but we had better take this to my email before the mods get their knickers in a twist.

                                Write to me - ohanahui@yahoo.com

                            3. Stay at the former La Quinta chain Mision Santa Maria south of San Quintin. Then walk along the beach heading north until you get to the trailer camp site and visit the fish taco stand there - used to be one dollar and they remain a standard by which all others are now judged. Hope they are still there and still just as good.