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The Baja Storyteller
By Martina

La Estancia Restaurant

By Martina

La Estancia Baja

For the adventure

Baja California is all about adventure and its mysteries. Getting off the beaten path is one sure way to discover parts of Baja that offer just that. La Estancia is waiting for you. For the adventurer, a trip into the hills in search of good food, makes a destination into a delightful journey. Mystery comes from not knowing, and the dirt road into unknown foothills just south of Rosarito is no exception. La Estancia beckons you onward and the rewards include diving into a delicious hot meal.

Starting out on the free road at the La Fonda exit you will pass the historic pueblo of La Misíon. All that is left of the mission are a few adobe bricks melting back into the soil that created them. The pass up through the mountain is a very exciting switchback with wild flower gardens clinging to shear rock on one side and a plummeting drop on the other. Reaching the higher plateau the road levels out across a wide stretch of grazing land. An expansive vista of the eastern mountain range of Sierra Blanca opens up. After the recent rains all the hills, once dry scrub, are sporting a fuzzy green blanket. You will be climbing again and sliding down the other side into a lush green agricultural valley. Look now for the road signs of La Estancia, you will find them well placed albeit a bit weathered. Continue until you see a coco stand on the left where you can buy a whole coconut with a straw inserted to drink the fresh milk of the fruit. A very large sign announces the dirt road entrance and you can ask the women at the stand. Just 10 minutes they say, maybe closer to fifteen, if you aren’t racing. This is where you can almost feel the history of this area. A small team of horses run along the road with an irregular fencing of tree branches. Off in the distance there is what has to be the restaurant, poised high on a hilltop. You know you are in for a climb. While the road is wide and graded, it is not cut “through” the hills, but rather goes over the top of them. This creates extreme 45 degree pitches. One slope was so extreme that when I reached the top, I couldn’t see over the hood of my car. I went on faith that there was actually a road going down the other side.

La Estancia Baja

Making the top of the grade, the lovely wooden A-frame structure looked like a ski chalet. Great water wheels guarded the entrance. Stepping inside, the décor is like a modern hunting lodge. A fire burns in the stone fireplace and animal lovers might have to be forewarned as game animals hang on the walls, including a buffalo head. After a little research, it was found that buffalo did in fact roam northern Mexico. Antiques abound: an old crank telephone and saddles from yesteryear. A friendly staff is right there to greet you. The building is much larger than it looks from the outside. There is the main floor dining with fire place and unique wood paneling which has a vast view of the valley below. On one wall hangs a huge fur pelt that one can only guess belonged to the buffalo head on the far wall.

A small corner table gives a panoramic view and the bright green junipers sway in the passing breeze. The menu has an intriguing selection of grilled steaks and pork chops. Rack of lamb and garlic quail are to be considered and the selection of seafood from calamari and shrimp to grilled salmon steaks is ample. I ordered a glass of LA Cetto cabernet sauvignon, enjoying the velvety smooth finish. While I waited for my lunch, I began to write my impressions. The staffs' laughter from the kitchen told me the food would be very good and the music of soulful Mexican ballads set the tone. Intrigued by the wood patterns built into the construction, I saw it as an art form of sunlight, shadows and wood textures. I stopped as the waiter brought the soup; tiny diced peppers, tomato and tender white beans. Vegetarians will need to request that the chicharón be removed. This was followed by the salad of thick blue cheese clinging to crisp romaine leaf. I was not prepared for the main course. A feast for the eyes! On a large oval platter an orange slice was on fire. The presentation received oohs and aahs. Two thick pork chops sizzled on the hot pewter dish and were nestled in with a fat baked potato and a large mound of creamy guacamole. This was fit for a hardworking ranch hand, but I decided I was up to the challenge and dug in.

A stream of people began to flow downstairs. A festive gathering of a hundred or more made the staff snap to attention and go into action. La Estancia is obviously known for accommodating very large groups. The bartender had his hands full blending frothy piña coladas and shots of tequila, while twinkle lights illuminated the glassware overhead. Later, filled to capacity and carrying a doggie bag, I wandered around the outer patio. Everything was washed in late afternoon sunshine. Quiet history still clung to the view below. Driving back down the mountain, I passed several beautiful cabanas which La Estancia rents, accommodations for 8 to 10 people. The architecture of all wood exteriors had the same mountain chalets feel: inside wood paneled, spacious and modern, yet homey. To say this was worth the drive is an understatement, making this a great weekend destination from San Diego.

La Estancia Baja La Estancia Baja

Contact:
Open 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm.
From the US 011-52-661-613-0695
restaurant.laestancia(at)hotmail.com

Martina's email: mteomaya(at)gmail.com

4.8 81 Reviews
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    Jose Paez
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    Had a great experience getting insurance at Baja Bound, before I always stoped at the border to purchase my insurance, not anymore. By the...

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    Stefano Pensa
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    I talked with Yara and she was extremely helpful. She took the time to explain the different options available to me and I was able to get...

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    JUSTINE SERRANO
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    I purchased insurance through them & CHUBB for our trip to San Felipe. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to our vehicle having an oil...

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    Christian Minor
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    Team were on point, provided inside information, prices were great and they had my proposal already in the system when I called back....

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    Joey Digiovanni
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    Easy to work with 😉. Always courteous and helpful

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    George
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    Excellent customer service

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    Kellye Pummill
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    Fast and easy!

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    robert kepper
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    They are very good . There website  doesn't show you need a title to bring  a  vehicle across the border.I was stopped and told I had to...

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    Jennifer Toups
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    Baja Bound is and has been my go to Mexico insurance company.  The website is extremely easy to use, keeps all your info for a quick...

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    Cesar Lopez
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    Very convenient,  great price !!

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    Louis Schneidman
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    I had an awesome experience with Baja Bound.  Family owned and highly personal, top notch customer service.  I have total peace of mind...

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    Phil Noble
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    If you’re looking for Mexican Insurance that you can trust and feel good about while traveling in Mexico, you’ve found the right place....

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    Jeff Bunker
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    Great coverage options . Price buy and print policy , very quick and easy , highly recommend them when driving in Mexico

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    Burrell DeVine
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    Easy to navigate and very competitively priced! I had to call in and add an additional day, they couldn't have been any more pleasant to...

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    Nereyda Torres
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    Me gusta la asuguranza porque la puedes comprar por un dia y te asegura en Mexico por el tiempo que vas ya sea hasta por mes (Translated...

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    james whitmer
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    Best insurance I've had so far

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    Rail1riders
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    Quick, easy, well designed website and not just for Baja. Good rates for temporal residente gringos. We’re not living in Jalisco. Printed...

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    Matt B
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    I always use Baja Bound to source my insurance while traveling to Mexico.  Fortunately, I have not had to file any claims. I do appreciate...

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    Refugio I. Rochin
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    Excellent online and by direct phone. Spanish and English with proven response to questions. Website is very informative about driving in...

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    Kelly Carney
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    Yara is very helpful and explains everything. Love working with companies like this.

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    Slumdog Gump
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    Changed some money. Good rate and friendly people.

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    Jeff G
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    Went down to TJ June 11 2020 No problems going into TJ but the way back was a ordeal 6 hours in line to get back into the USA  but no...

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    don letson
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    Great renewal process, if only south Dakota would do the same for car registration.

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    len buckholtz
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    SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD. OLD GUYS LIKE THAT. WILL DEFINITELY USE IN 6 MONTHS IF STILL RUNNING AROUND THE WILDS OF BAJA.

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    Susana Judd
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    Easy, quick and fair prices. Easy to deal with if needed.

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    Seismic Waterfinder
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    Very excellent service, needed insurance for Mexico, price was fair. The custumer service rep was Yara

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    Nicolas Dervé
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    Very good ans very fast. We hope all will ben good if we need it.

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    Blake Glassco
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    I will never drive south of the border without Baja Bound in my center console. I was in an accident a couple hours south of Ensenada and...

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    JohnPaul Gemelli
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    Baja Bound could not have made it an easier ... also, I made a mistake and called them having to leave a message ... but, they called back...

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    Jeff Brandt
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    so far so good, however I have read good things about them