I’ve never really been a breakfast person. Perhaps because I usually wake up hours before sunrise and by the time the morning meal is due, it feels like it should be lunchtime. That all changes for me in Baja where breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are eaten daily - like a real person should. Chow time in the morning becomes a fantastic leisurely event, with loads of coffee, stacks of tortillas and chatter of lunchtime fare. Here are a few dishes that are in constant rotation, no matter where I’m at on the peninsula.
Tortilla Soup, Tripui Restaurant – Puerto Escondido
There is only one hotel in Puerto Escondido and it recently got a full, semi-luxe revamp. I can remember when this little section just south of Loreto off Highway 1 was run down, a sad pit stop toward points further south, but that has all changed. The charming hotel (with a wonderful pool) is quietly booming and the marina is on the up and up as well. A few savvy developers recently purchased the waterfront land, and they are selling seaside property at a rapid pace, each plot coming with its own slip. Nothing compares to the idea of owning a house, on the beach, with your own boat slip…especially when you can easily grab a delicious, home cooked meal at Hotel Tripui just down the way. I tend to make tortilla soup an any-time-of-day thing and thankfully so does the Tripui Restaurant. Their version is a meatless, incredibly rich bowl of hot bliss topped with creamy avocado, crema, crispy chips and crumbles of soft cheese. Slurping up heaping bites of soup at 8 am while gazing over a deserted lapping pool is pretty much akin to being in paradise. But Baja style, if you know what I mean?
Huevos Rancheros, Los Equipales – Mulege
My relationship with eggs is solid and I can easily wolf down a cool half dozen in one sitting, especially if they are scrambled. But, when it comes to the ever-popular huevos rancheros, all you really need are two. That’s because there are so many other elements that go into a perfect plate of ranch eggs. There are the soft tortillas the eggs are perched on. There’s the rich tomato and pepper sauce the eggs are bathed in. There’s the side of refried beans the eggs bleed into when cut open. And, of course there’s the sour cream, the limes, the wee salad, the fresh squeezed orange juice and the cups of hot coffee to round it all out. And, there is no place in the tiny village of Mulege more worthy of a pit stop than Los Equipales for this perfect morning fixation. First off, the vibe is old school Mexican – with soap operas spinning in the background, bright checkerboard tablecloths donning the white cast iron patio furniture, and sweet locals sharing their hellos at every table. If you can beat the regulars and score a breezy table near the windows, you will have an excellent view of the parade of folks who roll through the narrow streets of town looking for a place to hunker down. All they really need to do is park and come upstairs…it’s the perfect place to waste a morning burning up the free Wi-Fi.
Pozole, Los Olivos – Loreto
Now, I wouldn’t normally suggest getting pozole from a hotel restaurant; this is a dish that is usually best when found simmering away in a cauldron in a street shack down a dirt road. However, the version at the Sunday brunch that the La Mision hotel presents is like being kissed from angels over and over again. Let’s start with the view. Every table in the house overlooks the shimmering Sea of Cortez, so it’s quite easy to get entranced by the boat activity happening on the water. If it weren’t for the mouthwatering smells coming from the massive buffet, you could waste away the whole morning watching seagulls dive for their morning feast. But, the polished silver lids are just begging to be lifted to reveal their goodies. Eggs every way (including a chef making customized, to order omelettes), meats of all kinds, platters of fruits, slabs of pancakes and French toast, juices galore, desserts to die for. It’s all beautifully displayed and ready to be devoured each and every Sunday morning. All that goodness, but the only thing I can really focus on is their divine pozole. Bowl after bowl of lush pork filled broth topped with all the proper accouterments (radish, cilantro, oregano, crema) is the only thing I really care about at this elegant buffet…it’s just that good. And, seriously for less than $13 bucks, an all you can eat spread like this is the steal of the century, especially when it’s at the fanciest restaurant in town!