pixel

In the Belly of Baja
By Misty Tosh

Two Fresh Bites in Baja that are Worth the Trip Alone!

By Misty Tosh
@bigsweettooth

Le Bistro Shrimp Loreto Bay

2018 is in full swing and with her came a whole new chunk of flavors south of the border. The seductive charms of the French, the intoxicating tastes of the sea and the power of the humble avocado are all showcased in this wee roundup of the two best new bites that I had on my latest crisscross through Baja.

Over the span of a few weeks, I traipsed solo from village to village, up and down Highway 1, and even though I tasted my way through super high-end restaurants and tiny, lowbrow cantinas, nothing beat this double threat of fresh eats. Each of them was literally mind boggling in their deliciousness….and simpler than ever in their presentation.

Le Bistro, Loreto Bay

Opening night, December 2017. I pretty much planned my whole trip around an opening date in early December that I caught wind of on a random local’s blog. If a French bistro was setting up shop in Loreto, then I needed to be there to witness this glory; especially since the words champagne and oysters were mentioned as the house specialty. But, once I rolled into town and saw what looked like an empty storefront, I thought, there is no way this place is opening in 48 hours. Not a chance. But, never underestimate the power of the glorious French and the fortitude of the Mexican locals on hand to make miracles happen. I was shocked to swing by two days later for the Grand Opening and see the doors flung open, the tables and chairs set just so and the twinkly outdoor lights shining.

A staff of what seemed like dozens were racing around the tiny spot putting the finishing touches on the charming veranda and wouldn’t you know it, I was the first person there at high noon. I took a seat and perused the chalkboard menu while a fresh bottle of cold champagne (their very first) was popped open and more potential guests wandered by…curious about the new joint in the community. They had a small offering of oysters, shrimp, specialty meats, smoked fish, cheeses, homemade jams, pates, and the like…all the typical findings one would expect in a local seaside mom-n-pop deep in the French Riviera. What I did not expect was the level of taste that hit me with every single bite. It’s as if they had taken seafood and incarnated it into everything it should always have been but one is rarely lucky enough to get a chef with magical hands that knows what to do with seafood. Which, by the way, is very little. Since I was dining solo, the kitchen was kind enough to give me split plates so I could try everything. A half-dozen oysters were shuffled out and slurped down (doused in lemon) within minutes. A half dozen shrimp perched on a slate slab showed up right after, with a mess of various butters to dip each poached crustacean in. The big surprise was the jar of curry butter. Who knew that flavor tingle even existed? Some kind of pickled sea algae flanked the butters and I couldn’t stop crunching on each little string. This was how seafood was supposed to be done; just quietly uncomplicated, with flavors of salt and the sea dominating each bite.

Le Bistro Loreto Bay

While all this was going on, the house crew was being corrected on the spot when they made slight faux pas and local vendors kept swinging by with bags of more seafood and ingredients. I love delivery service like that – if you call them, they will come, loaded to the gills with seasonal goods. The atmosphere was beyond festive – it’s as if all of France descended on this small colonial village just for the opening of this bistro. No less than half a dozen languages were being flung around from table to table and they might have run out of champagne before dinner service. I would consider that a good thing on Day 1 in a remote Mexican hamlet.

PS – I met a friendly couple as I was leaving and they demanded I try their smoked fish. That bite alone requires a whole new litany of ramblings. These folks got it going on and I cannot wait to slip back through in a month of so.

Regina, Loreto

Regina Loreto

What used to be called Agave is now called Regina. Why, I really don’t know. I’m sure it’s an owner change, a family feud or simply just a freshen up. No matter what the reason is, I can say that in 15 years of Loreto travel, I have never eaten at Agave. But, this time I gave Regina a try – blame it on the convivial mood surrounding the plaza one fine afternoon and the impeccable weather that gifts Baja this time of year. And also, the piping hot chocolate clams one solitary diner was inhaling.

Once I plopped down and ingested the menu though, my eyes landed on the avocado shrimp boat. Now there are three words that I would never put together and get excited about unless they were all three actually happening on my sailboat. But, not in a restaurant. The heavens steered me toward it though and in all my years, never did I expect such a tasty set up. It took a long spell for it to finally reach my table, but when it did, I just gazed at it for elongated minute. So much detail went into constructing this dish, it was extraordinary. From the crisp lettuce leaves set up like wings of an airplane to the shaved and pickled carrots, celery and cucumbers nestled underneath the avocado; it was as if the chef spent his whole morning prepping just those four ingredients. Nothing haphazard here! Then, perched on top of that tangle were two peeled avocados (thank you!) overflowing with what can only be described as a shrimp salad of the Promised Land. Big, thick chunks of local chopped shrimp and crisp chopped celery were bound together by luscious sour cream and not much else except a beautiful sprig of baby basil – ready to take its own flight.

Avocado Shrimp Boat Regina Loreto

Each nibble I took slowly turned into a full ravage of the whole plate. So much so that every tourist wandering by questioned what I was eating and then…based on my enthusiasm, grabbed a table. Talk about real time Instagram skills! This is the one dish in my latest two-week sojourn that I conjure up daily in my mind. I am almost scared to try and recreate it for fear of failing the original. Which can only mean one thing – time to head back to Baja!

4.7 112 Reviews
  • user logo
    Charles Gee
    From logo

    Incredibly fast and painless. Paid about $180 for a month of coverage. It was easier than going on line.

  • user logo
    Chyla Nava
    From logo

    Great, easy to use service. I haven't had to file a claim (and hope I never have to) but the online portal is very easy to use, and it's...

  • user logo
    Kierian Kuklok
    From logo

    I have been a customer for years and when I really needed them they stepped up in every way. I had a freak accident to my car and they...

  • user logo
    Lourdes Montoya
    From logo

    Easy, fast, and affordable.

  • user logo
    Aj Cornejo
    From logo

    Reasonable prices and we thought best chance to actually get results if we needed them.

  • user logo
    Adrianna Dorsey
    From logo

    Great company, great prices, and even better customer service. We've lived in Baja for 7 years and have used them for the past 6years....

  • user logo
    Gary Counts
    From logo

    So convenient and easy to navigate thru the online process. I'll never use any other Mexican insurance service!

  • user logo
    Joey Digiovanni
    From logo

    Easy to work with 😉. Always courteous and helpful. Have used them for all trips to Mexico. Easy website to navigate

  • user logo
    Jolene Bibian
    From logo

    Shauna at Baja Bound was AWESOME!! We had specific questions about how to quote the policy based on our vehicle type and she was super...

  • user logo
    Rebecca Newell
    From logo

    Great service!

  • user logo
    Maria Elena Smith
    From logo

    Easy and affordable.

  • user logo
    Mehdi Fahid
    From logo

    I reapplied for my Baja Bound Mexican car Insurance yesterday and I spoke to Ms. Shauna. This lady processed my application quickly and...

  • user logo
    Benjamin Driebe
    From logo

    Absolutely fantastic, I already forgot her name because I have a terrible memory but the woman that helped me on the phone was wonderful,...

  • user logo
    richard carr
    From logo

    fast replies and great price!

  • user logo
    Juan Zuniga
    From logo

    I just would like to know if you guys are going to update the fastpass direction any soon, during the month of January the lane changed to...

  • user logo
    Richard Schweiger
    From logo

    Very professional, very helpful, great policy, I couldn't be happier with Baja Mexican Insurance, the friendly smiles and ease of it all in...

  • user logo
    Ryan Frisby
    From logo

    We use them every time we travel to Mexico. Luckily we have not needed their services yet but getting insurance through them is quick and...

  • user logo
    Jan Muhammad
    From logo

    I need a tourist visa for maxico I'm from pakistan help me sir

  • user logo
    Tracy Moore
    From logo

    Very easy, quick, and professional

  • user logo
    robert kepper
    From logo

    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...

  • user logo
    Edilver Martinez
    From logo

    Our go to Baja car insurance, everytime we take a visit down south . Usually it's for a day trip either for a quick getaway with the family...

  • user logo
    Daniel “Dan M” Markofsky
    From logo

    Third time working with Baja Bound and they made it easy! Thanks!

  • user logo
    Steve Bender
    From logo

    Have never needed to use the insurance fortunately but the website always works great. Can buy a policy in about a minute.

  • user logo
    Jose Paez
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    JUSTINE SERRANO
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    Christian Minor
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    George
    From logo

    Excellent customer service

  • user logo
    Kellye Pummill
    From logo

    Fast and easy!

  • user logo
    Jennifer Toups
    From logo

    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...

  • user logo
    Cesar Lopez
    From logo

    Very convenient, great price !!

  • user logo
    Louis Schneidman
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    Phil Noble
    From logo

    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....

  • user logo
    Jeff Bunker
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    Burrell DeVine
    From logo

    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...

  • user logo
    Nereyda Torres
    From logo

    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...

  • user logo
    james whitmer
    From logo

    Best insurance I've had so far

  • user logo
    Rail1riders
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    Matt B
    From logo

    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...

  • user logo
    Refugio I. Rochin
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    Kelly Carney
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    Slumdog Gump
    From logo

    Changed some money. Good rate and friendly people.

  • user logo
    Jeff G
    From logo

    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...

  • user logo
    don letson
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    len buckholtz
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    Susana Judd
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    Seismic Waterfinder
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    Nicolas Dervé
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    Blake Glassco
    From logo

    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...

  • user logo
    JohnPaul Gemelli
    From logo

    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...

  • user logo
    Jeff Brandt
    From logo

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

  • user logo
    Sengoz N
    From logo

    SERIOUS.

  • user logo
    Kenneth Trass
    From logo

    Getting a policy was simple, Provided more than provider for price comparison.

  • user logo
    Esther Valencia
    From logo

    Super easy to purchase just the coverage you need when crossing the border in your own car. I especially appreciate the fact that I was...

  • user logo
    Larry Cottingham
    From logo

    Great service, very helpful people there.

  • user logo
    Luis Cortes
    From logo

    Easiest way to purchase insurance when traveling to Mexico. I have used their service for the last 7 years and it only gets easier and...

  • user logo
    j dougher ty
    From logo

    EZ Peasy insurance purchase. Great service every time I've used them. Had to cancel one time when my travel plans went away - no problem....

  • user logo
    Paul Niehouse
    From logo

    Extremely easy to acquire a policy. Many options available. Reasonable rates.

  • user logo
    Colin
    From logo

    Super-easy and instant. Very happy with initial purchase.

  • user logo
    Howard M Elster
    From logo

    2nd year with Chubb. No problems

  • user logo
    Cyndee Congrove
    From logo

    Great customer service, quick, friendly staff helpfully answered all questions, very patient with my learning curve on a new product. Would...

  • user logo
    Art Eugenio
    From logo

    I've had Baja Bound insurance for more that ten years now with thousands of miles logged in Baja. Fortunately, I've only had one fender...

  • user logo
    Gabe Matthews
    From logo

    Where do i start..... you dont know you have good insurance until you have to actually use it. I have had Baja Bound INS for over 5 years...

  • user logo
    keith berkley
    From logo

    Been going to baja for 45 years. This is best insurance company i have come accross.

  • user logo
    Ryan Perkio
    From logo

    I have been using BajaBound Insurance for 15 years - multiple trips per year. Their website is easy, their coverage is great, and the...

  • user logo
    RaMon McBride
    From logo

    I have not had any claims thus far so rating is based on ease of purchase.

  • user logo
    Larry French
    From logo

    By far the best service for Mex insurance in Baja. They are personally there for you if you have problems south of the border.

  • user logo
    Tudor Thomas
    From logo

    Baja Bound makes buying insurance for going south of the border as easy as it gets. The website is the easiest I have used and the staff...