A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go on a trip to Baja California, and just had to tell you all about a wonderful cantina on the outskirts of Cabo San Lucas that I was taken to called Puerto Nuevo. It is a total favourite with all the chefs who I met out there. Antonio de Livier from La Frida described it as the best fish place in Los Cabos. So obviously I was very keen to try it out.
The entrance entranced me. All those bottles of salsas. I do love a hot sauce. The more the merrier. This is just what I love about eating in Mexico.
The first thing we had to try was the fish tostada. I don’t have a very pretty picture of it here. Just a close up of the chopped onion, white flesh of the sea bass and snapper and the layer of mayonnaise that was utterly delicious spread over the crisp tostada. Man, I can’t tell you how fresh it tasted! Yummy, yummy, yummy. This was one of the highlights.
Next up was the aguachile. Aguachile means chilli water and it made by whizzing up green Serrano chillies, masses of fresh lime juice and plenty of coriander leaf until you get a lovely vivid green dressing which you dress your seafood with. I normally add raw scallops or mackerel, but here they had tossed in fat, juicy prawns and amazingly tender pieces of octopus along with lovely half-moon slices of cucumber and thin slithers of sweet, red onion. If only we could get a good sweet onion here like the ones in Mexico….
These are the cheerful chefs, cooking in blistering heat. Although the cantina is literally on the side of the road, open to the elements with the tables on sand, the kitchen, as you can see, is spotlessly clean. I love eating in places like this. Places where the locals go. So much more fun than some of the swankier restaurants that are full of tourists, and the food costs a fortune. This is the real Mexico.
This was our last dish, after the lobster quesadillas which I didn’t photograph as I am not entirely sure about fish in a quesadilla. Once they put this down I started smelling a rat. This looked distinctly Veracruzan to me. I can remember eating a jaiba enchipotlada in Veracruz and not being able to stop eating until every morsel had been finished. I asked the waiters about it and it turns out that the owners of this place are indeed from Veracruz. Sadly this jaiba was not quite up to the one I had all those years ago on my roadtrip to Veracruz. The sauces should be smoky, garlicky and sweet from the crab flesh. It certainly wasn’t bad though, just not quite to the par of their delicious tostadas, the yummy aguachile and the pulsating raw clams that they presented to me as a kinda amuse-bouche. This was a lunch to remember.