Sunday, June 21, 2020

Some Mexicans, an Asian, and an American Go Into a Bar...a Night at a Baja Cantina

(Please read our Covid 19 Statement first - Ed)  So, we've arrived at our hotel. If I'd have blinked, I would have missed it, but we're here and settled in.

This trip is a bit different. Usually, I'd find a destination then suitable accessible accomodations. This time, I'd found suitable accomodations and knew nothing about the destination other than it was in Baja, close to the ocean.

The room at the Mission Inn is as advertised. It's clean, modern, has an accessible bathroom with roll-in shower, quiet, and comfortable. At $63 a night, it's very reasonable, too.

I walk out to the road while Tim and Letty unwind in the room a bit after dinner. I notice a cantina next door, on the other side of a canal.  I go back to the room to collect the rest of the family and off to the bar.

It's an easy walk with just about 15 feet over that canal that only provides a narrow but accessible path between it and the highway. We wait patiently for a break in the traffic and wander over.

We're reminded why Baja is called the "Outback of Mexico." Beyond Ensenada, it's a pretty wild and sparsely settled region. Walking into the bar, it's like stepping onto the set of a western...rustic, spartan, lots of exposed beams, adobe, and a large fireplace overlooking well-worn tile floors.

The Baja Fiesta serves a varied menu of Mexican cuisine but since we've just had dinner, we head into the bar.

The bartender comes over and pours us shots of Patron. He speaks perfect he should because he used to live in Portland, Oregon, and came back down to help his family run the business.

I notice the selection of tequila is a bit on the paltry side.

"People around here don't know how to drink tequila. They're more likely to order whiskey or champagne."

He tells us of people who come in for parties and order the most expensive bottle of tequila, only to have him make margaritas out of it.

I see some bottles of Baja Fiesta IPA beer in the fridge and ask him about it.

"My mom makes it and we sell it. She also makes the wine."

I have to have a bottle.  It's pretty good and I let him know.

At that point, an Asian man walks in and the bartender calls him over and says we like the beer.

"He helps my mom make it."

A lively discussion of homemade and craft beer ensues with the Asian man, the English speaking Mexican bartender, and us. It's an international beer seminar here on a dusty road in Baja.

After a few rounds of tequila and beer, we ask for the bill and call it a night. Total damage...$12 and it's an easy walk back to our room, even in the dark. Fun times.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
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