I can’t remember the date, but I know the exact location.
It was a small food stand in Rosarito called “Just for the Halibut.” It was there that I was introduced to one of the great culinary offerings of Mexico, the fish taco.
This simple taco, whether it hails from San Felipe or Ensenada [both Baja California towns lay claim to the title “Home of the Fish Taco”], is something glorious to enjoy alongside an ice cold Corona or a glass of jamaica.
For the uninitiated, hear this… a fish taco is not some odd concoction that looks like a trout on a tortilla. It is a wonderful piece of fish, dipped in beer batter, fried to perfection, served up on a corn tortilla and topped with shredded cabbage, Mexican crema, maybe some guacamole and of course, salsa.
Simple, elegant, and when done right, worthy of a place in the pantheon of other great Mexican creations.
People ask me all the time where to find best fish tacos in Mexico. For me, hands down, Ensenada. Fresh fish right from the wharf, cool ocean breezes, even on the hottest days, and carts, puestos and fine restaurants everywhere serving up variations on this classic.
But Dave, they persist, “Which place, or cart should we go to?” That’s where it gets hard because these days, very few of my fish tacos come from places around town. You see, when I have fish tacos, it is usually with friends, in their homes. Fresh as can be and made with what Laura Esquival describes in her book Like Water for Chocolate… lagrimas de amor or, tears of love.
To be in someones house, no matter how humble, talking and joking as the fish is dipped in a batter made from some secret never written down family recipe and then fried to a golden brown is just magical.
Add in the home made salsa, a twist of lime and you are in paradise. Few things are better in life than sitting around a common table, sharing good food, conversation, love and life with people I’ve seemingly known all my life.
That’s truly the heart of My Mexico!