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Friday, December 16, 2016

Olé! Baja Restaurant Update

                                 San Jose Del Cabo is a universe away from Cabo San Lucas
I’ve just returned from >2 weeks in San Jose Del Cabo in Baja, Mexico.  Although only 30 miles from Cabo San Lucas, this small colonial gem is entirely different from the maddening crowds and “Spring-Break mentality” of Cabo San Lucas.  I grew up on Mexican food in California’s agricultural rich Central Valley.  My last meal would definitely include some of my Mexican favorites.  In a nut-shell, I like to think of myself as somewhat an expert on Mexican food.  With that being said, here’s what floated to the top of my list for dining in San Jose Del Cabo.

Tropicana Restaurant

                                        Tropicana is sexy and seductive in an innocent way

Located on San Jose Del Cabo’s main street not far from the city’s central colonial plaza, this place has it all.  There is live nightly entertainment during high season, but the real reason to come is the food.  There’s a terrific Caesar salad made table-side (a dying art), plus the chile rellenos are excellent.  Margaritas are made from scratch---the only way to go.   The cost is moderate which makes this place a great bang for the buck.  Moderate

Don Rodrigo

                           From the street there's just a doorway...but a charming oasis awaits

A friend of mine picked this place to celebrate our mutual friend’s birthday.  It was so good that I returned the following week with another group.  On both occasions two different sets of diners loved this mucho romatico place.   The courtyard setting, under a canopy of trees and colorful bougainvillea with twinkling lights,  just oozes major atmosphere.  Another bonus is the live, soft music.  The menu specializes in fish, and the red snapper, as well as the tequila shrimp were the standouts.  The only negative was the service which was on both occasions a little dis-jointed.  Moderately expensive

Don Sanchez

                                             A definite do-not-miss for a special occasion

Located just across the street from the above Don Rodrigo (and just a few doors down from Tropicana), Don Sanchez was a wonderful surprise.  Although I had heard many good things about it I wasn’t expecting the quality I received.  First, however, let me disclose that this place offers more of an "international" menu.  I had a duck taco that was superb, along with a killer grilled Caesar salad that was one of the most interesting renditions I’ve had (for example, the salad was served with a prosciutto jerky, a tempura anchovy, “garlic chips,” and an out-of-this-world homemade tomato jam).  Another favorite of the table was the tamarind short ribs.  Service was sublime.  Diners can choose between a large alfresco tree-shaded patio, and a more formal indoor dining room.  Moderately expensive


                                         Upscale, authentic Mexican cooking

This restaurant is owned by the same owner as Don Sanchez so it’s no surprise that the quality was so high.  Also like its sister restaurant, service here is very professional.  Unlike Don Sanchez, however, this one specializes in traditional Mexican cooking.  Harbanero’s is located ½ mile from the central square on the outskirts of town.  I dined here twice, both times of which I left with a big smile on my face.   Order the shrimp cooked in garlic and butter…there’s no better rendition in town.  Moderate

Flora Farms

                                    A drop-dead setting in this farm-to-table restaurant

Last, but in no terms least, is Flora Farms.  I’m not sure how in the world to ever convey the magnitude of this magical setting.  Let me suffice by saying this:  if you are a foodie and you’re any where close to San Jose del Cabo, you *must* go.   It’s a 15-20 minute cab ride up in the hills ($25 each way), but the moment you arrive you’ll understand.  This place could easily be in the Napa Valley or Tuscany in that it is so disarmingly gorgeous.  Moreover, everything served is either grown or raised on the farm, or nearby.  The real stars of the culinary show are two:   the wide of assortment of breads baked daily in their wood-fired oven, as well as anything made with the plethora a knock-your-socks off vegetables.   Expensive (when you factor in the cab), but worth every peso

Feliz Navidad, amigos!

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