Saturday, December 05, 2015

La Querencia Bajamed Cocina in Tijuana, Mexico

Pulpo Querencia

After all of this talk about Baja-Med, there is one key chef whose food I hadn't tried yet: Miguel Angel Guerrero, the guy who coined the term in the first place. Like many of the other guys, he has a few restaurants around town, with this one being one of the most famous (Escuadrón 201 3110, +52-664-972-9935). I went in to take a look.

It was my kind of place. It wasn't as high-end as Mision 19, but I loved the attitude of its open kitchen and chalkboards. The food was seasoned heavily, seeming to skew more towards Mexican flavors than Mediterranean (indeed, I heard only Spanish being spoken here rather than all of the English I heard at Mision 19). But it was still clearly Baja-Med, as seen in that octopus dish above. If I had eaten it straight, it tasted like Portuguese food with all of its olives, potatoes, and bell peppers. But once I put it on a tostada, squeezed some lime on it, and ladled on a bit of that killer (yet deceptively creamy looking) habanero sauce, it was clearly Mexican.

Next time I come here though, I should remember to try more small plates, as there were so many to choose from. Tonight, I only had enough stomach space for one of them, the "shot cabo," where a highball-like glass was filled with chopped octopus, shrimp, cucumber, avocado, vodka, and beer, among many other things. It formed a spicy concoction that one scooped out onto toasted bread. I wonder how the homemade pasta is here.

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