Sunday, February 28, 2010

Del Borracho - a good time was had by all!

Del Borracho (which can be loosely translated as The Drunkard) is a roadside saloon located just off the highway, a few kilometres south of the town of Loreto, enroute to the Loreto Bay development where the San Javier road joins Mexican #1. This weekend they held the annual Harley Owners Rally from Cabo to Loreto with Del Boracho hosting the wrap-up party.

This establishment consists of a collection of wood frame buildings that have been completed over the past several years including the main bar and restaurant with an adjoining patio that covers twice the area of the enclosed building, four little “casitas” that are being developed for overnight accommodation, as well as the owners two storey home a large garage and several smaller outbuildings.

The story behind the owners of Del Boracho is likely even more interesting than the place. Mike and Chole built up the entire operation from bare land within the last 3 or 4 years. Mike had experience in construction and had the lumber shipped down here to build all of the structures, frame buildings being uncommon here due to the lack of, and cost of, lumber. The main building has an open beam ceiling, large windows which can be opened to catch cooling breezes, a bar across the length of one wall, a couple of pool tables, seating for about 50 around a dozen tables and a counter where you order your meal, behind which is a small but efficient short-order kitchen. The walls (and parts of the ceiling) are gradually being covered with photos and memorabilia, like is common in many such watering holes, but here these things are not generic decor, ordered from some wholesale “atmosphere supplier”, but rather real things about real people some of whom may actually be there in the restaurant on any given day.

For instance, there are wedding photos of the owners, Mike and Chole, on Mike’s Harley at the Las Vegas drive-thru wedding chapel, there are also pictures from Mike’s career as a movie extra, in character as a Biker, as well as the multi-million dollar yacht that he managed for the owner. Motor memorabilia factors large in the decor, with autographs from many Baja 1000 drivers and riders, as well as window decals from just about every group that travels the Baja for fun and or profit. The numerous TVs around the room are usually tuned to the SPEED channel and some form of race seems to be going on constantly.

Within this little kingdom, Chole reigns as the Queen of the kitchen. As you stand in line at the counter waiting to place your food order you can usually see Chole busy at the grill with several helpers turning out plates full of some of the best “fast food” available anywhere in the southern Baja – my particular favourite is the “Guapo” (beautiful) burger, a generous meat patty with fresh tomatoes, onions, lettuce and a side of “papas fritas” – the best burger I have eaten in Mexico. But they have lots of other delicious choices on the menu, like the chicken Caesar salad served on a half Romaine lettuce, or Eggs Benedict for brunch.

The focus on motorsports goes well beyond the memorabilia on the walls and the races on TV. Mike owns a full rail dragster, which he keeps in the oversized garage along with a classic dune buggy racer along with several other assorted vehicles and, of course, his Harley! So it is not surprising that the saloon was the venue for the second annual Cabo to Loreto Harley owners rally, and you can’t have Bikers partying without music.

Del Boracho hosts several smaller music events during the winter season, bringing in local bands for late afternoon – early evening gigs. But this weekend was a much larger event, with a couple of hundred in attendance. They had built a stage for the performers in the parking lot and had a great sound system set up. Dozens of tables and stacks of chairs were spread out around the stage in the gravel lot surrounding the bar and the shaded patio area was packed with people enjoying the BBQ platters that they had just lined up for. For 70 pesos (a little over $5.00 US) you got a choice of potato salad, coleslaw, spaghetti, green salad, and baked beans with BBQ chicken and Aracharra (or skirt) steak and cans of beer or draft were available at 15 pesos.

I would estimate that the crowd of a couple of hundred people were divided more or less equally between the bikers, many of whom had travelled over 300 miles north from Cabo and local residents from in and around Loreto with a large contingent from Loreto Bay. The combined crowd was a feast for people watching with old and young, biker and not, Mexican and ex-pats – and a great time was had by all!

The music was loud and proud with several local bands as well as some talent from as far as Cabo. One of my favourites was Hammerhead, a local Loreto “boy band” that features several teenage players who are the sons of one of the Loreto bands. Of this group, the drummer is a crowd favourite, at 14 years old his drum kit is often the lead instrument and his partners can rip out a classic rock repertoire, most of which dates back decades before any of them were born.

They party started about 2:00 pm and the food line started about an hour later and there was a steady stream of hungry “hombres” for several hours. When the buffet food was gone the beer kept flowing and an independent hot-dog stand opened for business and kept the people well fuelled for the rest of the evening. I always say, that you can rate the party by the number of “Porta-Pottys” and this was a four star event, providing some welcome alternatives to the never-ending line up at the permanent facilities.

Your humble scribe made his way back home about 7:00 pm, but the party went on for hours afterwards with more bands keeping the entertainment going well into the night. But the party didn’t end last night – today there were to be drag races somewhere into the desert which would be, no doubt, well attended by many of the same people, if somewhat the worse for wear. I did not attend these races, partly so that I could prepare this week’s posting, and also I had a higher priority the Gold Medal Hockey Game this afternoon – which, as many of you probably saw, CANADA WON! Breaking the Gold Medal record for any hosting nation in the history of the Winter Olympics! GO CANADA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, this week was all about friends and strangers coming together in a celebration of good food, music, cold beer, sunshine and moonshine (it was a full moon, go figure) with everyone from grandparents to grand kids, bikers and snowbirds, Mexicans and every nationality of visitor who was lucky enough to be sharing a perfect afternoon together – this was a day to remember, “Living Loreto”.