Sunday, May 5, 2013

Loreto Food - A Guest Blog Perspective

As this season winds down and I begin to get ready to leave Loreto soon for the summer months I am pleased to be able to offer you, my dedicated readers, an infrequent alternative view of “Living Loreto”, this time from the perspective of another follower of my Blog who recently contacted me and offered to write a Guest Blog.

Eddie Shackleford is an Editor and Travel Writer who has visited Loreto and he brings us his enthusiastic commentary on the food experiences he had here.  I thought it would be interesting to add a different point of view on a topic that I haven’t written about (restaurant food in Loreto) for a couple of years. When I received Eddie’s draft of this Blog my first impression was that maybe he was a bit “over the top” in his enthusiasm – but then I decided perhaps I have become a bit jaded myself, and who was I to judge another person’s positive reaction.  Particularly when it is well written and coming from an experienced travel writer, so I hope you enjoy Eddie’s perspective as much as I appreciate a rare hiatus from my weekly postings.
Unique and Timeless Loreto
The picturesque Mexican city of Loreto has become an out-of-towner favorite because of its authentic historical charm and readily available modern amenities. Tourists visit for the year-round sun and the call of the sea, and keep coming back for the friendly and familiar atmosphere along with the delicious local cuisine.

Loreto has held a level of importance in Baja California for centuries. It was the first Spanish settlement in the Baja, and it remains a favorite of travelers because Loreto has managed to preserve the romantically historic buildings and streets while adding the modern touches and worldly flair that make for great vacations.

Some time ago, the government began to bill Loreto as the newest Mexican resort town. They invested heavily in local development, wooing in visitors with a new airport and golf course. Luckily for travelers, it has never become the overcrowded cookie-cutter resort mecca that it could have been. Instead, it is a town that has the perfect balance between an ancient fishing village and a modern vacation destination. The ease of travel provided by the local airport makes Loreto an attraction to those buying second homes as well as those who may be just visiting. It only takes a few hours to get to Loreto from Los Angeles by air, so many find Loreto the perfect place to simply step off the plane into paradise.

The local tourism interests have taken great care to keep an eye to conservation, which means tourists will hopefully have access to a preserved abundance of beautiful landscape for generations to come. One of the biggest draws of the area is the marine conservation area in the beautiful bay where travelers can snorkel and dive to see an amazing bounty of aquatic life in unsullied waters.

The sparkling Sea of Cortez off the shores of Loreto also provides visitors the experience of swimming with dolphins or enjoying world-class whale watching. The most popular ocean activity for visitors by far however is deep sea fishing. Many adventure companies provide both gear and guided fishing trips. The best part of ocean fishing in Loreto is that many of the locally famous and delicious restaurants will prepare your fish in their kitchen right before your eyes.

Character of Loreto's Local Food Scene

There are really no rules when it comes to the Loreto food scene. Many in the local restaurant business that have made their permanent homes in Loreto hail from diverse international locales so the flair of the food is different in each restaurant. The owners range from those raised on the food in local Loreto kitchens to those with professional culinary training from Mexico City, San Diego or Europe.

The only thing you will find in every restaurant in Loreto is that there are no boundaries. There is no barrier between the kitchen and the table since the chef will likely be the one talking to you about your food and crafting delicious meals to your exact taste. There are also no barriers between land and sea since you may even be able to see the clams you are about to eat be delivered by the person who dug them up that day. In some cases, the restaurant you visit is also your destination for the day. La Picazon is a locally famous restaurant 10 km north of town that is located on the beach and patrons can collect shells or take a quick jaunt on a kayak between courses.
Fresh and unique food made with love and attention is not just talk in Loreto. Everything is fresh.  Each pastry, tortilla, or loaf of bread was made that morning. In Loreto the “catch of the day” means exactly that, the fish served on your plate probably was caught that morning!


It’s not hard to find locally sourced food prepared in traditional Baja style. What’s most

surprising about Loreto is the quality and diversity of foreign food options. The pulled pork, waffles and sushi are just as expertly prepared with fresh quality ingredients as the Mexican cuisine. Many restaurants import delicious additions to the local fare such as craft beer and Argentinean beef.

There is never any hurry in Loreto eating establishments. Many offer the luxury of casual elegance, while others have the heart and soul that can only be found in a “hole-in-the-wall”. What they share in common is that they are places to gather and savor the great food and company of this city that time forgot. As you probably gather, one of my favorite experiences while I was in Loreto was eating the food!

Unique Foods of Loreto

On a drive through Baja California you can expect to find any number of restaurants serving fish

tacos and the like, and more than likely each one will have fish that is more delicious than the last.  Of course Loreto has fish tacos, and they will not disappoint you. But what Loreto does best is the fusion of all styles of North American and Mediterranean cuisine. You may expect to eat the best Mexican food you’ve ever had - and you will, but you may also find the best hamburger or vegetable lasagna here as well.

Huarache is a favorite of both visitors and locals. The fried masa (corn) base is covered with any number of toppings including salsa, cilantro, potatoes and meat finished off with queso fresco or fresh cheese. Other popular Mexican dishes in Loreto for visitors to sample include fried stuffed potatoes called papas rellenos and seasoned skirt steak called arracherra.

Any pescado or fish menu item will be sure to please, especially the mahi-mahi that locals call dorado. It is quite the unique Loreto experience to come back from a fishing trip and be able to ask a restaurant to cook your catch. Many restaurants will cook up the fish you bring them in several diverse, unique and delicious styles.


A few restaurants in Loreto only serve breakfast and lunch, and any of those would be a traveler’s best bet for a scrumptious morning feast. Visitors will be delighted to find international favorites like French toast or waffles or a classic egg and sausage spread.

A few local favorites can be found on breakfast menus, like traditional Mexican huevos rancheros or
even a surprisingly delicious cactus smoothie. What makes a Loreto morning meal special however is the abundance of fresh quality ingredients and the care taken in the preparation of each plate. Juice was squeezed fresh this morning and comes in a staggering assortment of sweet fruity flavors. The bread for your French toast probably came out of the oven only a few hours ago. Your coffee and fresh pastries may just be the best you’ve ever had.


Lunch is also an adventure. Those hungry for their midday meal may delight in the abundance of fresh and surprisingly delicious sandwiches and salads available at cafes and delis. A driving tour may bring travelers to pubs or saloons off the beaten path, where they can enjoy an ice cold beer with a hamburger or BLT worth writing home about.


A stroll around the town´s central square reveals a plethora of heavenly dinner options. Whatever type of food you are craving, whether it is Italian, Mexican or American, will be prepared beautifully and will be served with signature local hospitality. Many families cap off each sun-soaked day of their visit with a refreshing ice cream cone from the best ice cream parlor in town which can be found within a block of the square.


The flavor of international fusion does not stop at Loreto’s food. Taverns and pubs carry imported wine and craft brews paired as well as local favorites. It is not difficult to find a spot to watch the beautiful waters of the Sea of Cortez with your favorite drink in hand. The food served at Loreto’s pubs is not just an afterthought. Much of the best food in the city is served either as entrees or tapas-style small plates with items like world-class sashimi to accompany your libation.


Many resort towns present only what foreigners want to see while neglecting to preserve their heritage in a misguided attempt to please their Visitors. Loreto is not like that. In every aspect, it welcomes and blends new cultures with its own while preserving its ancient history and charming atmosphere. The food in Loreto has blended the traditional cuisines of locals and visitors together to become something novel, fresh and truly unique.

 Bio: Eddie Duncan Shackleford is a Senior Editor for Direct2TV and loves to research and          write topics on tourism and travel. To gain a unique experience, Eddie travels to different places so that he can write interesting content about them. Eddie D. Shackleford can be followed on twitter at: @Eddie20Ford


Seeing a familiar place through a Visitors eyes, brings new insights and appreciations that even the most enthusiastic Resident can become “jaded” with over time.  Enjoying that fresh perspective from another point of view is a relatively new experience for those of us who are “Living Loreto”.