Please note that this info is current as of the date referenced. It’s always good to verify opening hours and details in person or on the phone in Mexico. Websites are still often either non-existent or out of date. This is true even of large companies, so it can save you time to call first. Being able to speak a little Spanish is a big help in sourcing local.
The Pescadero area around Todos Santos is home to many organic farms, some that export to the US. There are vegetable stands in Todos Santos that are open almost every day.
One of them, Rancho Buen Dia, is directly in front of a large garden where they grow many of the items. It is across from the Baja Market on Avenida Gral. Topete.
The Baja market has a wall of wine, including lots of Chilean reds, all cooking nicely in the un-airconditioned store. Oh well, if it’s hot you’ll probably put it on ice anyway.
You can’t miss these two locations because they are on the way to La Esquina cafe, where most visitors are drawn like camels to an oasis within 48 hours of arrival. (Please see the RESTAURANT section.). If you continue past La Esquina and Cuatro Vientos, there is a large veggie vendor in a lot just past a small strip center, both on the left as you head outta town.
Local chicken -
go to the Dulceria Alexander on the road going outside of town to the north - Hwy 19 - and ask at the counter. Yes, I’m telling you to go to the candy store and pick up a chicken. You can stop by earlier in the day and either buy a frozen one or ask when they will be bringing fresh ones. The candy store has the freezer so I think that’s why they also act as a local chicken drop off point.
I don’t know what the chickens are fed or any details about where they are raised. If you have issues with soy or gluten, I can’t guarantee they are safe for you. I do know ours was delicious. Below is one from our series of quick videos from the night we cooked it.
La Esquina is a popular gathering place for coffee and light food. It is a beautiful outdoor shaded space with extensive, well-kept grounds. It shares a parking lot with the Cuatro Vientos center where yoga and other classes happen. If the gates are open you should walk through, the grounds are lovely and there is a large gazebo that catches the breeze from the ocean over yonder. Places like this make me think it must be fun to have enough money to do lovely projects at scale that provide gathering places for people. Not easy, but fun. #bucketlist
Our favorite restaurant so far is Pizza Nostra - owned by Mexicans from Mazatlan, quite good thin crust wood fired oven pizza. Be sure they brown it all the way, sometimes they take it out too soon and its not crispy. And, milagro of miracles, they have a lovely red Montepulciano Italian wine by the glass - $4 or so. I recently saw that they have a location in Cabo San Lucas, too. Yay!
We went to the bar at the Todos Santos Inn, it has a fun ambiance but it was really hot. The big air conditioner mounted on the wall was still and silent as the grave. Not even a fan in the front doorway, which would have helped too.
We got there a little late and ordered a second glass of wine right at closing, at which time also they closed the front door and then it got super toasty. We moved to a narrow balcony just outside the bar area that has 2 small tables hugging the wall. If that hadn't been available I would have ask for a roadie cup. (Come to think of it, I haven't done that in Mexico yet but I bet you can get away with it). If they aren't going to turn on the AC in July, they should at least let bar guests sit outside on the terrace area that is usually reserved for hotel guests.
I read earlier that day that the building and business are for sale, that could have something to do with skimping on the AC. It is a lovely building with a gorgeous small pool and lush landscaping. The original part is the second oldest structure in Todos, and, as the nice young man that works there assured me as he intercepted my wandering off into the guest area, the most historic.
La Casita Tapas and Wine Bar -
I mention one of our other favorites, La Casita, in this blog post. It is owned by a Mexican chef, and is a tapas bar with a big emphasis on sushi. Go figure.
It's a little higher than our average Friday night outing budget, so we don't go as often but it's definitely worth a stop if you are in Todos Santos or La Paz.
>>>> La Casita website HERE.
BEST DAY GETAWAY
If you are here in low season, and you want a day off from the heat, go plop down by the beautiful pool at El Faro Beach Club. If you are here in high season, get there early because the venue is small, low key, with great service and very good food. Say Hi to Cynthia, a manager, when you check-in.
By great service, I don't mean fast and efficient, but very friendly. Call ahead if you like wine to be sure they have your fave, for some reason they ran out of Chardonnay both times I was there. And no, it wasn't because I drank it all up. lol.
Below is some general info about food shopping in Mexico.
Please see our posts about regional local sources for more specific info.
Baja California Sur:
Cabo San Lucas
Mexico City - coming this winter.
A bit of context for you.
I have spent a lot of time with foodies, and I love many of them. I have eaten at some of the top restaurants in the US and Mexico. Both of my millennial kids are foodies, as a matter of fact.
Even so, I'm not a foodie. I give a bit of context at the end of this post so you can decide if what I have to say is right for you. Lucky for you and me, there are a plethora of foodie blogs out there if that is your passion.
General tips about local food in Mexico:
Try to learn some Spanish, it will help you to be able to ask the locals where to get eggs or local meat. They are generally very open with info, but don’t always speak English.
Mercado vs. Tianguis (Teeangeez)
A mercado is a built structure with walls and a roof. For example, the Mercados in the Zocalo are carrying on a tradition that dates back thousands of years in the same place. You can see fabulous dioramas depicting this in the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City.
Tianguis are pop up markets - you will see them on certain days taking over some streets with colorful tarps. In Mexico City they are highly organized associations with some political clout which has given even the global Walmart juggernaut a pause. It is very common for the tianguis have all kinds of merchandise, including grocery type food - veg, meat, fruit, flowers, dairy.
I often see tianguis referred to as street markets or mercados in sources written in English. Now you know the difference.
Even though a lot of USDA certified organic produce is grown in Mexico, from the consumer standpoint right now, organic is not a thing, really. There is a Mexican organic standard, but I don’t see it very often and almost never at the town markets.
What Sergio does is this - he racially profiles the vendors to judge who is most likely to have fresh, local and naturally grown produce. Please, nobody get offended, let me explain.
The vendors who are women about 4 feet tall, brown skinned, in their 40s - 80s with long black or gray plaits, often in wildly colorful lacey dresses with an apron - they have the veggie jackpot. They are more likely to have produce from their family’s garden, - including some bumpy fruit and veg that you may not have seen before.
The señor down the way in his Dodgers baseball cap unpacking crates of conventional tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and Washington State apples - well, he’s a nice guy but probably wasn’t out at 3 a.m. harvesting lechuga and nopales for the tianguis.
You can extrapolate this to some markets - my favorite 2 markets in Mexico City are in Xochimilco and the tianguis in Tepotzlan on Wedneday (before the tourists come on the weekend).
About my Foodie credentials (or lack thereof)
I will never forget the first time I had a true slow food lunch, in 1992. The dish was pasta with butter and truffles in a local restaurant in Sienna, Italy. We scooted in for the last table of the lunch seating. There were Italian families all around at the bigger tables, finishing up their Sunday lunch.
There was no Instagram, no robo-calling for a reservation 6 months out, no second seating, and no rush even though they closed right after we sat down.
I took my first bite. My eyes watered and I felt a jolt all the way to my base chakra, the flavor was so intense. (Now I sound like a foodie, don't I?)
Out of all the thousands of times I have eaten at restaurants, that one bite is the one that stands out. I thought that it must be one of the best restaurants in the world and we had somehow come across it.
It was literally a few years later that I realized it was simply a fresh local lunch, created that day, completely free of processed food, chemicals, or any ingredient with a shelf life, other than salt and oil. So that is what Sergio and I champion - those pockets where this kind of food and family business is still present, if not the norm.
There are bigger fish to fry on the global food scene than the latest "trend" in food. Most of us do not seem to see this yet, but we are moving into a time on the planet when we will look back on fascination with the most recent "trend" as a quaint indulgence.
Can we have a conversation about healthy farms and rehabilitating the ocean? Shall we hold governments more accountable and put the brakes on global corporations privatizing seeds, patenting indigenous plants, and convincing farmers to do what is not best for their land?
How about more articles about global nutrition for our kids, who in some countries are already struggling with obesity while in others they don't have enough to eat. How about a discussion about how climate change will affect small farmers, instead of how many stars some chef earned catering to the global elite?
I hope these might be the subjects of dinnertime conversation by foodies dining at the multi-star restaurants.
I am not against the "art" in culinary arts, not by a long shot, but I get bored when it becomes too precious. I love that movie #JulieandJulia because of how scrappy Julie was, cooking amazing food in a tiny kitchen. She is great inspiration for nomad lifestyle cooking.
Link to Xochimilco photo album
My sweet #mexican is making yogurt from scratch. The Mexican word for yogurt starter is Bulgaros - which is also the word for Bulgarian people. (There must be a pocket of descendants of Bulgarian emigrees in Mexico someplace - go figure.)
He makes Kombucha with the absolute minimum of sugar because the commercial brands are too sweet for me, and he also makes our nut butters with a non-electric hand grinder. Unfortunately for Mexico's obesity rate, US food and beverage brands export gigatons of processed products down south. You can buy sugary Skippy and Jif by the jumbo-jar; nut butters without added sugar are hard to find.
Living with Sergio is like a #fieldtrip every day for my #innergypsy 😍 He grew up in Mexico City, raised by his dad, often staying with family in small shared apartments with tiny kitchens.
He likes cooking and he likes attention from women, so he hung out in the kitchen alot. His tias (aunts) and abuela taught him about fermentation, food preservation, and how to stretch a whole chicken to feed a family for a week. He also learned waste = sin. He used to run errands to the mercado for his aunt, bargain with the vendors and pocket the spare pesos. Arbitrage starts early in Mexico.
Our #Airbnb kitchens are usually tiny, but you don't need a huge kitchen and lots of gadgets to eat really well in Mexico. I think of it as urban camping - the stoves are always gas, and often they are just countertop models.
The markets here are filled with a mix of products, if you ask around and pay attention to the produce, you can tell which are small local farmers who are more likely to grow their produce naturally.
Often, but not always, the vendors with the local / freshest produce are more indigenous in appearance and they are often, but not always, women. #Xochimilco, for example, has a gorgeous market filled with produce from the surrounding area where people have been raising food for thousands of years. Now thats some #SlowFood Mexico.
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