La Guerrerense: Eating Ensenada’s Oceanic Riches
Primera Avenida & Alvarado
Ensenada, B.C., Mexico
Date of Visit: July 18, 2009
Sabina Bandera has been producing mind-blowing tostadas from an Ensenada street cart for 33 years, topped her corn crisps with jewels of the sea. Street Gourmet LA founder Bill Esparza considers La Guerrerense “the best tostada place in all of Mexico.” That’s high praise from a man who’s eaten in Pac Man-like fashion through every corner of Mexico, and based upon our initial experience, entirely believable.
La Guerrerense (the name for a Guerrero native) is located just off Ensenada’s main drag and basically amounts to a covered cart with scattered chairs. Each morning, Miss Bandera prepares all the seafood and salsas at home and dispenses them throughout the day with her hard-working crew.
We all started with a round of sea urchin and sea cucumber, then were able to order anything we wanted from the 20+ varieties of Baja seafood. The urchin served hot, blended with an acidic chop of tomato, onions and herbs that cut through the briny richness. The cucumber was pleasantly chewy.
Spanish-influenced bacalao was a crowd pleaser, served hot and mixed with onion, green olives and red peppers. The tostada was counterbalanced by a cool, creamy seafood salad folded with crisp peppers.
After we had three rounds of tostadas, Miss Bandera passed around a plate of sea snail, featuring warm two-inch steaks that were reminiscent of clam, but not as chewy. The chile marinade helped to make the cooked “meat” supple and flavorful.
Thank you to the Tijuana Convention and Visitors Bureau, Crossborder Agency, Cotuco (Tijuana Tourism Board), and Tijuana Canirac (Tijuana Restaurant Association) for sponsoring our eye-opening culinary tour of northern Baja. Thank you to Bill Esparza from Street Gourmet LA for leading the tour and for supplying so much invaluable information.