“Miguel Angel Guerrero shot a deer, so we’re going to La Querencia for venison.” Up until that point in the day, our dinner plans were unclear, but nobody was about to argue with Bill Esparza’s oh-so-promising proclamation. During our first group sojourn to Tijuana in July, La Querencia yielded my favorite meal in Tijuana’s Gastronomic Zone, and for reasons that didn’t even include venison, this meal was even better.
To quickly review, Guerrero is a fourth generation Tijuanan who attended culinary school in Mexico City before inventing a style of cooking called Baja Med by combining Mediterranean, Asian and Mexican influences. He’s owned La Querencia – a seasonally inspired restaurant in Tijuana – for the past nine years. It’s also where he hangs (and cooks) his hunting prizes.
Grilled beet and blue cheese carpaccio was our only repeat in our five-part Carpaccio Mixto (270 pesos). We also indulged in rosy tuna shaved with Parmesan, smoked duck crumbled with feta, and both salmon and sea scallop showered with tangy green olives, red peppers, chives and capers. At La Querencia, Guerrero treats every carpaccio with a nine-chile oil that accents instead of overpowers the carpaccios.
With so many options, it’s rarely tempting to repeat meals in a distant city, but nobody balked at round two at La Querencia. I’d gladly welcome a third tango with Chef Guerrero’s refined Baja Med cuisine.