by Martina Dobesh
October 14 (2012) Marks the Start of Lobster Season in northern Baja! Try Baja’s Succulent Lobster. Puerto Nuevo Style!
Perched on the sandy bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean is the world famous Puerto Nuevo Village (aka “the lobster village”). Tasty Puerto Nuevo-style lobster, or as the local’s say, “langosta,” is the reason millions of travelers come from all over the world to visit the famous Mexican lobster village. Mariachis stroll through the little streets, made up of thirty restaurants and festive gift shops. You can shop until you drop with the variety of gift items: vibrant colored blankets, pottery, and of course Tequila. Don Pisto, the only liquor store chain in Northern Baja will tempt the traveler with well over 200 different kinds of Tequila. But the reason to come here is plain and simple and luscious: Lobster, Puerto Nuevo style.
The History: Puerto Nuevo began as a romance story. In 1954, there were only two families living on the cliffs overlooking the pacific. A fisherman fell in love with his neighbor’s daughter. He built his bride, Rosa María Plasencia, a tiny home, near what is now Puerto Nuevo II, starting family restaurant. The fishing community grew rapidly with the rumor of plentiful lobster. Every day the men went out to sea in their pangas. Every afternoon their wives would wait while they tended their children, always with an eye to the horizon. Sighting the boats’ returning, they sighed with relief knowing their husbands were safe. They hurried about to prepare food that would go with the incoming lobster, heating up the beans and rice and preparing the masa for tortillas. The final preparation was to put a pot of lard on the fire. When the hungry men returned, they took fresh lobster from the catch, split them down the middle and threw them into the sizzling fat. The idea was born from necessity, but the searing and sealing in the flavors, cooking it fast and tender caught on so fast it became a worldwide phenomenon that 5 star restaurants copy today.
How did the village get its name? As the fishing village grew, a little stand was built next to the bus stop, where the arches are now. They sold sodas, snacks and burritos. As fate would have it, next to their stand was a billboard advertising New Port cigarettes. The Americans referred to the place by giving directions to where you could get fabulous lobster, behind the New Port cigarette sign. New Port of course in Spanish is Puerto Nuevo.
Who were the first people? Next to Don Pisto Liquors is a small museum, open only on weekends. It contains a replica of an Indian village. The Kumiai lived here thousands of years before any Mexican, or Spanish settlement and were the first fishermen. 7000 -year old remains have been found along the coast. Even back then the fisherman’s woman cooked up the lobster for the evening meal. The visitor can see what an early fishing village looked like. The lodging was a small thatched tipi of brush or grasses. Lurking in the corner is a manikin dressed as a padre and looking a bit out of context. But it is a good reminder of what once was.
Choosing a lobster: During lobster season, young men, known as “hawkers,” come out into the street and right up to your car, displaying a live lobster, hoping you’ll dine with them. While the huge lobsters are impressive, chefs and waiters will tell you that the medium-size lobsters are more tender and sweet. But watch out for what is known as “slippers,” small, delicious and extremely tender, they are illegal to catch, sell or serve at any time of year. It has been said that in one year alone, Puerto Nuevo served more than 672,000 deep-fried Rock Lobsters.
Where to eat lobster, Puerto Nuevo style: Your choices are vast! Some of the most popular include Ortegas, Chela’s and Casa de Langosta. The nearby hotel Gran Baja Resort often features the local specialty on its menu, as well.
Hours: Most restaurants are open from 11:00 to 8 p.m. weekdays, winter and summer, and until 10 PM on Friday and Saturday, but this is Mexico, and if there are people having a good time, the party ends when the party is over.
Price: The larger, long-standing restaurants, such as Ortegas in two locations, Puerto Nuevo II, and Angel del Mar run very close in price for lobster dinners that will include, fresh salsas, rice, beans and a salad. Ranging in price from $20 to $30.
Getting there: Puerto Nuevo is a clearly marked village on the Old Road, 10 minutes from the south end of Rosarito. Take the Rosarito-Ensenada toll road to the Puerto Nuevo turnoff at kilometer 49. Turn left onto the Old Road and continue south a short distance to the village, which will be on your right.
What else to do there: Believe it or not, there’s a museum! Right on the main drag, you can’t miss it and it is especially amusing for children.
Where to stay there: There are plenty of options, including vacation rentals, but one of the Baja.com recommended travel partners is the Gran Baja Resort located right on the Pacific Ocean.
Want to try Lobster Puerto Nuevo style? It comes with pots of golden-yellow melted butter, rice and beans and warm, comforting tortillas. Find out more!
Martina Dobesh, is a freelance journalist writing for Baja Times and Baja News. She is the editor of her own online publication The Baja Sun www.thebajasun.com . Other published works can be read on www.EzineArticles.com. Martina is passionate about conservation and honoring the original people of the Baja peninsula.
Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.
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