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La Querencia, combining Mediterranean techniques and asian flavors

Locally sourced ingredients for this Bajamed cuisine

July 6, 2012  By Kristin Díaz de Sandi of Life & Food. Reprinted with permission from SanDiegoRed.com 

Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero from La Querencia

Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero

Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero has pioneered the Baja Med cuisine movement for the past 11 years.
You may have also heard of his other two restaurants El Taller and Almazara. We are so fortunate to have accessibility to a wide variety of fresh ingredients in Baja California.
The interior walls of La Querencia are covered in photographs of his own hunting and fishing experiences. You will also notice the stuffed birds and animals that take up their own little areas as well. It is another way to make you realize where your food really does come from. The menus are displayed on chalk boards on both sides of the restaurant, which honestly already had me drooling from the second that I sat down.
Chef Miguel Angel not only grows the produce in his own garden at his house for his dishes at La Querencia, but he hunts and fishes for the ingredients as well. There is such passion behind his plates, and I was ready to embark on this culinary venture. It is incredible how much you can taste the difference in locally grown and sourced ingredients. Chef Miguel Angel took us on a journey through his world of Baja med cuisine, and with an empty stomach I was ready to climb aboard.

Chocolata clam shot from La Querencia

The first taste to hit my palate was a Chocolata clam shot. As soon as that fresh meaty clam hits your tongue, your mouth is filled with the sweet flavors of the salty ocean. This is one of the many reasons that I am in love with Baja. The freshness of the seafood and its natural flavors are unreal. The shot glass was also filled with some sriracha sauce and touch of vodka. The heat came through, but did not overpower the clam at all.

 beet carpaccio from La Querencia

Yellow squash and zucchini carpaccio from La Querencia

The next two plates that we were presented with were two different vegetable carpaccios.
Both of them were prepared with fresh and organic produce right from his garden. I feel like most people have a love/hate relationship with beets. Personally, I love them, and all of their beauty.
The beet carpaccio had both a goat and blue cheese over the top, and then was drizzled with a tarragon mint oil. The earthy beet with the two cheeses together was just heavenly. The second carpaccio consisted of paper thin sliced yellow squash and zucchini. It was hard to pick favorites during this meal, but I have to say that this one came in at the top. Fresh lime juice, chile oil, cilantro, pepitas, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese gave this plate an explosion of flavors. Both of these dishes were full of such clean flavors.

Following that were two different grilled oysters. If you have only ever had raw oysters, I highly suggest that you jump on the grilled oyster train. They have just the right amount of smokiness to them, but you can still taste their natural essence of the sea.

smoked Ahi tuna tostada from La Querencia

After slurping down those two gems, a smoked Ahi tuna tostada followed shortly thereafter. The crunchy tostada was topped with tender ahi tuna, wasabi cream, garlic chips and avocado. Each bite had a little bit of each ingredient, and it was just divine. I tried to eat slowly, so that I got to savor each and every morsel, but I may have gotten a little bit carried away. It was quite the tostada bliss.
The next dish was the one that tied in close second with the squash carpaccio. Marinated duck, grilled Portabello mushrooms, and Goat cheese inside of a tortilla created a truly memorable taco. The ingredients are indeed rich together but oh, the flavors are just sublime.

rosemary olive oil seared fresh fish from La Querencia

The final savory dish was a beautiful fresh fish that started off by being seared in a pan with a little bit of rosemary olive oil. To finish the cooking process, the filet is then placed on the grill. Underneath the perfectly cooked fish was a bed of Japanese noodles soaking up a delightful broth. The broth itself added the perfect amount of saltiness to the dish. I could have literally sat there slurping up the broth all on its own, but adding a twirl of noodles and piece of fish, was an excellent bite exploding with flavors.

White chocolate crepe cake from La Querencia

We were told that we could not leave without trying their White chocolate crepe cake. Let me tell you, that is the absolute truth! Crepe cake where have you been all of my life? Well, now that we have been introduced, I will be seeing you more often. The white chocolate and thin crepes are such a match. The pristine white cake had even more depth when it was dragged through the assorted fruit syrups.

La Querencia Tijuana

La Querencia Tijuana

 

This was just a taste of the extensive menu at La Querencia. There is sure to be a dish that satisfies everyone’s palate.

Want to find out more about cuisine in Baja California?  Read about it here!

Kristin and Antonio blog at Life & Food and you can follow them on Twitter at @lifefoodblog and Facebook.

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About Kristin Díaz de Sandi

Kristin Díaz de Sandi’s Life & Food blog, created in conjunction with her husband Antonio, has helped drive recognition of the gastronomic resurgence of Baja California. She and Antonio have merged efforts with colleagues Bill Esparza and Jason Thomas Fritz to create Club Tengo Hambre, a roving supper club, that explores food and wine cuisine in Baja.

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