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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Roldan’

END GAME

END GAME

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 3, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Back in the day when I lived close to the somewhat remote East Cape area of Baja, I loved getting invited to someone’s house for dinner.  It was a special treat.

         First and foremost, it sure beat the one-pan meals I would usually cook for myself.  The food at these gatherings would be simple, but they were always the best-of-the-best spread they had to offer and tremendously delicious.

         I remember barbecued meat or fried fresh fish.  Often it was something they had caught or one of their own animals.

         I was a grateful beneficiary to the sharing of the largesse.

Of course handmade tortillas, beans and rice and maybe grilled vegetables or fresh cheese!  Dang.  I secretly always hoped there would be that fresh farm cheese.

         Plates and cups never matched. Lots of well-used plastic. The cups seemed to be those indestructible plastic/ acrylic things we all had in our cupboards back in the day.  Free with a fill-up of gas (or a steak knife) or were bought from the neighbor’s kid raising money for school.

         Somehow, those same cups magically migrated to Mexico!

 Silverware was burnished and scratched.  No big thing.  Lots of paper napkins.  No matter. 

These folks might not have much, but everything was always spic-and-span  and pridefully clean in the home.

         It was not only a treat, but an honor to be invited to the family home.

         Often, there might be another family or two… or extended family member at the table as well.  A few cousins.  A tio or tia (uncle or auntie).  Maybe some neighbors.

         Again, sharing the wealth.

         It was typically a pot-luck kind of affair from what I could tell.

         Cousin Jose and his family might bring some fresh ceviche.  The neighbors ferried over a Tupperware of salsa fresca. 

         It seemed the uncles would ALWAYS bring beer.  Always welcome and they seemed to drink the majority of it!

         After dinner there was always talk.

         Just fun and interesting conversation and b.s. directly dependent upon the level of beer consumption taking place.

         My Spanish at that point wasn’t full-speed, but it was enough to participate and I often became the center of the chit-chat.  It was usually something of an enjoyable question-and-answer session.

         Parents…well, the moms asked about food and markets and clothes.  Dads would talk about fishing or travel. 

Politics were big.  So were sports.  The New York “Yonkeys” and the Los Angeles “Doyers.” Andale!

         Recently, I was thinking about some of the great conversations with the kids. 

The younger girls would ask about celebrities, fashion and movie stars. 

         Did I really see movie stars all the time and every day?

         What is Hollywood like and tell them about a shopping mall.

         The boys naturally wanted to know about American cars.  American music.  Of course…American girls.

         Remember, these were the days before the internet was rampant and everyone had a cell phone. Often folks didn’t even have TV’s back then out there.

         I was sort of the welcomed travelling bard.  Folks were anxious to hear what was going on “out there.”  Tell us some news.  Tell us a story.

         With the kids…

         Often, we’d get into the typical, “What do you want to do when you get older?”

         At the time, it was just fun conversation, but looking back, the responses were really eye-opening.

         American kids talk …doctors…lawyers…executives…business owners…teachers…travel…own a ranch…own a sportscar…be a firefighter…engineer…computers…be a rockstar…attend a great university…be a pilot…marry a rich doctor…lawyer…blah blah blah!

         For these, mostly rural Mexican kids, the bar wasn’t quite so high.

         Most wouldn’t get past the mandatory 6th grade.  So, like all kids, many were eager to “get outta school” to go to work.

         Not so much to be independent like American kids…move out…have a car…get an apartment.

         These Mexican kids were eager to work so they could help the family.

         The aspirations weren’t so lofty.

         “I will help my father catch fish for the market.”

         “I will go to work at the farm picking vegetables.”

         “I would like to move to the city.  Maybe work at a restaurant or a hotel.  Maybe clean rooms or wash dishes.  I can stay with relatives.”

         “I have a boyfriend and we will get married and have kids.  He has a good job driving a truck for the market.”

         The ambitions were much more tempered.  Perhaps much more pragmatic in the big picture.  

 

         The big difference is that these are somewhat the kind of jobs American kids might do “on their way” to do something else.  Like while they are in school.

         Or a summer job.

         Or for some pocket money.

         For these Mexican kids, they are not jobs before they move onto something else. These are their CAREERS.

         This is what they will most likely do for the rest of their working lives.

         Forty or fifty years from now, it’s very likely, many will still be washing dishes or cleaning someone’s hotel room.  Some will still be trying to catch enough fish to sell to the market and feed the family.

         That fruit or vegetable farm still needs laborers.

         That girl wanting to be married has raised another generation herself.

         These “occupations” are the end game.  There is no “glass ceiling” because there is no glass. That solid ceiling they see is the height of ambition and opportunity.

         I’m trying to imagine some of the summer or school jobs I took in younger days.  Could I have worked in a warehouse the rest of my life?  Or driven a taxi? Or sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door? 

         Nothing wrong with good honest labor. 

         For Americans, we have the ability to envision better things.  We can hope that around the corner our ship will come in.  We have that ability to dream.  It may never happen, but we can strive and hope.

         Our end game has continuum.

         For these youngsters, their aspirations are limited to immediate and restricted finite opportunities.  The end game is for life.

         Do not pass GO.  Stay in the same square.  Repeat.

 

That’s my story

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

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DON’T TOUCH YOUR EYES

THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR! FEEL THE BURN…OR NOT!

DON’T TOUCH YOUR EYES!

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 27, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          I’m a chips and salsa guy. 

         I go into a Mexican restaurant and I look forward to ruining the rest of my meal filling up on the chips and salsa that get plopped in front of me. 

In fact, I judge the restaurant based on their chips and salsa.

         It’s the opening round.  First impressions are everything.  Usually, the chips and salsa are a pretty good reflection on the rest of the meal-yet-to-come.

         The problem is that in most Mexican restaurants in Mexico, you don’t get chips unless it’s a tourist place or you ask for the chips.  And, even then, chances are you definitely don’t get the typical big basket.

         You get a little bowl.  Like a peace offering of chips!   

         But, there’s still the salsas.  And every place worth it’s chili peppers makes their own. 

I’m not talking about stuff you pour out’ve a bottle like Tabasco, Cholula, etc.  Those are hot sauces, not technically salsas. 

         That’s for a different column.  If the salsa comes out’ve a bottle or jar, move along. Those places don’t last anyway. 

         I have a rule or two when I hit a new place and try their salsas.

         First, just because it looks mild doesn’t mean anything.  Conversely, a very tasty benign salsa could appear like Satan’s own brew.  

         Even at a regular place that you visit often. 

         Their homemade salsa can change from day-to-day.   That’s because the quality and flavor of the ingredients can change.

         For example in our restaurant in La Paz, we would make green salsa verde from green tomatillo tomatoes.  One day the salsa would be sweet and mild. 

        The next day, it could be very bitter and we would have to adjust the recipe.  That’s because the quality and taste of the tomatoes would change from our delivery guy.

        All tomatoes are not created equally.  Nor or chilis or onions.

         So, as a rule, no matter what the salsa looks like, I put a little dab on the tip of my little finger and taste it.  Or on the edge of my plate. 

         Knowledge is power and better to know up-front before I slather my taco with a sauce that I won’t like or will cause me physical damage!

         There are several main salsas to keep an eye-out for.  They’re the standards at most any restaurant or taco cart you visit in Mexico. 

Salsa-1170x617

         SALSA FRESCA/ PICO de GALLO – Usually pretty mild and can surely vary from place-to-place.  Usually bright red and green.

Typically consists of chopped red tomatoes, onions, salt, cilantro and fresh jalapeno or serrano chilis.  This is the universal salsa.  Stuff it in a taco.  Divebomb it with chips.  Spoon it over your huevos rancheros, fish or steak.

         SALSA VERDE/ TOMATILLO SAUCE – Made from green tomatillo tomatoes, this can range from tart to sweet and savory.  If the tomatoes are first grilled, roasted or boiled, then blended with the other ingredients such as the chilis and onions, you get a bolder full-bodied salsa.  In fact, all of the ingredients are sometimes cooked then blended together.

Using uncooked ingredients produces a salsa on the tart side.  Not necessarily a bad thing.  Just deliciously different.

         AGUACATE – This is avocado salsa.  My personal favorite. 

I can put this on everything in sight.  Remember, the “taquitos” they sold at your little league games as a kid and the green sauce that came out’ve a plastic jug?  Aguacate is a 5-star creamy upgrade.

It’s got the coolness of avocado blended with cilantro, a bit of lime, salt, onion and garlic contrasted with the serrano peppers.  It also has tomatillos in it very often. 

Guacamole…another favorite for other reasons…isn’t so creamy and is primarily avocados without the tomatoes and has a thicker consistency.

       SALSA ROJA – This is often the signature sauce at any local dining spot.  I’ve encountered places that guard “grandma’s recipe” like Colonel Sanders safeguarded his finger-lickin’ good chicken recipe.  

The main thing is roasted or boiled chili arbol.  It’s got more kick than other salsa chilis and cooking brings out spicy smokey flavors and deep red colors.  It’s then blended with the onions, garlic and other ingredients and can be served hot or cold.

This is definitely one you should taste ahead of time before spooning it on your food.  Sometimes, a little goes a long way.

Everyone makes their salsas differently and part of the fun of eating in Mexico is sampling all the different types.

 That’s my story!

Jonathan

 

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

    

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IT’S OK TO BREATHE THIS AIR

IT’S OK TO BREATHE THIS AIR

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 13, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Christmas time in Baja.

         Specifically, here in La Paz where we live and have our businesses.  

         On so many levels, the air is definitely different this year.  And, on so many levels, it’s easier to breathe.

         It’s palpable

         Practically speaking, masks are pretty much down.  Exhale.  Inhale.  Exhale again.  It’s been awhile. 

You can probably relate. Feels pretty good not to talk through a piece of cloth.  Or trying to figure out what you were saying to me!

I have a hard enough time understanding Spanish or trying to make sure my Spanish was correct.  Let alone trying to do it through a mask!

And hey!  That’s a smile under there.  I was tired of just looking at your eyes!

The pandemic hit Mexico especially hard.  It whacked Baja really hard, especially for an economy that depends so heavily on tourism.

Seventy percent of the population lives hand-to-mouth.  It’s a cash economy. No one is on anyone’s books. 

If you have a job, most get paid in cash or what you can sell.  Conversely you pay cash as well. 

Cash.  No checks.  No credit card.  No bank account .

What’s in your pocket at the end of the day is how you feed yourself and your family. And back home, that could be a lot of folks living in a small space.

No school.  No computers.  No Netflix.  Beaches closed.  Stores closed.  Restaurants closed.  Curfews enforced.  Entire areas completely off-limits.

Sit and stare at the rest of your family for days-on-end.

If you were actually on someone’s payroll and that business closed it’s doors during pandemic, that was just tough luck.

No feel-good stimulus checks.  No unemployment checks.  It doesn’t work like that in Mexico.

No money . No food . Simple as that.

Last Christmas, there wasn’t a lot of hoo-haaa. 

So much lingering uncertainty . Many places and events still closed.  Even churches were closed. 

Fast forward to Christmas 2021.

This year, most of Mexico is now in the green level.  It’s been a long transition from being in the red. 

In our city of La Paz, I’ve heard it’s got one of the highest levels of vaccination.  Something like 85% of the population has their shots.

Tourists are flocking to Mexico, in general, and Baja, in particular.  It’s a quick hop from the U.S.  No need to quarantine or prove you’re vaccinated to enter. 

The dollar is strong.  Mexico wants you.  Mexico needs you.  There are deals to be had.  The world is figuring out Mexico is a good value as well. 

The border is “officially” open now.  Technically, it’s been closed since early 2020 although it was easy enough to drive across.  But, it deterred many visitors from…well…visiting!

So, there’s a reason for optimism in the air.

You can just tell walking around town.

It’s good to see decorations and lights again.  It’s good to see people in the stores and restaurants. 

There are actually real live people hanging out on the beaches again.  Not just police shooing people away or giving out tickets.

Even Mexicans are travelling.  It’s OK this year to go see family and friends. 

The surest sign of hope and optimism…I saw a wedding and a baptism at our local cathedral. 

And that’s the difference.  There’s a subtle sense of joy in locals and visitors alike.  They’re enjoying themselves!   Not looking over their shoulders or over masks.

Yes, people are gathering. 

We may have this virus with us for a long time.  Things will probably never be like it was, but there’s an actual air of hope. 

You can feel it.  You can breathe it.

It probably makes the health officials cringe.  And government officials cautiously tippie-toe on eggshells hoping the other shoe doesn’t drop on the merriment or economy.

But, for now, it’s a good time to enjoy the smiles. 

A good time to appreciate the moment.  A time not to be taken for granted.  A time to appreciate each other again and how precious simple freedom is to each of us. 

It can be fleeting.  As we saw only a year ago.  Poof…gone!

I’m not talking about political freedom.

It’s even more basic. 

The simplicity of walking where we want to walk.  Taking a big unhindered breath.  Going where you want to go.   Shake a hand.  Give a hug.  Eat dinner with the family.

Hold a child.

This is the precious air you can gratefully breathe this Christmas. 

May it wrap and surround you and yours.

Revel in it. Amen.

 

That’s my story!  May you and yours be blessed this holidays and Christmas. 

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

Read Full Post »

A BETTER MARGARITA

A BETTER MARGARITA

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 5, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

         As the owners of our own restaurant in La Paz for over a decade and then living in Baja for almost 30 years, we’ve seen a lot of margaritas made and consumed.

         It’s interesting to note that most of the locals won’t touch tequila or margaritas.  When I’ve offered it to them at our restaurant, they (perhaps wisely) wag their fingers at me and smile.  “No, gracias!”

         I think they know better and I also think they enjoy watching the gringos go at it.  I mean, if you’re going to Mexico, it’s your “go-to” drink.  

         Seemingly, as soon as folks walk off the plane, vacation has not started until they have one of those high-priced margaritas served in a plastic cup at the bar just outside the terminal.  Am I right?

         “Whoo-hooo, Honey! We’re in Mexico.  Hot dang!”

         I’d estimate that at our restaurant, 95% of the margaritas are ordered by tourists.  Personally, I think we make a pretty good margarita.

         We cut our own limes.  We make our own lime juice (no bottled mix).  Our tequila does not come from a plastic jug behind the bar.  We cut our own fruits and make our own syrups.

         Just like anything else, good fresh ingredients result in a better product.

         But, in the spirit of “research and development”, not to mention it’s a great way to actually write-off the cost of drinking margaritas, my wife and I have gone to numerous places to “test drive” margaritas. 

         Here’s the deal.  We go to someplace that’s known for their margaritas and as a tourist destination…Cabo San Lucas…Puerta Vallarta…Maui…San Diego…San Antonio Texas…and others.

         All in the name of “research and development,” as mentioned.

         We do our own version of a margarita crawl. 

         The purpose is not get drunk and buzzed.  However, I will admit it is sometimes a happy by-product of our in-depth research!  We go from bar-to bar at supposedly the places with the best margarita reputation.

         We ask for their house margarita. 

         We take a sip or two.  If we don’t like it, we pay for it and walk away without finishing it.  Move onto the next place. 

         And so-forth-and-so on.

         Spoiler alert.  Here it comes.

It is amazing that some of the places that are known to be great margarita-makers literally serve absolute JUNK!  Most places, we honestly can’t finish them.

         But tourists don’t know any better. 

         They buy margaritas the size of birdbaths or chug them with their chips and that’s pretty much the extent of it. Or it’s what happens to be in their hands sitting at the pool bar all afternoon.

         Admittedly, there are a few places where Jill and I take a sip and then look at each other.  And another sip to make sure.  Surprise!  OK…not bad at all.  There’s some decent stuff out there.

         But, again as mentioned before, it starts with the ingredients.

         If volume selling to tourists or catering to the “buy-one-get-the-2nd margarita- free” crowd is the intent, the customers aren’t going to be very discriminating. 

993553-drinking-a-yard-of-beer-each-at-a-bar--merida-mexico-0

         They have no idea nor do they really care that they’re drinking a mix or that the tequila comes from a jug.  It’s got ice.  It’s got salt.  We are having a large fun time!

         “Let’s party, Baby.  Afterwards let’s go buy a sombrero and one of those sarape blankets and a hammock to bring back to Montana.”

         Honestly, nothing wrong with that.  Vacation fun is vacation fun.  Good on them!  But, you get the idea.

         If you really want a better margarita, here’s a few tips. 

          Yes, it will cost a tad more.  So figure that.

         For one,  ask for real lime juice.  Not “Jose’s Fiesta Lime Juice” in a bottle or jug.  Get the real stuff if at all possible.  It will make a tremendous difference.

         Ask what kind of tequila they’re making your margarita with.  In fact, ask to see the bottle! 

         There are 3 kinds of tequilas. 

         Silver (Plata) is clear.  It has not been aged or not more than 2 months.

         Resposada is slightly amber.  Reposada means “rested” and it has been aged in a barrel up to one year. 

         Anejo means “old.” This tequila has been sitting for awhile aging for more than a year and is much darker.

         The older the tequila, the richer and more full-bodied the taste.

         That doesn’t mean it’s the best for tequila.

          Personally, we feel that the Silver/ Clear plata tequila is best for mixing cocktails.  It’s got a clean flavor that blends nicely with other ingredients.

         I like the Reposada and Anejo in a shot glass or snifter.  It’s meant to be sipped or I especially like it with a cigar at sunset!

         While checking out the bottle, make sure it’s REAL tequila!  The real stuff must be from the blue agave plant and, by law, may ONLY be produced in the regions of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

         I’m not being snobby here. 

         Good tequila does NOT have to be expensive to make a good margarita.  Like wines or beers there are so many great and inexpensive brands. 

         A fancy bottle does not necessarily mean a good tequila.  Conversely a good tequila doesn’t have to be in a fancy bottle either.

         However, like most liquors, the more expensive sipping tequilas do taste better and smoother.  But, that’s OK because I’m not using the good stuff to do slammers or shots with buddies!

         Life’s too short for bad margaritas!  So are vacations.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

Read Full Post »

JUST IN TIME FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL

JUST IN TIME FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 22, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

No one likes surprises when they travel.  Travel can be pretty stressful as it is.  Even moreso, travel during the holidays is also high anxiety time.

         As luck would have it, I got to fly back to Texas from our home in La Paz to spend Thanksgiving with my wife and family.  After not having a day off pretty much since last April, I couldn’t wait to jump on a plane.

         As usual, I went to obtain my covid test within 72 hours of my flight. 

         In case you missed it or haven’t traveled internationally, since January, anyone entering the U.S. on an international flight MUST show a negative Covid test result within 72 hours of the flight.

         No biggie.

         Quick swab of my schnoz takes a few minutes and results pop up on your cellphone within the hour. 

We’ve had hundreds of fishing clients for our Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz over the past season. It’s a little inconvenient, but just part of travelling these days along with so many other protocols we live with.

         Everyone gets one then goes happily on their way back to the U.S.

         So, I was all set.  I had my passport, ticket, and my covid results for travel the next day. 

         I went to check in online and get my boarding pass and get a notice that curled my toes!

         The CDC has implemented NEW RULES as of Nov. 8 for international  travelers entering the U.S.

         Basically, if you have been vaccinated, you still need to show a negative covid test result within 72 hour of your flight home.  The problem is if you have NOT been vaccinated.

         I have not been vaccinated.  In fact, I’m getting it THIS week in Texas.  There was no rush. 

I had Covid bad last year.  I’ve tested positive for the anti-bodies. I didn’t want to get vaccinated in Mexico.  I’ve been there solid for 8 months. 

Understandably, I’d much rather get any shots or vaccinations in the U.S. with my own doctors.

Well, the new rule requires that ALL UN-VACCINATED persons MUST show a negative covid test within 24 HOURS of the flight.  Further, I had to attest that upon arrival, I would self-quarantine for a few days.  Plus, I had to promise that I would get the vaccination within 60 days of arrival.

Yikes!

So, I had to run back to the testing lab in La Paz and get a 2nd negative covid test.  I know the staff there and they were surprised that I returned for the 2nd time in 2 days.

They were surprised at the explanation and had no knowledge of the new rules.  However, they graciously expedited my results.

The other bump in the road is that the online check-in does not work if you have not been vaccinated.  Therefore, instead of TWO  hours checking in before your international flight, it requires you check in FOUR hours before your flight to show your paperwork.

My flight was at 11:00 a.m. from Cabo. 

Normally, I would arrive about 9 a.m. for a flight like that.  Since it’s 3 hours drive from La Paz, that means leaving about 6 a.m. to head to the airport.

With the new regulations, I had to leave at 4 a.m. to get to the airport by 7 a.m.

Grrrrrr….talk about adding stress to a travel day.

Once I was there, it was easy.  The folks at the airport were more than helpful and since the early days of the pandemic have tried to alleviate all the confusion and stress.  

There are assistants everywhere directing travelers to the correct places or helping with forms and documents.  Everyone I’ve ever run into speak English.

I’m glad I got there early, even if it was a pain.  I’m glad I knew about the new rules BEFORE I got to the airport or there was a good chance I would have been denied travel.

So, bottom line is this:

If you have not been vaccinated, you must obtain a negative covid test with 24-hours of your flight for an INTERNATIONAL flight.

You must check in at least 4 hours ahead of your flight.

Plan ahead and hopefully, you’ll have a smoother easier travel day.

By the way, after more than a year-and-a-half, the border is now open as long as you can show proof of vaccination. 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

 
Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

 

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THEY BUILT A BETTER BRIDGE

THEY BUILT A BETTER BRIDGE

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 9, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

         For years, I’ve been telling folks about the Cross Border Express bridge (CBX) at the border for flying to Mexican destinations from Tijuana.

         Mexico has a brand spanking-new air terminal now in Tijuana that’s as nice as many and perhaps nicer than many in the U.S.  Indeed, Tijuana is quite a hub for air travel.

         Many Americans over the years, especially from Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and even Utah found it much easier to cross the border and fly from Tijuana to places in Baja  like Loreto, Cabo and La Paz and other locations in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and others.

         For one, it’s often much less expensive.  From Tijuana,  domestic flight instead of an international flight.  Statistics show, it’s as much as 50% cheaper flying to Mexican destinations than from U.S. airports.

         Lately, it’s been especially conducive with Covid since international travelers returning to the U.S. must obtain negative Covid tests before their flights.  Domestic flights do not have that requirement.

         However, back in the day, flying from Tijuana required actually crossing the border by driving, a shuttle, a bus or taxi.  Or a generous understanding friend or family member.  

         It required navigating the maze of Tijuana streets and traffic to get to the terminal.  Plus, it included the added anxiety and potential delays of just getting through the border check-point. 

Those are huge deterrents to travel, especially for folks who don’t like the idea of driving through or into Mexico in the first place.  Additionally, there’s the sheer nervousness and likelihood of getting lost on a Tijuana border street.   

Not to mention,  your Spanish is limited to ordering chalupas at Taco Bell. 

         Oh, and you have a plane to catch.

         I’ve known many folks who missed a turn or two and ended up back on the U.S. side or got lost miles away from the terminal.  Miss a turn, miss your plane!

         To that end and with rare foresight, the CBX bridge was built several years ago.  I’ve been touting it for years. Clients and friends rave about it.

         Essentially, it allows travelers to park on the U.S. side of the border.  Or shuttle/ taxi there.  You then simply walk across the bridge right into the Tijuana terminal.  No fuss.  No bunched underwear getting lost.

         It’s a game changer!

         But, I had never taken it myself.  It’s like telling someone how good Italian food is, but never having eaten it yourself.

         So, this past week, I had the opportunity to go to San Diego for a few days with Jill, my wife.   She remained, but I had to get back to our home and business in La Paz.

         Booking was easy on Volaris Airlines.  It’s a newer and increasing popular airline choice for Mexican air travel.  It was $85 for a less-than-two-hour-flight to La Paz and the jet was completely full.  About 1/3 were gringos.

         She also booked me my ticket to use the CBX.  Easy online for $16.

         Dropping me off at the curb in the early morning hour to catch my flight, I was greatly surprised. 

20211108_054005_HDR

         I mean, I expected a BRIDGE.  Y’know…like a big span or girders or something.

         On the contrary, it was like being dropped at a regular modern airline terminal.   The CBX is, in fact, more like a giant causeway than an actual bridge.

         Architecturally, rather beautiful.

cbx_1280x640

         I walked right up to an uncrowded airline counter and checked in.  I could have opted for automated mini-kiosks as well.

         I then walked over to an immigration counter to digitally fill out and print my immigration forms.  Everything was computerized. There were helpful staff assisting folks.

         Again, very easy.  And off I went.

         Through the gates and down several well-lit modern corridors.  Signs and arrows were easy to follow. 

         I did one stop for them to take my temperature for Covid.  Another short stop to have my luggage x-rayed.  A short walk to another Volaris counter where I dropped off my luggage (There are carts available, but I was travelling light).

         Another short walk and bam…I was in the new terminal.  Starbucks…Johnny Rocket’s Burgers…convenience stores…cosmetics…clothes…a few sports bars. 

And easy-to-find -boarding gates.

         I had something to eat for breakfast and made my flight with plenty of time to spare.  It was a no- brainer and could not have been easier.

         The entire walk was maybe 100 total yards.  Much easier than driving through the border and all over Tijuana.

         I traveled light this time, but there are carts, luggage porters and wheelchairs if they had been needed.

         For sure, two thumbs up 5-star rating in my book.

         A couple of notes:   

         You can also park your vehicle in secure parking on the U.S. side.  It’s a big bonus.

It’s as little as $18/day.   In fact, you can reserve parking ahead of time online.  Cost is about $25/day and guarantees parking even if the other lots are full.  There is also valet parking.

         If you’re coming the other way, car rentals are also available as are shuttle services from cities like Los Angeles and San Diego and cities in between all the way up to Sacramento.   Plus Uber and Lyft.

         There are discounts for families travelling together plus luggage porters and wheelchair assistance.  There is assistance for minors travelling alone. You will also find scales, currency exchange counters as well as duty free shopping.

         All-in-all, a great deal.

         More info here:  https://www.crossborderxpress.com/en/

That’s my story!

Jonathan


Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004. Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico http://www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront. If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi. It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

U.S. Mailing Address: Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA 91942

Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

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WE HAVE A BLEEDER

WE HAVE A BLEEDER

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 24, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

In the several decades that I’ve been writing fishing articles and columns for magazines and newspapers, I don’t think I’ve ever tackled this subject.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because it’s just something I don’t think about much.

         For what we do down here, it’s just not much of an issue. 

         However, it’s come up several times in the last few weeks with regards to our panga fleet here in La Paz.

         One was a legitimate question about bleeding your catch.

         Two of them were complaints of sorts from first-time anglers who had never fished in Mexico and had also never fished in a panga.

         Let me explain.

         The process if “bleeding” a fresh-caught fish can really be beneficial.  It’s not that difficult to do, especially after you’ve done it a time or two.

         It involves taking a catch just out’ve the water.  While the fish is still flapping, quickly cut to it’s heart and the main artery right behind the gills.  You let the heart pump out the blood.  Easy.

         All fish are a bit different, but you can Google up the specifics. 

         By, the way, I’m all for a quick dispatch of any catch.  The quicker you do any of this, the better for the fish rather than let it flip around in a fish box, bucket, ice chest or kill bag. 

         But, it can be messy.  I mean, “all-over-the-deck messy” especially for really dense muscled fish like a tuna or bonito for example.

         Therefore, if you can, let the blood pump out while holding the fish over the side, if possible and practical.  Or, hold it in or over your bait tank.  If you can’t do either of those, at least do it away from everyone else.

         And be prepared to clean off the deck rapidly. 

         Then, get the fish chilled on ice.

         The whole idea, as explained to me by a marine biologist many years ago is that when a fish, or anything dies, it immediately begins to decompose.  Makes sense.  No vital organs are working anymore.  Blood, nerves, brain function, etc. are all flat-lined. 

         Blood left in the fish is also  logically decomposing. 

         By getting rid of the blood, you can really help improve the flavor of the meat by leaving you with cleaner and better tasting fillets.

         That’s the theory.  And it works!

         The reality can sometimes be different which brings me back to the complaints I received this week.

         When I worked on big private charter boats, it was relatively easy to bleed-out a fish.  I was a deckhand. 

Or there were other deckhands.  Even if there was a lot of activity on the deck during a bite, usually someone could bleed fish.

         Unless it was really crazy.

         I’ve worked on party boats and multi-day charter boats and ultimately, you’re dealing with a lot of fishermen.  There’s simply too much happening.

         A bunch of folks are trying to catch fish.  Fish are biting.  Lines are all over the place.  It’s frantic.

         We’re tying hooks; gaffing fish; untangling lines; tossing bait; bagging and tagging fish…and more.  It’s full-speed turbo. 

         There’s hardly time to take one person’s fish and bleed it in the middle of the chaos.   It is what it is.

         On a panga like we have here in La Paz, sometimes it’s possible to bleed a lone solitary fish.  Sure. Let me get right to it.

         Here’s the dilemma.

         There’s one captain and there 2 or 3 anglers.

         The captain is the one-stop, driver; guide; deckhand and navigator. He’s got his hands full.   It’s kind of a small, efficient but ultimately croweded working platform.

         The fishermen are out there to catch fish.  The captain’s job is to facilitate that event.

         Bites can happen in a frenzy.  Two or three fishermen with bent rods and slinging fish in a small boat is fun and exciting and can be a blur of motion for the captain. However…

         If he stops to gaff, cut and bleed a fish…

         The whole process comes to a standstill.

         He can’t re-rig your lines or the lines of your buddies.

         He can’t be baiting hooks.

         He can’t be untangling your backlash.

         He can’t drive the boat.

         Your buddies might be pulling in fish at the same time.

         Or losing them.

         The fish school could disappear.

         It’s a pragmatic issue.  The anglers need to weigh taking the time to bleed solo fish versus all the other things that can happen in the interim.

         I think most would rather be catching fish than watching the school disappear.

         Simple as that!

That’s my story!

Joanthan


Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004. Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico http://www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront. If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi. It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

U.S. Mailing Address: Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA 91942

Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

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CHANGING SEASONS

FRESH FROM OREGON!

CHANGING SEASONS

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 17, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          Having a fishing business down here, I could usually tell when the warm water season was cooling down.   The signs are usually everywhere.

         The kinds of fish start to change.  Instead of warm water species like billfish, tuna, dorado, etc., we there are fewer in the counts.  More inshore species acclimated to cooler waters like sierra, pargo, snapper, cabrilla and amberjack become more prevalent.

         The winds from the north start to blow a little stronger and more consistently. The waters are choppier and cooler.

         The sun is at a different angle and throws longer shadows around.

         It sounds silly to the tourists, but we are starting to wear sweatshirts and long pants even though the temps are still in the high 70’s.  Tourists are still running around in shorts and t-shirts.  To us, it’s unequivocally cooler.    

         You can even tell by the types of visitors we’re getting.

         Not quite so many folks from California or Arizona, Utah, Texas or Nevada.

         Now, we’re getting more Canadians, Alaskans and folks from Oregon, Washington and the Dakotas.  They don’t ask much about fishing or what they will catch.  They just want to know if there will be sunshine. 

         Even if it’s a cool 70 degrees here, it’s still much warmer than what they’ve got back home so yes, the snowbirds are already showing up.

         The crowds are definitely down.

         Families are largely gone.  Kids are back in school.  Fishermen as well.  Everyone’s getting ready for holidays back in the U.S.   It’s a quieter time down here.

         However, the biggest indicator of the changing seasons can be viewed by anyone driving around town.  And it usually elicits a collective groan.

         Christmas is already in the air here in Mexico.

         Usually, in the U.S. we can generally figure it kicks in right after Thanksgiving. 

         Well, there’s no Thanksgiving holidays here in Mexico.  Halloween is growing, but it’s a minor little kid thing mostly.

         So, just about the end of September, here we go!

         Stores are pushing aside merchandise and stocking rows and rows of toys.  Those that don’t have the room, erect huge “TOY TENTS” in their parking lots.

         Christmas decorations are already on the shelves as well.  In fact, if you don’t purchase them now, there probably will not be any around by the beginning of December and the stores do not re-stock.  Once they’re gone…they’re gone!

         Christmas tree lots are also popping up in vacant lots and parking areas.

         You can see where the fencing is being put in and banners advertising “Fresh Oregon Christmas Trees” are already being hung in anticipation of the arrival of trees in a few weeks.

         They’ll be here by the beginning of November and folks will snap them up.  Nothing like a fresh “Oregon Christmas Tree” in the living room.  How you keep a tree fresh and fragrant for two months is beyond me.

         I’m just not quite ready for this.

         I know in a few weeks, shop owners will start painting elves and fake snow on storefronts. Somehow, it’s just not the same in Mexico seeing fake snow sprayed on things.

         For most folks, the only snow they want to see is inside the rim of a margarita glass or when they pop an ice chest full of Pacifico or Dos Equis long-necks.

That’s my story!

Jonathan


Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004. Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico http://www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront. If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi. It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

U.S. Mailing Address: Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA 91942

Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

Read Full Post »

BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED the WEEK of Oct. 9, 2021 in WESTERN OUTDOOR PUBLICATIONS

          I am often asked about renting cars or just driving around Baja in general.

           Or there are folks who tell me they are going to make some grand “Banzai” run from the border all the way down to Cabo.  They tell me they drive wide open and non-stop like race car drivers.

         They ask me for advice.

         Having been down here almost 30 years and also having driven the Baja over a dozen times top to bottom and back, I mostly have one rule.

         Do not drive at night.

         Frankly, it’s dangerous.

         When I tell folks that, I see their eyes go wide.

         No, it’s not the banditos.

         Some cartel is not going to grab you and run away with you.

         The legendary chubacabra (vampire bat/dog) is not going to suck your blood and leave you in the desert.

         It’s much more simple than that.

         You have a great possibility of bumping into something at night in Mexico.  Or, even missing something completely!

         I don’t care how careful of a driver you are.

         Mexican road are notoriously bad.  You are probably already on an unfamiliar patch of highway or road.  

A foot-deep pothole can suddenly shred a tire or bend an axle.  Not to mention shake your dentures.

Also, consider this.

         The Mexican road construction guys just LOVE to install speed bumps of all kinds.  If one speed bump works let’s install 5 more just for fun! 

At one point, in the two miles from my home to my office, there were 36 speed bumps along the way. You’ll hit them at the strangest places placed there for no apparent reason.

         Some would give an Abrams battle tank fits.  Others are spaced just enough so it’s like driving over a washboard.  Others will literally launch your car airborne if you hit it at just the right speed.

         Also, driving at night, you put on your headlights, right?  Don’t assume other drivers will also have their headlights on.  In fact, don’t assume other drivers even have headlights or taillights or brake lights for that matter. 

         Oh, and if they have headlights, they like to drive at you or pull up behind you with their bright hi-lights on.

         Assuming again that you’re on unfamiliar roadway, things aren’t always well marked.  Street signs can be non-existent, broken, hidden behind bushes and even hidden behind other signs. 

         This includes stop signs.  Street lights.  Street names.  Detours. Warnings about potholes and speed bumps coming up…SOON!

         Street lights often don’t work or are non-existent.

         Therefore, all things considered, you have a great possibility of getting LOST.  Or getting a traffic ticket.  Remember, you’re in a highly visible rental car or a car with non-Mexican license plates.

 I see it happen all the time.

         Another thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of folks dress in black at night.  I don’t know if it’s a fashion thing, but they’ll dash across a street.  Walk through a crosswalk without looking.  Jog and bike rider right in the traffic lane too!

         Out in the country side, you have a whole other set of things to be concerned about.

         Often, there’s debris on the roadway.  Rocks.  Parts of trees. Trash. Things that have fallen off other trucks or cars.  Even on the best highways, there is always that danger.  

I’ve seen it all.  I’ve hit them all!

         Even moreso, the biggest danger is hitting animals. 

         I’m not talking cats and dogs. Domestic street animals are usually pretty smart.

         I have seen wild pigs and deer that occasionally cross a highway.

         However, it’s the cows, burros, horses and goats you need to watch out for. Mostly, they are freerange animals left to wander a the countryside by a land owner.

         They can be grazing on the side of the road.  Often, at night, they will lie on the pavement for warmth.  They can suddenly dart out’ve the bushes across the road. 

         In the middle of the night on a long lonely stretch of desert a herd of goats suddenly were in our headlights as we rounded a corner.  We were already half-dazed from a lengthy drive. 

         Our big pickup with dually-rear tires ripped right into the herd.  I would swear that I saw two bodies fly up and over our windshield and cab and our tires rapidly went “bump-bump” over others several several times.

         Oops!  No way to avoid them.

         Even worse, I’ve had friends hit larger animals like a cow, or a burro.  Not only is there extensive damage to the vehicle, but on several occasions, the animal is now the ranchers “most prized” and expensive piece of livestock.

         Or course, it is.

         Even if it was really nothing more than a scrawny range animal wandering the property.

         The rancher now wants BIG MONEY. 

         So, drive in the light.  Stay safe.  Take your time.

That’s my story!

Jonathan    

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

Read Full Post »

WHY MY MEXICAN FOOD TASTES BETTER THAN YOUR MEXICAN FOOD

WHY MY MEXICAN FOOD TASTES BETTER THAN YOUR MEXICAN FOOD

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 2, 2021 in Western Outdoor News

           As the owner of a restaurant here in Baja and having hosted thousands of visiting fishermen, tourists, foodies and locals, I have many interesting conversations with our patrons.  I think the “social aspect” of owning a restaurant is one of the great reasons many folks do something crazy… like opening a restaurant.

         Something I hear a lot is, “Man, the food just tastes so much better down here!”

         Yea, there’s something to that.  Maybe you’ve said it yourself on a journey south of the border.  Food just tastes better down here.

         It could be the shrimp or the steak or even something as simple as a taco, guacamole or salsa.  There’s just “something” about the food in Mexico that’s different. 

20210113_193423_Burst01

I mean, it’s not like you’ve never had a taco or shrimp before.  It’s not like you’ve never dive-bombed the salsa or guacamole with a crispy tortilla chip.

         Heck, even the chips taste different!

         I have to agree. 

         Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love my Mexican food back in the U.S, but there’s something about the food down here that sets it apart.

         For one, it is indeed “local” in every sense of the word.

         Of course, speaking very generally and with exceptions to every rule,  you’re probably gonna find the good Italian food in a place named “Gino’s” and a bunch of Italian guys are working in the kitchen.  Or Gino’s mom is back there herself making the sauces or slinging pasta.

         Chinese food?  Personally, I’d probably duck into a place called “Chin Wah” than “Joe’s Chop Suey Express.” 

         In Sacramento on business once, I asked for the best Mexican food in the neighborhood and was directed to a local eatery that had 4 stars online.  OK.  Sounds good.  I was excited.

         As I entered the restaurant, we walked by the open kitchen so I stuck my head in and waved, “Hola! Que pasa?”  A whole bunch of Asian guys (I’m Asian) turned around and looked at me puzzled as if I was speaking Martian.

         Oh boy.  The food reflected it.  Barely so-so.

tacos in the dark

         My point being, that local ethnic food made by locals is probably going to be a notch above.  Most restaurants down here are mom-and-pop operations.  Dad, mom, the kids…all working.  Probably using the same family recipes used for generations.

         When we opened our restaurant, we asked our employees what was their family known for in the kitchen?  Salsa? Grilled fish? Rice? 

fish-taco

         We got their recipes and then took the best and adapted it to our restaurant and our menu.  We’ve kept our menu very local and held to those same recipes for over a decade.

         It sound cliché, but Mexican food made by Mexicans is a great start.

         Secondly, a big reason Mexican food tastes different than in the U.S. is that pretty much of  American-made Mexican food is pretty much the same.  You have the chain fast-food places.  Then, you have the chain restaurants.  Then, you have the local places.

         But, mostly all of them cater to American tastes.  Understandable.  Of course, I’m again speaking in broad generalities.

         However, here in Mexico, there are so many incredible culinary regions, that grilled fish in Cabo San Lucas will taste completely different  in Veracruz.  Ceviche in Puerta Vallarta might have completely different ingredients than in Cozumel.  Chorizo made in Puebla is different than chorizo in Toluca. 

         Mole…a big favorite salsa used on chicken, pork and beef has something like 28 different ingredients like chocolate, chile, peppers…it will taste different all over the country.  Even beef and pork will be different from region to region.

         Speaking of ingredients, that’s a big plus as well.

         Here in Mexico, storage is expensive.  Labor is cheap.

20210115_080737_HDR

Vegetables and fruits are actually allowed to ripen in the sunshine and in the soil.  They don’t ripen at the grocery store or some warehouse or shined-up to make them look juicier.

         Limes, avocados, onions, mangos, cucumbers are often in the store the same day they are picked.  When you bite into a red tomato, it actually tastes like a juicy fruit that it is.  The oranges are sweeter.  The aroma of cilantro can fill a room.

         It’s no wonder that your salsas taste so much better and your drinks (if made fresh) don’t taste like they are made from a mix.

         Beyond that, real Mexican food has all those “fun things” that taken in abundance would make a nutritionist or doctor cringe.

         Salt.  Check.

In fact, please pass the salt shaker. My chips could use a bit more!

         Sugar.  Check. 

Ice cold Mexican Coke is popular because it has real Mexican cane sugar in it!  Same with Mexican ice cream that’s growing in popularity north of the border.

         Fat.  Absolutely.

Why do you think the tortillas taste so good.  They use real lard to make them!  Fried things?  Sure…fry them in more real lard!  Makes all the difference.

         Salt…Sugar…Fat!  It’s the un- holy trinity of things you should eat in moderation.  It’s also why diabetes and heart disease are so rampant in Mexico.  But, if you’re on vacation, a little indulgence is part of the fun.

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         Enjoy the culinary ride down here.  You can go back to eating at Whole Foods and granola with almond milk when you get home.  Or the fast-food taco chain drive through.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

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Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

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Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

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