Travel Bite: Seeking Surf, Serenity and Serious Mexican Food at Rancho Pescadaro

Rancho PescadaroI recently jetted off to Rancho Pescadaro for a Baja-beachy wedding. This is a part of Mexico I would strongly suggest everyone visit — it’s safe, it’s serene, it’s lacking in the Spring Break-scene we’ve grown accustomed to associating with Mexican getaways. At Rancho, the food doesn’t get much fresher {straight from the ocean or garden}, the cocktails don’t get much more quenching {cilantro margaritas and mezcal sours topped the list} and it’s all enjoyed al playa or poolside, with stunning mountain and ocean views in every direction and with a staff at-the-ready to make every second worth the trek. Here’s the recap…

Wed 2:05pm: find out tomorrow morning’s Dallas to Cabo leg of my flight is cancelled due to tornados is Dallas. Damn. Call AA. Told there is zero chance of getting me to Cabo for the wedding and suggest I take the refund. Wisely decline and hang-up with unhelpful agent. Crisis mode: kayak, travel agent, Spanish customer service line. Spanish customer service line wins. All three traveling friends rebooked on three different new flights. How does that equate to zero chance? Lesson in persistence.
Thurs 4:30am:  Wake-up. LGA to Houston smooth sailing. Check departure board upon arrival, see earlier connection to Cabo than booked on. Inquire at gate if I can get on and told again there is “zero chance.” Respond I have no checked bags and this changes gate agent’s heart. “Ok with a middle seat?” For this? YES! Reminder why I never check a bag. Ever. Middle seat ends up in the exit row and with no seat to my left. Me thinks my travel karma has switched courses.
Thurs 12:15pm: Arrive in Cabo 3 hours earlier than originally planned (thank you tornado?)
Thurs 12:25pm:  Almost get through customs in a blink. Written warning for the apple I had in my purse. Oops. Wonder how that will come back to haunt. Don’t mess with Mexican customs.
Thurs 12:35pm: find friend arriving from earlier flight. Jump in rental car, roll down windows, off to Rancho Pescadaro via lunch stop in Cabo. Hairy ride on mid-construction Mexican road. Half dirt, half pavement, with a lot of swerving. Roll windows up, buckle seat belt.
Thurs 3:30pm: arrive at stunningly beautiful Rancho Pescadaro. Greeted by friendliest staff who grabs our bags, takes the car keys and promptly leads us to the most important spot on the property: poolside bar. First name introductions all around. Three refreshing cocktails whipped up — first taste of the Rancho Colada. Ready for a swim.

Pescadaro Pool

Pescadaro Pool

Thurs 6:00pm: Beach-front welcome dinner. Sangria, massive bowls of homemade pico di gallo, holy moly bowl of guacamole, steak fajitas with handmade flour or corn tortillas, BEST mole I have ever had {Rancho can I get the recipe?}, caramel flan. Sundown, temperature drops, mexican blankets at the ready, fire pits ablaze, full moon rising and the sound of unruly waves crashing behind us. Welcome indeed!

Mexican Dining al Playa

Mexican Dining al Playa

Chef Buena Makes a Mean Mole

Chef Bueno Makes a Mean Mole

Fri 5am (7am NY): woke up right on body clock cue. Drank triple filtered water. Looked up at my sea blue bed netting that was more romantic decor than purposeful bug-catcher at this time of year. Rolled over and willed myself back to sleep.
Fri 7am: Wake up round two. Opened the curtains and stepped out onto my private balcony. The evening desert chill is still in the air as the sun is in its low rise. Grabbed a blanket, my book and curled up on my private outdoor lounging bed, listening to the fountain below. This is a way everyone should start everyday.
Fri 8am: Roosters are crowing in a distance field, the air is warming. Check outside my hotel room door. Complimentary breakfast has arrived. Array of sweet fruit-tasting fruit. A pot of steaming freshly-pressed Mexican coffee and a charming woven basket housing two cinnamon-sugar dusted donuts. Joy. I read, sip, nibble and, of course, snap a few shots.

Mexican Breakfast

Mexican Breakfast

Fri 8:50am: Air is inching toward hot. Birds join me on the balcony for a few pecks of leftover breakfast. Another hour of soaking myself in this morning bliss and then complimentary yoga?

Yoga Rancho Pescadaro Style

Yoga Rancho Pescadaro Style

Fri 9:30am: Sun is hot to the point that lounging on my outdoor bed involves sweat on the brow. Sunscreen crosses my mind.
Fri 10am: Time for sweat with intention. Yoga.
Fri 11:30am: Pool, poolside cocktails and fresh fish tacos. Yes, life is good.

Poolside Cilantro Margarita and Fresh Fish Tacos

Poolside Cilantro Margarita and Fresh Fish Tacos

Fri 8pm: Restaurant recommendation in Todos Santos from Chef Bueno at Rancho: Tre Galline. Translation — three hens. I was meant to eat here. An authentic touch of northern Italy found in Southern Baja. Chef Angelo greeted us with smiles and showed off every simmering pot from his kitchen — table-side! I loved this preview and asked for his recommendation. He insisted on bringing me a little bit of everything and I did not disagree with that genius plan. Grilled eggplant-wrapped cheese, sweet potato-stuffed tortellini topped with almond slivers, spinach tortellini stuffed with cream with parmesan, homemade lasagna, and to finish braised goat over grilled polenta.  Not what you would expect on beach vacation and for that I loved it.

Tre Galline

Tre Galline

Fri 9:30pm: Drinks at the Todos Santos Inn. A charming 19th-century brick B&B that should be top of your list if you’re more of a town-dweller than a beach-bum.
Saturday: Rinse. Repeat. Sunrise, breakfast, pool, then a destination wedding to remember. Sangria and popsicles chilled off the crowd before the beach-ceremony. Chilled gazpacho, ceviche and margaritas kicked off the post-nuptual celebration. And a whole roast pig with freshly caught ocean fish were delightful departures from your typical wedding filet and salmon choices.  Poolside dancing, late-night piñata-smashing and a taco and s’mores cart made this party under the Mexican moon one for the ages — and for a long 14-hour travel day back to New York.

Wedding Mexican StyleSo when you’re looking to plan that beach getaway that steers clear of jello shots or jamaican braids and guarantees your boss can’t reach you on your cell phone, consider Rancho Pescadaro in lovely Baja Sur. Only regret? Not making it to Baja Beans for “the best coffee in town.” It’s only a 5 minute drive up the road, so be sure to stop in for some java, pastries and cafe dining al fresco. Thanks to the entire staff for making this such a memorable destination getaway.

Adios Rancho

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1 Comment

Filed under Travel Bite

One response to “Travel Bite: Seeking Surf, Serenity and Serious Mexican Food at Rancho Pescadaro

  1. You did a pretty good job of catching the esence of why we live here full time in Todos Santos. The food and art scene is truly first class. We eat well year round with organic fruits and veggies and the best local caught fresh year round. Chef Bueno has a new littel fish hut on the way to the beach in Cerritoes that makes ceviche only only on the weekends.

    hope you come back to see the rest of waht you missed like La Casita restauraunt in TS truly awesome dining experince with the freshest sushi ever with a world class chef, darn i’m getting hungry thinking about it.

    cheers,
    larry

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