Road trip!! A smile washes over my face when I think about weekend road trips to Baja California with friends. Those were some of the best times in my life. Three hours away from Los Angeles, we’d pull off the highway onto a dirt road leading into a small village called Puerto Nuevo, the self-described “Lobster Capital of Baja,” where you can choose from dozens of restaurants serving up pan-fried (in lard) lobsters with beans, rice and homemade flour tortillas served on the side. Ocean views, fresh seafood with warm tortillas, cold beer, and Mexican music in the background transported me right into paradise.
This weekend, I craved that experience. Unfortunately, we’re a bit nervous about driving south of the border today so instead opted for Ports O’ Call in San Pedro to get our fix.
It is fascinating to see how this New England-style seaside village with a meandering promenade of cobblestone streets becomes transformed into another world. Predominantly Spanish-speaking Latinos converge upon this fish market to buy red snapper, lobster, shrimp, tilapia, oysters, and so much more. Mariachi trios and banda music players stroll through the outdoor patio filling the air with music. Large tanks filled with crushed ice house imported beer, including Tecate, Modelo, Corona, along with the domestic brew. Take a look at our Sunday afternoon fish finds.
This fish was sticking his tongue out at us!
Spicy shrimp fajitas sautéed with onions, green bell peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes. The seasoned fajitas are piled on a cafeteria tray. Squeeze fresh lemon and pour hot sauce ($1 for a small bottle of Tapatio sold where you buy the fish) and it’s time for everyone to dig in with forks or hands. The garlic french bread is an interesting and delicious side choice, along with warm corn tortillas.
Be prepared it’s not cheap. Medium shelled shrimp cost s $18.90 per pound. The market charges for all the sides including the garlic bread, tortillas, small bottles of Tapatio and the grilled veggies, anywhere between $1-$4 an item. A large beer was $8.50. Was it worth it? Yes, considering the other option: risking your life and driving down to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico. On your way out, make sure to buy a churro filled with cajeta, a light caramel sauce.
From their website, learn more about other fun activities and attractions, including everything from Midnight Champagne Cruises under the stars to helicopter tours.
Location: Ports O’ Call Village, Berth 75 – 79, San Pedro, CA 90731