The organic market in San Jose del Cabo is held on Saturdays, in an open field, down a rough dirt road northeast of downtown (it’s not far from the Mexican resort of Cabo san Lucas). It attracts a mix of locals and laid-back tourists, who casually peruse produce, hand-crafted jewelry, lotions and clothing. You know, something to fill the stalls between the important stuff: the fresh meals.
And what great culinary finds there are, at dirt-cheap prices (averaging about 30 pesos) and offering twists on Mexican food I haven’t seen before. Like a big cauldron of Mexican coffee, steeped with cinnamon sticks and cloves. Then there’s a mole chicken tamale, served in a little bun, which someone tells me is Mexico City style.
One highlight is a sensational chicken, chile and cheese quesadilla. The corn tortilla is rolled to order, squished flat in a large wooden press and quickly browned on a little grill. The fixings are then loaded aboard, and the tortilla pinched in half and dipped into bubbling oil for a few minutes.
The quesadilla is now pried open, some grated cheese and slaw added, if desired, and the whole thing cut in half and delivered to a shaded table. Once things have cooled sufficiently to avoid scalding one’s palette, comes the first heavenly bite through the slightly crunchy exterior. I know deep frying ain’t healthy, but boy does it make some food sing. The inner contents are great, but what shines through everything is the freshness of that corn tortilla.
What might be even better is a cheese tostada from Las Cazuelas del Don. From a ring of blistered, fresh tortillas on a circular grill, co-owner Liz lifts one covered in melted cheese and piles on my choice of sautéed chicken, bacon and, get this, cactus. I liven it up even more with some dribblings of house-made habanero salsa and chomp down, careful to lean over to avoid soiling my shirt. Oh, my goodness!
Ironically, the name of this version is lujuria, which translates to “lust”. Now, this is something I can justifiably lust after. The good news is Liz and husband Alberto also run a sit-down restaurant in San Jose del Cabo.
Las Cazuelas del Don
Malvarrosa and Guijarro, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
Weekdays 1 pm-10 pm, Saturday at the organic market. Closed Sunday