Where’s The Party?

BY RANDALL C. NORTHRUP

Here in Mexico, we celebrate any reason for getting together to enjoy family and friends. If that day happens to be declared a national holiday and fall mid-week, we'll just close up shop. I’m talking about pretty much everyone, even the banks. Shoot, why not take the rest of the week off. We'll just call it a “Puente” (bridge) and party on to the following Monday. Well, that won’t happen on this holiday but the U.S's Independence Day from bloody old Britain is coming soon. Let’s see where the parties will be going on at this Fourth of July. We will start south of the town of El Pescadero at Km 69 heading northwest ending with the town of Todos Santos. I will also cover establishments that will be open through the summer. Shall we begin?

 

Cerritos Beach Inn

Head north; at Km 67 you will see the sign for Cerritos Beach Inn. You will have to go past 2 clicks and make a U-turn at Km 65. You’ll see the sign to turn right towards the beach and Cerritos Beach Inn. As you enter the property you will be greeted by the lush tropical pool with its own waterfall and waterslide for the kids. Move on into the restaurant/bar for a cocktail or a cold beer and order up some traditional Fourth of July BBQ burgers, hot dogs, coleslaw and potato salad. Enjoy the live music while you take in the amazing view of the Pacific Ocean and Cerritos beach. You can enjoy the beach, take a dip in the Pacific and then warm back up in their large jacuzzi. If you make it till the evening, there will be a fireworks show to boot. Mr. Colson puts on a great party every year.

Back to the highway and another U-turn to Km 65; make a left back down to the beach. I call this the 2nd entrance to Cerritos, a much better road than what I call the first or main entrance close to Km 64. Don’t worry, you will come out Km 64 to visit a relatively new bar called “Shaka’s Delicious Wood Cantina” to wrap up the Cerritos food scene.

 

Cerritos Surf Town

Follow the signs to the beach-side resort, Hotel Cerritos Surf Town, previously the Mayan Village and originally the old Ejido trailer park. Boy how things have changed. A few years back the Portus Group purchased the development from Roger Polluck. Portus is the outfit that has delivered Las Ventanas above Costco in Cabo. One of the Group's latest projects is Soleado in San Jose, right on the beach in front of world famous surf at Costa Azul. They recently acquired property next to Cerritos Surf Town. As we speak, Portus is building their second Soleado right in front of Cerritos world famous surf. Busy, Busy, these guys, I had a great conversation with General Manager, Ulyses Mejia. Surf Town is open all year and Ulyses is planning for the Fourth of July. Surf Town is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They serve traditional Mexican food, specializing in shrimp, scallops and octopus cocktails and great sashimi plates. Spend your day on the beach or by the pool. Surf Town offers plenty of activities. Surf and volleyball right out front. If you’re a beginner with no equipment just stop by the surf shack and ask for Tona. He will set you up with everything you need for a day on the beach. Tona is an excellent surfer and instructor. He will have you surfing in no time. The resort boasts the largest pools in the area and is the center of activity. Take a yoga class, play some water volleyball or just plain lounge around the pool. Surf Town offers a day pass during the summer for $30, which $20 of it goes towards consumption.

 

Barracudas Cantina

Fifth on the list, Barracudas Cantina will be closed July 1 thru the 8. They deserve an honorable mention because they will open back up after July 8th and will stay open through the summer. Owners, Dano & Carla will be on a well-deserved vacation. Check the place out when they get back. Younger crowd but mellow. They serve delicious ceviche tostadas, fish tacos, and my personal favorite, smoked fish quesadillas, plus other tasty dishes. Dano is the purveyor of Farm-to-glass cocktails, a real Michael Angelo of mixology. You’ll find him behind the bar unless the surf’s up. No worries, Dano’s well-trained staff will take great care of you. I met Dano a few years back. He was managing the bar at Rancho Pescadero. He served me a Mango, Passion fruit Margarita with Chili salt on the rim, mint leaf garnish and a drop of Damiana. We have been good friends ever since. OK enough reminiscing. Make a right, down around the corner, follow the signs past the Barefoot Luxury development to Free Souls Restaurant & Sky pool.

With beautiful ocean and mountain views, rooftop heated pool this is truly a culinary experience. Wood fired specialties include pizza, fish, lamb, steaks and homemade desserts. There will be no Fourth of July celebration here but it is open for the summer and the quality is worth the price. They have a huge delicious rib eye steak that is to die for, a great place to take the honey for dinner. Hit it at sunset, very romantic open from 12:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

 

Hacienda Cerritos

Next we will head to Hacienda Cerritos or as the locals call it, “The RogMahal” after Roger Polluck. Mr. Polluck is a developer from Oregon who built the Hacienda to be his home. He changed his mind and turned it into the now iconic 10-room Boutique Hotel, Hacienda Cerritos.

The Hacienda is located on the point at the very northwest end of Cerritos beach. You can see the yellow turret from practically anywhere. The view alone is worth the trip up. The bar and restaurant, "La Mision" are practically built hanging over the ocean making the Pacific sunsets extraordinary. The "La Mision" is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The reviews are outstanding. No special celebration going on here for the fourth. Although they do have an incredible pool out by the bar, if you would like to feel like a celebrity for the day, they will sell you a Day Pass for $50 bucks and $20 goes to food and beverage. Not a bad deal. It’s quite a place. Talk to Rachel at the office on the left as you walk in, or shop in their small boutique on the right.

The Hacienda Cerritos is the perfect spot for a wedding or event. They will rent the whole place out for special events, your very own Hacienda!

Ok let’s wrap it up and get out of here, will check out the newest kid on the block “Shaka’s Cantina” on the way out. They are located about a mile from the beach on the main road back to the highway. Remember the first entrance, km 64? I told you we would come out this way. When you come back down from the Hacienda Cerritos you will hit a T. Make a left and stay on the road back to Hwy. 19. Shaka’s Cantina will be on the right-hand side about a mile up.

 

Shaka’s Delicious Wood Cantina

The owners are Edgar from Mexico City and Brandon from Texas. Thus the big Texas flag flying out front, along with the Mexican flag of course. They partnered up and recently celebrated their one-year anniversary. I spoke to Edgar briefly as he had a good crowd at the bar watching game 1 of the NBA finals. They will be open on the Fourth and through the summer. When I asked about anything special? Entertainment?, Edgar paused, and then stated, “Entertainment! There’s always entertainment! There for sure will be a party.” I know they have horseshoes, that’s pretty Fourth of July.

They will be serving their regular menu, tortilla soup, tacos, fajitas, beef, chicken and their signature Shaka’s shrimp nachos. Chile rellenos as well as sandwiches, bagels and to top it off, baby back ribs. Great atmosphere, great place to party.

That’s about it for Cerritos Beach. Let’s see what Todos Santos has to offer. Head east and back to the highway, make a left and in about 15 minutes will be in Todos Santos. There’s two local dive bars on the way. A few miles up the road you will be in El Pescadero. The first bar, “Bottoms Up” is pretty new. They claim to have the coldest beer in town. It’s cold. You’ll find it on the right, before the main entrance to the town. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Not the bar but the whole town. A quarter mile from Bottoms Up on the same side of the street and across from the gas station you find Sugar Shack Dive Bar & Grill. Cool little Bar, say hello to Jimmy the owner, really nice guy. Both bars are open for the long hall, that’s right, year round.

Once you hit the speed bump you are now entering Todos Santos. Look left, on the wall, a big brand-new sign pointing down the street to Shut Up Franks. That’s where we're headed. The local's hangout for over 24 years, Bikers and sports fans favorite. Frank has all the sports streaming live. Everyone is welcome. Vegetarians, kids, you name it. You’ll enjoy all the vintage sports memorabilia, photos and old newspaper clippings hanging on the walls. The bar has been owned and operated by the same character the whole time. Yep, you guessed it. That would be Frank. Shut Up Frank’s is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays. Happy Hour weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m., two-for-one bottle beer, well drinks, and margaritas. Frank’s special for the Fourth of July will be one hotdog, potato salad and a beer for a $100 pesos. The food on the regular menu will also be available.

Make a right at the only light in town. Go up five blocks and make a right on to calle Alvarado Obregon, T.S. Brewery will be on your right.

 

Todos Santos Brewery

These guys are the real deal when it comes to craft beer. They have 22 taps of brew that are all made on site, including some artisanal soda for the non-drinker. They will be open all summer long, six days a week (closed Tuesdays). Their regular weekly events include Friday Night Trivia and Sunday Sessions live music both 6 p.m.).

They have super cool air conditioning, keeps everyone chilled through the summer. For those that want to dig a little deeper into the craft beers, they offer a ¨Crafternoon¨ experience, where you can ´Taste the TapWall´ of brewers and also do a tour of the Brewery (these are via booking). In addition, they also have a kitchen onsite serving up the best gourmet hamburgers and schnitzels. Great place to spend some time on the Fourth or any time you find your way to Todos Santos. Stop by, have a beer and stay for the trivia, Cheers.

The Journey through Todos Santos will continue in the next issue. We will be visiting the remaining restaurants and bars that will be open during the summer time.

I am quite surprised at how many establishments there are and just how diverse they are. The area is really changing and growing dramatically. The word is out. As the weather turns hot in Cabo and La Paz this area is generally 20 degrees cooler. Get out the heat. Come and enjoy Cerritos Beach, El Pescadero and Todos Santos.