Where’s The Party: Part Two

BY: RANDALL C. NORTHRUP

We finished up in the last issue in Todos Santos at Shut Up Franks, and directly across the street, you have Miguel’s Restaurant.

Miguel serves traditional authentic Mexican meals with a special focus on fresh seafood. Scallop or shrimp chile rellenos are the house specialty. He offers many other delicious traditional plates as well.

I think it was the New York Times, if my memory serves me well, that gave Miguel’s Restaurant quite a nice write-up. Always a friendly place, Miguel will be more than happy to cater any of your events, large or small. Call ahead for To-Go orders if you feel like dining at home.

Make a left before the gas station, go all the way down the street, make a right across from the baseball stadium and there it is on your left.

Chill n Grill

Another local’s favorite. Open Monday through Saturday all year long. Happy hour is 2 for 1 adult beverages from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Taco Tuesdays and pizza night on Thursdays, great burgers, salads and mouthwatering ribs. Live music every week and they have a pool table! Steve Keys and friends! That’s the crew that will be playing great classic Rock 'n Roll for the Fourth of July. 

It’s an awesome place. Owned and operated since 2014 by great people, local boys Gabe and Cary Corado. If you want to chill, listen or dance to great music and have a good time, this is the place to go. Great customer service!

Back out the way we entered. Make a left. Go through the stop sign, stop first! It used to be our only stop light in town and I just noticed it’s been removed. That’s strange. OK, you’re going to run into Todos Santos' main street, Benito Juarez, make a right. On your right-hand side just past Zaragoza Street you will find a delightful Restaurant

Restaurant La Morena

This is the place to get your Groove on to live Cuban music, Salsa, Latin Salsa from Puerto Rico and Colombia, Merengue, Cumbia and Bachata from the Dominican Republic. They regularly have Reggae, Rock, Funk and Blues on Wednesday nights. The quality of musicians that Zara and her husband Erik provide is exceptional. Many a good time had here. They have excellent dining, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. closed on Sundays. La Morena will be offering a summer lunch special of your choice. Either a Torta Cubana or Chicken Panini that comes with a Greek salad or fries. Your other choice is three fish tacos with fresh salsa and guacamole. Included with your meal you can have agua fresca or your choice of beer (except draft) for only $150 pesos from 12 to 5 p.m. Premium cocktails 2x1 4-6 p.m. Monday to Friday. La Morena will be closing for the month of September and will be back in full swing for October.

Stay on the same side of the street and half a block up you will be at the legendary, Hotel California.

“Where you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave.”  By now you have heard that this is not the Hotel California that the Eagles wrote about in 1977, but if you have ever driven the entire peninsula and one of your road trip songs was “Hotel California” and you finally arrive in Todos Santos at the legendary Hotel California, it is an eerily similar place. One of these similarities, for example, is that the opening line of the song is “On a dark desert highway” Hotel California is accessed by driving down a dark desert highway. Another coincidence is that the Mission Church of Pilar is located directly adjacent to the hotel and mission bells are heard daily. One of the song’s lyrics is “I heard the mission bell.” Kind of spooky. According to band members, the song Hotel California is actually a metaphor in the creator's mind. It's a song about a journey from innocence to experience with a whole lot of excess involved.

In 1947, a Chinese immigrant by the name of Mr. Wong began construction on the hotel, and after three years opened its doors to his 16-room Hotel California on February 5, 1950. He lived in the hotel with his wife and seven daughters. Mr. Wong wanted the town to think he was Mexican so he changed his name to Antonio Tabasco. That did not work out as he had planned, not knowing that the town folk had already given him the nickname of El Chino. Mr. Wong not only opened the hotel but a bar and restaurant to accommodate his guests. He was the first to have cold beer in Todos Santos by bringing ice from La Paz. This made El Chino extremely popular. El Chino also had a small gas station on the corner that is now the “Emporio,” the hotel's boutique gallery. The hotel fell on hard times during the 1980s and through the 90s until 2001 when a Canadian couple, John and Debbie Stewart, purchased the property and beautifully renovated the 16 original rooms to 11 suites, which have won several design and original decoration awards.

They later added the restaurant “La Coronela.” John passed away on September 1, 2006, of heart failure. They were married for 30 years. Debbie has stayed on to continue to live there dream. In 2010 Debbie partnered up with Agaveros y Tequileros de los Altos to introduce its ultra-premium Hotel California tequilas. It is produced from strict artisanal methods using weber agave alongside modern distillation techniques. They have produced tequilas with exceptional personality and distinction. Each bottle is unique and handcrafted. Hotel California tequilas are available in Blanco, Reposado and Anejo. The tequilas have a silken, floral, sweet taste with notes of toasted vanilla.

Celebrities the likes of Paris Hilton, Judd Law, Shania Twain, Queen Latifah, Bon Jovi y Goldie Hawn, among others have enjoyed stays at Hotel California. Today the "legendary" Hotel California continues to evolve; changing with the times as it has since its birth in 1947. Margaritas in the patio are memorable. Daily seafood special, catch of the day, and many other delicious items on the menu. The Blue Cheese lamb burger with arugula is my favorite.

Directly across the street from Hotel California you have Tequila Sunrise Bar & Grill.

Tequila's Sunrise Bar & Grill is a colorful open Mexican restaurant. Customers are comfortably seated on traditional pigskin-covered chairs in a big long interior dining room with additional outdoor dining and bar tables available. The walls and bar are fancifully covered with signatures and graffiti a la Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba. The restaurant is very popular with visitors. They have a well-balanced menu of Mexican dishes offering a good variety of appetizers, soups, salads and entrees. The shrimp or lobster chiles rellenos are a house favorite and are very tasty. In fact, the kitchen does a very good job consistently turning out tasty dishes in general. They are accompanied by well-made fresh sauces. Tequilas Sunrise provides a good full bar and plenty of cold cerveza. Margaritas are the house specialty, which is not uncommon but in this case, they are uncommonly good. The head bartender and manager have won several national margarita competitions. Good friendly service compliments the food and drink. The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Let’s go up to the next street, Marquez de Leon and make a right, go a block and a half and on the left side of the street, you’ll see Alma y Many’s.

My regular breakfast spot, authentic chicken or steak chilaquiles in verde sauce with two eggs over easy please. Lunchtime, I’ll have to go with the garlic shrimp enchiladas supremas. Alma and Many opened their restaurant seven years ago. They have become so popular that they had to open more space on the second floor. They are originally from the state of Michoacán in the mainland. Many proudly tells me that Alma learned her cooking skills from his mom. Alma seems to get the garlic just perfect and everything else that comes out of her kitchen. Best local food in Todos Santos, great service, lovely food and great atmosphere. While I was having breakfast there recently Many shared with me that he had acquired six really good trail horses from San Jose and would like to start renting them here in the area. If you like to ride, ask Many. He will set you up with good calm horses and a guide to get you around. If you really want to impress your friends at your next party ask Many and Alma to set you up with trays of delicious authentic Mexican food.

Back to the Hotel California Street, Benito Jaures, make a right and continue up to the third street, Topete and make a left down the hill a 100 meters and on your left you’ll find,

Guaycura Boutique Hotel Beach Club & Spa

Located in a 19th-century red brick historic building in the heart of Todos Santos. The hotel is named after the first settlers who occupied this region of land. The Sky Lounge is located on the hotel's rooftop that has a pool and impressive views of the town, oasis and the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy spectacular sunsets over the sea and see the full moon rise from the mountains while you savor the chef´s creations and experience a unique ambience. The Sky Lounge is open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Guaycura also offers El Mirador Ocean View Restaurant, another fine dining experience with a stunning view of the Pacific Coast and the most spectacular sunsets. Feast on their Mexiterranean creations prepared with ingredients from the contiguous sea and orchards while enjoying the view of the beach, desert and mountains. El Mirador is open Wednesday through Monday, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. You could also spend the day at Guaycuras, El Faro Beach Club & Spa located 2 miles from the historic town center. The beach club features an infinity pool with a zero carbon footprint, a poolside seafood grill & bar as well as health, wellness and relaxation Spa treatments. This is an ideal place to spend a relaxing day in the sun with your partner, your family or a group of friends. El Faro is open Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Directly across the street is the Todos Santos Inn.

Built in the 1870s as a sugar baron's estate, the Inn is a historic hacienda hotel in Todos Santos with an ideal location in the center of town. It has now been sensitively restored as a historic village inn. With its antiques, soaring beamed ceilings and courtyard gardens, the Todos Santos Inn evokes a bygone era. Whether you're planning a few day excursion from the major resorts or a full exploration of the peninsula, this is a great place to stop. Just about the time the sun goes down, the bar, with its huge beautiful leather chairs and historic mantel, all the antiques around make it one of my favorite places. Order me up a pre-dinner cocktail, preferably a good scotch, as I sink back into one of those chairs and just feel the nostalgia of this old hacienda. Now it's time to reserve your table to enjoy the multisensory Mexican-Fusion menu at one of their two enchanting spaces. Open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Note that La Copa Cocina is closed for dinner on Wednesdays.

Back to Topete and down the hill. Meander through the oasis of palm trees and lush vegetation to the otro lado (the other side). You will come to a stop sign, make a left. On your left and a block up, you have arrived at the last restaurant on our tour,

La Esquina

The perfect place to hang by yourself or with friends, very comfortable and the interior of this place is decorated beautifully. Great coffee and breakfast stop. Relaxed ambiance, offering healthy food choices with a menu focused on sandwiches (made to order), salads, tasty soups, smoothies and juices. Most fruits and vegetables are organically grown and local (their own backyard). Live Music Events are extra special in this beautiful place. Happy hour includes, beer, wine, cocktails, Jamaican lemonade, kombucha and kombuchela. The cafe has evolved into much more than a breakfast or lunch spot. They have created some very special evenings for local groups, private parties, and their loyal customers. La Esquinas relaxed environment makes people feel at home and they would like it if you stop in for a visit. Open seven days a week, Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

I encourage you to check out this little beach town of Todos Santos. It really is an enchanted magical town. With a rich history and its culture so much to discover, adorable shops, art galleries, cafes, world-class beaches, yoga studios and the magnificent Hotel California!