“Worth the wait” “Best Breakfast Ever!” “Amazing!” are just a few of the comments I’ve heard over the years in regards to the food at la Cocina de Doña Esthela which is located off a dirt road in the Valle de Guadalupe. Now that I’ve been there I have to agree 110% on all these accolades. In 2015 the website FoodieHub named Doña Esthela’s restaurant “Best Breakfast in the World” .
From Bourdain to Bayless famous chef’s have raved about her cooking, I have to give credit to my newest favorite show on PBS, Pati’s Mexican Table, especially Season 7 which was dedicated exclusively to Baja California. Chef Pati Jinich took her show from Tijuana to Cabo and with each episode she highlighted a different city and chef. In Episode 4, Season 7 she visits Doña Esthela for an inside look at the now legendary chef. Season 7 is available on Amazon Prime if you have that service.
My adventure included my sister, Denise and brother, Jeffrey, Denise actually made all the plans to get to the Cocina, if you’ve never been to the Valle de Guadalupe it’s right before you get to Ensenada, you take Highway 3 and you will find vineyard after vineyard, wineries and some great chef driven restaurants( my next review!). There’s a main highway but most of the places to eat and drink are offroad. Next time I’m driving my Tundra down there to better handle these roads, it was a little treacherous with my van but we made it as does everyone, and it’s worth it!
We had to wait about 50 minutes for our table, of course we expected this, once we were seated the service was quick, very quick. The servers are so busy they are practically running to make sure all the orders are taken care of in a timely manner. The big thing here is obviously breakfast but the slow roasted lamb comes in a very close second, next time I will go for that part of the menu but today was all about breakfast! We all order café de olla and decided on our choices, they bring out a plate of queso fresco, chips and salsa for you to munch on and it was all delicious. Jeff and I always order fresh orange juice because it’s FRESH! and about half the price that you would pay in the States.
Our plates came quick, Denise ordered Huevos Rancheros, Jeff ordered the machaca and I ordered a combination plate of 2 eggs, chilaquiles verde, machaca and beans, Denise also ordered a stack of the sweet elote pancakes. We were given a stack of fresh tortillas and away we went! At first our table was silent as we started our meals, after a few minutes the oohs and ahhs started. The food was absolutely amazing! Yes, this was simple Mexican food but everything was just the best Mexican food. EVER. The beans were perfect! The machaca was to die for! Denise said her huevos rancheros were the Best she ever had. Then we each had a pancake. Ay. Dios . Mio. They come with syrup but it wasn’t really necessary, they were sweet and corny, very dessert like and to be honest I don’t really like pancakes, but these were spectacular! Midway through our meal Doña Esthela popped out of the kitchen and came to our table to say hi and she noticed we needed more tortillas. We all sat there with our mouths open, frozen, I was able to take her picture and mumbled a muchas gracias. She turned around a went to get us more tortillas, it was a nice surprise to see La Doña, she came back with the tortillas, smiled, and went around greeting the other customers while we sat there still frozen. We eventually finished our plates, the check came and our bill was around $32 for everything. Thirty Two dollars. Total. For the Best Breakfast in the World! It’s worth the wait! Amazing! Best breakfast Ever!!!