Once you have soaked up plenty of sunshine and have accumulated an appropriate amount of sand in your car, load up and head to the charming seaside town of Loreto. Small and easy to navigate, with a beautiful misión and town center, Loreto is a relaxing place to spend a few days. This town has quite the history and is thought to be the oldest human settlement in Baja.
We have twice stayed at La Damiana Inn and it is a great and affordable option. Clean and with good wifi, coffee in the mornings, a fabulous garden area and exceedingly friendly hosts.
Plus, from here you are so close to the clam extravaganza of your dreams! At Almejas Conchos, clams are literally the name of the game and you will be glad they are. Did I mention the owner here is super friendly? He is.
Almejas Chocolatas (chocolate clams) are served 'en su concha' (in their shells). These are tender, juicy, so fresh and totally alive. Don't be alarmed, be delighted, when they squirm as you prepare them with a dash of hot sauce and a nice squeeze of fresh lime (sadistic, I know). I'd be more alarmed if they didn't squirm in their lime bath! It should be noted, even the limes here taste better than any lime you have had.
A dozen clams on the half shell wind up being more than you think on account of the double-sided chocolate clams.
Don't forget the salsa and check out that creamy clam dip! Smokey, luscious and studded with hunks of cooked clams, it is so good, especially atop a saltine. I mean it!
These Almejas Gratinadas (clams au gratin) come out bubbling in their juices with a bit of garlic butter and cheese melted on top. These are super tasty and would be awesome with some grilled bread or with fresh pasta, or, you know, on top of a saltine (this time I don't mean it as much)! My friend thought they were pizza tasting and I agree. They are found throughout the area and are justly popular. Kind of like junk food clams, in a good way.
Now onto another popular clam dish of the region, the Almejas Tatemadas (charred clams). This preparation is Prehispanic and traditionally would have been made by burying clams in a sand oven on the beach. These days the clams are wrapped in foil and nestled in a wood burning oven.
The Almejas Tatemadas do indeed taste charred and are super clammy as it seems the juices area absorbed into the flesh of the clam as they cook. These had nice flavor, but texturally were not my favorite. Still, give them a try if you have the chance.
Last but not least in our clam-straviganza, the delightful Tostada de Almeja en Escabeche (pickled clam tostada). The only way I can really describe this is as pickled clam potato salad. Does that sound weird? Trust me, it isn't. Big chunks of vinegary clams mixed with mayonnaise, hot sauce and pieces of cooked carrot, this was a luscious treat. As this was such a nice beer drinking snack, we were motivated to have another and a final round of beers.
Now, folks, it is not all fun and clams here; you can get fish tacos, too! This tasty fish taco came with two nice pieces of super fresh yellowtail. The fish was expertly fried, crunchy, super hot and not greasy. I personally prefer a less dense white fish for my fish taco, but these were awesome. My pal declared it her best of the trip. If you are in Loreto and wanting a fish taco, give El Rey del Taco a go. Closed on this particular trip (for no particular reason!), I had my best fish taco there a few years ago.
Since there is no way you could possibly be full, why not switch gears and head to the always tasty, always busy Asadero Super Burro. This smokey grill joint has delicious quesa tacos and even better Arrachera (skirt steak). Might as well have them together. Arrachera is prepared in the same manor as Carne Asada, over an open flame, but cut a bit thicker. Juicy and smokey, cheesy and crunchy, this is a fantastic thing to eat.
Need I say more?
Oh wait, I do need to say more! I forgot to tell you about the choriqueso (chorizo and cheese) taco. Unlike a quesa taco, which has melted cheese on the tortilla, the choriqueso taco cooks the cheese and chorizo together on the griddle until it is a meaty and delicious cohesive mass. Try it sometime! And you might as well have another Arrachera while you are at it.