by Carrie Nusbaum
FYI Angelenos, your guilt over not having ever ventured down to Mexico is well founded because guess what? It's so close (2.5 hours on a Saturday morning), easy to get to (you don't even have to stop at customs on the way down), and very different (and therefore interesting). We finally made it (for the first time) when we went down for a long weekend, and it was so fun and well worth the several hours spent waiting at the border on the way back into the US. We planned the trip on pretty short notice and ended up staying in kind of a Gringo complex in Rosarito called Las Gaviotas. While that specific residential area was not super interesting from a cultural standpoint, the house was very nice, there was a beach, and some of our friends had also rented a place nearby, so it worked out. It's also, conveniently, a pretty short drive to some interesting places. Rosarito itself is worth walking around to grab some fish tacos and maybe a paleta.
We also went to Popotla, a tiny fishing village which Anthony Bourdain famously (for them) once visited. There are a few places to eat there, but most are little-trafficked, and so it was hard to choose one. It seems like they could all really use the business. We ended up deciding on a place that overlooked the bay/market, after they bribed us with an unmatchable number of very weak margaritas (which we did not take full advantage of). We chose a freshly caught fish and it was flayed, seasoned, and grilled right in front of us. One of us may or may not have accidentally served herself several rows of fish teeth, so heads up for those.