Morning started with a run down some dusty, bendy roads alongside small, clear flowing aqueducts that supplied the green planted fields on either side as we made our way down to a vast, empty beach of endless sand and close-crashing waves. And I just loved the cow’s floppy ears and big, dumb faces.
We took breakfast at the beautiful Todos Santos Inn surrounded by flowers, plants, and fountains before running over to see Dany at the Hotel California to pick up the peppers he wanted to send with us. He was busy planning the biggest culinary event in the city’s history but still came out and spent fifteen minutes talking with us about the peppers and what it takes to grow them. And he was kind enough to give me both a ghost pepper and a scorpion pepper. He said, “The ghost pepper is a quick, fast heat. Painful, but over quickly. For the scorpion pepper on the other hand, it comes on slowly and lasts much longer. It assaults your senses. First, you’ll start sweating. Then you’ll feel it in your ears as they ring and burn. And then you’ll feel it in your nose. And then, you’ll start to cry.” I’m paraphrasing from memory, but you get the picture…
The peppers smell incredibly, intensely floral, and you can feel the heat in your nose. Can’t wait.
Leaving Todos los Santos, I knew what was coming – 175 miles of dead straight, dirty, sandy, blowie, hot, nasty. But, first, it was a quick jaunt to La Paz where we cruised the malecon and stopped for a quick water. The sea was a bright green blue and a perfect stop before getting it on with the desert. Getting out of La Paz, as is so often true in these Mexican tourist towns, was another matter – slow, hot traffic. But, it was short-lived and we were off into the desert again.
The desert did not disappoint. This section of road is a very straight shot through a low desert basin with almost nothing to see. Nothing that is except for the memorials placed what seems like every thirty or forty feet symbolizing another fatality along the road. It’s good to keep in mind that the roads are sometimes not safe, but I could do without the constant reminder…
Emerging from Ciudad Insurgentes felt great – finally some curves and water ahead. The last 3 miles before Loreto were twisty, mountain roads made for riders. There is surely an easier way to get through, but some visionary knew to build it this way. I realy wanted to go back and do it again. Absolutely incredible.
Upon entering Loreto, we took a quick spin through town, checked into our rad little joint (getting so lucky down here!) and then off to dinner. We asked the hotel owner (a super talented architect named Jesus) where to go. Now, this is a problem. Like all Mexicans, he directed us to what he thought all gringos would like. I could tell this was coming when he said that there were only two restaurants in town (there were clearly many, many more), but we went to his suggestion anyway. We walked in, and I thought I was at the Highland House – a bunch of white people thinking they’re eating Mexican by drinking watered down margaritas and ordering lasagna. Gross. We had a drink (actually pretty good micheladas) and decided to take our chances walking into the centro.
Wow, were we glad we walked downtown. We found Mita Gourmet. It was still fairly gringo, but exceptional. The chef is Juan Carlos and he takes our order. Turns out he’s Ecuadorian and is retired, but he “loves to come out ant talk to the tables and cook for the people.” Cook for the people. Love it. Shrimp in diabla sauce and halibut in picosa (spicy). Fantastic. Pricey, but worth every penny. And there were no plastic marlin tacked to the walls. It’s so amazing that the touristic places actually try and decorate according to the gringo perception of what Mexico is. It’s almost comical. But Mita was real, and the food was great.
The night ended with the last of our wine on the rooftop patio listening to the town wind down. I’d definitely go back to Loreto and check out more of the restaurants.