Ode to my Hometown.
Ensenada got its name not long ago, but is also known as Ensenada de Todos Santos, The Pearl of the Pacific or The Beautiful Cinderella of the Pacific. I never understood the concept when I was little, but It made me giggle and I did a little research towards this post! As an 80’s child who grew up with a TV for a nanny, mostly watching Disney movies, the term Cinderella made no sense to me, whatsoever. The reference, as it turns out, is because, it is a dusty Town, but still beautiful. Even though it was founded around 1542 by the Spanish Missioners, it was the gold rush of the 1800 that brought in a bunch of European people that, captivated by secondary interests (gold wasn’t as abundant in the area as they first thought) ended up settling in the land and building the town we all know today, becoming also the state’s capital for a while, circa 1882.
When you visit the city’s museum, it's not strange to find pictures of people with last names like Ptanick, Houssong, Lencionni, Ramonetti, Goldbaum and Crosthwite, amongst other personalities of our local history. I, for instance, have both friends and relatives who still hold all those European last names! What are the odds, you may ask? Well, that's what happens when you keep a bunch of people secluded from the world for about a century. Also, this distance from everything that was going on outside (like two World Wars, just to state a few examples) made us a group of hermetic people, a bit afraid of new things, like the movie, The Truman Show! Have you watched it? Anyway, all the immigrants and their future offspring ended up planting the seeds of the town’s later prosperity in fishing, tourism and wine production.
There are many historical events that took place in Ensenada that you would find interesting, like the filibuster invasion of William Walker, which landed precisely in this parts around 1853, which by the way, a bunch of angry Ensenadians kicked out of their territory for good; or maybe the summer (not house) casino that was known to be run by no other than Al Capone in the 30’s. But those are spin-offs for a future blog post so stay tuned.
Ensenada is also the biggest municipality in Mexico. It is the second biggest port of the nation and, due to its Mediterranean weather, its valley has become the biggest wine and olive producer of the Country as well, and if I might say, a magnet for tourists from all around the world. Also, just to make things more interesting, Ensenada holds the biggest blowhole in the world, La Bufadora, a magnificent spectacle that tourists and locals enjoy dearly, watch out for splashes!
Furthermore, in 2015 we were included in the UNESCO’s Creative City Network for Gastronomy. The variety of natural resources has helped the gastronomic sector flourish. Ensenada’s vision of food and gastronomy is creative, sustainable, innovative and multicultural. Due to its vast scientific culture, the city also focuses on nurturing sustainable and innovative food systems through advanced scientific research and urban programs. The big fishing activity has enabled the creativity of many chefs and street vendors in the past decades, to build a unique line of food never seen before.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, Ensenada is the home of the Margarita, the Fish Taco, the now trendy Baja Med food style, prestigious wines (500 labels, 50 wineries) and award-winning craft beer; we have attracted the attention of big brands like Times or Forbes and TV kitchen personalities like my personal favorite, Anthony Bourdain.
So, to wrap things up, this is one of my favorites, a Ceviche tostada, of course. Here is my version of this famous recipe! Viva Ensenada!
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