By Martina Dobesh Via Baja.com
Try Baja’s Succulent Lobster. Puerto Nuevo Style!
Perched on the sandy bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean is the world famous Puerto Nuevo Village (aka “the lobster village”). Tasty Puerto Nuevo-style lobster, or as the local’s say, “langosta,” is the reason millions of travelers come from all over the world to visit the famous Mexican lobster village. Mariachis stroll through the little streets, made up of thirty restaurants and festive gift shops. You can shop until you drop with the variety of gift items: vibrant colored blankets, pottery, and of course Tequila. Don Pisto, the only liquor store chain in Northern Baja will tempt the traveler with well over 200 different kinds of Tequila. But the reason to come here is plain and simple and luscious:
Puerto Nuevo began as a romance story. In 1954, there were only two families living on the cliffs overlooking the pacific. A fisherman fell in love with his neighbor’s daughter. He built his bride, Rosa María Plasencia, a tiny home, near what is now Puerto Nuevo II, starting family restaurant. The fishing community grew rapidly with the rumor of plentiful lobster. Every day the men went out to sea in their pangas. Every afternoon their wives would wait while they tended their children, always with an eye to the horizon. Sighting the boats’ returning, they sighed with relief knowing their husbands were safe. They hurried about to prepare food that would go with the incoming lobster, heating up the beans and rice and preparing the masa for tortillas. The final preparation was to put a pot of lard on the fire. When the hungry men returned, they took fresh lobster from the catch, split them down the middle and threw them into the sizzling fat. The idea was born from necessity, but the searing and sealing in the flavors, cooking it fast and tender caught on so fast it became a worldwide phenomenon that 5 star restaurants copy today.
As the fishing village grew, a little stand was built next to the bus stop, where the arches are now. They sold sodas, snacks and burritos. As fate would have it, next to their stand was a billboard advertising New Port cigarettes. The Americans referred to the place by giving directions to where you could get fabulous lobster, behind the New Port cigarette sign. New Port of course in Spanish is Puerto Nuevo.
Who were the first people? Next to Don Pisto Liquors is a small museum, open only on weekends. It contains a replica of an Indian village. The Kumiai lived here thousands of years before any Mexican, or Spanish settlement and were the first fishermen. 7000 -year old remains have been found along the coast. Even back then the fisherman’s woman cooked up the lobster for the evening meal. The visitor can see what an early fishing village looked like. The lodging was a small thatched tipi of brush or grasses. Lurking in the corner is a manikin dressed as a padre and looking a bit out of context. But it is a good reminder of what once was.