18 Nov Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Breakfast at La Cocina de Doña Esthela in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja Mexico
Breakfast is not my preferred meal of the day. But, this past week I had a breakfast that may change that. La Cocina de Doña Esthela had been recommended to me on my last visit to Valle de Guadalupe. But, with lunches and dinners planned, my friends opted to skip breakfast. In hindsight, I can say that they missed out. On this trip, we went to La Cocina de Doña Esthela and all I can say is “Wow!” It was such an incredibly flavorful experience that Breakfast at La Cocina de Doña Esthela in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja Mexico is the Please The Palate pick of the week.
All of my food experiences in Valle de Guadalupe have been incredible and my country style breakfast at La Cocina de Doña Esthela is no exception. It is hard to believe that this unassuming restaurant, located deep in the heart of Valle de Guadalupe, serves around 1500+ people everyday, except Monday, and was awarded “Best Breakfast in the World” in 2015 by FoodieHub.
La Cocina de Doña Esthela is owned by Esthela Bueno who wakes up and starts working at 2:30am every Tuesday to Sunday. Born in the Sinaloa mountains, Esthela has been working since she was 10 years old. She and her husband moved to Valle de Guadalupe to work on a ranch run by friends from her hometown. On the ranch, Esthela made cheeses and breads. After the ranch closed, she washed and ironed others people’s clothes, and baked bread and empanadas and cooked tortillas every morning, which she delivered by foot. She and her husband were offered a piece of land by a woman they worked for. Esthela began making burritos and selling them to the workers at La Lomita winery, at her children’s school, and at the market. Her burritos were so popular that she set up two tables at her home. Those two tables grew to six tables and La Cocina de Doña Esthela. Today the restaurant has expanded to accommodate the hundreds of people that come each day. The restaurant is rustic and authentic with an inviting energy.
We were seated at a table near the tortilla making area where fresh corn and flower tortillas were being made. Smelling the tortillas as we looked at the menu made it more difficult to decide. Everything looked delicious! We placed our orders and within a few minutes, the plates were served, as well as the most delicious hot corn and flour tortillas. As soon as we started eating, our table was silent. No one spoke a word. We were all so happy just indulging.
I ordered a combination plate that included a quesadilla, an enchilada, beef machaca, and refried beans. I think I ate almost every bite on my plate. The quesadilla was made with a fresh flower tortilla and the cheese was melted and warm. It was the best quesadilla I have ever had. The enchilada was a cheese enchilada, filled with cotija cheese, and was the best enchilada I have every had. The Machaca (dried beef) with vegetables and the beans were also outstanding. Every single bite was delicious!
My mom, who I was traveling with, ordered a vegetable and cheese omelet. While this may sound basic, it was anything but. It was filled with zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, and cotija cheese and served with the most delicious tomato sauce and beans.
We ordered a plate of the Corn Hotcakes to share for the table. Made with fresh corn, they were simply delicious. Despite how full we were, we devoured them before I even thought to take a photo.
La Cocina de Doña Esthela will be a definite stop on any future visits to Valle de Guadalupe. I almost feel like taking a trip down there just to have breakfast at La Cocina de Doña Esthela.