5 a.m., April 16
Baja nights: At Los Cristales you eat while you're riding the wave
The restaurant on the rock serves the rich, the famous, and Ed
I happened on this burger totally accidentally. Never meant to come here. Had never heard if it. I’m way down where the two Californias once divided – between Dominican and Franciscan-ruled lands in their missions of discovery and conversion.
I made a heckuva discovery here too. I'm at Kilometer 34.5 (the way they mark a lot of locations here in Baja), meaning 34.5 klicks from TJ, I think...
Was hoping to get some happy hour snacks at the Hotel Calafia, the cliffside hostelry that’s filled with replicas of twelve different Mission churches, including our own Mision San Diego de Alcala. Specially at night it’s a kind of weird scenario.
But really I was here for the food and the grog and the views from all their hillside terraces I’d read about.
Problem: The place is only open for food and drink Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
The good news is the only other sign of civilization was a brand new hotel that kinda tumbles down the rock face just north of the Calafia: Las Olas Grand Hotel (Carretera Libre Tijuana-Ensenada at Km 28.5 Cuenca Diaz, Rosarito, 619-713-7715, or 011.52.661-612-5227).
Right at the bottom, where the waves crash in, is Los Cristales, like a chi-chi clubhouse. But the public’s welcome, turns out.
Los Cristales juts right out over the ocean and the rollers that come crashing in, at the base of the mighty hotel, with its own artificial beach and three story waterfalls that drop into a pool. Awesome. But to me the most awesome things were those rollers coming in and under where you sat chomping your food.
Jesús Busio guided me through the tough choices
Had time for a $1.50 draft cerveza, a beautiful Crema las olas (cream wave) soup with tatemado peppers, sun dried tomatoes, avocado and king crab in a little pile in the middle ($7.50).
The other good deal was the hamburguesa del chef ($8.50). Nothing special, but generous with the meat and fixin’s, including huge deep-fried onion rings, and fries.
And compared with other items in this exclusive hideaway’s menu, these are deals.
Plus you get this incredible side-show from Mother Nature.