Feasting on just-caught Puerto Peñasco seafood

This mouthwatering post was written by travel blogger and author Veronica James of  the GypsyNesters. Their new book, Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All was released today.

We love Mexican food! Growing up in Colorado and California, we were weaned on refried beans and hot chilies, but what we found in Puerto Peñasco — an idyllic Sonoran fishing village on the Gulf of California — was decidedly different from our childhood memories. The fare in this seaside hideaway revolves around shrimp, shrimp and, even more shrimp.

Each day the boats return from the Sea of Cortez laden with the crustaceans, and the establishments along the waterfront cook up the day’s catch to the delight of residents and visitors alike.

The Point

The Point Restaurant in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, courtesy GypsyNesters

The Point Restaurant in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, courtesy GypsyNesters

At the Point, an interesting establishment that is not so much on the water as IN the water, we started our tasting tour with a cold Pacifico and what the menu called a Mexican shrimp cocktail. Unlike the dish we’re accustomed to, cocktail sauce is not involved and the shrimp is not boiled. Instead the shrimp are “cooked” by marinated in lime juice, the same as ceviche. To properly pull this off, the shrimp must be exceedingly fresh, and since we could see the boats, we trusted they were. We rounded out our sunset snack with the Point’s chile relleno, a poblano pepper stuffed with shrimp and white cheese, which was also spot-on spicy, ooey-gooey, and muy, muy bueno.

Mary’s Sea Food Restaurant

Tacos at Mary's Restaurant, carne asada and scallops with avacado, courtesy GypsyNesters

Tacos at Mary’s Restaurant, carne asada and scallops with avacado, courtesy GypsyNesters

As a rule in tourist towns, locals avoid the places where travelers congregate. Not so at Mary’s Sea Food Restaurant. Located right in the thick of the tourist traps, this eatery is just too good – and too much of a bargain – for full-time denizens to resist. The lower level has the hustle and bustle of an active fish market and kitchen – all going down right in front of the customers – while the upstairs is an open air picnic-style feeding ground overlooking the blue Pacific water. Our Special Seafood Combo for two, a mix of breaded, grilled and garlic-laden shrimp and fish arrived arranged around salad on a gigantic platter. We briefly wondered how two people could possibly eat all of it – but only briefly.

The closest we came to north-of-the-border-like Mexican food was when we sampled the scallop tacos on a later visit to Mary’s. They may have looked familiar, but the taste was out of this world. If we had been wearing any socks they would have been knocked right off.

 Lighthouse Restaurant

Queso frito at The Lighthouse Restaurant, courtesy GypsyNesters

Queso frito at The Lighthouse Restaurant, courtesy GypsyNesters

At the Lighthouse Restaurant we gave something other than seafood a try; Queso Frito. This sliced Queso Chihuahua, a mild Monterrey Jack-like cheese, lightly fried and covered with salsa verde, was good enough to make us forget about shrimp for a while. But the real star at the Lighthouse came after dinner, Mexican Coffee. It’s not often that coffee is the highlight of a meal, but add tequila, Kahlua, and flame and viola… magic! With skill, flair, and daring, our waiter cascaded blazing liquid from one silver salsera to another and then into our cups, providing dinner and a show. Watch: A Flaming Waterfall of Mexican Coffee

Discovering Puerto Peñasco

We discovered Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, completely by accident while wandering around Arizona in our RV. In the little border town of Gringo Pass, a border patrol agent asked if we were heading down. We expressed our reservations at the prospect of driving into Mexico, but he assured us that, unlike some areas, this was perfectly safe, and a fantastic spot. He was right on both points.

There is a beautiful RV park with full services right on the beach, as well as all kinds of seaside rentals at very reasonable rates. If you drive, be sure to purchase Mexican auto insurance since US policies are not valid in Mexico. It is available at many places near the border.

Bio: Almost every couple faces a “now what?” moment as their last kid moves out of the house. There’s a big empty nest looming over this new and uncertain stage in their lives. David and Veronica James chose to look at this next phase of life as a beginning instead of an ending. Rather than staying put and facing the constant reminders of empty bedrooms and backseats, a plan began to develop to sell the nest and hit the highway. But could a homebody helicopter mom learn to let go of her heartstrings and house keys all at once? Along the way, they rediscovered the couple who fell in love years ago and chronicled their journey in their new book, Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All.

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29 Responses to “Feasting on just-caught Puerto Peñasco seafood”

  1. Steve
    February 6, 2019 at 12:35 pm #

    It’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed Pacifico there, and I can’t get over the huge hi-rise buildings in the background of one pic. It’s no longer a sleepy village…

    • Billie Frank
      February 7, 2019 at 2:37 pm #

      Many former sleepy Mexican sea-side towns are booming- blink and you miss them.

  2. Donna Janke
    February 9, 2019 at 2:02 am #

    Having spent time in Arizona and knowing people there I’ve heard of Rocky Point but have never been there. And I will sometimes see a roadside stand offering Rocky Point shrimp for sale. The food in this post all looks wonderful. The coffee video was amazing. What a show.

  3. Johanna
    February 9, 2019 at 6:09 am #

    I would love to sample more Mexican food - real Mexican food as your wonderful pics depict. The restaurant in all its colourful glory jutting out into the sea looks amazing.

    • Billie Frank
      February 9, 2019 at 10:41 am #

      We are lucky in Santa Fe as there are some authentic taco stands run by people from various Mexican states. No fresh seafood here, though. We loved feasting on red snapper right from the sea in Veracruz. Puerto Penasco looks so tempting to us.

  4. Michele
    February 9, 2019 at 8:29 am #

    Feasting especially on seafood is one of my favourite pass times. This place looks amazing will have to add it to our ever growing places to visit list,

    • Billie Frank
      February 9, 2019 at 10:41 am #

      I agree- it’s gone onto our list as well.

  5. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    February 9, 2019 at 3:43 pm #

    We keep talking about a return trip to Mexico and exploring the Pacific side - Puerto Penasco sounds like a great place to visit. The food looks DELISH!

    • Billie Frank
      February 9, 2019 at 3:52 pm #

      I’m with you Anita. It looks like a seafood-lovers paradise.

  6. Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    February 9, 2019 at 4:01 pm #

    I’m adding this to my list of side trips from Arizona! I’ve never hear of Puerto Peñasco before, but now that my mouth is watering for Mary’s I do plan to see it sometime soon.

  7. Irene S. Levine
    February 9, 2019 at 4:14 pm #

    What an interesting place! Can’t believe that structure on the water! Love it’s colors~

  8. Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru
    February 9, 2019 at 5:28 pm #

    Love the colorful restaurant on the pier! Would also love some authentic Mexican food about now after months in Fiji and Australia. They *say* there is Mexican food here, but it’s not even a close approximation. I’ve always maintained the Pacific coastal area of Mexico is the best. Great post.

  9. The GypsyNesters
    February 9, 2019 at 5:56 pm #

    Thanks Billie for letting us hijack your site for a bit! ;)

  10. Suzanne Fluhr
    February 10, 2019 at 10:47 am #

    Posts like this are torture for me. I have something called “geographic tongue”. This sounds like a perfect thing for a wanderlusting travel blogger to have. Unfortunately, it means I can’t eat spicy or very acidic food which means that I can only admire a majority of dishes in Asian and Mexican cuisine. This is a gastronomic bummer. Fortunately, other than being a bland food sentence, it’s a benign condition.

    • Billie Frank
      February 11, 2019 at 7:55 am #

      I feel for you- that’s a bummer. I used to be very sensitive to spicy foods but living in Santa Fe with all the green chile has fixed that.

  11. Sue Reddel
    February 10, 2019 at 10:58 pm #

    We will definitely be adding this spot to our Arizona travels. All the food looks spectacular. I loved that flaming coffee waterfall - never seen anything like it.

    • Billie Frank
      February 11, 2019 at 7:56 am #

      It was pretty spectacular. So glad they shot that video!

  12. Travel with Kevin and Ruth
    February 11, 2019 at 9:13 pm #

    We love, love, love Mexican food and Kevin loves Pacifico! All your descriptions and pictures now have my mouth watering.

    We have traveled almost the whole of Mexico in our RV over the last 7 winters and can’t say enough good things about it. We think it is one of the best ways to travel through Mexico and have always felt totally safe. So glad you made the decision to go and hope that you will now go further into Mexico and explore more of it.


    • Billie Frank
      February 12, 2019 at 5:45 pm #

      There’s great food to be found all over Mexico!

  13. Judy Freedman
    February 12, 2019 at 5:03 pm #

    The food looks amazing. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit.

    • Billie Frank
      February 12, 2019 at 5:45 pm #

      I agree. We put it on our long list after reading the post.

  14. Billie Frank
    February 15, 2019 at 8:16 pm #

    It does sound delicious!

  15. Bieber Rapid
    February 20, 2019 at 1:14 am #

    Mexico offers many great and delicious foods, that’s why people can’t help but take their vacation in Mexico. Can’t wait for that day for me to personally discover Puerto Peñasco.

    • Billie Frank
      February 20, 2019 at 10:13 am #

      Food is definitely a draw to Mexico as is the history and rich culture.

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