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Mercado Hidalgo

Just a few blocks from the border crossing between Tijuana and San Ysidro is the Mercado Hidalgo.  So close and yet very, very different.  The Mercado Hidalgo is an open air food market that covers an entire city block.

Whole nutmeg is often difficult to find in Baja.  One day, Señor Sabrosisimo needed more nutmeg for his café lattes and decided to look for it during his first visit to the Mercado Hidalgo.  He found one vendor there that had more than five kilos of whole nutmeg for sale by the piece and many spices, teas and herbs that Sr. Sab. had never seen nor known.  There were whole grains by the kilo, fresh vegetables and fruits that would put many markets in the US to shame.  He even found the truffle of Mexico, huitlacoche, fresh, not canned.  For Sr. Sab. this was the first time seeing it fresh.

There were cactus fruits, called tuna in Mexico, chili manzana (apple pepper in English), which looks like an habanero pepper, but is the size of a bell pepper.  Be warned they are almost as hot as habaneros.

One stand sells more than 50 kinds of Mexican cheeses.  Want to sample before buying one of the cheeses?  Why of course, the owner would have it no other way.  Even if you just want to look around, its a fun stop.

Click to view maps and info in the Guidebook

Click to view more photos in the Gallery

Video of the shops

 

Fresh huitlacoche, the truffle of Mexico

 

Fresh chilis and zucchini blossoms.  Chili manzana and habanero in upper right 

 

So many different dried chilis... what could we make with them all? 

 

 

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Ollie's Brick Oven Pizza

Sometimes things are very different in Baja.  For instance, one of the best restaurants in the world is located in Rosarito and is "owned" by a dog.  Ollie is a Portugese Water Dog and his restaurant, Ollie's Brick Oven Pizza, was just awarded TripAdvisor.com's 2013 Certificate of Excellence.  No, I'm not kidding.

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