We're ending our sojurn in San Jose del Cabo just as we started, by looking for the best shrimp tacos in the region. This search took us back to La Playita and the city's new marina along the Sea of Cortez on the northeast edge of town. There, at La Marina Cafe and Bar, Benito Fernando Collins and Lupita Zumaya Collins just were opening for the day's business, which developed rapidly. Word must be getting around that their hamburgers, fajitas, ceviche, octopus - and shrimp tacos - offer fine quality and value in a bright setting overlooking the marina and the pangas trolling the sea just offshore.
La Marina is the place our friend Connie claims makes the best shrimp tacos in the area, and she's a year-round resident who tirelessly searches out the region's treasures. The shrimp tacos of La Marina are good, the shrimp big, fresh, sweet and tender, their coating dark, seamless and unusually toasty. The coating reminded me of the batter used for a good corndog, though not as thick or sweet. A serving of three, accompanied by beans, rice, pico de gallo, peppers, limes and assorted other condiments, costs 60 pesos, about $6 in U.S. currency. The beer is 20 pesos. The view, which included a starfish atop the Christmas tree, is colorful and calming.
But are they the best shrimp tacos in the area? They are very good, but I'm not ready to side with Connie on that. We've found several splendid takes, and leave knowing there are many more we didn't get around to trying. All the shrimp have been plump, fresh and sweet - almost invariably they are from Matzalan - but the coating has been so variable it calls for a dissertation of its own by an industrious student of the culinary arts. Naturally, we'll have to return for more research.
In the meantime, I read in the local Daily News that the Baja California Sur National Restaurant Industry Chamber has declared the seafood dish "discada de mariscos" the most typical dish of Los Cabos, which includes Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. "Mariscos" I recognize as Spanish for "seafood," but "discada" throws me, and our Spanish dictionaries here are no help. I wonder if it should be "deshidratado," as in "tomate deshidratado" for "sun-dried tomatoes," which I have seen on a local menu. But soon we have a plane to catch, and for the time being further exploration of "discada de mariscos" will have to be suspended, giving us one more reason besides shrimp tacos to return to San Jose del Cabo.