Lucky Irish Pub 2

My first visit to Lucky Irish Pub 2(there are 3 of them) on Av Reforma in Ensenada this Friday.

Have been to L.I.P. #1, but, Numero Dos is located a bit closer to home.  Upon entry, this is a much bigger space than what you see from the street.  Guessing that they can seat 200+ here.

Yep, this was a OGITH(only gringo in the house) emporium, just like I LIKEY!

Local craft beer was represented in approx 14 taps.  Add in the usual popular Mex bottles, international craft beer, an OK wine selection and a variety of hard liquor choices and you have a real bar here, Crazy Guggenheim.  I chose a Wendlandt Pale Ale.

Was also hungry so I checked out the menu.  Sandwiches, burgers, salads, pasta, pizza and wings all looked good on the Lucky Irish Pub 2 menu.  Ordered a grilled chicken salad that was fresh and a large serving.

Only slight downside to Lucky Irish 2 is lack of parking.  They have approx 12 spots on south side lot and maybe 6 in front.  I parked on street 150 yards down the road.  There were only approx 30 drinkers in the bar when I arrived.  Things picked up at 6PM, which was also a shift change.

For the beer variety selection, simple food and festive pub atmosphere, Lucky Irish 2 gets or 4(out of 5) shamrock award.

Lucky Irish Pub 2 opens at 1PM and closes late, as in the wee wee morning hours.  Facebook page.  They are located on Av Reforma, a few miles south of downtown Ensenada.  If you can find the Ford dealer and Smart and Final on south end of ‘Nada town, point your lucky horse shoes in the middle of that block.




Gas Station Strike March 30


Gasoline companies from Baja California and Sonora will suspend work at gas stations of both entities for a few hours next March 30, in protest of the charges that they consider excessive for the certification of the quality of the fuels.

Pablo González Córdova, president of the Mexican Association of Petrol Employers, reported that it has already been confirmed that this protest could be carried out in more than 500 stations of the two states.

The strike would be from eight in the morning to two in the afternoon of March 30, and one of the causes, said González Córdova, is the claim of the federal government to charge 400,000 pesos a year to each service station For the certification of the quality of the fuels that are sold.

Likewise, there is a rejection of the schedule established by the Energy Regulatory Commission to continue the process of price release, when the right conditions do not yet exist.

He explained that, according to the new regulations, each station has to carry out four tests per year of certification of the quality of the fuels it expends, and each one of these analyzes has a cost of one hundred thousand pesos.

For each year they would be paying 400 thousand pesos for each season, which will affect mainly the small and medium businessmen of the sector, who will not be able to make those payments, assured the president of the Mexican Association of Gasoline Employers.

In addition, only certain laboratories authorized by the Agency for Safety, Energy and Environment, Asea, are the only ones that can make such revisions, which is a “cochupo” round, said González Cordoba.

Border Wall by San Diego Contractors

Bajadock: I would like to hear exactly how the new border wall “pushes” Mexican companies away from the US, according to professor James Gerber of San Diego State University.

San Diego-based companies that want to help build President Donald Trump’s border wall are rushing to submit proposals before the deadline next Wednesday.

Finalists selected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection will have to build a 30-foot long prototype in San Diego. Hundreds of companies across the U.S. have expressed interest in bidding.

Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, said it’s no surprise the government wants to start the border wall in San Diego, since it’s the second-largest Border Patrol sector. San Diego was also the place where the first border fence was erected.

“For a very long time San Diego was really ground zero for the Border Patrol in terms of illegal entries,” Moran said. “And it’s an area that has deep ties with government contractors and also have a large availability of area and diverse terrain where we can test our different strategies or technology.”

The Department of Homeland Security filed two requests for proposals last week, one for a concrete barrier and one for a barrier made of “other” materials permitting visibility of Mexico.

The wall must be between 18 and 30 feet tall and “aesthetically pleasing” on the U.S. side. It must prevent tunneling and climbing and resist a physical breach for at least one hour when exposed to a sledgehammer, a car jack, a pick axe and several other tools. A 10-by-10 foot version of the wall must be built and tested in San Diego, giving local companies an advantage because they know the terrain.

RELATED: San Diego Companies Wait To Bid On Trump’s Border Wall

It’s unclear whether construction on the wall will focus on the 1,300 miles that remain unfenced, or whether officials plan to rebuild the existing 700 miles of fencing – made of steel columns, corrugated steel plates and other materials.

Currently, about 700 miles of fencing exist along the 2,000-mile border betwe...


Currently, about 700 miles of fencing exist along the 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico.

One San Diego-based company that wants to build the wall is R.E. Staite Engineering, located on the San Diego Bay next to the naval base. It has led major construction projects all along the continent’s West Coast and led cleanup efforts after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

“We’re attracted to very complex, difficult projects in harsh environments – that’s what we do best,” said Ralph Hicks, vice president of governmental affairs.

Hicks said the company sees the wall as an economic opportunity for the region.

“We’re focused on the work. We’re not a political body, left or right or what have you, we go after the job and provide high paying jobs for our workforce and great opportunities for our company,” he said.

Most of the companies that have expressed interest in building the wall, including those led by Mexicans and a Puerto Rico-based company, have told reporters that they are interested for apolitical reasons.

Another San Diego company that wants to get involved is vScenario, which offers building planning services that harness technology and security expertise of former military professionals. Vice president Brian Holley said the company wants to help the government visualize the wall in the early stages, to avoid costly adjustments down the line.

“If the wall goes forward, that’s a decision by the president, by Washington, and we as a business and as taxpayers just simply want to make sure the wall is done in a cost-effective, productive way,” Holley said.

vScenario has specialized in security around electrical power grid facilities.

“If we were to be doing sections of this wall, we will continue to hire veterans and I think it’s a great way to bring back those patriots into our society and get them into the business world,” Holley said.

James Gerber, a professor of economics at San Diego State University, said border fence construction in the late 1990s created a lot of jobs, but that they were temporary.

The San Diego-based company vScenario created a 3D model of the existing bord...


The San Diego-based company vScenario created a 3D model of the existing border fence to plan the wall.

“It’s like building a pyramid in the desert. Yeah, you get some jobs out of that, but the jobs disappear once the construction is finished,” he said.

Some estimates put the border wall construction cost upwards of $20 billion. Trump has claimed that Mexico will reimburse the U.S. for those expenses, but it remains unclear how that would happen. Mexican leaders, including President Enrique Peña Nieto, have vowed repeatedly that Mexico will never pay for the wall.

Gerber said the economic impact on the U.S. could be negative, in part by pushing Mexico further away as a trade partner.

Mexican industry leaders are already drifting towards partners in South America, Europe and Asia, offended by Trump’s border wall and other policies.

“They have been connected so tightly to the U.S. because of its proximity, but the wall is in effect – you can think of this economically – is pushing the U.S. and Mexico farther apart,” Gerber said.

Mexico’s largest cement manufacturer, Cemex, initially expressed interest in bidding on the border wall. But after a public outcry the company no longer plans to bid.

Earlier this month, three California Assemblymembers announced legislation that would punish the companies that end up building the wall by requiring the state’s pension funds to divest from them.

“The people of California don’t want to invest in the hateful values that the Trump wall represents,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat who represents south San Diego County.

R.E. Staite Engineering declined to comment on the proposed legislation.

Holley of vScenario sent KPBS the following statement: “Shaming U.S. companies out of participating will likely drive the cost of the wall up and shift profits to foreign companies.”

Tex Mex or Real Mex?

Ensenada Beer Fest 2017 Review


Thousands of people went to what was the most important beer event in Baja California until now. Last Saturday, the best of the craft beer industry gathered in the city of Ensenada, demonstrating that for the brewers in the region, the industry is living one of its best moments.

The Beer Fest is the Disneyland of beer lovers; The attractions were the 120 breweries between regional and national that were present, same that showed new connoisseurs what’s really important about craft beer.

People from all over Baja and other parts of the country came to the Beer Fest Ensenada.

This Beer Fest is the only event that has options for everyone, from finding the favorite beers that are in the Tap Rooms of the state, to the opportunity of discovering secrets of not so popular breweries; this without forgetting that in the event there were other breweries from Mexico with great name recognition and prizes to their name.

Le Brú de Michoacán participated for the second time in the festival, bringing their award-winning beers in bottles like this one, with extracts of blue corn.

This edition not only had the best of the industry, but this time the food also was part of the highlight, another virtue of the state, where the best exponents presented the best dishes to accompany them with beers.

Fun and diversity did not end there, as the afternoon passed different musical groups made attendees dance in three different stages designed for all musical tastes.

Three stages were settled this time, so the dance did not stop.People kept arriving as the event progressed, many were waiting in the early hours for the opportunity to have access as the last tickets sold out.

Many breweries took the opportunity to present novelties, such as Agua Mala, which had an edition of its “Hierba Santa,” an endemic plant of Ensenada.

Without doubt the organization of the Beer Fest of Ensenada has a challenge for its 2018 edition as it seems that the space is getting small for the thousands of people who attended this year, and not only that, but to maintain the union between local brewers and the harmony among brewery houses.

Thousands enjoyed the Beer Fest Ensenada this Saturday Photo: Chema Gónzalez

Eat Bugs in Mexico

Grasshoppers, left, go well with guacamole and cheese.


Bugs are ubiquitous in Mexico. You see them driving down the cobblestone streets in the historic center of town or along the highway, packed with family members.

I’ve seen eight people in a Volkswagen bug, five kids in the back seat, the driver behind the wheel, and his wife with a baby on her lap next to him. These bugs have been around a long time. Some are shiny with aluminum wheels. Others are rusted out and spitting smoke, and you wonder whether they have enough oomph left to get moving when the light turns green.

But these are not the bugs I’m talking about here. I want to focus on the edible kind: ants, grasshoppers, worms, beetles, larvae and grubs. Now, I hear you. You’re saying eeewww or ugh. If you are a visitor or expat who does not venture beyond the ken, your utterance might be particularly vocal.

 More often than not these delicacies come disguised, flavored, ground, seasoned, chopped and otherwise undetectable to the naked eye if they are served as garnish at an upscale restaurant.

Those of us who live here or visit often are used to seeing strange creatures floating around in a bottle of mezcal or tequila, often settling to the bottom like a sleeping denizen waiting to be revived. Heaven forbid it should escape and get poured into someone’s glass.

We roam the weekly markets and see strings of worms tied neatly together like Christmas popcorn garlands, ready to eat, suspended between two poles. The chapulines are mounded in pyramids atop hand-woven reed baskets. Women with bandannas dish out 10 pesos’ worth with a tiny clay dish, grasped by weathered hands.

Mexicans have developed a taste for these things. Eating bugs is part of their pre-Hispanic, indigenous heritage. Their food source developed long before the time that sheep, cows, goats and other four-legged animals were introduced from Spain.

In Mesoamerica, eating closer to the food chain became an essential part of survival and protein consumption. The tradition continues today and I think of it as part Mexico’s cultural heritage. No one here is squeamish when a bug arrives at table.

Which is why I thought it was about time I tasted escamoles, chicatanas and gusanos. I became a fan of chapulines a few years ago. Ah, you may be saying, what IS she eating? On the menus of upscale restaurants, the dishes are translated from Spanish to English, though most have a Nahuatl origin.

If you venture out to more local venues, no translation will be provided. You might be surprised at what you are eating when it is presented to you or you may not even recognize it.

Let me offer a quick summary of bug food:

Avocado, cilantro, radish and jalapeño pepper slices with escamole mayonnaise adorn a gusano and chapuline tostada.

• Escamoles are the edible larvae and pupae of ants harvested from the roots of the agave cactus that produces either tequila or mezcal. Chefs say they taste buttery and nutty, with the consistency of cottage cheese.

• Chicatanas are flying ants that come with the first spring rains in Mexico. First you roast them to get rid of wings and head. Then, you pulverize them with a mortar and pestle, adding salt, pepper, garlic, maybe garlic and tomatoes, to make a spicy salsa, good to spread on a house-made tortilla.

• Gusanos are moth larvae that populate the agave plant, so you could call it a caterpillar or worm, and it is.

Grasshoppers flavored with chile, lemon, pickled onion and parsley.

• Chapulines are commonplace, found in every indigenous Mexican market, red, roasted, salted and spiced with chile pepper, drizzled with lime juice and dried. Yes, these are grasshoppers. Better we eat them than they eat our bougainvillea.

Recently, I ran an experiment with friends at two Oaxaca restaurants, Los Danzantes and Casa Oaxaca. Here, as well as all over Mexico, innovative chefs experiment with ways to present edible bugs.

Sometimes the bugs are disguised with sauces, seasonings, hidden among the lettuce or avocado curls. Sometimes, they are artfully displayed on a crunchy tostada adorned with radish slices and cilantro as a distraction.

At Los Danzantes, I ordered memelas de escamoles con mole amarillo, larva de hormiga salteada con cebolla y epazote, or ant larvae with yellow mole sauce, sautéed with onion and epazote (a native perennial herb that is like oregano). The English translation here was limited, purposefully, I presume. I know a memela is a fist-sized corn pancake with a rim to hold things.

I offered to share the dish with any takers. Secretly, I hoped the four women sitting around the table at Los Danzantes would all join me, thus making my portion smaller. Only one agreed. A medical doctor, she was used to seeing the underbelly of things. The vegetarian turned the other cheek in polite declination.

A week later at Casa Oaxaca I ordered a tostada de gusanos de maguey, chapulines, mayonesa de chicatana, aguacate, cebolla, rábanos. That is: fried corn tortilla served open face with agave worms, grasshoppers, chicatana ants, guacamole, onion and radishes.

This time there were 12 sitting around the table and a few were more adventuresome than at the previous sitting. My friend the doctor was sitting across from me. Her eyes opened wide and she went for a bigger wedge than the others, who only wanted “a little taste.”

The camouflage on this dish made it more acceptable and about half took a morsel, marveling at the deep red color of the chapulines, their appendages imperceptible.

I’ve been known to sit around the kitchen table with my indigenous Zapotec friends who live in the Oaxaca valley, picking a seasoned whole grasshopper from the bowl, pulling off its long legs, discarding them on the flower-adorned oilcloth table covering, and popping it into my mouth. This can go on for a while, picking, pulling, popping, chewing each one. It’s taken me 12 years of living here to try the ant larvae.

Wikipedia says that eating bugs is called entomophagy. You can look it up. Bug eating is prevalent around the world. Cave dwellers did it. Nourishment comes in different packages and presentations.

Today, in the developed world, we may prefer a hunk of cow or pig, but think about what it means to eat a small crustacean we call shrimp or crawfish.

Environmentalists are turning to bugs as an alternative to meat, looking at lower-cost ways to capture protein that has minimal environmental impact. Experiments are going on in Mexico to make roasted grasshopper flour, too.

I haven’t yet tasted chahuis, the edible beetle that feeds on the mesquite tree. I hear it must be well toasted in order to enjoy it, otherwise it can be bitter. Something to look forward to!

Norma Schafer is a writer and photographer based in Oaxaca, and contributor to the guidebook, Textile Fiestas of Mexico. She travels the country to explore its art and culture and offers study tours and workshops that investigate the textile traditions of weaving, natural dyeing and related handwork. Her bio, blog and website is at

Bus Burns on Scenic Road

Headed northbound on Scenic Road(highway 1) Sunday morning and smoke horizon greeted me, just north of El Mirador(K84). My photo is just before 9AM.

Delay was approx 40 minutes.

This is my weak shot, passing by.  Shadow and mirror clues.  I’m not skilled at phone photography with one hand.

Here is the crunchy skeleton of the former bus, 15 hours later during my southbound trip.  I suspected the carcass would reamain roadside.  Towing this would be a “bus of cards”.  Likely need to dismantle it.

Saw plenty of passengers safely watching the smoke from approx 100 yds north.  Seems all were okay, as no ambulances were present.  Capufe(highway team) and a couple of bomberos were present.

Thinking it was good that the problem did not occur in the 1 lane zone of Salsipuedes.

Listened to The Zombies to pass the time waiting.  “She’s Not There.”

Only other remarkable report was the Sunday evening(6:30PM) backup north and south at the Ensenada toll booth.  My wait was 10 minutes southbound.  Guessing that the beer fiesta crowd was mostly responsible for the northbound delay.

Cerveceria Transpeninsular


  by the Lusty Napkin

Baja seems to be adding a new beer brewery just about every 3 months.  Visited Cerveceria Transpeninsular for St Paddy’s Day.

I rarely go out for Paddy’s day as it is one of five “rookies’ nights out” holidays. Valentine’s/Paddy’s/4th of July/Halloween/NYE provide plenty of danger and bad dining values. But, I have been monkish at home since first of year and needed to get out and disturb the peace.

Transpeninsular(“T.P. is 8 fewer syllables than the whole thing) is located on north side of downtown ‘Nada, just south of Hotel Coral.  For us South ‘Nada Cerveza Cabezas, there is a U/left turn available on northbound Hwy 1 at the brewery.  Parking is easy, with plenty of backup space for exit onto busy Hwy 1.  They opened in January 2017.

The Transpeninsular is spacious with a two story ceiling and warehouse styling.  Plenty of natural light is available by day and the lighting at night is also comfy enough to read your menu(geezer alert!).  I arrived at my favorite beverage time: dusk.  Noise level is low for easy conversation.

My meet and greet was excellent with a youthful and enthusiastic staff.  Yep, I was at the bar, but, 3 different servers were regularly checking on me.  See my spot?

The “T.P.” bar seats approx 20 and it seemed that the rest of the hall, including upper level balcony, seats a total of approx 100.  It appears that they are targeting serious beer drinkers and not the usual mob 0f 2 for 1 Bud Light happy hour zombirazzis.

I enjoyed a Pilsner and an IPA for my quality pint quaffs.  Also ordered the slider triple play of beef, chicken and pork with a heap of gnarly papas fritas.  Warm, delicious and the slaw crunch on the pork loin was a fun surprise.

The T.P. food menu offers a simple variety of bar chow made to enhance your sipping.  I always add a bonus rating when everything on the menu is less than $10USD.*  Also love a printed beer menu, plus complete description and alcohol %.   They also have a few guest brews in addition to their own.   Transpeninsular speaks gringo, as the opposite side of menu I am holding is ingles.

Need an overpriced meat dish on a big white plate of swirls, sprinkles and swooshies?  You’ll have to move on down the road for your thirty dollar entree.  T.P. is not a foodie paradise.  It is a brewery with pub comfort food.

Had plenty of fries hanging with me after finishing the sliders.  Decided to order the Roganto Piccolo red wine for my dessert.  This cab, temp, cab franc, merlot “mut” was way above my expectation.  It seems that it was only a few years ago that wine writers would dismiss blending as blasphemy against the wine goddesses. A quality $4USD glass of wine is a rare find.

I’m giving Transpeninsular the complete 6 Beer Flight Award(out of possible 5* for atmosphere, food, bar stools, seats <100, several item less than $10USD).

Open 7 days a week, noon – midnight.   646 175 2620 phone.    facebook  Slainte! and see you soon T.P.

Highway 1 Blockades


With partial blockades on the Transpeninsular highway in the different delegations south of Ensenada, farm workers remembered two years of the raising of day laborers from the San Quentin Valley.

The barricades began at 05:00 hours, where day laborers began to put stones, tires and what they found on the side of the road, in the colony Lázaro Cárdenas, the delegation of Vicente Guerrero and Punta Colonet.

In each and every one of the blocks, they gradually opened the traffic lanes so that the trailers and passenger lorries continued their journey both north and south of the municipality of Ensenada.

In some stretches of San Quintín and Vicente Guerrero, some people would come down from their vehicles and try to talk with the day laborers to let them pass as they went to schools or health clinics.

At some point in a section of the colony Lázaro Cárdenas, there were moments of tension as several vehicles did not respect the closing of the road and with their vehicles they tried to pass and continue their journey.

In the delegation of Vicente Guerrero, since the early hours of yesterday about 25 people, including minors, closed the traffic at the junction towards the colony May 13, affecting day laborers who went to work.

Until this place came agents of the Federal Police, who spoke with them and made them see the problem that could cause the road to be closed because at the time of closing there was a lot of fog on this important artery.
In the colony Lázaro Cárdenas, while they gradually opened the road, some protesters called for “cooperation” towards the drivers of the trailers, some of them cooperating to avoid being detained for longer.

In each and every one of the delegations where there were partial blockades of the roads, there were no violent acts or looting, demonstrators only partially closing the traffic lanes.

Emergency meeting
While the blockades in the different delegations in the center of Government were developed the delegates of San Quintín, Vicente Guerrero, commanders of the Federal Police, Municipal and Mexican Army met.
The meeting touched on the most important issue on the blockades and not allow the outrages that occurred two years ago, when there were looting in the different delegations.

Make way
After 13:00 hours, they went to the colony Lázaro Cárdenas, municipal, state and federal authorities to talk to the demonstrators and convince them to open the circulation completely.
For about 20 minutes the authorities spoke and managed to convince the day laborers to completely remove the blockade they held for about five hours with which they affected the circulation.

Punta Colonet
The ejido Diaz Ordaz was one of the places most affected by the blockades, since the rows of vehicles arrived until about two kilometers, which they waited their turn so that they could continue in its way.
In this place the closing of the roads lasted until about 20 minutes, where the nonconformists opened the lanes of circulation by few minutes generating a vehicular chaos and an annoyance on the part of the conductors.

Support day laborers
The local deputy, Claudia Agatón Muñiz, said that because of the economic crisis that hurts more those who have less and those that the government tries to keep calm with gifts in the form of pantries and small subsidies, does not manage to alleviate neither hunger nor marginalization .
“On the contrary, the current economic model based on the exploitation of the poorest, the looting of natural resources and the impoverishment of the middle classes, with the consequent accumulation of wealth in a few hands, has caused the conditions Of the working class in general, have been deteriorating dramatically, affecting not only their working conditions but their quality of life, “said Agatón.
In the case of Baja California, he said, one of the most marginalized, exploited and impoverished sectors is the agricultural day laborers, most of whom belong to various indigenous peoples, who for decades have been exploited and violated in their social security labor rights And medical care.
“Two years ago agricultural laborers in southern Ensenada were involved in a movement that crammed the region and showed the inhuman and illegal conditions of how they are treated by various companies and horticultural ranches,” he said.

Weekly Scenic Road Crack Report

Bajadock: Baja news cycle is stuck on potholes, border tunnels, highway landslides, murders and political corruption.  Whatever happened to the Corona beach commercials and hot babes in bikinis promoting Tecate?

Flag dude reminds me of the Lifelock ads: “I’m just a highway landslide monitor, not a highway landslide fixer. Lunch?”


ENSENADA BC, MARCH 16, 2017 (AFN) .- Researchers at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada (Cicese), established a comparative basis with data taken every 15 days, to know the speed of fractures located in The scenic highway Tijuana-Ensenada and found five new cracks in kilometers 92 and 95, which does not mean that there is a risk, said Luis Mendoza Garcilazo, a researcher in the department of seismology.

He acknowledged that the infrastructure works that are carried out in the area as a preventive measure, are run by a nationally recognized companies and, certainly, are well thought out and well designed, he said.

“They are within the plan to improve safety, they are retaining walls, filtering galleries, I hope the nature does not win the work,” he said.

Fortunately, he said, gliding is a slow phenomenon. The kilometer 93 was already several years down.

Mendoza Garcilazo mentioned that the fault zone is well instrumented with piezometers, inclinometers, among other constant measuring instruments.

The researcher pointed out that the tasks of observation and measurement performed in the area and keeping an eye on the movements of that artery are “in case we can help or give some warning, especially the companies that are working.”

Corrective works in process

It should be mentioned that it was recently reported that corrective and preventive works carried out at different points on the Tijuana-Ensenada Scenic Highway, at the Salsipuedes Bay, will cost over one billion pesos.

The works will conclude in 2018 and are performed in the detected faults along 13 kilometers where, since 2014, constant studies and monitoring are carried out.

There are 125 control points, 33 piezometers and 16 observation tubes to measure the water and the pressure of the same.

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