In preparation for my much awaited escapade at Baja Mexican Cantina (Greenbelt 3), not only did I brush up on my rusty Spanish, I also summoned my faux Latin roots (having once believed we were related to Speedy Gonzalez) and managed to perfect pronouncing quesadilla with the ethnic twang, "It's que-sa-di-ya, entiendes?"
Just this night, I was the Perezosa Negra Gata (Lazy Black Cat in Spanish) who was and still, mucha hambre!
The excitement died down, even before I could bring out my bolero, as the place became a Baja Siesta Fest.
Service was rather slow, as if exemplifying the siesta time. This lazy pace at 7 in the evening though made me consider blaming the time zone difference but then realized that perhaps their "Tia Maria" cook was still tossing the dough for the burritos. If I could only scream, "Andale, andale!" like my ancestor Speedy, then maybe things would've gone better. But since this is Manila, I wouldn't want spit on my salsa.
The food came in long and irregular gaps, which in turn gave my companions their gossip break, and as for me, space out time.
Slap in the right amount of cheese in between flour tortillas, grill and voila! Nothing could go wrong with this Mexican appetizer. Baja's sauce on the side provided the much-needed flavor and spice. However we found the wrapper a tad too thick, thus engulfing most of the cheese. There's a reason it's called Cheese Quesadilla and not Quesadilla con Queso.
With gigantic balls of whipped cream, salsa and cheese, this one's the appetizer champ. The toppings are finely placed and additional orders of salsa, cheese or guacamole are available at less than P50 per topping. The only fare that has been met with appreciative nods and lip-smacking praise, I believe should I return to Baja, it will be solely for this nacho fiesta.
A beef-filled entree, I watched as slivers of French Fries erupted from the sliced Americanized burrito. The ground beef was everywhere, too tedious for me to pick, and so I left this fare to the meat-eaters. They ate in the Mexican fashion, slow-paced but not engaged in the meal. It seems that the Hamburger-cum-Burrito was not welcomed by their discriminating taste, or perhaps the hybrid attempt simply did not satisfy either genre.
Fish Fillet Vera Cruz
This fish went from "fresh catch" to "gone in 60 seconds". The fish was fresh and if it helps, so white, I just couldn't stop shoving pieces in my mouth. The batter was also mildly Mexican, not overwhelming or irritatingly greasy. Whoever Vera Cruz is, well here's our message to you: Muchas Gracias, Senora! Unless it's Tio?
Wet Burrito (with Chicken)
The rice was placed on the side (as requested) and inside, it was 90% beans and 10% chicken (and chicken skin). The chicken was literally bathed in purple, and for a minute I thought I was eating dinuguan and ube (both of which I do NOT eat) in one mighty wrap, devoid of vegetables. If I could rename it, it would be the Fat-Wrap Bean Burrito. In grade school science class, we learned about the 3 Gs of Nutrition: Go (carbs), Grow (protein) and Glow (vegetables). Simply put, this burrito's so wet, it's lost all its glow.
With other more enticing and conveniently located Mexican joints in Manila, it's "Adios!" to Baja Mexican Cantina in the meantime. Should you decide to have a fish taco-nacho buffet in the future though, count me in!