On a culinary road trip from Los Angeles to the Valle de Guadalupe, brother and sister Fernando and Bricia Lopez (whose family runs the James Beard Award-winning Restaurante Guelaguetza in LA) make a pit stop in Popotla, a seafood mecca 35 miles south of Tijuana. The small, colorful fishing village is a destination for some of Baja California’s freshest fish and shellfish, and the perfect place for Open Road to pull over for a midday meal.
Popotla, located in the shadow of a giant movie lot where the likes of Titanic and Pearl Harbor were shot, is less than a mile long, extending just from the ocean to the scenic Tijuana highway. Along the water, lobster, shrimp, uni, and saltwater fish are brought ashore each day by local fishermen and divers, then sold from grills on the beds of trucks, pop-up stands, and sit-down restaurants. The Lopezes find that crab and clams are the most in abundance, with a wide variety of each available for purchase and served alongside a rock to help break open the shells (it does require a little muscle).