Welcome back to the Eats! I think it’s been years since I’ve written this column and I’m happy to be doing it again. There are so many places to eat in Peñasco now, and a lot I haven’t been to, so I welcome your input – write up a paragraph or two about your favorite place to eat, your favorite dish or cocktail, or even your favorite waiter, and I’ll be happy to include it in this article.

I’m certainly trying to eat everywhere, but there’s only so much stretch left in my jeans after 2020. I am looking forward to getting back to some of my all-time favorites like Blue Marlin shrimp tacos, Chili Colorado Chimi at La Curva, Tacos al Pastor at El Rey, California Rolls at Sushi Sun, Spinach Omelet at Xochitl’s, Shrimp Sampler at Chef Mickey’s, and so many more. When my Uncle Pat was down, he did bring home chicken from Martin’s El Pollo Papago and Pollo Lucas, which are consistently great. And my good friend and “Eats” partner, Mary Snyder, gave me her leftover Cheiky’s Pizza recently which I threw in the freezer and ate for days (maybe next month I’ll tell you how to order ‘Pizza Done Mary’s Way’ from Cheiky’s Pizza – it’s very good). I order Pane e Vino pizza in duplicate since one is never enough – sausage, onions and black olives is my staple order. I love Luca’s crust – so light, crispy, and delicious. I have a few pizza places to try and will get back to you with some more good eats. I also really like the BBQ Chicken Pizza at Capone’s as well as their Shrimp Dogs. Hopefully, we (The Rocky Point Times) will have a “Best Of” this year and do some random draws for gift certificates – that would be fun. Watch the paper and our social media for details.

City sanitary protocols are still in place as of this writing, and probably will be for the foreseeable future, so let me remind you – and for you new folks – that most restaurants will take your temperature, have you wipe your shoes on a sanitizing mat, and issue you a squirt of hand sanitizer at the front door. You do need to wear a mask until you are seated and then put it back on if you move about the restaurant. A small price to pay for eating indoors when other places in the U.S. (like California, where I’m from, and Nevada) are making patrons eat outdoors and, the places that do allow you to eat indoors, they make you keep your mask on until your food arrives in front of you. If you order a cocktail or wine with dinner, you have to mask, unmask, sip, mask, unmask, sip, repeat! I know having to follow protocols are a pain for a lot of people, but just try to remember that we are extremely fortunate here in Rocky Point, so please do your part to follow our city rules so our businesses can remain open and their employees can remain employed. You can take our masks off once seated and you don’t have to eat in a cold parking lot – so that’s worth the small inconvenience! If you’re not one wanting to dine indoors or dine out at all, many restaurants do offer outdoor (heated) seating as well as take-out, curbside delivery and home delivery. Restaurants are still operating at a fraction of their capacity, and they do not make the rules, they just simply have to follow them, so please be kind to the wait staff and tip as much as you can.

We are all extremely grateful that you are choosing to spend your time in Rocky Point and patronize our businesses and many establishments are making upgrades for those of you who can work remotely like offering WiFi, accessible charging for your devices and even installing USB ports. And did you know we have electric vehicle charging stations? Nothing to do with The Eats, but you do usually drive your car to get to the restaurant, so it’s not totally irrelevant.

I kicked off 2021 with a fantastic lobster dinner at Mare Blu, which never disappoints. They have a nice selection of entrees and their food is always good, and they’ve really upped their service and presentation game. They have a good wine selection, and if you like a heavy red, the Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon is always a good, safe choice. They are featuring specials for Valentine’s Day and reservations are recommended. They are located on Sandy Beach, down at the end by Wrecked at the Reef and The Reef – see their ad in this issue.

Speaking of Wrecked at the Reef – I just can’t get enough of their nachos. I don’t think they do anything special to them, but they are really, really good. Maybe it’s the atmosphere, the live music, or the ocean – not sure, but they are delish as are the jalapeño poppers, which are HUGE. Wrecked has a large menu with lots of seafood baskets and bar food.

One of my Mom’s favorite places was always Colin’s Cantina, which is located at Princesa de Peñasco Condominiums on Sandy Beach. If you want to feel right at home, get some great food at great prices, and run into a bunch of locals, Colin’s is your spot They have specials on certain days like 2 for 1 bacon cheeseburgers and $1.50 BBQ short rib tacos – check out their ad in every issue of the RPTimes. I met Mary for dinner and drinks one night and by the end of the evening we had a mini-Astoria Cruise reunion going on. The staff even played the DVD of our cruise trip – good times!

A new favorite of mine is pozole on Sunday’s at the Boo Bar, which is located on the Malecon in the Old Port. It is SOOO good! It’s thick, more like a stew and the flavor is phenomenal – it reminds me of a really, really good birria, especially after you add the onions and cilantro – delish! They only serve it on Sunday’s and when it’s gone, it’s gone. I now have 3 reasons to get out of bed before noon on Sundays (the other two involve 4x4ing). Boo Bar has a big menu, great food, and indoor and lots of outdoor seating with great views of the Sea of Cortez and Sandy Beach. You can grab some great sunset shots from the back patio. They support a lot of local charities and put on a lot of fun activities throughout the year like their Poker Run (4×4 through the desert) the day AFTER the Superbowl on Monday, February 8th – hands are $25, you get some swag and proceeds go to charity. Stop by the bar to sign up.

At the end of the Malecon, next to the Viña del Mar Hotel, you’ll find the best Southern Fried Chicken in town at Margarita Mermaids, formerly the Satisfied Frog, but still owned by Rick and Krissy Nichols. For a few bucks they serve up a mountain of crispy delicious fried chicken, mashed potatoes and coleslaw. They have a big menu featuring, among other items, a variety of appetizers, seafood dishes, BBQ ribs, pizza, burgers, salads, and deserts like Apple Pie Tacos. They have Happy Hour specials on drinks and appetizers as well as Early Bird Specials. Stop by for their Thursday Night Wine Night showcasing featured wines, wine flights, and appetizer/tapa specials. They offer indoor and outdoor patio dining as well as curbside delivery for take-out orders. Mark Mulligan will be performing live on Friday, February 12th and Saturday the 13th, so make your reservations early as there is limited space. His shows fill up fast as they are always entertaining and lots of fun.

I did stop by El Tapeo Wine Bar and fell in love with their giant-sized wine barrels out front. I have yet to enjoy a glass of wine and tapas in these hollowed out barrels but look forward to going back and giving you a full report. I was impressed with their wine list and, even though they didn’t have a single Malbec on it, they did have the Santo Tomas Tempranillo/Cab blend, which is a favorite of mine from the Baja’s wine country, Valle de Guadalupe.

And now we come to the Moo-est and hottest spot in Rocky Point – MOO Steakhouse and Grille. OMG! The food is…TO…DIE…FOR! They have some very unique and tasty eats and drinks from the Adult Grilled Cheese Mooburger served on a donut bun to the boozy milkshakes. I’ve been there several times since their soft opening on New Year’s Day – and it is definitely my new favorite place. Owners, Julio Jr., Sara and Lance have done an amazing job on the décor and menu and they have more in the works – like new menu items, drinks, and an amazing upstairs planned. I swore I wouldn’t “spill the beans” on what’s to come, but I am sooo looking forward to every inch of progress they make and will definitely be keeping my eye on them. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend you put it on your list. They are located on the Malecon in the Old Port in what used to be Lily’s (for us old-timers) and Julio’s more recently – on the corner of Calle Ignacio Zaragoza – up the side street is the Blue Marlin. They are having Valentine’s Day specials so check out their new ad in this edition of the RPTimes.

Mary and I went, for the first time, on New Year’s Day (Friday). We started with the Tower of Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings, served with a creamy jalapeño dipping sauce, and on a bed of homemade ribbon fries, which are also very good – even heated up the next day. The rings are exactly how they sound and are as delicious as they sound. The appetizer choice was relatively easy – we had a tougher time trying to decide what burgers to share. I was sold on the BB Mooburger, which is slow cooked, shredded baby back rib meat, topped with onion rings and mozzarella cheese served on a seared, homemade, caramelized donut bun. Yes, you read that right – a donut bun! Then you have your choice of sauces – buffalo, barbeque, or honey mustard – we opted for the barbeque sauce. For Mary’s burger, we were going back and forth between the Gordo Burger and the Boozy Burger and even considered the Adult Grilled Cheese Mooburger but were confused whether or not it was an actual “meat burger”, which it is not – I explain later in the article. We finally settled on the Gordo Burger, which is a custom patty stuffed with mozzarella, cheese and mushrooms and topped with bacon, onion rings, lettuce, and tomato. This was on a custom baked bun and we swapped out the ribbon fries for the homemade macaroni & cheese. Both were fantastic and completely different “burgers”. (I suggest you go to MOO with someone who likes sharesies.) The Mooburger was a delicious blend of gooey, sweet and tangy and the donut bun did not overpower with sweetness. The Gordo Burger meat patty was handmade from quality beef – definitely not a pre-made patty. The burger is huge and delicious. If you want a straightforward hamburger with a little something extra, then this one is for you. If you want a plain burger then you will order the Boring Burger, which has lettuce, tomato, onion and mozzarella cheese. We didn’t try any of their custom cocktails this first time, but I did have a nice Cabernet.

The next day, Saturday, Mary went without me (the nerve!) and had the Poke Nachos, which is cubed fresh tuna mixed in lemon and sweet chili sauce with avocado, tangy cherry tomatoes and served with savory crisp chicharrones. She said the Nachos were excellent.

On Sunday, we went again and ordered take-out because we had just come from eating pozole at the Boo Bar and then after take-out at Moo we were hitting Margarita Mermaids for take-out southern fried chicken. (Yes, it is true…and now you know why my pants don’t have any stretch left in them.) I did order a Cab and some fries, because, after all, we did have to wait for our take-out Mooburgers and macaroni and cheese. Both times we scored the comfy couch and chairs right by the entrance – great people watching spot with center firepit table. Actually, the long outside bar that faces the Malecon and Sea of Cortez, is also great for people watching.

On our next trip to MOO we were with Tina Elliott and Patti LaDue and boy did we order a lot of food though I don’t remember what Patti ordered. I ordered the Tower of Onion Rings again, of course, and the Baby Back Rib appetizer. OMG! So delicious! The meat just slid off the bone and it was really enough for a meal, but we were sharing – hah! Tina and I ordered the BB Mooburger and the Adult Grilled Cheese Mooburger. I really didn’t think anything could top the BB Mooburger…until I bit into the Adult Grilled Cheese Mooburger, which is pure deliciousness. It’s not actually a burger, but comes on a donut bun, so technically, it’s in the shape of a burger. This masterpiece is a three-cheese blend of gouda, mozzarella and sharp cheddar grilled with crispy (thick) bacon, topped off with an (optional) egg and then slathered with blueberry reduction sauce and served on a caramelized donut bun. It is one of the best things I have ever tasted. As soon as Tina and I tasted it our eyes got really big and we refused to share with Mary or Patti. It is the guiltiest of guilty pleasures – breakfast for dinner – pure decadence! Next time I am going at noon, in my pajamas, and ordering the AGCMB with a bottle of champagne and a pitcher of orange juice…if I sit there long enough, I may be able to eat two of them! So delicious! Oh, and Mary had the filet and said it was excellent.

Tina was the only one ordering custom cocktails and Brayan (pronounced Bryan) is one hell of a mixologist and entertainer – they have some cool gadgets there – love the smoke bubbles. I didn’t get to taste Tina’s martini, but her 2nd drink was made with blackberry moonshine, and was not on the menu, but I’m assuming it will be soon – it was delicious. They have lots of clever cocktails like the Nut In The Moo-D which is peanut butter whisky, black raspberry liquor and cream and the How Now, Brown Cow? Moo Shake, which is chocolate ice cream, vodka, chocolate liquor and Baileys served with whipped cream and chocolate. The drinks seemed to be a big hit. Everyone is raving about MOO’s food, décor, ambience and coolness factor.

MOO also has other burgers on the menu such as the Boozy Burger, the Oink Oink Moo, the Cluck Cluck Moo and the Sweet-n-Sassy Mooburger as well as a filet and beef ribs. They were still on their soft-opening menu so you can expect additions and changes as they perfect their dishes and cocktails. Their service has been great – very attentive and courteous staff. I love the fact that they installed USB ports and plugs under the bar and offer free wifi to customers. They’ve added unique touches throughout and have lots of TVs for PPV special events and sports. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have in store for us and think MOO is a great addition to the Malecon. I will whisper one hint…valet parking. Woohoo! Congratulations Julio Jr., Sara and Lance – great job!!

If you’re going for dinner, I would highly recommend reservations as this is destined to be the hot spot. Get a look at their menu items, cocktails and photos on their website at www.eatsteakatmoo.com.  They are also on all the socials. Call (638) 114-3595 for reservations and info or email them at moopenasco@gmail.com.

1. Pizza done “Mary’s Way” from Cheiky’s Pizza…delivered!

2. Lobster tail and creamy risotto at Mare e Blu

3. Sunday Pozole at Boo Bar

4. Southern Fried Chicken from Margarita Mermaids

5 6 7 MOO Steakhouse & Grille

8. Tower of Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings

9. BB Mooburger on Donut Bun (shredded baby back rib meat, onion rings and mozarella cheese). Gordo Burger in the background.

10. Adult Grilled Cheese Mooburger on Donut Bun (3 cheese blend, crispy bacon, blueberry reduction sauce and the optional egg)…delish!

11. Brayan, Moo’s Mixologist making a smoke bubble on top of a custom order martini

12. USB Outlets and plus under the bar

13. Tina Elliott, Chef Edgar, Sara Lambert, Partner, and Patti LaDue (left to right)