Wednesdays in Ensenada

And you thought only something on the McDonald’s value meal menu could be $1.99? Here’s a little tip from my premier snack spotter and writing partner, Lydie Raschka. Every Wednesday after 3:00 PM Dorado Tacos sells it’s “original Baja” fish tacos for $1.99 each. For this you get a thick thumb sized piece of beer battered Pollock, squirted with zig zags of crema atop a bed of cabbage and two tiny, soft flour tortillas. Add a squeeze of lime, salsa fresca as you please. Eat in two bites, so why not eat four? However, you do the math, it’s delicioso!

I love the Baja vibe at Dorado, from the bright blue awning to cheery Mexican paper cut outs strung above the busy cash register and the freezer full of toxically sweet Mexican soft drinks. I think it’s funny that Dorado, which gets everything right about a taco, abuts the place, Chipotle, which gets everything wrong. Chipotle overstuffs, leaving you feeling disgusted with yourself. Dorado gives you just barely enough and leaves you wanting more.

I had come down to meet with Lydie, who works in the neighborhood. As the small space filled up, it was hard to snag a table, but fortunately it takes so little time to down the miniscule tacos, tables free up quickly. We tucked in, and Lydie told me about how she’s breaking up her usual morning routine to shake up her day and clear her head. After writing at O Cafe for an hour, she doesn’t make a beeline to her workplace but now adds a walk, trying a different combo of streets each day (and texting me when she sees a new snack venue).

As a freelancer writer for over twenty years, routine is the glue of my existence. As in every day I glue my butt down at Columbia’s Butler library lounge for several hours, go home and eat lunch, make tea, which I bring in a thermos back to Butler. Repeat: day in, day out. I worry so much about breaking the routine—and the resulting work karma— that I rarely leave the Upper West Side during the weekday, which, as you can see is resulting in a lot of snack venues situated in my neighborhood—known destinations.

So I’m taking a tip from Lydie and using snacks to break up my day. I’ll let my culinary curiosity lead me to far-flung pockets of my beloved NYC.  Like my friend's walks, snacks will be the little fillip to my day, flipping my mood from jaded to jubilant.  And why should I worry about an impending deadline? The clock at Dorado, set to “Ensenada time,” says I have three hours more!