When Anthony Bourdain, renowned chef and TV personality, made a pilgrimage to Sabina Bandera’s street food cart La Guerrerense for the Baja episode of his show No Reservations, he proclaimed Bandera “a genius” and the food “shockingly good.”
There can be no higher acclaim. Bandera is more than thankful for his visit, along with those she receives from other international stars who have made their way to Baja for her seafood-studded tostadas.
Originally from the state of Guerrero, Bandera grew up around livestock, making fresh requesón (a ricotta-like cheese) and crema (cream), and enjoying such dishes as pozole and cochinita pibil. She had little to no knowledge about mariscos (seafood) until she moved to the port city of Ensenada. It wasn’t until her in-laws, who founded this curbside cart, showed her their seafood ways that she became a maestro in cooking with these ingredients.
This internationally known cart has been set up since 1960, and the lines are not slowing down anytime soon. As soon as La Guerrerense came to life, so did Bandera’s passion for creating her own salsas. She began to prepare them from the ingredients in her garden, experimenting with different chilies. Now, these incredible sauces can be purchased from her cart, and are more than worth the trip to her little corner of Baja California. A fond favorite is the chile de árbol with peanuts.
La Guerrerense is renowned for its ceviche and tostadas piled high with mariscos, such as sea snail, octopus and sea urchin. For this recipe, the large Pismo clam, and its tenderly sweet meat is topped with local ingredients: pico de gallo, plenty of freshly squeezed lime juice, creamy slices of avocado and just a few drops of hot sauce.
1. In a small bowl, mix all of the pico de gallo ingredients together.
2. Shuck open a clam, and cut the meat of the clam away from the shell, then cut the meat into slices. Place the slices of clam meat back into the shell. Repeat for each clam.
3. Add approx 1 Tbsp. of the pico de gallo on top of each serving of clam meat.
4. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the pico de gallo and each serving of clam meat. Drizzle with ketchup and hot sauce to taste. Top with slices of fresh avocado.
Serves 4 to 6
Preparation time 10 minutes
For the pico de gallo 1 tomato, diced 1 white onion, diced 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped salt, to taste To serve 4 to 6 Pismo clams 4 to 6 limes, juiced ketchup, to taste hot sauce, to taste
2 avocados, thinly sliced