Tastiest breakfast food in the world - Machaca con Huevos, tortillas, cheese and beans

Tastiest breakfast food in the world – Machaca con Huevos, tortillas, cheese and beans

Merely two hours south of San Diego, deep in the Valle de Guadalupe, sits an unassuming restaurant. Inside platters of marinated, roasted meats vie for attention with griddle fresh tortillas, salsas, grilled nopales and home made cheese. This is the home of some of the tastiest breakfast food in the world and I arrived in time to see it made official. The long delayed award from Foodie Hub was about to be presented to chef Dona Esthela.
La Cocina de dona esthela - The home of the tastiest breakfast food in the world!
Rumbling down a bumpy and dusty dirt road, our van slid into a parking lot populated with cars and trucks. It was midweek and most of the Valle was still deserted. But the crowds are no surprise to the neighbors.
Tastiest breakfast food next door to Lomita Winery in Guadalupe Valley

Lomita Winery, next door to La Cocina de Dona Esthela

On the hill adjacent to Dona Esthela’s sits the sleek slab and arched winery, Lomita. Family owner, Fernando Perez Castro recounts how Dona Esthela’s grew with fondness. Fernando says, “The first time I ate there, I sat at her kitchen table and you felt like you were part of the family, invited to her place. She didn’t have a menu but served what she cooked for the family just before.” Dona has gradually been building her place out, but Fernando says the enduring secret to her success is, “The essence is still the same.”
Step into the kitchen where the tastiest breakfast food in the world is made:


Dona Esthela cooked for the Lomita building crew in early 2008, when there weren’t other choices in the neighborhood. Her fate changed when a popular Mexican telenovella decided to use the Lomita winery as their set. Soon the TV celebrities were eating at her table and posting pictures with Dona Esthela, tweeting and bringing their friends to the Valle location.
Dona Esthela and Andrew Zimmerman of Bizarre Foods plus telenovella stars.

Next to the cash register – Dona Esthela and Andrew Zimmerman of Bizarre Foods, plus telenovella stars.

In the kitchen of la Cocina de Dona Esthela

In the kitchen with Dona Esthela

Machaca and beans at La Cocina de Dona Esthela

Machaca and beans

Our little group was served a table full of incredible breakfast food. The award-winning Machaca con Huevo won over Foodie Hub contributor and blogger, Scott Koenig, over a year ago and led to the nomination of Dona Esthela’s place. Machaca was once a staple of Mexican cowboys who ate the dehydrated, shredded and fried meat in the early 20th century. At Dona’s Cocina I found the meat moist and full of complex, smokey flavor.
Dona Esthela Cocina tortillas and husband

Pitchers of fresh orange juice and baskets of wrapped tortillas were served by Dona’s husband.

We gorged and drank Baja wines provided by our guide, Fernando Gaxiola founder of Baja Wine and Food. When it seemed we couldn’t eat another bite, platefuls of Hotcakes de Maiz materialized. Dona has taken an American breakfast food and made it uniquely her own with a juicy batter full of fresh corn kernels. No syrup was necessary.
So much more on the menu!
I will definitely find my way back as the menu is packed with so many delicious options and daily specials. What a great day trip beginning with the tastiest breakfast food in the world!
“The secret in the flavor of our food is to cook it with love and care. And to be able to serve it on your table. It’s a joy. Be welcome. Our house is your house!!”
~ Dona Esthela
Dona Esthela, family and friends

Dona Esthela, family and friends

If you go:
  • Directions and location on the unofficial Dona Esthela Facebook page
  • Dirt roads be darned! Follow signs, make sure someone in the car has international GPS, and check out routes before you cross the border.
  • The restauant isn’t open on Mondays but don’t let crowds deter you. Pick up a few bottles of Lomita’s best and sip while you wait.
  • Eat inside unless the patio’s been completely screened. Flies can be a problem.
  • More about crossing the border through Tijuana on my earlier post here.

Proud to be part of these linkups:

weekend wanderlust April 2016