One of the best destination spas in the world is located across the border from San Diego in Mexico. This isn’t opinion, it’s based on the 50+ awards bestowed by Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Spa Finder, Spa Magazine and more.
Rancho la Puerta, located in Tecate, Mexico is one of the oldest North American destination fitness resorts. The resort spreads over 3,000 private acres, including a 6-acre organic farm. An average stay at the Ranch is a week and prices start at $3500 per person.
The luxury of a week at the ranch might not fit every budget, but the newly opened El Cafecito & El Mercadito offers us all the opportunity to enjoy some of the famous Rancho la Puerta cuisine.
La Cocina que Canta is the Culinary Center of Rancho La Puerta. An extension of the Cocina is the new café-deli “El Cafecito & El Mercadito”. The opening of café is the first time in 75 years a portion of Rancho la Puerta has been available to the public. The cafe is a beautiful accent of executive chef Denise Roa’s La Cocina que Canta Cooking School; an integral part of any stay at the Ranch.
Lunch at Rancho La Puerta
La Cocina que Canta translates to “The Kitchen That Sings” and celebrates cooking with just-picked organic ingredients from the ranch garden. The café portion is accessed by heading down a brick pathway and through trellis of greenery. You’ll then find tables with large umbrellas set on a large brick patio surrounded by lush gardens. You might just feel as though you have wandered into someones lovely backyard when you have lunch at Rancho la Puerta’s La Cocina que Canta.
Nearby alcoves, gardens offer a glimpse of the sanctuary of a stay at Rancho la Puerto and views of the nearby mountains.
El Cafecito & El Mercadito serves breakfast and lunch and focuses on clean eating with fresh bright flavors. The most popular lunch item is the combo which includes soup or salad with half a sandwich and infused water of the day.
Since, I’m gluten free, I opted for soup and salad with the infused water. Soups are not only seasonal, but cooked daily based on the best and most ingredients in the garden, which is located just feet from the restaurant. My lunch started with an organic cherry tomato soup that was roasted, then creamed and drizzled with a balsamic reduction.
I opted for the ensalada Mexicano; a mix of greens, avocado, corn, radish, edible flowers and queso fresco that was tossed lightly with a jalapeno-cilantro dressing. If you are a guest at Rancho la Puerta, all of the meals are vegetarian. La Cocina is the one spot you’ll find the option to add chicken or shrimp on a salad or to have a protein based sandwich.
La Cocina as partnered with Casa Paris, an artisanal coffee shop in Tecate to serve an extensive list of specialty coffees and teas at the restaurant.
The dessert menu at La Cocina also starts with fresh ingredients found in the Ranch garden. Everything from cheesecake and chocolate mousse to panna cotta and fruit tartes were available. While the Ranch is dedicated to healthy living, coffee and dessert at the La Cocina was a purely decadent experience.
After lunch at Rancho la Puerta, chances are you’ll be ready to book a week a full week at the Ranch. I know I was. Have you visited Tecate or been a guest at Rancho la Puerta? Love to hear your suggestions for other great dining experiences in Tecate.
This was part of a Travel Writer’s Academy media trip, and we were a guests at Rancho la Puerta but as always, all opinions are my own!
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Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.