On a recent trip to Baja California I was fortunate to be invited to lunch with a friend Juan Arturo Saldana Angulo who works with Discover Tijuana. I had visited Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe wine region with Penny Williams, my mom and editor for 52Perfectdays.com and on our way back to San Diego we met up with Juan who took us on a tour of Tijuana; up into the hills to see some beautiful residential areas, drove us through the famous gastronomic area of town and then to lunch at Palacio Azteca’s Restaurante Ixchel.

Tijuana-ixchel

Palacio Azteca’s Restaurante Ixchel in Tijuana, Mexico.

Chef Sussana Sierra was the first graduate of the Tijuana Culinary Art School and has been head chef at Palacio Azteca for the past five years. We were lucky enough to enjoy the dishes of chef Sussana, honored to have both her and hotel manager Alex Montes join us for lunch.

Chef Sussana Sierra and hotel manager Alex Montes.

Chef Sussana Sierra and hotel manager Alex Montes.

Chef Sussana’s first course was quesadillas with Huitlacoche and zucchini flowers.  I was excited to try this because I had never tasted Huitlacoche. I had just seen a cooking challenge on Top Chef San Miguel de Allende, that highlighted this Mexican delicacy.

Quesadillas with Huitlacoche and zucchini flowers.

Quesadillas with Huitlacoche and zucchini flowers.

The next course was ravioli with poblano cheese and spinach. I only got to taste the sauce, because I’m gluten free and it could have easily been served as a soup. Delicious!

Ravioli with poblano cheese and spinach.

Ravioli with poblano cheese and spinach.

Our last course was swordfish with a habanero and pineapple sauce. She has a great way of offering Mexican food with a twist. She uses many traditional Mexican flavors combined with her cooking techniques to create elevated recipes.

Swordfish with habanero pineapple sauce.

Swordfish with habanero pineapple sauce.

Chef Sussana was so kind to make me a gluten free version!

Gluten Free Swordfish with habanero-pineapple sauce

Gluten Free Swordfish with habanero and pineapple sauce

The restaurant opens onto a very nice pool area with outdoor seating for the restaurant.

Palacio Azteca pool.

Palacio Azteca pool.

A great experience. Superb food and wonderful company! I look forward to visiting again soon!

A very happy group after a very delicious lunch!

A very happy group after a very delicious lunch!

Palacio Azteca poolside art.

Palacio Azteca poolside art.

For more information about Palacio Azteca visit their website: www.palacioazteca.com/ or visit them on Facebook.

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