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Friday, April 15, 2016

Rosarito on the Cheap: Mi Casa Supper Club

Rosarito on the Cheap: Mi Casa Supper Club - Fine dining without breaking the bank
By Sandy Eddahbi / San Deigo Red
Photos by: Sandy Eddahbi

This is my first article for San Diego Red. I am creating a column called, "Rosarito on the Cheap." Up to now I've had a blog on Facebook called Baja Restaurant Scene. I've also been doing a restaurant tour in Rosarito, where I take 50 to 80 people to try different restaurants each month.

Let me say, without a doubt, I love Baja. It still has the untouched beauty of the Pacific, the people are incredibly friendly, the variety of dining options are affordable and there is a wine valley close at hand! What more could I ask for? And in addition to all that, I now have a second career that I slowly inched my way into. Life is good!

For my first article, you might think I would choose the least expensive restaurant having the title Rosarito on the Cheap, but cheap to me also connotes value rather than just "low cost". Too many times, people exclude the use of fresh ingredients, food safety preparation, and comfort, just to say they paid the least amount for food. I also place value on a restaurant that doesn't just pull things from the freezer to reheat them before throwing them down on a plate.


With that in mind, I am going to surprise you by taking you to one of the most beautiful restaurants we have in Baja. It's not only one of my favorite places, but it's what some of us locals call our neighborhood's "French Laundry without breaking the bank". For those who don't know, The French Laundry is one of the top restaurants in the US getting over $350 for a meal.

The place I'm talking about is called Mi Casa Supper Club and owners, Bo Bendana and Dennis Sein, built it from scratch just two years ago, when they couldn't find a location to match their vision.
It all started back in 2012, when Bo created an underground dinner club at her gorgeous Rosarito oceanfront home, which is where the name Mi Casa Supper Club was born. I must say I was a permanent partaker in those dinners that rapidly grew in popularity. Hence, they decided to build a restaurant to cater to their growing clientele.

Bo is not only the chef/owner, but also the interior designer, using unique decor she collected from her many trips to Bali. Unlike any restaurant you've been to, Mi Casa Supper Club, actually located within the Tijuana city limits but a few yards from the Rosarito border, is more like someone's lavish home, where you can actually place an order and be served like a house guest. Bo, originally from Casablanca, Morocco, has created a cuisine she calls, Moroxican: modern Moroccan cuisine fused with incredible Mexican flavors.

Bo's food is not only inventive, well developed and beautifully presented, but more importantly, exciting with exotic spices that are downright delicious. Her four sous-chefs and one baker start preparing the food for the weekend on Wednesdays, cooking for two days before they serve a single meal. It's that loving preparation that sets her place apart from most other venues in Baja.
Once a month, Bo has a "Guest chef's dinner", which includes collaborative menus with leading chefs from Baja or San Diego. This month she's pairing with Chef Martin San Roman, the Executive Chef of Dobson's in San Diego. Last month she paired with Chef Moumen Nouri from Kous Kous in San Diego and I was lucky enough to attend and I can say both chefs wowed me!
Since most of these dinners sell out in a matter of days and often hours, be sure to join their Facebook page or get on their email list as soon as you can.
These dinners are between 6-8 courses and cost between $50 to $60 USD including tax and service, and often includes a welcome cocktail from their extensive collection of Scotches, Rums and of course, Tequilas! I'd say a dinner of this caliber in the US would be well over $100 and I would suggest to anyone that they splurge on this incredible value at least once. It won't be a dining experience you'll soon forget.

Getting back to the discussion of value, if you are looking for a great experience "on the cheap", come for the Sunday brunch at Mi Casa Supper Club. On a warm day they serve it on their roof top terrace, overlooking the Pacific and one of the most beautiful vantage points I have seen. Also, to set the right mood, on most Sundays, you will be entertained by the beautiful voice of Baja's very own, Maryam Malak, who came in second at Baja's version of "The Voice".

Chef Bo is also well known in Baja for her philanthropy but more so for the biggest culinary event in Baja that she started three years ago, called SABOR DE BAJA (Taste of Baja).
It's a friendly culinary competition among the best chefs in Baja, held on the last Wednesday of August, on the lawn of the historic Rosarito Beach Hotel. You have to come dressed in white to attend and everyone gets to vote for their favorite pairing (chef's pair their creations with wines and beers from Mexico). At the same time Bo invites leading personalities in the restaurant industry to judge the contest. Last year she had a crowd of over 600 people attending. Visit www.sabordebaja.com for more information.

Getting back to why I chose Mi Casa for this piece, I'll give a breakdown of what I've ordered recently. My favorite brunch item at Mi Casa is the smoked salmon omelet. It comes in at $8, and arrives with 2 slices of bacon, sautéed potatoes, dusted with turmeric spice and their own fresh baked Herb De Provence rustic bread. The omelet is loaded with smoked salmon and cream cheese and topped off with a béchamel sauce and fried capers. By the way, the rest of their omelets are just as impressive. They also offer regular or a homemade Moroccan spiced coffee for $2. For dinner, I have to choose the Moroccan Lamb Tagine, which best represents what Moroxican means. The lamb is slow-cooked for hours with a special blend of Moroccan spices and paired with a Ras El Hanout prune based mole sauce that is to die for. It costs $18 and is served, of course, in a classic ceramic tagine over a bed of saffron scented couscous. The portion of this dish is large enough to share with a friend, or enough to take some home if you're alone.

So this is how we do fine dining on the cheap. When you take into consideration the quality of ingredients, the impeccable service, the breathtaking views, and the plush interiors, I consider it cheap to eat at Mi Casa Supper Club. Many people can recommend cheap eats, but if the food is not up to par then it's not worth my dime (or peso)!

Mi Casa is open for dinner Thursday through Sunday nights. They serve brunch just on Sundays. For more information on how to get to Mi Casa Supper Club please contact micasasupperclub@gmail.com