Wonderful New Restaurant and BB in Cerritos

We made a terrific new discovery today, out of the blue. A wonderful little restaurant right on the beach with a laid-back style and … drumroll please …  a very creative menu: Jamaican jerk beef, sun dried tomato quiche, shiitake mushroom and vegetable spring rolls with mango-habanero salsa … How unusual is THAT for Mazatlán?

As if creativity weren’t enough (you know you can recite the ceviche/aguachile/pescado o camarones a la diabla, mojo de ajo o a la plancha of 90% of our local restaurants), items are made fresh, the menu changes weekly, and it includes lots of fresh veggies, salads and homemade soups. The owner loves music, so she chooses a musician of the week (this week is most rightly dedicated to recently departed Etta James) and tailors her weekly menu to the theme. As I said, creativity reigns in this place.

The restaurant, called “Surf’s Up,” is owned and operated by a vivacious young Canadian woman named Leanne Wright (that’s her at left, between my two boys). She relocated here from Vancouver a year ago, and together with her parents has spent the past year readying the cafe and an adjoining four-room bed and breakfast called “El Sol La Vida” for business. The “resort” opened nine weeks ago, and is located right next to Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay (Camino al Delfín #520) in Sabalo Cerritos. It is definitely worth the drive!

The inviting interior with open kitchen seats maybe 20-24 people, and there are outdoor terrace tables as well as numerous tables on the beach. The view is spectacular, the setting very peaceful and yet vibrant. Surf’s Up is open Wednesday through Saturday 8 am – 4 pm, and any evening for dinner with a prior reservation (669-164-1896). They also serve a Sunday brunch from 10 – 4. In addition to the substantial meal menu, there is a full coffee menu (lattes, cappuccinos, frappes).

Leanne (that’s her at left, between my two boys) told us she’s worked in food service for 14 years, and loves to travel the world taking cooking lessons with top chefs (this summer she’ll be in Tuscany). She buys breads from Héctor at Molika and produce from the new Organic Farmers’ Market in Plaza Zaragoza. Turns out that in addition to being an outgoing and upbeat cook with a keen sense of design (the whole place is really charming), she’s a highly ranked amateur boxer who will travel with the Canadian team to this summer’s London Olympics (she won’t be boxing, though, due to injuries from a car crash). And, no, she hasn’t yet made it to la cancha German Evers to see one of our local boxing matches.

There were three of us for lunch today, and we had the above-mentioned spring rolls served with a terrific side salad (spring mix lettuce with sweet onion, four colors of bell peppers, craisins, almonds and cheese);

a very tasty chicken tostada (the sweet onions made it);

and roast beef on ciabatta with potato slices, two kinds of cheese, grilled onions, and mustard seeds. This last was listed on the menu as a breakfast item. The breakfast menu is lengthy and also creative, and is served all day.

For dessert we split a homemade oatmeal cookie with coconut, raisins and almonds. Leanne was just taking these out of the oven as we entered, and the smell was to-die-for. She also had slices of apple coconut cake available.

We all very much enjoyed our meals. Each of them was solidly good tasting, beautifully presented, and a welcome breath of fresh air in an exceptional setting. Keeping in mind this restaurant is only nine weeks young, it is our hope that as Leanne settles in and gets more comfortable, the flavor of her recipes will rise to the high level set by the creativity of her menu.

Menu items (most accompanied by soup or salad) ranged from 80 – 100 pesos, which we felt was very reasonable, though for some reason the hamburger is priced at a very high 150 pesos. Yes, it’s Henderson’s sirloin, but … My fear is that as Surf’s Up gets popular the extensive menu may have to be trimmed, and Leanne will obviously have to hire and train some more staff, which seems so often to make for difficulties with a new place. Changing menus each week can place added stress on a kitchen staff as well and quality may suffer; we will have to check back and see.

After lunch we toured the four rooms and common area of the bed and breakfast, El Sol La Vida. The rooms were large and airy. The wood carpentry has been beautifully done. All rooms except one had a terrace or patio.

Bathrooms have onyx sinks and marble tile work. Shower enclosures are glass block. Rooms are $129 Canadian per night, and the one without a terrace is $99/night.

Leanne’s parents were owner-operators of a garden center for years and it shows with wonderful landscaping and floral treats throughout the property.

The pool is heated and well positioned. There is a poolside bar, and some incredibly comfortable-looking seating, plus easy access to the beach.

I wish Leanne and her parents all the best of luck! I do hope this place gains popularity in a way that will allow them to succeed; it has a terrific energy about it.

Welcome to Mazatlán, and thank you for being here!

One other small note:
As we drove in, we noticed a very interesting property next door. Danny said it reminded him of the Lord of the Rings. Sure enough, Leanne told us that the guy who built it had the book series in mind, and the 5-bedroom uniquely built place is now a rental property, called Sand Castle. Like elves? Check it out!