It’s super surreal to be sitting in Alta Baja on a Sunday Morning, birds chirping outside in the 95-degree heat, only to be singing along to “Barbie Girl” from Aqua being spun on vinyl from a hip dude in shades. Adding to the obscure scene, none other than Gustavo Arellano is busting ass helping wife Delilah Snell clear tables in his well-worn comfy huaraches and functional Dickies, only stopping briefly to push up his glasses and say hi to a few fellow brunch-goers. I’m not sure why, but the combination of events made me feel relaxed like I was watching some sort of obscure brunch theatre.
The lovely Delilah Snell runs Alta Baja Market, which features various curated items and wines from the southwest as well as a menu of brunchy things on the weekends, as well as breakfast and lunch items served all day. Among the offerings is probably the world’s best selection of micheladas all sounding so good I wish there was an option for a flight.
“Can I get a luh-car-nay-sair-oh,” I order, hoping I didn’t pronounce El Carnicero like a total gringo. “Okay, one carrr-knee-sair-oh,” repeats the register gal with a wink and tight R-trill. What’s delivered is a thick hand-blown glass with black salt rim, red michelada sans ice inside, topped with crispy toast, sliced avocado, a fried runny egg, all complimented with a thick stick of smoky bacon. Botanas for breakfast? This is my new favorite thing. The only thing left for me to do is practice the pronunciation.
Alta Baja Market is in the 4th Street Market in DTSA. 200 E 4th St, Santa Ana altabajamarket.com
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!