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Fairs, Festivals, and Fiestas: April Events in Baja

Fairs, Festivals, and Fiestas: April Events in Baja

The top April events in Baja California showcase some of the peninsula’s signature attractions, from local arts and crafts and the Cabo party scene to fresh regional seafood and the world-class wines now being produced in Valle de Guadalupe.

But star billing goes to the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race. Since 1948, sailors and celebrities have competed in “the world’s largest international yacht race,” a 125 nautical mile journey from Newport Beach to Ensenada, with post-race parties and activities rounding out the memorable weekend.

There are hundreds of local events that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

April Events in Baja

Los Barriles:  21st Annual Art Festival

When: April 13

The 21st annual Art Festival, or Festival de Artes, features original artwork from regional artists at the Hotel Palmas de Cortez in Los Barriles, on the East Cape of Baja California Sur. The yearly fiesta cultural also offers food, drinks, live music, and dancing.

Cost: Free admission 

April Events in Baja

Cabo San Lucas:  Semana Santa at Nikki Beach

When: April 17-20

Celebrate Semana Santa and the end of Lent with four days of partying at the famed Nikki Beach club, home to the hippest and hottest poolside scene on Medano Beach. Enjoy fun in the sun with great dance music from an international cast of DJs, as well as fine food and high-end bottle service.

Cost: $88-290

April Events in Baja

Loreto:  The Great Loreto Yellowtail Tournament

When: April 24-26

Anglers compete for over $10,000 U.S. in cash and prizes at this yearly fishing contest, with 80 percent of the purse going to winners in the yellowtail division, and the remaining 20 percent to top teams in the cabrilla and pargo division. There will also be a “casting for accuracy” challenge open to both children and adults, as well as other fun activities and events.

Cost: $400 per team

April Events in Baja

Ensenada:  Shellfish and New Wine Festival

When: April 25-27

The highlight of this three-day food and wine fête is the final tasting, where guests enjoy fresh local shellfish courtesy of some of the best chefs and restaurants in Ensenada, and taste from a selection of 80 wines from 40 different producers in Mexico’s premier viticultural area, Valle de Guadalupe.

Cost: $30-70

April Events in Baja

Ensenada:  67th Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race

When: April 25-27

Billed as the world’s largest international yacht race, this maritime contest and social extravaganza sees participants compete in over 50 trophy categories during the 125 nautical mile sail from Newport Beach, California to Ensenada, Mexico.

Cost: $125-225

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411.

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UPDATE: Tijuana-Ensenada Toll Road Collapses, Full Access to Ensenada Remains

Updated Information about Baja.com story:   Alternate Routes Designated/Full Access To Ensenada Remains

(See story below about toll road collapse on Dec. 28)

When traveling South on the toll road, the police will direct you off at Alisitos (La Fonda), which will get you to the free road and into Ensenada.
 If you are going to Bajamar, Punta Piedra, La Salina, etc., you can make a quick U turn and tell the police where you are going, they will let you back on the toll road and you can continue south.

Baja Government Designates Alternate Routes

Following Collapse of Scenic Road Section

Full Access Remains & Ensenada Events Continue As Usual

ENSENADA, BAJA CALIFORNIA (December 28, 2013) – . The State Government of Baja California, through the Ministry of Tourism (SECTURE), has designated alternate routes following the Saturday closure of a collapsed portion of the Tijuana-to-Ensenada Scenic Road.

The collapsed section of the Scenic Road sits on a geologic fault, said Baja Assistant Secretary of Tourism Ives Lelevier. It is at KM93, approximately 15 miles south of La Mision, and about 30 miles south of Rosarito Beach. It had been scheduled for temporary closure.

Mr. Lelevier said further study is being done to determine more about the cause of the collapse, as well the time needed before the road can be safely reopened.

The Scenic Road, for which tolls are charged, opened in 1967 and carries four million vehicles annually, It is the main route used between Tijuana and Ensenada by tourists, residents, businessmen and others, although an alternative Free Road is available.

“We hope the reopening can be done reasonably quickly, once all safety concerns are met.” Mr. Lelevier said.

In the meantime, events in Ensenada continue as usual. Signage and traffic direction are being put in place so that alternate routes, some near Baja’s Guadalupe Valley wine country, can easily be used.

Full access to Ensenada remains open.

Full access to Ensenada remains open.

Motorists traveling south to north, from Ensenada to Tijuana, will need to take the Free Highway and then enter the Scenic Road at La Mision, or simply continue on the free road to Tijuana.

Motorists going north to south, from Tijuana to Ensenada, need to leave the Scenic Road at the same spot deviate and take from there the free road to Ensenada, through the town of El Tigre.

 Another alternative is to use the federal Highway 3, Tecate – Ensenada, or take the road Ensenada – San Felipe to travel to Mexicali.

 “The picturesque roads will be well marked and assigned additional resources, but we will be working aggressively to reopen the Scenic Road section now closed to minimize any inconvenience.” Mr. Lelevier said.

 Baja State Tourism asks that motorists follow the new signs and directions of traffic support staff. Who are working in the area of diversion in order to expedite the maximum circulation.

For relevant tourism information in Ensenada, as well as the rest of the state of Baja California, the Ministry of Tourism has a number for Visitor Assistance and Attention: 078  that can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

From the United States the phone number to call is 1-866 978 7273.   Further information also will be posted on www.discoverbajacalifornia.com

Media Contact:   Mariano Escobedo, Director International Relations

 

Collapse of Tijuana-Ensenada Toll Road Precipitated by Earthquake

 by José Luis Sánchez Macías, excerpted with permission from San Diego Red

On December 28, late in the afternoon, the spectacular Tijuana-Ensenada toll road fully collapsed. The road, which is the major artery for trucking companies and tourists arriving by car to Ensenada from the north, could take up to year to repair while travelers are forced to use old two-lane road (the free road).

tijuana toll road

tijuana toll road2

 

Days after a 4.6 earthquake struck south of Ensenada, the Tijuana-Ensenada toll road has collapsed towards the sea and threatens to continue to sink, although no injuries have been reported. The scenic road had already seen evidence of fractures and sinking since December 19th, the day of the earthquake, with many travelers posting pictures on social media of the increasingly critical situation of the highway.

However, no official state geologist or road engineers have confirmed that the collapse is due completely to the earthquake, with only the state government saying that “natural causes” were to blame. UPDATE: Baja California State Civil Protection has also put out the official version that this was due to a fault line running through the area.

On the morning of December 28,  the small fractures suddenly turned into enormous cracks on the cliffside, plunging the highway deeper and towards the sea (while not there yet), with some parts caving almost 300 feet.  Via Uniradioinforma.com, State Civil Protection Director Antonio Rosquillas said early Saturday morning that the collapse began to worsen around 2:30 a.m.

The collapse happened at the Salsipuedes stretch of highway towards Ensenada overlooking steep bluffs, only about 10 miles north of Ensenada and the San Miguel toll booth, and 56 miles south of the border.

Authorities have closed the highway from the La Misión toll to the San Miguel toll, forcing travelers to take the old non-toll road from La Misión to Ensenada, a alternate route of about 30 miles.  (Residents of the areas south of La Misión but north of the collapse can cut through to their development, with permission by civil authorities).

tijuana toll road3

From the BajaDock blog: http://bajadock.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/ensenada-toll-road-slide/

Also, the Baja state government advises travelers to take Federal Road 3 if they are heading out from Tecate towards Ensenada, or use the old Ensenada – San Felipe road for trips from Mexicali to Ensenada, or vice versa. There are conflicting accounts about just how long the highway will remain closed. Frontera reports that Rosa María Castañeda, regional director of the Federal Roads and Bridges agency responsible for the highway (Capufe in Spanish), has said that it might only take a week until the road reopens once again, although it’s hard to look at the pictures and conclude that it might only take a week. Other reports put the total time needed for such repairs at one year.

Baja California governor Francisco “Kiko” Vega tours the site of the collapse.

Baja California governor Francisco “Kiko” Vega tours the site of the collapse.

On December 29, Baja California governor Francisco “Kiko” Vega, toured the stretch of collapsed highway that connects Tijuana and Rosarito with Ensenada, after it sunk almost 300 feet off the cliffside and towards the coast on Saturday, adding that they’re working towards a definitive solution to the scenic road’s problems.

Baja.com notes:  The ‘free road’ route that is being used to redirect traffic to Ensenada turns inland, and is a dramatic road that passes close to Mexico’s wine country.  Although it is likely that the route will add 30-50 minutes of travel time to the drive to Ensenada, it is scenic and offers a view of Ensenada that most first-time tourists to the region do not get.  Additionally, with the highway being closed in La Mision, at the famous La Fonda restaurant exit, visitors should note that if they are proceeding to La Salina or to Bajamar Hotel and Oceanfront Golf Course (which are not at all threatened unstable earth), they simply need to address the civil servants at the highway exit point.

 

Sandiegored.com is designed as the first portal in Spanish that provides information/entertainment and news in SanDiego and the Tijuana / Baja California region. Our main objective is that you find all the information that you need in SanDiegoRed and BECOME  your preferred portal. We are committed to working tirelessly to meet your expectations and deliver the best website in Spanish. Contact SanDiegoRed.com or call (858) 454-511.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about localrestaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411.

Captain Hook’s Gallery: Offshore Fishing Aboard Baja Cruisers

Captain Hook’s Gallery: Offshore Fishing Aboard Baja Cruisers

The panga may very well be the most ubiquitous fishing vessel found around the Baja California peninsula, but major ports like Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas and La Paz have the luxury of modern marinas that can support fleets of larger craft designed for offshore ventures.

To be sure, there are a vast array of fish that can be caught from a panga, but these craft are generally limited to the inshore waters within a few miles of the beach. When it comes to pursuing more glamorous gamefish species such as marlin, wahoo and huge yellowfin tuna, there is nothing more comfortable or effective than a large sportfishing cruiser.

Capt. Louie Prieto, owner of IT’S 4 REELS sportfishing charters in Ensenada, shows off a trophy grade dorado that was taken on one of their offshore fishing charters.

Chartering a vessel of this nature for a fishing trip in southern California during the marlin and tuna season can be an expensive proposition. As an example, at a popular charter operation in Newport Beach, a six-passenger cruiser with captain and mate costs $1525 for inshore fishing between 6 a.m and 4 p.m. Further south in San Diego, a full 12-hour trip of offshore fishing with a top notch outfitter can set you back as much as $2,250 or more.

Fortunately for budget conscious anglers, Baja still represents the best value for getting hooked up with your favorite species, and at prices that can be many times less than those paid to charter stateside cruisers.

Just a little over 70 miles south of the International Border, operating out of Ensenada’s Bahia de Todos Santos, IT’S 4 REELS charters offers a 10-11 hour inshore fishing trip at the productive Santo Tomas Reef several miles down the coast for four passengers in a customized 23-foot Parker for just $525. And a 14-16 hour trip offshore for three passengers targeting tuna, marlin and dorado is only $650.

Punta Colorada

Hotel Punta Colorada is one of the premier East Cape properties offering packages that include lodging and cruiser charters for one low price.

But when it comes to this type of package, it is truly hard to beat the values offered by legendary East Cape fishing resorts like Hotel Buena Vista, Rancho Leonero, Palmas de Cortez and Punta Colorado. This is a region where billfish, dorado, tuna and baitfish as well as many other warm water migratory species of gamefish tend to congregate as they move up and down the coast of the Sea of Cortez.

Rates may vary from property to property, but remain competitive. As an example, four anglers can enjoy a fishing package that includes three nights double occupancy lodging in a standard room, three meals a day, two days days fishing aboard a 28-foot standard cruiser, hotel & boat tax and even hotel gratuity charges for under $500 per person.

marcela1b

The best fishing deals in La Paz are offered by The Cortez Club’s Mosquito Fleet.

In La Paz, even better deals are offered by The Cortez Club‘s Mosquito Fleet, with packages starting at $399 per person for four anglers, which includes two days of fishing, plus five days and four nights at the La Concha Hotel Beach Resort.

At prices like these, along with the opportunity to experience world class sportfishing, it is no wonder why many anglers are beginning to wake up and see the tremendous value they receive when coming to Baja California for their next offshore fishing adventure.   

 
Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Ringing in the New Year: New Year’s Eve Parties in Baja

Ringing in the New Year: New Year’s Eve Parties in Baja

New Year celebrations have taken place around the globe for centuries, and sometimes even at different times. But today, the most widely accepted international standard remains the Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar and occasionally referred to as the Christian calendar, in which the New Year begins just after midnight on December 31st and continues through the first day of January.

In Baja California, this landmark holiday is celebrated much like it is north of the border: with a wide array of parties and festivities taking place in homes, hotels, restaurants and cantinas. But those who choose to attend events held on hotel properties enjoy the added option of being able to spend the night there, rather than heading out onto the highway on an evening when the chance of getting into an accident may be a bit higher than normal.

New Year's Eve Parties in Baja

The landmark Rosarito Beach Hotel offers a traditional New Year’s Eve celebration.

Heading south from Tijuana on Baja’s coastal toll road, the legendary Rosarito Beach Hotel is your closest resource for finding a great New Year’s Eve party. This famous venue was once the regular haunt of Hollywood celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth half a century ago, and remains one of the most popular and recognizable hotel properties in Baja Norte.

This year, their traditional New Year’s Eve Party features drinks, dinner and dancing as well as an impressive live cultural performance in their Salon Mexicano. For further information and reservations, call (661) 612-1126, or contact them online at: reservation@rosaritobeachhotel.com

Just down the coast a bit in Ensenada, the Coral Hotel & Marina is putting on a special “Asian Fusion” New Year’s Eve Party between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. on December 31st that features a welcome cocktail, a full 5-course dinner, corkage, an evening of dancing to live music and a bubbly New Year’s toast. For more information call (646) 175-0000 or contact them online at: reservations@hotelcoral.com 

Another great way to enjoy Ensenada on New Year’s is aboard a Carnival Cruise ship, which culminates its 4-day Catalina Island voyage with a port stop at the terminal in Bahia de Todos Santos. To find out more, call them toll free at (888) 227-6482.

New Year's Eve Parties in Baja

Party central in the Los Cabos region, the famed Cabo Wabo Cantina, plans to pull out all the stops this New Year’s Eve.

The southern state of Baja Sur offers even more celebratory New Year’s Eve events, particularly in the Los Cabos region. One of the most festive will take place at the famed cantina, Cabo Wabo, founded by rock guitar superstar and former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar. The party will rage on between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on the morning of New Year’s Day. Along with lively music in the club, the dining room will offer two seatings for dinner, one at 8 p.m. and the other at 10:30 p.m. For more info & table reservations, please call the restaurant at (624) 143-1188, or contact Carlos Ortega at webmaster@Cabowabocantina.com.

Another popular hot spot in Cabo San Lucas is Nikki Beach, which this year features a Gatsby style theme for its Glitz and Glam New Year’s Eve Party.The event at the hip ME Cabo Hotel will include an exclusive and elegant evening under the stars. Included in the general admission package is live music, champagne, fireworks and much more. For additional info, call (624) 145-7800 or e-mail: reservations.cabo@nikkibeach.com.

New Year's Eve Parties in Baja

Enjoy a Gatsby era theme at the Glitz & Glam New Year’s Eve celebration put on by Nikki Beach.

Right down the road in San Jose del Cabo, the upscale One & Only Palmilla is hosting an elegant Venetian-themed ball complete with live music provided by a 10-piece band and a premium cash bar. Don’t miss out on this one!  To find out more, call (624) 146-7000 or contact them online at: reservations@oneandonlypalmilla.com.

New Year's Eve Parties in Baja

End the evening with a champagne toast, as fireworks light up the skies above Medano Beach.

But no matter what you choose to do on New Year’s Eve in the Los Cabos area, be sure to cap off your evening with a trip to the annual fireworks festival that lights up the skies above picturesque Medano Beach. This spectacular exhibit generally uses up nearly $20,000 (U.S.) worth of pyrotechnics and is easily accessed from a number of popular restaurants and cantinas nearby.

FELIZ NUEVO AÑO 2014!

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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Captain Hook’s Gallery: Seasonal Seafood Recipes in Baja California

Captain Hook’s Gallery: Seasonal Seafood Recipes in Baja California

Baja California may be known around the world for its sunny, warm climate, but it still isn’t exempt from relatively chilly winter weather patterns from the north. Thus, the holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy warming comfort foods that incorporate the peninsula’s abundant bounties from the sea. And whether you buy your primary ingredients at the fish market or catch them yourself, here are a few tasty recipes that should deliver satisfied smiles to the faces of your family and friends during this special time of year.

Seasonal Seafood Recipes

Juicy Pismo clams are a prime ingredient in dishes from Baja Norte’s Pacific coast.

Sopa Siete Mares (Seven Seas Soup)

One of the most basic of these of  seasonal seafood recipes is Sopa Siete Mares, or Seven Seas Soup, and there are probably as many variations as there are poblados in Baja Norte and Baja Sur combined. While this is only one of many great recipes, it is absolutely delicious! Please feel free to adjust ingredients and seasonings to suit your personal taste …everyone else does!

Ingredients (Base):
4 unpeeled garlic cloves
8 medium-large dried guajillo chiles, seeded and stemmed
½ Tbsp. dried whole Mexican oregano
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Large pinch of freshly ground cumin seeds
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
½ cup water

Method:

Over medium heat, roast the garlic using a heavy skillet, constantly turning until it is soft and lightly browned. Let the cloves cool, and then peel.  Toast the chiles 1 or 2 at a time using the same skillet, flattening them for a few seconds on each side with a spatula. Cover the toasted chiles with boiling water and steep for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the chiles thoroughly and add them together in a food processor along with the crushed cumin seeds, black pepper, roasted garlic and ½ cup of water. Blend the mixture into a smooth puree, adding more water if necessary. Strain through a medium mesh colander. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and add the puree once it has begun to sizzle. Set aside.

Seasonal Seafood Recipes

Freshly made Sopa Siete Mares is a welcome dinner table  sight during the holiday season.

Ingredients (Soup): 

4 quarts fish or shellfish broth
1 large bunch of fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tbsp brown or raw sugar
14 large (18 medium) shrimp, heads on
5 small potatoes, boiled and diced
2 cups diced chayote squash (zucchini can also be substituted)
4 medium onions, finely minced
1 kilo of fresh, well scrubbed clams, mussels or a combination of both
1 kilo of boneless, skinless white fish fillet such as rock cod, sea bass or halibut

Method:

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes before adding the strained base mixture. Continue to cook over medium heat for 45 minutes while stirring occasionally.  Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Add the potatoes to the hot broth. Simmer uncovered until the potatoes are nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for 3 minutes. Add the mussels or clams and simmer until the shellfish open, then add the fish cubes before stirring in the shrimp. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Garnish with chopped white onions, minced cilantro and lime wedges. Enjoy with fresh, warm tortillas.

 

Seasonal Seafood Recipes

Huachinango in salsa. Image: Thelmadatter

Huachinango en Salsa Verde

Another popular dish that goes great over the holiday season is Huachinango en Salsa Verde; and whether you use true red snapper from the waters of Baja Sur, or the Pacific red snapper from Baja Norte, this toothsome dish truly characterizes the spirit of la cocina Mexicana.

While the true red snapper, known throughout Baja as huachinango, is caught predominantly off of the western coast of Baja Sur and in much of the Sea of Cortez, certain rockfishes along the Pacific coast of Baja Norte are also sometimes referred to as red snapper. Although unrelated, both of these species are white fleshed, delicately flavored and absolutely superb when properly prepared. This special recipe includes a flavorful, long green chile as a delicious wrap for each of the delicate fillets.

Ingredients:

8 fillets of fresh red snapper, pargo or rockcod
1 bunch fresh cilantro, well rinsed and patted dry
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
6 peeled, de-ribbed and seeded fresh Anaheim or Hatch green chilis
2 fresh Jalapeño chiles, seeded with stems removed
1 can of whole tomatillos, well rinsed
½ cup clarified butter
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups of pre-cooked saffron or Mexican-style rice, served hot

Method:

Place onion, garlic, cilantro, tomatillos and jalapeños in a food processor and blend ingredients until they are completely. Cut each Anaheim (California) or Hatch (New Mexico) green chile lengthwise, remove all seeds and membranes and then flatten them out with the inner side facing up and set aside. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Combine the flour, black pepper and salt in a shallow bowl. Dip the fillets in the flour mixture and sauté them gently in clarified butter, turning once, until each one is lightly golden brown. Wrap each fish fillet in a green chile, arrange wrapped fillets on an ovenproof platter and top with salsa verde. Place in oven until the salsa and chiles are well heated and serve with warm tortillas and rice.

Seasonal Seafood Recipes

Fresh shrimp is plentiful in Baja most of the year, and remains one of the most popular seafood options  for locals and visitors alike.

Fresh Shrimp

Here’s one last dish that incorporates one of Baja’s most popular seafood options, fresh shrimp. And, thanks to the San Felipe shrimp harvest in early November, it is usually in plentiful supply during the holidays. It is a recipe that also includes the rich, earthy flavor of poblano chiles to help spice things up a bit.

One important tip is to always select the best ingredients. When buying fresh shrimp, be sure to insist on purchasing only ones that are firm, and lacking in even the slightest hint of ammonia. In the event that a suitably fresh product is unavailable, try to find frozen shrimp that have been individually quick frozen.

The poblano chile ranges in color from dark green to almost black and have a tempting, rich flavor that can vary from mild to picante. The darkest poblanos generally have the most intense flavor, making them the best candidates for stuffing.  Although grown throughout the U.S. southwest, and readily available in most supermarkets, many epicureans say that the very best tasting chiles are still found in central Mexico.

Ingredients:

½ kilo fresh, unpeeled medium shrimp
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large poblano chile, halved and seeded
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tomato, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
8 to 10 freshly made corn tortillas
1 (10-12 ounce) can of tomatillo and green chili based enchilada sauce
1 1/2 cups (6-8 ounces) shredded Manchego or Monterey Jack cheese

Method:

Peel, devein and rinse the shrimp, then set aside. Brush an 11- x- 7-inch baking dish with 2 tablespoons olive oil, set aside. Sauté pepper in remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until skin looks blistered. Remove from skillet, and chop.

Return chopped chile pepper to skillet. Add onion and next 6 ingredients; sauté 4 minutes. Add shrimp, sauté 1 minute, remove from heat and cool 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream.

Heat tortillas individually on griddle, then spoon the shrimp mixture evenly down center of each tortilla, and carefully roll up. Arrange each enchilada side-by-side, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Top them with sauce, sprinkle with cheese (adding a bit more, if you are a cheese lover), and serve. This dish can be covered and refrigerated for a day prior to cooking, if desired. Bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 4.

APROVECHO!

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Holiday Happenings: December Events in Baja

December in Baja is a time for family-friendly festivities and religious celebrations, as well as sporting events and glamorous galas that in the true spirit of the holiday season often benefit the peninsula’s less fortunate citizens. Of course, visitors seeking the ultimate in glitz and glamor under the Baja stars should explore the dazzling array of year-end events offered by some of the region’s top luxury lodgings. The legendary Rosarito Beach Hotel, for example, is once again hosting its traditional New Year’s Eve extravaganza, with optional accommodations packages that include border crossing fast passes for the trip home.

There are hundreds of local events for everyone that can be found on Baja.com. The following represent some of our favorite selections.

Event dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. Please confirm with the event organizers before booking your trip.

December Events in Baja

Tijuana: Reggae Latino 2013
When: Dec 7
Reggae Latino is an annual festival tour that celebrates the classic and roots styles of reggae in Latin America. The final stop on this year’s Mexican tour is a concert at the Municipal Auditorium in Tijuana that will feature performances by South American acts Dread Mar I and Zona Ganjah.
Cost: $16-40

December Events in Baja

Cabo San Lucas: 8th Annual Dressed to the K-9s Christmas Gala
When: Dec 7
Christmas in Rio is the theme at this year’s Dressed to the K-9s, a fundraising fete for the animals of Los Cabos that will be held at the luxurious Villa Marcella in Cabo San Lucas’ exclusive Pedregal neighborhood. The Carnival inspired 2013 event will boast colorful Brazilian style costumes, decor and live entertainment.
Cost: $125

December Events in Baja

Todos Santos: 5K Race – Palapa Society Benefit
When: Dec 28
This annual 5K run is organized by the Palapa Society of Todos Santos, which will donate all proceeds to the Chino Project for local children with major medical needs. In addition to the 5K race, there will also be a shorter 1K children’s run, as well as raffle prizes, live music and other fun-filled festivities.
Cost: $12

December Events in Baja

Rosarito: Traditional New Year’s Eve Party at Rosarito Beach Hotel
When: Dec 31
Greet the new year at one of Baja’s landmark lodgings, a romantic oceanfront pleasure palace that has hosted the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth. The Traditional New Year’s Eve Party at the Rosarito Beach Hotel features dinner, drinks, dancing and a spectacular international show in the Salon Mexicano ballroom.
Cost: $45-76

December Events in Baja

Cabo San Lucas: Glitz and Glam New Year’s Eve Party at Nikki Beach
When: Dec 31
Ring in 2014 Gatsby style with the Glitz and Glam New Years Eve Party at Nikki Beach in the ME Cabo Hotel. The premier poolside party place on Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas is offering an elegant evening under the stars, with champagne, vintage fashions, fireworks and romantic music.
Cost: $50-900

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Mole Magic by Chef Martin San Roman: Turkey and Organic Mole Dishes for the Holidays

 

An organic mole was created by Chef Martin for Whole Foods Market in Hillcrest, San Diego.

An organic mole was created by Chef Martin for Whole Foods Market in Hillcrest, San Diego.

There are few things more iconic of Mexico than mole, a word that most people associate with chocolate but which actually is a generic reference to a number of different sauces that are integral to authentic Mexican cuisine. And there are few chefs whose culinary skills capture the magic of mole quite as effectively as Chef Martin San Roman.

Chef Martin San Roman

Chef Martin San Roman

The award-winning (more than 250 awards, actually) Chef Martin has traveled the world representing Mexican cuisine. He is currently a consulting chef for Season Catering and Events and for Whole Foods Market 7th Ave Pub in Hillcrest, both in San Diego. He defines his San Diego menus as Urban Baja Cuisine. He is also the executive chef/consultant  for the boutique hotel La Casa Fernanda’s La Veladora restaurant in the pueblo magico of Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico. Here, he has perfected a style of cooking that he calls Baja Tepoz, using ingredients from the Morelos area with a Baja flair – things like wild cilantro, wild mushrooms from deep in the forest, masa triangles called itacates, as well as rabbits, quail, lamb, goat and more.

Rabbit tamal with tomatillo and wild cilantro sauce at La Casa Fernanda.

Rabbit tamal with tomatillo and wild cilantro sauce at La Casa Fernanda.

His deep knowledge of ingredients and how to employ them has helped him attain stature among Mexico’s top chefs…and it has given him the ability to diversify and adapt his food creations to any occasion. Hence, his ability to produce a luscious organic mole for a recent tasting at Whole Foods Market.

Holy organic mole, Batman! This rich concoction, which will undoubtedly make guests ooh-and-aah, is a perfect enhancement to holiday meals, no matter whether they are eaten in Mexico or the United States. Chef Martin has agreed to share his mole recipe and ideas for menu preparation with Baja.com.

First, let’s get to know a bit more about mole. The history of mole is, like the final sauce product, a bit murky but in a delicious way. The favorite version takes place at the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla, in the 17th century. The Archbishop was planning a last-minute visit and the nuns didn’t have anything to serve him. They prayed for a tasty answer and, so the legend goes, the angels responded by giving them an idea: the nuns slaughtered an old turkey and, realizing the bird needed some doctoring up, they created a sauce out of things they had on hand—more than 20 components including chili peppers, spices, stale bread, nuts and, to add a European touch, chocolate. Clearly, the dish was a hit.

Grinding nuts, chiles and spices is part of the laborious but rewarding process of making mole.

Grinding nuts, chiles and spices is part of the laborious but rewarding process of making mole.

The word mole comes from mulli, an ancient Aztec word for sauce or stew. There are those who believe that mole was actually created by the Aztec’s king Moctezuma to honor the conquistador Cortez. This version of the story also has a ring of truth in that chocolate was a common ingredient in pre-Columbian Mexico. And there are other versions, too…

What we know for sure is that, history aside, mole is representative of Mexico’s rich culinary and cultural heritage and of the earth, climate and peoples who have invented this savory salsa.

Chef Martin San Roman’s Recipe Created for Whole Foods Market 7th Ave Pub

Organic Mole & Turkey

Step 1:  A 12-14 pound turkey

 Step 2:

3 oz chile morita

3 oz chile pasilla

3 oz chile mulato

3 oz chile cascabel

2 0z chile de arbol

Let the chiles soak in warm water (or organic chicken stock) overnight in a cooler or refrigerator. Save the water.

The next day, fry all the chiles in corn oil, separated, for 1 minute. Then let them cool.

 Step 3:

1 oz sesame seeds

1 oz peanuts

1 oz pumpkin seeds

1 oz walnuts

1 oz almonds

Toast the sesame seeds in a pan and reserve. Fry the remaining ingredients in corn oil. Drain.

Cinnamon and chocolate (particularly Mexican chocolate) add a special flavor to mole.

Cinnamon and chocolate (particularly Mexican chocolate) add a special flavor to mole.

Step 4:

1/2 cinnamon stick

6 oz organic semi-sweet chocolate

Also:

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped tomato

1 tortilla (shredded)

½ cup broken crackers

2-3 cloves of minced garlic

1 chopped plantain

1 tablespoon cinnamon

In a blender, add the chiles and all the nuts.

Then add chopped onion, chopped tomato, tortilla, crackers, minced garlic, a chopped plantain, cinnamon and mix well.

Incorporate the water you have saved (from soaking the chiles) with the blended ingredients (if you need more liquid, it is fine to add a bit more water or organic broth). Blend again, and then pass the mixture through a strainer. Then blend what is left on the strainer mesh with a bit more liquid, and pass it again through the strainer. The goal is to create the smoothest sauce.

In a deep pan, add some corn oil and fry the ingredients, constantly mixing with a wooden spoon. Bring all to a low hot simmer, add the chocolate and and blend well.  Season to taste. Your mole must have a chocolate/reddish color, and a smooth mole texture.

 Step 5: 

Roast your turkey. Let it cool and then carve it into small pieces. Mix the pieces with the mole.

For the very best flavors, eat this delicious dish the day after you make it, allowing all the flavors of the spices, nuts, chocolate and chiles to merge.

To create your organic mole, all products must be organic and you can find them at Whole Foods Market or authentic Mexican market.

Buen Provecho and Happy Holidays!
Chef Martin San Roman

Academie Culinaire de France

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

Captain Hook’s Gallery: Baja’s Golden Gamefish

Captain Hook’s Gallery: Baja’s Golden Gamefish

A happy angler fishing with Tailhunter International in La Paz shows off one of the region’s quality grade dorado.

The dorado (Coryphaena hippurus) is truly one of the golden treasures of saltwater sportfishing. It’s also one of the most pursued fish by anglers off the coasts of Baja California. Known as mahi-mahi in Hawaii and dolphinfish in the southeastern United States, it is perhaps the fastest growing fish species in the ocean, packing on well over 10 additional pounds every year that it is alive. Depending upon the time of year, these acrobatic and tasty fish can be caught off both coasts of the peninsula.

Those who are familiar with the fishing off Cabo San Lucas and the East Cape know that dorado are an important staple of the region’s sportfishing industry during the warmer months. They are prolific, colorful …and are absolutely delectable as table fare. Most of the larger bulls weighing over 40 pounds are taken from just north of Los Cabos on the Pacific side to Loreto in the Sea of Cortez. Through October and part of November,  many East Cape resorts even offer good fishing for smaller dorado in the 8 to 10 pound class just a few hundred yards off the beach at the color break, making them available to those in kayaks and small skiffs.

A freshly hooked, acrobatic dorado takes to the air after attacking a trolled feather lure.

Dorado often congregate under floating debris like flotsam, Sargasso grass, and, in the waters of northern Baja, beneath selected kelp paddies found drifting offshore during late summer. Anglers fishing the more northerly Pacific waters between San Quintin and the border generally enjoy solid dorado action between late summer and fall, with many fish tipping the scales at over 30 pounds. When brought aboard, the dorado flashes brilliantly with vibrant hues of gold, green, and blue.  Unfortunately, these beautiful colors are short lived after the fish expires.     

The more northerly waters of the Pacific between San Quintin and Islas Coronados also offer solid dorado action in late summer and fall.

Dorado are not particularly picky eaters, and will generally take just about any kind of offering when they are hungry. Large bulls, sometimes over 40 pounds, can also be incidentally hooked later in the season by anglers trolling for marlin. Dorado have a reputation for making a series of spectacular leaps after the initial hook up. If your fish decides to jump, it is extremely important to remember to keep your rod tip high and take up any slack in the line, since this is when most dorado are lost.

Want to catch more dorado? One of the best tricks is to leave a hooked fish that has become tired in the water, and then have fellow anglers toss baits or lures nearby.  Dorado are very curious, and other fish in the school will often move in close to see what is going on. This is when multiple hookups are likely to take place. After awhile, the fish may spook and go deep, but if you mark your GPS waypoint, you can always return to the same spot later in the day when there may be more dorado waiting to be caught.

Fresh dorado is delicious prepared a number of ways.  One of the quickest and most popular methods is to simply grill it over glowing, mesquite coals. When using this technique, try marinating the boneless fillets in a mixture of one small can of frozen orange juice concentrate and a ½ cup of brown sugar. This will create a toothsome,”sweet & sour” style glaze that pairs perfectly with the delicate flavor and texture of the fish.

Baja's Golden Gamefish

Fresh dorado fillets on the grill are a seafood lover’s delight.

There is also the “Hawaiian method,” which involves lightly dredging the fillets in seasoned flour, beaten egg, and crushed macadamia nuts. After quickly pan searing on both sides, and finishing in a 450 degree oven for about 7 to 10 minutes, you can enjoy a sumptuous repast that was once considered a treat fit for Hawaiian royalty.             

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

Photos courtesy of Tailhunter International and K & M Sportfishing in San Quintin.

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Captain Hook’s Gallery: The History of Baja Sportfishing

Captain Hook’s Gallery: The History of Baja Sportfishing

At the conclusion of the Mexican-American War in 1848, one of the conditions of the resulting Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was the surrendering of Mexico’s vast land holdings in Alta California and what is now New Mexico to the government of the United States.

Avid Baja angler Julio Meza shows off one of the reasons why the the Baja California peninsula now draws fishing enthusiasts from around the globe.

The richness of the Pacific coast and the fertile inland valleys nearby were considered obvious assets that served the popular concept of Manifest Destiny. The narrow finger of land just below it that is known today as Baja California, however, was considered to be an arid, cactus covered wasteland populated primarily by rattlesnakes, scorpions, coyotes, and a smattering of indigenous Indian tribes. Had the authors of the treaty realized the wealth of exotic fish and other marine species that flourish in the beautiful azure waters that surround the peninsula, it is likely that Baja would have been annexed as well. But the fact that it was not was to the ultimate benefit of future generations.

Because of its rugged volcanic landscape and previous lack of negotiable travel routes, it took almost a century before people north of the border began to take notice of Baja’s charms. One of the first was the celebrated author John Steinbeck, who had once studied marine biology at Stanford, along with his close friend Dr. Ed Ricketts, who was the inspiration for the character of Doc in his classic novel Cannery Row.  

The History of Baja Sportfishing

Author John Steinbeck and his friend Dr. Ed Ricketts explored Baja and the Sea of Cortez in early 1940. Image: Nobel Foundation

In early 1940, Steinbeck and Ricketts procured a sardine fishing boat named the Western Flyer and a four man crew in Monterey and then headed south, ultimately spending over a month an a half traveling down Baja’s Pacific coast and up through the Gulf of California while collecting biological specimens. Steinbeck found himself astounded by the seemingly endless varieties of fish and invertebrates that they encountered during this voyage. His account of their experience, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, was eventually published in 1951, and helped to generate interest in Baja and the Sea of Cortez.

Other well-known people were also spreading the word about Baja’s great fishing and recreational potential. Earl Stanley Gardner, author of the Perry Mason mystery series, was an avid Bajaphile who often flew to various remote locations on the peninsula in a small private plane. His book, The Hidden Heart of Baja, offered additional impetus for the curious to actually visit Baja themselves.

During the middle part of the 20th century, adventurous anglers from Southern California discovered Baja’s fishing potential while seeking the giant sea bass known as totuava, available near the small poblado of San Felipe at the northern end of the Sea of Cortez. The dirt road down from El Centro and Mexicali was rugged, and the trip from the border may have taken 12 hours or more, but catching a totuava weighing over 200-pounds was a sufficient reward for the ordeal.

The History of Baja Sportfishing

Southern Californian Charlie McGee shows off a sweet pargo perro (dog snapper) that he caught near Isla Cerralvo.

A little over a decade later, a retired military pilot named Ed Tabor, who hosted a local Los Angeles television show called the Flying Fisherman’s Club, converted an old B-25 into a 6-seat passenger aircraft and began flying customers out of L.A. and San Diego down to his Flying Sportsman Lodge in Loreto. Soon, anglers started to return home with enthusiastic tales of effortlessly catching bounties of big dorado, yellowtail, tuna, snapper, and grouper. The cat was now out of the bag; Baja offered fantastic fishing opportunities, but the frustrating reality was that most areas were virtually inaccessible to anyone not traveling by airplane or boat. But that all changed in the mid-1970’s.

Completed in 1973, Mexico’s Highway 1, also known as the Transpeninsular Highway, opened up road access to the entire peninsula between Tijuana and Cabo San Lucas; a distance of over a thousand miles. Since the entire peninsula is barely 100 miles wide in most areas, the new highway created an opportunity for appropriately outfitted vehicles to traverse the small dirt or gravel roads leading to many of Baja’s remote fish camps. This also turned out to be beneficial to many of the local commercial fishermen, who quickly realized the potential financial benefit of catering to visiting sport anglers in search of big fish.

After the construction of Baja’s Transpeninsular Highway, Tom Miller’s Baja Book was the first comprehensive guide to finding the region’s best places to camp and fish.

It is probably fair to say that Southern Californians were the first to benefit directly from the discovery of the exceptional fishing available in Baja California, but once the word got out about how easy it had become to access, anglers started showing up from around the globe.

Shortly thereafter, a procession of outdoor writers began offering up engagingly detailed information on the best ways and places to enjoy a memorable fishing trips in Baja. Perhaps the most prominent publication involved in the promotion of Baja sportfishing has been Western Outdoor News. While legendary Baja writer Ray Cannon may have been their first columnist to tackle the subject, a succession of knowledgeable writers and authors such as Tom Miller, Fred Hoctor, and Gene Kira have helped keep the legacy alive through the years.

A History of Baja Sportfishing

A prize winner from Bisbee’s 32nd Annual Black and Blue Marlin Tournament.

Today, there are literally dozens of easily accessible sportfishing venues around the peninsula that cater to anglers of all skill levels. For those in search of competition, there are a number of tournaments occasionally held at regional hotel properties, as well as the high profile, big money events organized by Bisbee and Western Outdoor News.

When you consider how popular Baja sportfishing has become, along with the fact that the state has still managed to retain its reputation as a bucolic sanctuary for those seeking solace from a nervous world north of the border, it makes sense to give thanks for that extremely fortunate oversight in the framing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

              

 Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

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Baja Med Cuisine Crosses the Border to San Diego

Baja Med Cuisine Crosses the Border to San Diego

On Tuesday, September 17th, the 7th Avenue Pub in Whole Foods Market’s Hillcrest location unveiled its new Urban Baja Menu to a crowd of eager (and hungry) food journalists and bloggers. Your Gringo and his photographer were there to sample various dishes created by Chef Martin San Roman, with wine pairings from Valle de Guadalupe vintner Monte Xanic. Both Chef Martin San Roman and Hans Backhoff, founder of Monte Xanic, were on hand to discuss their respective passions and answer any questions the media might have as Baja Med-style cuisine begins its northern trajectory.

The new Urban Baja Menu…now available at the 7th Avenue Pub at WFM.

The new Urban Baja Menu…now available at the 7th Avenue Pub at WFM.

Chef San Roman, originally from Mexico City, graduated from the École Lenotre de Paris, one of the few Latin chefs to become a member of the Culinary Academy of France. San Roman has been named the “Ambassador of Mexican Cuisine” to the world, and has traveled internationally to promote his country’s unique and varied food traditions. With over 250 awards and 30 years of culinary experience, he is in a solid position to introduce Southern California to the taste profiles of Baja Med cuisine.

Baja Med Crosses the Border to San Diego

Chef Martin San Roman with some of the dishes he’s created for the Urban Baja Menu.

Fernando Gaxiola of Baja Food + Wine was instrumental in bringing Whole Foods together with Baja Med cuisine and various Valle de Guadalupe vineyards to introduce the tastes and varietals of Baja Norte to the Southern California market. Acting on behalf of the wineries, Gaxiola worked with Whole Foods to bring wines from Monte Xanic, as well as other vineyards (ranging in size from small boutique winery Don Juan to L.A. Cetto, Mexico’s largest wine producer) across the border to San Diego. Though priced a bit higher than you’d pay in Baja due to an import tariff imposed on wines from Mexico, Whole Foods Market now provides a variety of Baja’s best wines in a range of prices.

Hans Backhoff Jr., Fernando Gaxiola and Chef Martin San Roman.

Hans Backhoff Jr., Fernando Gaxiola and Chef Martin San Roman.

Baja’s Secretary of Tourism, Juan Benjamin Tintos Funcke, kicked off the reception with a few words about Baja’s rich history of food and wine. “We have the margarita from Ensenada, Caesar’s Salad from Tijuana, delicious lobster from Puerto Nuevo. But now we also have vineyards spanning 8 wine-growing valleys, excellent restaurants, 62 microbreweries and a burgeoning artesanal cheese industry.” When we spoke to Señor Funcke later in the evening, he enthused about the overall development of Baja, though was quick to emphasize green-focused growth at a sustainable rate…mariachi music to this Gringo’s ears!

Baja Med Crosses the Border to San Diego

Baja Tourism Secretary Señor Tintos Funcke discusses the peninsula’s future with journalists.

Next up were brief presentations from Chef San Roman and Hans Backhoff from Monte Xanic. Chef San Roman started with a statement that may still ring true with a lot of my fellow gringos. “Fifteen to twenty years ago, no one would have thought of pairing wines with Mexican food. It was all about a taco and a cerveza!” Hans Backhoff was introduced as the “…man who propelled Baja Wine” by setting a high standard for his operation and output at a time when the industry in Valle de Guadalupe was not necessarily known for quality production. When Mr. Backhoff started Monte Xanic, there were only four or five notable wineries in Valle de Guadalupe. Now there are over 90!

Baja Med Crosses the Border to San Diego

Whole Foods now carries a wide selection of wines from Valle de Guadalupe.

Baja Med Crosses the Border to San Diego

A sampling of dishes from Chef Martin San Roman’s Urban Baja Menu.

After the presentations were finished, it was time to sample the Urban Baja menu. First up was a Trio of Ceviche paired with Monte Xanic Sauvignon Blanc. The trio included fish (snapper), shrimp and portobello mushroom ceviches. All were very good (and fresh) and your Gringo was surprised at how much he liked the citrusy portobello ceviche almost as much as the seafood. Oh, and speaking of portobello, the new Urban Baja menu has PLENTY of choices for vegetarian and vegan diners, an important part of Whole Foods’ market. You’d be hard pressed to find these vegetarian options south of the border!

Baja Med Crosses the Border to San Diego

A Trio of Ceviche…fish, shrimp and surprisingly and comparably tasty portobello mushroom.

Baja Med Crosses the Border to San Diego

The Monte Xanic Sauvignon Blanc is served!

Following the ceviche trio was the Rustica Salad, paired with the Monte Xanic Chardonnay. The salad was a perfect combination of crispy mixed greens with grilled hearts of palm, tomatoes, asparagus and mushrooms, tossed with an artichoke lime vinagrette. Another one of the excellent vegetarian/vegan choices from the menu.

Baja Med Crosses the Border to San Diego

7th Avenue Pub’s Rustica Salad offers crispy and grilled goodness!

Next was Chef San Roman’s Flautas de Pato, tender smoked duck served in a flour tortilla with chile de arbol salsa and a side of guacamole. This was paired with Monte Xanic’s Cab Merlot blend, which was a perfect complement to the duck. Closely on the heels of the Flautas were Jicama Wraps, thinly-sliced fresh jicama, filled with guacamole and tofu with a side of chile de arbol. These wraps were crunchy and would make a great appetizer for any of the offerings on hand.

Baja Med Crosses the Border to San Diego

Jicama Wraps, Whole Foods Market, 7th Avenue Pub.

Also sampled were the Baja Burger (a seasoned turkey burger with crispy prosciutto, Swiss cheese, cranberry cabernet jam, arugula, tomato and onion on a pretzel bun) and Molletes Tapas…a “Mexiterranean” offering of mini bread layered with a spread of beans, mozzarella, asiago, Montery jack, and olive oil, with a side of sour cream and fresh made pico de gallo. Sort of like a Mexican version of the Italian Bruschetta, a prime example of the blend of influences captured by Baja Med cuisine. We were served a mini version of the Baja Burger, but I could see how a larger portion would provide a very satisfying meal.

Baja Med Crosses the Border to San Diego

Molletes Tapas, Whole Foods Market, 7th Avenue Pub.

After sampling the Urban Baja menu, tipping our last glass of Baja wine and mingling with our fellow travel and food journalists and bloggers, El Gringo and his photographer wandered out into the aisles of Whole Foods in search of Baja wines. We selected a Santo Tomas Vino Tinto and Don Juan Meritage. Wined, dined and educated about Baja Med’s foray into the Southern California organic market scene, we drove home very satisfied…and without a border wait.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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