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About Scott Koenig

W. Scott Koenig has traveled throughout Baja and Mexico since he moved to San Diego during the 90's. He has been called "guerolito" by Purépechan women in Michoacan, and "muchacho" and "amigo" by many friendly, warm and welcoming locals throughout the country. Scott is the owner of Koenig Creative LLC in San Diego and author of the blog, A Gringo In Mexico www.agringoinmexico.com, Cultural Exploits, Tall Tequila Tales and Trip Reports.

A Gringo in Mexico’s 10 Travel Warnings for Baja California

Thinking of Visiting Baja California? Check Out our Advisories Before You Go

BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO – I’m often asked by stateside friends about our family’s experiences traveling in and around Baja California. We drive just south of the border from San Diego 2-3 times a month for weekend stays on the beaches of Rosarito Beach and Ensenada, great food and wine in the Valle de Guadalupe, art and culture in Tijuana and to check out other Baja California destinations and bring the story back to you, our readers. We enjoy sharing tales of our adventures and of course always encourage our amigos and amigas to visit for themselves or join us on a tour.

However, travel is never without its detours and potentially life-changing experiences. To make sure you get the most out of your trip, here are El Gringo’s 10 travel warnings to keep in mind when visiting Baja California…

1. You will be exposed to new and interesting cultures.

From the indigenous Kumiai to migrant families from all over Mexico, visiting Baja California may expose you to new and interesting people, food and cultures.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Basket and plate weaving from the indigenous Kumiai at the Community Museum in Tecate, Baja Calfornia.

 2. You may develop a decreased tolerance for boring wines.

The Valle de Guadalupe supplies 90% of the vino consumed in Mexico. It’s also home to a burgeoning artisanal wine scene that is producing some imaginative and delicious blends.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Wine tasting at Adobe Guadalupe, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California.

3.  Street food.

El Gringo knows that street food in Baja California can be scary – scary good! From adobada(marinated pork) tacos and carne asada tortas in Tijuana to ceviche tostadas in Ensenada, there are many delicious and inexpensive options.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Carne asada NY strip taco at Tacos Don Esteban, Tijuana, Baja California.

4.  Tijuana has a graffiti problem.

Not really, but the city does boast a lot of thoughtfully rendered street art. Check outPasaje Rodriguez, Avenida Revolución, Playas Tijuana and the parking lot/street art gallery at restaurant Verde y Crema for just a taste.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Street art from local artists El Norteño and Glow in Pasaje Rodriguez, Tijuana, Baja California.

5.  Friendliness is contagious.

Baja Californians are notoriously friendly and typically easy-going. Locals welcome visitors with warmth and are always ready to help you with recommendations and directions to their favorite restaurant or cantina.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Taking a picture of the picture guy in Puerto Nuevo, Baja California, Mexico.

6.  You will develop an aversion to frozen seafood.

Baja California has an abundance of fresh seafood. Fish and shellfish from the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez are found everywhere from vendors on the beach to several of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in Baja California.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

The day’s catch on display in Popotla, Baja California, Mexico.

 7.  You may notice an increased tendency to relax.

The sound of rolling waves through an open window at night. A glass of wine in a vineyard on a warm summer afternoon. Baja California has a reputation for relaxation. If not alert, you may experience a siesta. In a hammock.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

The tranquil view from restaurant El Poco Cielo in La Mision, Baja California.

8.  You may be bitten by the Foodie Bug.

Tijuana, Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe have become culinary hotspots on an international scale. You may not be able to resist taking a shot of that perfectly plated dish and posting it to Instagram before devouring it.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

Blue corn tostadas with mussels and beans, La Terrasse San Roman, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California.

9.  You will experience spontaneous occurrences of fun.

Baja California provides its tranquillo moments, but the peninsula knows how to have fun too. FACT: There are more festivals than days of the year in Baja California – from the Rosarito Art Fairto the Baja California Culinary Fest.

Travel Warnings for Baja California

The Rosarito Beach Art Festival, Rosarito Beach, Baja California.

10.  You will develop an urge to return.

El Gringo’s señora is fond of saying that a single day in Baja California feels like three. Living in Southern California makes it easy for us to visit south of the border often. And we suggest that you do the same. Just heed these 10 travel warnings and it’s sure to be a great experience.

Your Gringo in Mexico,

Scott

 

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 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

Mexican Chefs in San Diego: Cuisine Without Borders

Chefs from Tijuana to Veracruz bring regional Mexican flavors to San Diego’s Dining Scene

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – When many think of Mexican food in San Diego, the ubiquitous fish taco, California burritos, loaded nachos and – gah! – stomach-busting chimichangas spring to mind. But with the rising global popularity of Mexican cuisine, a growing number of chefs from Baja California and other points in Mexico are preparing dishes north of the border with south of the border flair. Here are a few of the restaurants with chefs hailing from Veracruz to Tijuana who call San Diego’s restaurant scene “home”. And are probably cooking something really delicious right now…

Finch’s Bistro & Wine Bar
Mario Medina

With one parent from Puebla and the other from his hometown of Mexico City, chef Mario Medina was born with a an inherent love of Mexican cuisine. Finch’s Bistro & Wine Bar’s sun-dappled patio and elegant dining room are tucked away from the street on La Jolla’s charming Gerard Avenue. At Finch’s, Mario prepares his European Bistro menu with more than just a touch of Mexican influence. A trio of starters including stuffed flor de calabazas (squash blossoms), octopus with fingerling potatoes and crab avocado sopes showcase Mario’s blend of European sensibility and Mexican adventurism.

Finch’s Bistro & Wine Bar is located at 7644 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, California. (858) 456-4056. www.finchslajolla.com

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

Chef Mario Medina in the kitchen at Finch’s Bistro & Wine Bar.

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

From left: Stuffed squash blossoms, octopus with potato fingerlings, crab avocado sopes.

Zarco
Flor Franco

Chef Flor Franco, originally from Veracruz, has lived in San Diego most of her adult life. With two restaurants – Convivia in the Valle de Guadalupe and Zarco in Chula Vista – Flor exemplifies the current wave of Mexican and US chefs who are blurring culinary borders. Zarco showcases the cuisine and wine of the Valle de Guadalupe. Working with Fernando Gaxiola of Baja Wine + Food, the bar boasts around 100 different bottles of Valle wine – all available by the glass. The food transports one not only to the Valle, but to the Baja coast as well. El Gringo enjoyed the perfectly grilled huachinango (red snapper) with cauliflower, sweet potato and parsley.

Zarco is located at 277 3rd Avenue, Chula Vista, California. (619) 934-5700. www.zarcobaja.com

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

Chef Flor Franco with Fernando Gaxiola and representatives of Baja Tourism at Zarco.

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

Chef Flor Franco’s grilled red snapper with cauliflower, parsley & sweet potato.

Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant
Martin San Roman

When not at his Valle de Guadalupe restaurant La Terrasse San Roman at Alximia, acclaimed chef Martin San Roman can usually be found in downtown San Diego at the helm of the venerable Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant. Though the restaurant and its Paris-trained chef are known for French fare such as mussel bisque en croute and duck a’ l’Orange, San Roman hosts regular Baja-themed dinners at Dobson’s with pairings from LMA Wines and Baja Wine + Food. During these events, his “Baja Provençale” fusion of country French and Baja is highlighted in dishes such as the beef oxtail on puff pastry with red wine Pasilla chile sauce.

Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant is located at 956 Broadway Circle, San Diego. (619) 231-6771. www.dobsonsrestaurant.com

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

Chef Martin San Roman with Baja California wines at Dobson’s.

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

Beef oxtail on puff pastry with red wine Pasilla chile sauce.

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro
Javier Plascencia

Grupo Plascencia’s Romesco restaurant was born from the family’s temporary exodus from Tijuana to Bonita in 2005. Though you won’t find busy chef Javier Plascencia in the kitchen most days, the restaurant’s capable and friendly staff – some who have been with the family 20+ years – competently prepare the chef’s “Mexiterranean” menu. Their mouthwateringly-good bone marrow sopes are an El Gringo favorite and go great with a pinch of sea salt and a bit of Romesco’s tangy salsa. Stop by on Tapas Tuesday for half price tapas from their extensive hot and cold selection. Chef Plascencia opens new restaurant Bracero in Little Italy this spring.

Romesco is located at 4346 Bonita Road (between Bonita Road & Billy Casper Way), Bonita, California. (619) 475-8627. www.romescomexmed.com

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

Chef Javier Plascencia at the Baja California Culinary Fest press conference in San Diego in 2013.

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

Savory and satisfying. Bone marrow sopes at Romesco.

El Agave Old Town
Mario Montes

El Agave Old Town is an oasis of authentic regional Mexican cuisine in the middle of the Tex/Cali-Mex predominant in Old Town. Here, chef Mario Montes and his staff prepare traditional dishes from Oaxaca, Puebla, the Yucatan and other regions where Mexican food has pre-hispanic roots. Their moles are extensive and adherent to traditional preparation methods and ingredients. Nouvelle Mexican options are also on the menu, such as the succulent camaron al tequila with citrus. Speaking of tequila, the restaurant houses over 2,000 bottles of the stuff – the largest collection in North America and all available to order.

El Agave is located at 2304 San Diego Avenue, Old Town, California. (619) 220-0692. www.elagave.com

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

El Agave houses over 2,000 bottles of tequila, all available to order.

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

Camaron al tequila at El Agave, Old Town.

Allure Restaurant
Melissa Magallon

A San Diego native born of Tijuanense parents, chef Melissa Magallon started her career at chef Brian Malarkey’s Oceanaire and grew with him into new restaurants HerringboneBurlap and Searsucker – where she became their first female sous chef. Her parents partnered with her to open Allure Restaurant in 2014 in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. The restaurant features hearty plates of New American cuisine using fresh, organic, sustainable local ingredients. Pork belly seemed to be a thing in 2014, and chef Melissa’s with compressed apples, maple glaze, candied chiles and cilantro pickled shallot melts in your mouth and is just the right balance of sweet and savory.

Allure Restaurant is located in the Gaslamp Quarter at 825 Fourth Avenue, San Diego, California. (619) 236-0800. www.alluresd.com

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

Chef Melissa Magallon in her kitchen at Allure Restaurant.

Mexican Chefs in San Diego

Pork belly with compressed apples, maple glaze, candied chilies and cilantro pickled shallot.

Did we miss any of your favorite San Diego based Mexican chefs here? Feel free to let us know in our comments section, below.

Your Gringo in Mexico via San Diego,
Scott

 

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 restaurantshotels 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 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

2014 Latin Food Fest: Buen Provecho San Diego!

2014 Latin Food Fest: Buen Provecho San Diego! 

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA –  Last year, San Diego played host to the inaugural ¡LATIN FOOD FEST! which featured the world’s best chefs and vintners and the region’s top restaurants. This year marks the second for the event and promises to be even more delicious. Over 7,000 guests are expected to attend this culinary weekend celebrating Latin food, wine, and culture. A span of seven events over three days will include everything from cocktail parties to celebrity cooking stages, an experience sure to please all palates. Proceeds from a silent auction held during the event will benefit Feeding America San Diego.

Latin Food Fest

2014 Latin Food Fest, Embarcadero Marina Park, San Diego, California

The event will take place on September 11-13 at the San Diego Embarcadero Marine Park and will feature Latin culinary delights, wines, cocktails, chefs, music and more. And if you’ve been following El Gringo as of late through the Valle de Guadalupe, you know how much I love the wine there! Amado Garza of Viñas de Garza recently stated, “For a few years now Guadalupe Valley wines have been very popular within the Mexican community and this year with the help of our friends from ¡LATIN FOOD FEST! we will be crossing over our concepts and introducing them to a new market.” Cava Aragon 126 owner, Victor Segura, added, “We are so thrilled to have an opportunity to participate in this year’s ¡LATIN FOOD FEST! and show the San Diego community a little taste of what our beloved Baja has to offer.” In addition to Baja wines, over 100 varietals from all over Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal will be represented.

Latin Food Fest

Attendees sample various wines from the Valle de Guadalupe in the “Taste Baja” pavilion at the 2013 event.

El Gringo sat down recently over tequila with Richie Matthews, the organizer of ¡LATIN FOOD FEST!. Richie enthused, “Last year, the Baja wines were very successful and introduced a lot of people to what’s happening in Mexico. This year, we want to put more focus on spirits, and will include tastings of Bacanora, Pisco, Mezcal, Raicilla, Rum, Sotol, and Tequila at the Spirits of the Americas Expo.” Richie also emphasized that this year, the festival will be the largest Latin food, wine and spirits event in the US. Salud!

Latin Food Fest

What’s in your Paloma Cocktail? Squirt is the official provider this year and mixed with tequila, rocks and lime.

The Grand Tasting Village, presented by The Lincoln Motor Company, will take place on September 13 at the Embarcadero and will feature 100 tasting tents, cooking demonstrations, a live music stage, book signings and thematic brand hosted pavilions. El Gringo will be on hand personally for this event and I look forward to trying a little bit of the best Latin America has to offer, right here in my backyard (for a change)!

Latin Food Fest

Thinly sliced jamon is a staple around many parts of Latin America. And ready for tasting at the 2014 Latin Food Fest.

Join El Gringo there and see what the Latin America cuisine craze is all about first-hand. Your tastebuds will say GRACIAS!

When: September 11-13
Where: 
Embarcadero Marina Park North
What: 
¡LATIN FOOD FEST!, the largest Latin food festival in California

More information and tickets for the “Grand Tasting Village” at visit www.latinfoodfest.com. Join the festival’s Facebook page at: facebook.com/latinfoodfest.

 

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 restaurantshotels 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 or email us at info@baja.com.

Cooking for Cancer 2014: Mexican Cuisine for a Cause

Cooking for Cancer 2014: Mexican Cuisine for a Cause

On Monday, May 19th, 2014, Finch’s Wine Bar and Bistro in La Jolla, California will open their kitchen to six world-renowned executive chefs who will prepare six courses of contemporary Mexican cuisine. The courses will be accompanied by the delicious wines of Baja California‘s Valle de Guadalupe. To put this in context, these six internationally-trained chefs coming together to prepare their best Mexican dishes with the best Mexican wine is kind of like Top Chef Masters…on steroids! El Gringo has indulged in a bit of Mexican cuisine in the past year, and the current culinary scene both in Baja California and throughout Mexico is HOTTER than a Serrano chili!

Cooking for Cancer

The best contemporary Mexican chefs will prepare six courses of delicious food! Image: Casa Fernanda

Cooking for Cancer is being held in support of Moore’s Cancer Center Healing Foods Kitchen at UCSD, run by Susan Faerber. Supported solely by donations, her cooking classes teach cancer survivors to cook healthfully and are free to all participants. The dinner also honors host chef Mario Medina’s wife, Amalia Medina, who is a recent cancer survivor.

Cooking for Cancer

Cooking for Cancer…Cuisine for a Cause! Try out the hottest Mexican Cuisine in the region right now!

The six chefs preparing your meal are:

Martin San Roman (San Roman Catering)
Martin Gonzalez (Aqua al d Due & Toast Enoteca)
Flor Franco (Encuentro Guadalupe & Indulge Cuisine)
Damasso Lee (Chateau La Jolla)
Fernanda Piembert (Sam The Cooking Guy)
Mario Medina (Finch’s Wine Bar & Bistro)

El Gringo accompanied Chef Martin San Roman last year to the World Forum on Mexican Gastronomy in Acapulco, and I’ve enjoyed his food at Whole Foods Market in Hillcrest as well as at Dobson’s Bar and Restaurant in San Diego. Knowing that the other five chefs are up to his mettle, this promises to be one of the best meals you’ve ever had!

Cooking for Cancer

You’ve heard about the new Mexican Cuisine. Now try it and contribute to a great cause!

Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe has been called “The Napa of Mexico”, and is renowned for its wines all across Mexico. Baja wines are just now starting to be discovered here in the states and seem to be catching fire. The four winemakers and vineyards represented at Cooking for Cancer are:

Noel Téllez (Ulloa)
Alvaro Álvarez (Alximia)
Paolo Paoloni (Villa Montefiori)
Hans Backhoff (Monte Xanic)

Cooking for Cancer

Wines from Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California will be served at the dinner.

Cooking for CancerThe venue, Finch’s Bistro & Wine Bar, is known not only for its unique delicious food and wine, but also for their support of causes in which they believe. “As a local’s meeting spot and eatery we consider ourselves more than ‘just a restaurant,’” says Linda Ravden, the active partner in this family run bistro. Ravden has positioned Finch’s as an intrinsic part of the local community, and offers many weekly programs there like Monday evening’s Wine 101, Wednesday’s lunchtime Woman’s Wag, and Fashion Fridays – which partners with local boutiques and supports My Girlfriend’s Closet – among others.

There will be two dinner seatings – at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Finch’s Wine Bar & Bistro is located at 7644 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, CA. El Gringo will be at the 5 p.m. seating to report on the event if you’d like to say “Hola” and share a sip of vino…and what’s sure to be some fantastic food!

 

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 restaurantshotels 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 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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