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About Kristin Díaz de Sandi

Kristin Díaz de Sandi’s Life & Food blog, created in conjunction with her husband Antonio, has helped drive recognition of the gastronomic resurgence of Baja California. She and Antonio have merged efforts with colleagues Bill Esparza and Jason Thomas Fritz to create Club Tengo Hambre, a roving supper club, that explores food and wine cuisine in Baja.

Muelle Tres: Fresh and Local Seafood on Pier 3 in Ensenada

Muelle Tres:  Fresh and Local Seafood on Pier 3 in Ensenada
Embracing the abundance of local seafood that Baja California has to offer.

Written for Baja.com by Kristin Díaz de Sandi of Life & Food.

Kristin Díaz de Sandi’s Life & Food blog, created in conjunction with her husband Antonio, has helped drive recognition of the gastronomic resurgence of Baja California.  She and Antonio have merged efforts with colleagues Bill Esparza and Jason Thomas Fritz to create Club Tengo Hambre, a roving supper club, that explores food and wine cuisine in Baja.

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The sun is shining bright, and the Pacific Ocean is sparkling like it is lined with strands of tiny lights.

The smell of the ocean air is nearly intoxicating. I don’t know about you, but there is something about the salty air that really opens up my appetite.

Muelle Tres:  Fressshhhh fissshhh.

Tortilla Espanola starts the flavor fiesta.

It is a gorgeous weekend afternoon, and after only being open for half an hour, Muelle Tres is already bustling with diners anticipating their lunch orders. We are greeted with a glass of wine and an icy cold bottle of Agua Mala beer. The meal not only started off on delicious note, but just that little bite of Tortilla Española took me right back to a tiny street side cafe in Marbella, Spain. A few years back, I lived in Marbella, Spain for a short period of time, while continuing my education in Interior Design. On snack/lunch breaks we would walk right across the street to grab a slice of Tortilla Española that always sold out impeccably fast. The flavors of this one at Muelle Tres were spot on to those. It is always so amazing to me, when those special memories can be triggered from a single bite of food.

Plump, juicy, squeeze of lemony goodness.

Plump, juicy, and a squeeze of lemony goodness.

Now back to the rest of meal at Muelle Tres. Three incredibly fresh oysters garnished with a lemon wedge, and a tiny container of red onion mignonette, just awaiting to be devoured. Oysters like these are almost refreshing, as you slurp down a taste of the sea. The garnishes were an added bonus, bringing a nice bright acidity to the beauties.

Following that, tiradito of octopus and corvina. Thinly sliced octopus and corvina are drizzled in lime juice, soy sauce, and a touch of olive oil. Fresh ginger and serrano chiles are so finely diced, that their flavors just linger in the background of each bite. Heavenly.

A tiradito of oc

A tiradito of octopus and corvina

I found myself checking out the different types of steamed mussels that they had on their menu, as soon as I sat down. The tomato and basil variation, was the first to catch my eye. Soon a piping hot bowl of both steamed mussels, and clams hanging out in that very tomato and basil broth was right in front of me. Ahh, the sweet smell of fresh basil. The mussels and clams were cooked perfectly, and after each shell was emptied, I found myself soaking the frites in that amazing broth.

An erstwhile favorite at Muelle Tres:  Mussels and frites.

An erstwhile favorite at Muelle Tres: Mussels and frites.

The final dish of the meal, seared corvina with a couple of pieces of fried calamari sharing the same plate. I could have drunk the soy, serrano, ginger, and sesame seed sauce mixture that came alongside. That, drizzled over the tender fish filet, was just delightful. I most definitely did not hold back while dipping the calamari into that sauce as well.

Corvina and calamari at Muelle Tres.

Corvina and calamari at Muelle Tres.

Muelle Tres is an ideal spot to enjoy local Baja fresh seafood, all the while soaking up the natural beauty around you.

 

Muelle Tres team

Muelle Tres owner:  David Martinez Garza

187 Blvd. Teniente Azueta
Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

Muelle Tres is located near the famous Black Market (Mercado Negro) in Ensenada, near the hustle and bustle of shops and hotels.  Tell us your favorite Muelle Tres dish!

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Cerveceria Wendlandt in Ensenada

Written for Baja.com by Kristin Díaz de Sandi of Life & Food.

Kristin Díaz de Sandi’s Life & Food blog, created in conjunction with her husband Antonio, has helped drive recognition of the gastronomic resurgence of Baja California.  She and Antonio have merged efforts with colleagues Bill Esparza and Jason Thomas Fritz to create Club Tengo Hambre, a roving supper club, that explores food and wine cuisine in Baja.

One of Ensenada’s newest additions: A Gastropub that features locally brewed craft beers and a menu to complement the beverages.

 


The weather in Southern California and Baja has been exceptionally warm this year. It is technically fall now, but the weather doesn’t show anything for it. I do have to say though, that the sunsets have been impeccable lately. The drive down the coast to Ensenada in the early evening boasts the most beautiful sky. It looks as if there are numerous paint brush strokes on a never-ending canvas, and the colors, whew! don’t even get me started. We are so fortunate to be able to witness such beauty, nearly all year long.
Cerveceria Wendlandt Ensenada

Cerveceria Wendlandt 3

With the warm weather carrying into the night, one can really begin to get thirsty. Located in Ensenada, Cerveceria Wendlandt will not only quench that thirst, but it will curb your hunger as well. They have been open for just seven months now.
The exterior of the building has nice clean modern lines, with metal accents, and dons the big “W.” The interiors are so warm and inviting, with exposed brick walls, and little details such as their chandeliers made from glass bottles. Even, the bathrooms tie into the overall theme, with artwork, and more glass bottle decor.
Naturally your eye will carry on to the back wall, where you will again notice the Wendlandt logo:  We learned that the “W” shape was developed from the way that the two beer fermenting units look side by side.
Brewmaster Eugenio Romero-Wendlandt was a complete pleasure. He walked us through the process of how they brew their beer there, and all about the different types that they serve. I have never thoroughly had the process explained to me, so it was truly a delight.
They offer 80-100 different beers on their menu, ranging from their own brews to other local Baja breweries, and even a couple from San Diego breweries. They also carry a variety of worldwide beers, as well as some US domestic ones. There is something for everyone, and If you aren’t an avid beer fan, they also offer a few different wines, including their own Tempranillo.
Cerveceria Wendlandt Ensenada

After being whisked through the process of brewing, and learning about all of the different types offered, it was time to sit down and taste them for ourselves. We were presented with beer flights, a trio of sliders, and a few different tostadas. The kitchen is run by Chef Krista Velasco, who gladly told us about how they only use fresh and local ingredients to prepare the dishes. You won’t find a freezer in their kitchen, and all of the produce must be in season, or you won’t see it on your plate. 

Cerveceria Wendlandt

I began with the plate of tostadas. The four that we were presented with were a tiradito with soy sauce, ginger, and onion, a vegetarian, shrimp aguachile, and a braised rib one. If I were to play favorites, it would be between the braised rib, which was braised in beer for 8 hours, and the bright and refreshing shrimp aguachile. The variety of tostadas were washed down with beer samplings of Tijuana Guera and Wendlandt’s own Summer Ale. 
Cerveceria Wendlandt

The trio of sliders came next, which also shared the plate with freshly cut truffle fries and a sprinkling of Queso Ramonetti. The ultra soft potato buns automatically sparked a childhood memory for me. I had potato bread toast for breakfast, more mornings than I can count. Who doesn’t love reliving memories through food? The trio were made up of a braised ribs slider, Pork Belly with local cheese, and a beef burger. Between bites of each, we dipped the fries into house made ketchup, and an Aioli/Pesto sauce. The fries were delicious enough to be eaten on their own, but I could not steer clear of that Aioli and pesto sauce. All three burgers were divine, and each were juicy and bursting with flavor. We sipped on Agua Mala’s Marea Roja, Stone Brewery IPA, and Border Psycho’s Imperial Stout.

The portions of the food are ideal while enjoying a couple of beers. You can throughly savor each and every morsel, without feeling weighed down. The next time you are in Ensenada, or even make the trip down especially for some craft beers, Wendlandt will greet you with open arms, cold beers, and some delicious bites.
Cerveceria Wendlandt
Blvd. Costero #248, 22870 Ensenada, Baja California

Open Tuesday-Saturday
6:00pm- 12:00 am

Kristin and Antonio blog at Life & Food and you can follow them on Twitter at @lifefoodblog and Facebook.

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.

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LAJA Restaurant : Chef Jair Tellez’s homage to Valle de Guadalupe

August 15th , 2012  By Kristin Díaz de Sandi of Life & Food. Reprinted with permission from SanDiegoRed.com 

A rustic setting in Baja’s Wine Country with ingredients that are true to the land.

The Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California has to be one of my favorite places in the world. Yes, you read that right… the world. We venture down there at all different times of the year, but the summer is when you can really feel a different kind of energy. There are the Fiestas De La Vendimia that bring in a lot of people, as well as the weather just being simply beautiful. It does reach higher temperatures out there, but that’s nothing that some shade and a nice cold glass of white or rose wine can’t fix.
There are so many wonderful places to wine and dine at in el valle, and they all have their own special qualities. Dining at Laja restaurante by Chef Jair Tellez was a true joy. There is no better feeling than gaining inspiration from a meal that you have just enjoyed. Baja California sources such amazing ingredients, and their olive oil seriously has a special place in my heart. I will be sure to mention that olive oil again, when I tell you about the second course, and perhaps even before that.

The restaurant itself is just an absolute beauty. An open barn with warm hardwood flooring, gorgeous ceiling beams, and stone on the walls. I could easily picture myself living in a house very much like this in el Valle de Guadalupe, and that would actually equate to a dream of mine. Their menu is printed on a piece of paper daily, which I absolutely love. I know not everyone writes down notes while they eat, but for those that do, this is genius. The produce for the menu is grown in their garden, and they also make all of their own bread. You can choose to have your meal consist of either 4 or 8 courses. The portions for each dish will coincide with the number of courses you decide on, but you can always order seconds of a certain course if you absolutely fall in love with it.

We were presented with all eight of the courses, during our dining experience at Laja. Before I knew it I was being poured a chilled glass of their house Sauvignon Blanc, and a basket of fresh crusty bread was placed in front of us. Accompanying the bread, is a mini carafe filled with one of the best olive oils that I have ever tasted. I mean honestly, I could drink the stuff. It is light and slightly fruity.

The eight course journey started off with a bowl of cream of eggplant soup, that was garnished with flecks of jamon serrano. The salty bite, and slight crunch from the jamon serrano was a pleasant addition to the creamy soup.

Following that, I have to say was a favorite of mine from the afternoon. A mixed green salad with mini heirloom tomatoes, and cured meat. The ingredients are all tossed in that luscious olive oil that I spoke of earlier, and then lightly seasoned. That olive oil combined with the fresh produce just hit the spot. The simplicity and flavors together, just made my tonsils do a little happy dance.

The third course, sautéed shrimp rested on top of a white radish puree with avocado and cured vegetables. The acidity of the vegetables was a nice compliment to the plump shrimp, and creamy avocado.

The fourth course were Cannelloni filled with beef, corn, and mushrooms soaking up the beef broth. There was just a bit of parmesan cheese that created a slight crust on the tops of the noodles, which to me added a nice element of saltiness to the overall dish.

We were half way through the courses, and there was plenty of anticipation as to what the next dishes would unfold. The next dish to grace the table with its presence, was a sautéed filet of Rock Cod that was surrounded by a romanesco puree, fennel, baby squash, bok choy, peppers, and drizzled with a purple onion and beef foot vinaigrette. The supple fish was cooked perfectly, with a nice crisp skin. The ingredients on the plate were all so colorful, and working my way around to each component made each flavor come on out its own.

The final savory course had both my husband and I nodding our heads in unison. You know that moment at the table when you both simultaneously agree that this could be that one dish that comes out just a bit above the others. Local oven roasted lamb that fell apart the second my fork and knife touched it. They even bring you a beautiful Laguiole knife to use for this dish, which I absolutely adore, but it didn’t have to work that hard. The creamy potatoes and spinach were lovely as well, but the lamb was the real star here folks.

The last two courses consisted of two different desserts. The first was a velvety panna cotta with nectarine sorbet. The Nectarine sorbet was incredibly refreshing, and perfect for the summer time. My spoon just glided through the panna cotta leaving it almost effortless to construct the ideal bite.

The last course of the meal was an apple tartaleta. A buttery crust topped with apples and english cream, sharing the plate with a scoop of almond ice cream. This dessert had me longing for the crisp cool air of the fall months.
The entire experience at Laja left me inspired, and already longing for a trip back. The surrounding scenery, the food, and wine all make for an incredible time.

Visit LAJA Restaurant’s website here.

Map and Directions

Want to find out more about cuisine in Baja California?  Read about it here!

Kristin and Antonio blog at Life & Food and you can follow them on Twitter at @lifefoodblog and Facebook.

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 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.

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Valle de Guadalupe: Baja California’s Enchanting Wine Country

New flavors on every visit

June 26, 2012  By Kristin Díaz de Sandi of Life & Food. Reprinted with permission from SanDiegoRed.com 

Valle de Guadalupe Baja California

Being in El Valle de Guadalupe there is always this feeling of serenity that I can not get enough of. On our most recent trip we were celebrating Father’s day. We rarely ever have a plan or set agenda, it’s more like we make the drive down there and see where we end up. With our stomachs doing the talking, you never know what we will be in the mood for. This time around our first stop was at a little road side stand bearing a sign that said “Barbacoa”. So you may have guessed it, we stopped for of course barbacoa, as well as tacos de lengua. The smell of the lamb meat was just intoxicating. It is honestly the random food stops that have such simplicity and quality, that make me love food just that much more. You might now think that it is possible, but it is all about the world of exploration.

Barbacoa lamb meat taco

Viña de Liceaga Valle de Guadalupe Ensenada Mexico

Liceaga Valle de Guadalupe Ensenada Wine Country

Liceaga Valle de Guadalupe Ensenada Wine Country

We spent part of our afternoon under the shady trees at Viña de Liceaga. We need to keep cool in the 94 degree heat, while drinking our vino tinto right? I absolutely love walking hand in hand with my son Giovanni, and taking in all of the beautiful scenery. Before we knew it we had reached the last drop of wine, and we were back on the road again.

Valle de Guadalupe Ensenada Wine Country

Museo Ruso Samarin Valle de Guadalupe

Apple pie Valle de Guadalupe Ensenada Wine Country

Emeve Winery Valle de Guadalupe Ensenada Wine Country

Emeve Winery Valle de Guadalupe Ensenada Wine Country

In between there and the Emevé vineyards we managed to make a stop for some fresh apple pies, pan ruso, and cheese. I am never one to refuse cheese! One of my favorite finds was actually the rose petal jam. Just putting your nose into the jar for a whiff, is a special experience. We left with our mini pies, bread, and cheese, but of course that doesn’t mean that we didn’t have room left for more wine and food.

Silvestre Restaurant Valle de Guadalupe Ensenada Wine Country

 Silvestre Restaurant Valle de Guadalupe Ensenada Wine Country

Silvestre Restaurant Valle de Guadalupe Ensenada Wine Country

Silvestre was the last and final stop for this trip. This was actually their first weekend of being open for the season. Let me tell you, the view alone is just breath taking. I think I went into some sort of vineyard tunnel vision, and had my own escape for a couple of minutes. There isn’t a menu. They come up to you with a board that has the specials written for the day, and everything is prepared on a mesquite grill. To get the taste buds tingling, you are presented with a snack of jicama covered in lime juice and dried chile powder. We only ordered a couple of items from the menu, considering that we had already been eating for the entire day. I would definitely love to make a trip back, and order all of the specials offered on that day. The grilled chicken was bursting with flavor, and oh so juicy. Chicken is honestly not something that I order that often, but this made me start to wonder why. The fluffy herb flecked bun that housed the pork was absolutely delicious. The ingredients that filled the bun were smokey and salty, with an added crunch from the garnish. As you may know already, I am a lover of all foods with texture.

Breathing in the fresh air and enjoying a delicious meal was the perfect ending to this Father’s day. Until next time my dear Valle de Guadalupe!

Viña de Liceaga
Km. 93 carretera Tecate Ensenada
San Antonio de las Minas, BC
Directions here.
Fam. Samarin
Principal 277
Valle de Guadalupe, BC

Vinícola Emevé
Parcela #67 Ejido El Porvenir,
El Porvenir, Baja California.
México. C.P. 22755
Tijuana: (664) 634 1080

Kristin and Antonio blog at Life & Food and you can follow them on Twitter at @lifefoodblog and Facebook.

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 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.

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