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Wine Bar La Vid and the Plaza de los Artistas in Rosarito Beach

In Rosarito, there is a special place that houses wine bar La Vid and the Plaza de los Artistas …and a treasury of art.

By Jack E. George

Owner Jorge Rodriguez at wine bar La Vid and the Plaza de los Artistas in Rosarito

Nestled in amongst a collection of unique and innovative shops, in front of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, visitors will be greeted with a variety of unusual treats at the Plaza de los Artistas. One of the small businesses is known as La Vid. When I stepped inside this wine bar and specialty store, selling fine wines from the smaller producers in the Guadalupe Valley, I was overwhelmed with the homey feeling, the cleanliness, and the organized location of every bottle, glass, and accessory. It is truly a gem to seek.

 

At wine bar La Vid and the Plaza de los Artistas, work by David Silvah

Owners Jorge Rodriguez and Norma Villasenor offer wine tasting, an art gallery, and unique items that can be purchased for a great gift. La Vid offers jams, marmalades, olive oil, sauces, and so forth. Jorge explained that the name was chosen because La Vid means a vine in a vineyard. He said that all of their wines are from Baja California and most of them are from small wineries. The shop offers vintages from 20 to 25 different vintners.

Visitors at wine bar La Vid and the Plaza de los Artistos can enjoy a wine tasting without reservations. The cost is $5. You can also add cheese, crackers, or other choices to make your experience even more enjoyable. Jorge, a very sincere, friendly, genuine young man prides himself on customer service. He said that what he enjoys most about his business are the interesting people he has the opportunity to meet. La Vid opens at 11 a.m. daily.   During week nights,  they close at 8 p.m. However, you can make an evening of it on the weekends when they stay open until the last customer leaves. (Sometimes, even bouts of spontaneous dancing break out!)

The art pieces hanging on the walls, the arrangements of the bottles of wine, and the many interesting items to look at make La Vid a great place for a visit. Next, you might choose to leave by walking down the outside stairs and going next door to the Baja Gallery. When you enter, through the back, you will see David Silvah painting one of his unique pieces of art.

 

Wine Bar La Vid and the Plaza de los Artistas features original art by David Silvah

 

David Silvah, a self-taught artist is a frequent exhibitor in area shows. He also exhibits in San Diego, Los Angeles, and he will be leaving for an art show in Boston in December. He is not the only artist in his family. He has a section he devotes to his eight year-old daughter, Jasmine; and his 11 year old son, Miten. He proudly explains their different pictures. He said they are both interested in becoming artists but he will not push them in that direction. He wants them to choose the career in which they will be happy. He is a firm believer in people doing the work they love. He explained that he could make more money if he was a doctor or a dentist but he would not be happy. His entire career has been devoted to art and he says this has added to his happiness and quality of life.

David said his career started when he was 13 years of age. He always wanted to give girlfriends a unique gift, so he would paint them a special picture. Through the years people encouraged him and his artistic talent. Eventually people asked him to paint specific pictures to hang on the walls in their home.  This led to him becoming a professional artist at the age of 20.

There was one particular painting that was well wrapped and sitting behind a number of other paintings. When I asked him which was his favorite painting he started to remove all of the pictures in front. He then reached his special painting, leaned it against a chair, and removed all of the packaging. My eyes immediately focused on three people.

David Silvah's 'Re-evolution'

David named the picture “re-evolution.” The painting tells the story of an older man, standing to the left, who has had a difficult life in Mexico. To his left is a tattered Mexican flag. He eventually takes his wife and children and moves to the U.S. The young woman, standing in the center of the picture, has hopes and dreams and wants the best for her children. The young man to her right, her son, is serving in the military. His gun represents the war he is fighting, for the U.S., and the battles his people have fought through the years. Next to him the American flag waves in all its splendor.

Drop by La Vid for some wine and cheese and an artsy experience!

 

David is one of several artists working in the gallery. The gallery offers a variety of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and many other creations. The Plaza de los Artistas is a fascinating, friendly, area to take a leisurely stroll. Chances are you will also have the opportunity to meet some of the finest artists representing Baja California, enjoy a glass of wine and chunk of cheese, and see artistic creations unlike any you have ever seen before.

 

Where to dine when in Rosarito?  Find out with Baja.com!

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 or email us atinfo@baja.com.

 

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November Events in Rosarito and Ensenada

There are scores of events at any time of the year throughout Baja.  The following are some of the key festivals and events to be held in the coming weeks!  For a more complete schedule of events and activities, visit  the Baja.com events pages.

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

Tijuana
Playas Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada:  Shine On Baja
When: to be held on November 3, 7 p.m.
Where:  At many ‘points of light’ locations including Splash!, the LighthouseRosarito Beach HotelLa Salina Cantina, Javi’s Paradise, Plan B (km. 22), Castillos del Mar, Las Olas Grand & Las Cristales Restaurant, and Puerto Nuevo #2.  A number of communities will host group parties, including Club Marena, Las Palmas, San Antonio del Mar, Campo Lopez, Calafia, La Jolla, Popotla and Las Ventanas. Shine notes that the list of venues is growing rapidly and encourages potential ‘launchers’ to visit the ‘Shine On Baja’ facebook page frequently. For more information, contact event organizers Debbie Shine,debbieshinebaja@yahoo.com or Robin MacKenzie, tatblue@aol.com.
Info: http://baja.com/tijuana/events/shine-on-baja/

 

 


Rosarito
Mexico Night:  Fiesta Mexicana Celebrating Mexico’s Revolution
When:  Saturday, November 17, 8 p.m.- 1 a.m.
Where: Rosarito Beach Hotel
Folkloric dance, raffles, music and more.  $10 per person, includes a cocktail.   For more information, call 661 612 1126.
Info:

 

Rosarito
Rosarito Beach Hotel’s Farmers Market/Celebrating Mexico’s Revolution
When:  Sunday, November 18, Noon-5 p.m.
Where: Rosarito Beach Hotel
Free entrance to the public to come and enjoy barbecue, wine tasting, artisanal cheeses and breads, arts, jewelry and crafts, children’s activities, live entertainment and a special show by Ballet Ixtlazihuatl.    For more information, call 661 612 1126.

 

Rosarito
Paintings from the Forgotten Peninsula
When:  Through November 11
Where:  Rosarito Beach Hotel, Baja Gallery
Renowned artist Scott Kennedy’s works are on display.  These particular pieces convey a sense of the magical Baja, the real Baja, the heart of Baja.  For more information, call 661 612 1126.


 

 

 

 

Ensenada
Dia de Los Muerto/Day of the Dead Altar at CEARTE State Art Museum
When:  November 1-4
Where:  CEARTE, Blvd. Costero & Ave. Club Rotario
A special altar will be on display in the reception area of the museum, in celebration of this period that invites those who have passed to come back and visit the living. Want to know more about Day of the Dead? Go to http://baja.com/ensenada/day-of-the-dead-smile-when-you-say-that/

 

 

 

Ensenada
45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 – Baja Mil
When: Start- Nov 14, 2012 End- Nov 17, 2012
The Baja 1000 is toughest and greatest race on hearth. The race is back in 2012 with a course that will bring the racers from Ensenada to La Paz offering spectators in the entire peninsula the opportunity to participate in the excitement. For approximately one thousand miles (1600 Km) of dusty rugged terrain drivers will compete against each other for the title of winner in this legendary race.
Info: http://baja.com/ensenada/events/45th-tecate-score-baja-1000-baja-mil/

San Felipe
20th Annual San Felipe Shrimp Festival
When:  November 2-4, 8 a.m.- 5p.m., but with focus in late afternoon/evening periods.
Where:  Malecon in San Felipe
San Felipe is always a great destination for vacationers and the San Felipe Shrimp Festival is a perfect time to enjoy the fresh-caught crustaceans for which San Felipe is known.   With local chefs creating delicious dishes, it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind culinary experience you won’t want to miss. For more information, visit  http://baja.com/san-felipe/san-felipe-shrimp-festival-family-fun-on-the-sea-of-cortez/.

Want to go to any of these great events?  Hotels and vacation rentals are at all-time great rates right now!  Call us.

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 localrestaurantshotels 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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HOLA MEXICO

Hola Mexico!

by Ashley Curtin

 

It is the unthinkable, the unimaginable, heck, it’s considered to be taboo in many people’s eyes.

But with this breathtaking view awaiting me, there was no reason not to visit and experience the culture of Mexico.
We crossed the border into Tijuana with much ease and followed the rugged coastal road down to Rosarito, a small little beach town about 30 miles south of San Diego after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. This is where we spent three days bathing in the sun, drinking cerveza and eating tacos—lots and lots of them—while viewing the country through our own eyes.

Too many people told me to “stay safe” before we left, friends and family questioned our decision as we crossed the border and others looked at us like we turned into aliens after returning from Mexico catechizing, “What would possess you to do such a thing?!”

And our response is because we are determined to travel the world with a true sensitivity to culture, embracing a country’s timeless beauty and not letting fear suppress our experiences. Rather, I find it alarming that too many people let their ignorance unfold and stop them from traveling the geography that lies ahead. It is also insensitive and embarrassing at the rate the media conjugates fear and travel in the same perspective. Being exposed to the destructive visual images drug cartels have inflicted on other drug cartels through the years, it has created such a divide between Mexico and the rest of the world.

Instead of all this concern, we need to comprehensively learn about and discover this country therefore, replacing any fear with memorable experiences. The culture, the people and the landscape are reason enough to visit this beautiful country. It is time for the public to come to its own conclusions and fight the public relations problem hovering over Mexico.
Until we meet again, Mexico, Happy (safe) travels!

Ahsley Curtin is the author of Fun As We Go:  A collection of personal travel stories about people, places and food.

Want to Discover Rosarito Beach?  Find out about Rosarito Hotels and Rosarito Activities at Baja.com.

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.

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Having a Coffee in Rosarito: Lots of Choices

by Jack E. George

Having a coffee is Rosarito: Lots of Choices

Having a coffee in Rosarito isn’t hard:  There are lots of choices.  If you visit Rosarito Beach, chances are you have been to at least one of the coffee shops located here. No, we do not have a Starbuck’s like Ensenada or Tijuana do, but no one seems to care. We can still buy our leaded or unleaded, our picker-upper, our mud, our black brew or, as it is known in Mexico, our café. If you start your day with a cup of coffee, you can take comfort in knowing it is one of the most consumed drinks in the entire world.

Coffee is believed to have been discovered in the northeastern  part of Ethiopia; the cultivation began in southern Arabia. The first known coffee-drinkers were thought to have sipped in the middle of the 15th century in the Sufi shrines of Yemen. Skipping ahead just a few years,  we discover that one of the first coffee houses in Rosarito Beach was/is the Capuchino Coffee House. It is located on the main street across from the 198 shops (sitting between the El Nido Restaurant and the Scotia Bank).

Capuchino’s opened 27 years ago. It is one of the largest coffee houses in Rosarito. It offers seating inside and out. It has dozens of coffee choices from which to choose. According to employee Olga Salazar, the best selling coffee is Café Mocha. Their specialty coffees are Mocha and Cappuccino. There are a variety of cakes, cookies, and pies, and other pastries which are made on the premises.

Where to go for coffee in Rosarito? The Rosarito Beach Hotel.

As coffee production became more popular it left the Muslim world and spread to India. It then went to Italy, the rest of Europe, and then Indonesia. Finally it arrived in the Americas. Fortunately for us, the beans eventually landed in Mexico, and they have contributed to the success of the coffee shop known as Café Rosy. It is located at the Rosarito Beach Hotel.  As you walk to the main entrance it is to the left before entering the front doors. Employee Dora Lidia Estrada said their best selling brew is Café Regular. They offer a number of specialties including Espresso, Cappuccino, and Mocha. Café Rosy opened more than 20 years ago and has added pastries and more. The small coffee shop offers both intimacy and a friendly atmosphere. Also located on the main street, across from  Oxxo, is a newly opened coffee shop named Aromas del Che. Dayanara Silva, who works there, explained that the shop has been open for less than a year.

Dayanara said that Café Latte is very popular in the mornings and Café Express is the shops specialty. She said that the coffees are all natural and this is one reason why the coffee shop has caught on so quickly in the area. The shop serves pastries, too. The interior is very interesting with some unique pieces of coffee equipment.

One of the Mexican chain coffee shops, D’Volada, has been open for seven years. It is located across the street from the Rosarito Beach Hotel. The shop specialties are Café Altura and Espresso Grotto. Their best selling coffee is Café Altura. According to Pablo Canielo, an employee at D’Volada’s, the shop is similar to most of the others in the franchise with indoor and outdoor seating. They also offer a limited number of pastries.

Coffee has been a part of many societies. For example, coffee was initially used for spiritual purposes. In 1511 coffee was banned by jurists and scholars meeting in Mecca. Later, coffee was regarded as a Muslim drink. It was prohibited by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians until 1889. Today, the Word of Wisdom – a doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — says that coffee is physically and spiritually unhealthy and says that hot drinks are not for the belly. This has been interpreted to mean that coffee, as well as tea, are forbidden drinks.

Hopefully, everyone will spend part of their day, on September 29, by visiting a local coffee shop – this will show your support for National Coffee Day!

Want a coffee in Rosarito?  It’s only 30-minutes south of the border, so come on down!  

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..

 

 

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Finding Treasures on Rosarito Beach

By Jack E. George

Rosarito doesn’t lack activities or things to do, but when I am antsy, I often remember when I was a young boy and I would see those “old men” walking around the school playground, the park, or even on the beach carrying long poles with something attached to the ends. Once in awhile, the thing at the end of the pole would make a noise. It seemed like the man would become a little hyperactive, excited…or something. He would take a little shovel and dig into the ground or the sand.

Finding treasure on Rosarito Beach is a favorite past-time of author Jack E. George

Well, here we are, decades later, and I have become one of those old men. I started the hobby of “metal detecting” a time back. Since I live in Rosarito Beach, just a few minutes walk to the ocean, I usually go to the beach where I begin my search. I always have my thoughts about where I will find treasures people have lost. I enjoy detecting along the area where the sand is wet but the waves are no longer reaching this plot of the Pacific.

When I am ready to begin finding treasure on Rosarito Beach, I put the ‘latch’ under my right arm and begin moving the detector to the left and then to the right. I might walk awhile down the beach; or, I might have a ‘hit’ right away and my detector begins singing to me, letting me know there is something buried below the sand. When I hear the sound I take my shovel and begin digging. I put a scoop or two next to the area. I then take out my Pro Pinpoint Detector and move it back and forth across the fresh sand. This detector is less than a foot, in length, and is great at pinpointing a ‘find.’ If it beeps then I know that whatever the detector found is in that particular pile. I spread the sand. I am amazed with my discovery. I had found another tab opener to a can. Well, it is okay, because I save these to give to a friend. She, in turn, gives them to her friend who submits them some place to collect money for Women’s Breast Cancer.

Finding treasure on Rosarito Beach: one man's delight!

When I first started, one of my first discoveries was a woman’s bracelet. It had a unique design and a beautiful blend of colors. One of my most interesting finds made me chuckle when I first had it fully removed from the sand. I found a spoon! I then cleaned it during an incoming wave. It was then that I realized it was more than a spoon when I found “Rolex Bucherer Watches Lucerne” engraved on it. The appearance makes me believe it is very old. When metal detecting, it is fun to let your mind wander. Can you imagine how this spoon landed up on the beach in Rosarito Beach, Baja, CA? I wonder where it came from. Then I realized it could have been lost many miles away. I imagined someone on an outing for the day. They might have been on a boat. Suddenly a wave caught them by surprise and my spoon, along with their picnic lunch, landed in the water, never to be found again – although, it was.

Metal detecting is really a fun hobby. It can also offer you some great exercise because you can wander on and on down the beach. You might spend hours lingering on the shore. There are always people who are curious about what you are doing, just as I was when I was a youngster. They want to ask you what you have found although they might be a little shy at first. They might follow you for awhile and become excited, at the detector, when it begins singing. Then, as quickly as the youngsters appeared, they will quickly be gone – maybe joining one of the incoming waves.

Aside from the walking you will also discover an ‘arm workout.’ Yes, this is true, because you move the detector, continually, from left to right. After you do this a few hours you might experience some pain the following morning. Eventually, your arms are prepared for a good day’s hunt. Each hunt is new, different, and exhilarating. When you hear your detector start singing to you it always makes your heart pump a little faster.

I really do not know if I have found anything of value. I do know that I have not found a large deposit of gold, a diamond ring, or anything of tremendous value. However, I have found some very interesting artifacts. I am very curious about a man’s ring I recently discovered. Inside is the word ‘titanium.’ I read about this and it is what the band is made from. This particular ring also has two crosses, one on each side, cut out so the two areas are hollow. Another interesting find was a “Bull Durham” trinket. It has the marking, “14k.” It appears to be quite old. The great thing about discovering things at the beach is that you just run them through a wave, this cleans the ‘find,’ and restores them to the state they were in when lost.

Want to start Finding Treasure on Rosarito Beach?  Find out about Rosarito Hotels and Rosarito Activities at Baja.com.

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.

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October Events in Rosarito and Ensenada

There are scores of events at any time of the year throughout Baja.  The following are some of the key festivals and events to be held in the coming weeks!  For a more complete schedule of events and activities, visit  the Baja.com events pages.

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

Rosarito
3rd Annual Rosarito Beach International Mariachi & Folklórico Festival
When: to be held October 3-7
Where: Rosarito Beach Hotel
The 3rd Annual Mariachi & Folklorico spectacular will feature the best of Mariachi music and dance groups from Mexico and the U.S.  In addition to offering the chance to hear great mariachi music, the thousands expected to attend from both Mexican and the U.S. will know that their ticket purchases will go toward helping build Rosarito’s first Boys & Girls Club.
Info: http://baja.com/rosarito/events/3rd-annual-rosarito-beach-international-mariachi-folklorico-festival/

Ensenada
Wine and Cheese Festival in Ojos Negros
When: Oct 7, 2012 12:00pm
The little town of Ojos Negros (pop. 9), near Ensenada, is hosting the 5th Annual Wine and Cheese Festival. The event will take place in the main plaza, the Plaza Pública de Ojos Negros, where cheese and wine aficionados will enjoy a photo exhibit, traditional music and dances in a casual family atmosphere.
Info: http://baja.com/ensenada/events/5th-wine-and-cheese-festival-in-ojos-negros/

 

 

Ensenada
49th San Diego-Ensenada Yacht Race and 7th Todos Santos Yacht Regatta
When: Oct 5, 2012 11:00am End: Oct 9, 2012
Over 90 yachts in various classes will compete in this 62 nautical mile race that will starts at 11:00am on Friday October 5th in San Diego and finish at 2:00pm on Saturday October 6th in Ensenada. This year the race will also include the option to participate in the Todos Santos International Yacht Regatta, a 20 nautical miles race around Todos Santos island, two days after finishing the San Diego-Ensenada race, on October 9th at 11:00am.
Info: http://baja.com/ensenada/events/34th-feria-del-pescado-y-marisco-fish-and-seafood-festival-in-ensenada/

Rosarito
20th Annual Puerto Nuevo Lobster Festival
When: Oct 14, 2012 12:00pm – 6:00pm
Cost: Tickets are $20 US or $250 MX and will include a Lobster Platter and other goodies that the participating restaurants will serve.
Puerto Nuevo, the Lobster Capital of Baja, hosts a wine and lobster festival every October at the beginning of the lobster season.  The traditional Puerto Nuevo lobster recipe calls for these delicious crustaceans to be pan fried in lard and served with beans, rice and homemade flour tortillas. But you can order your “langosta” any way you love it.
Info: http://baja.com/rosarito/events/20th-annual-puerto-nuevo-lobster-festival/

Ensenada
Golf Tournament La Salina Connect
When: Oct 20, 2012 9:00am
Cost: $85 dlls.
The golf tournament La Salina Connect will be played at the beautiful Bajamar championship golf course.  The $85 (US) entry fee is only available at La Salina Cantina. It covers greens, 2 raffle tickets, 2 drink tickets, toast off drink and dinner. With every purchase there is a donation to La Mission Orphanage.
Info: http://baja.com/ensenada/events/golf-tournament-la-salina-connect/

 

Ensenada
45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 – Baja Mil
When: Start- Nov 14, 2012 End- Nov 17, 2012
The Baja 1000 is toughest and greatest race on hearth. The race is back in 2012 with a course that will bring the racers from Ensenada to La Paz offering spectators in the entire peninsula the opportunity to participate in the excitement. For approximately one thousand miles (1600 Km) of dusty rugged terrain drivers will compete against each other for the title of winner in this legendary race.

Info: http://baja.com/ensenada/events/45th-tecate-score-baja-1000-baja-mil/

 

Want to go to any of these great events?  Hotels and vacation rentals are at all-time great rates right now!  Call us.

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 localrestaurantshotels 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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Mariachi & Folklorico Festival in Rosarito: Heritage of Humanity

by Carla White

The 3rd Annual Mariachi & Folklorico spectacular, to be held October 3-7 at the Rosarito Beach Hotel, will feature the best of Mariachi music and dance groups from Mexico and the U.S.  In addition to offering the chance to hear great mariachi music, the thousands expected to attend from both Mexican and the U.S. will know that their ticket purchases will go toward helping build Rosarito’s first Boys & Girls Club.

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to attend this amazing event and it made me realize that Mariachi is so much more than what I thought it to be.  The range of Mariachi is vast – from a single Mariachi Diva to an orchestra that can have many musicians.  And the sound can vary from a country-campestre style to energetic ranchero to an elegant loneliness that seems to penetrate the very soul.

It is clear that Mariachi, which has been at the musical heart of Mexico for decades – beginning as a regional folk style called ‘Son Jaliscience’ in central Mexico, and played by musicians dressed in peasant garb, using stringed instruments – has attained not only national but international significance.  This was demonstrated recently when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) granted Mexican Mariachi the title of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in a ceremony during the XIX International Mariachi Encounter held in Guadalajara, west of Mexico.

In a short service at Guadalajara’s main public plaza, eight musician children between the ages of five and ten garbed in full Mariachi attire received the award as a symbol of the future generations keeping alive this tradition, explained the Director of the National Council of Art and Culture of Mexico, Consuelo Sáizar.

Mariachi Festival in Rosarito

 

The festival at the Rosarito Beach Hotel will feature both Mariachi and folkloric ballet competitions each day, and features presentation and educational components throughout the event period.  The activities reach a crescendo on the evening of October 6, with the Noche de Extravaganza concert.  The overall scope, color and atmosphere of this festival has become second only to that of the famous event held in Guadalajara each year.  Having attended this festival and experiencing the energy and pulse of Baja’s mariachi performances, it is hard for me to imagine and more exciting event, even in Guadalajara.

But perhaps the hallmark of this festival is the cause it supports:  the establishment of Rosarito’s Boys & Girls Club, only the third such to be created in northern Mexico (Tijuana and Nogales).  Modeled upon the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, this organization strives to support the personal, cultural and educational growth of children in need, giving them positive experiences that will shape their lives, and the communities they live in, forever.

For more information about the festival, contact Rosy Torres (044-661-850-1773).

Need help planning your trip to Rosarito Beach and the Mariachi Festival?  Call us!

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.

 

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Lunch Beneath Concrete Cleavage with Tijuana Sculptor Armando Muñoz

By Turista Libre’s Derrik Chinn

La Sirena, Puerto Nuevo, south Rosarito

Sculptor-architect Armando Muñoz Garcia has been a pilar of my take on Tijuana’s cultural landscape ever since I was driven past his 55-foot, 18-ton livable concrete statue — a giant nude named “Tijuana III Millennium” hidden in a canyon near the airport — on my very first escapade around the city in 2006.

Tijuana III Millennium

Years later, while on the freeway to Ensenada, I caught a glimpse of his second project, a mermaid house overlooking the Pacific near Puerto Nuevo on Calle Zihuatanejo appropriately titled “La Sirena.”

Time and regular snooping around “Tijuana III” eventually led to meeting him in person, an occasion which he generously gestured into an impromptu open house that allowed me to interact one on one with not just the statue but the mysterious man responsible for what are arguably two of the region’s most iconic, infamous pieces of architecture. The day ended with an official welcome to bring entire Turista Libre groups to tour both of his voluptuous monstrosities.

Fast-forward another few years to a recent Tijuana installment of Pecha Kucha, where — while presenting Turista Libre to a cafe crammed with 100 or so of the city’s artists, writers, intellectuals and critics — I mentioned our visits with Armando and his statues. This prompted someone in the audience to mutter aloud, with no apparent remorse, “Está loco.” He’s crazy.

That commentary follows suit with the talk of the town, a general consensus that I began hearing long before Armando and I actually met. Perhaps it would be the talk of any town that’s home to a man who builds a giant naked lady house out by the airport (and then another one down by the beach). Eccentric, sure. But crazy? I personally have no reason to believe that to be true, based on our conversations and the manner in which he shares his ideas with awestruck tourists. I really don’t care either, just as common opinion regarding his reputation seems to cause him no bother.

A week or so ago Armando wrote to say La Sirena was now operating as a sustainable gourmet restaurant that would be serving French cuisine and Mexican delicacies like chile en nogada, pescado la veracruzana and mole — cooked by Armando, a former chef at a French restaurant in La Jolla — and that I should come check it out. His four-course menu included liver pate atop sylvester oregano leaves, beet leaf salad, tomatillo soup with chunks of squash and cojita cheese, grilled salmon and filet mignon, a spread for which he charges around 200 pesos plus the cost of wine.

Sitting on the sun deck below massive cleavage along the edge of what would be a swimming pool at the base of her stomach if it only had water, it’s easy to assume La Sirena is destined to be a never-ending work in progress. Already more than 10 years old, the top half of her hairdo is still spiked rebar and her paint job is sporadic and splotchy at best. Maybe she’ll never be completely finished, and that’s OK. I could dive deep into existentialism here, but I think the symbolism between this statue-house-restaurant and the particular corner of the world which she calls home is pretty obvious.

That thought rounded third and slid into home as a pickup full of curious Mexicans who now live in Indio pulled up to inquire about what exactly happens in the giant mermaid house. They left with plans to come for dinner the following week.

The lesson? Ignore all adversity; dreams suffer enough internal distraction and delusion as it is. In all honesty I suppose that’s what I admire most about Armando.

The irony of it all? What the world says of Tijuana, Tijuana in turn says of its own. Está loco.

Derrik Chinn- From unassuming reporter to freedom-loving Turista Libre (free tourist), Derrik Chinn’s reputation as underground concierge to the traveler has grown. Chinn, who has been spidering about in Tijuana with groups of tourists looking for a different kind of Mexico experience, is now sharing some of his insights and perspectives on Baja.com.  You can visit him on 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 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.

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Baja Blues Fest in Rosarito to Benefit Children’s Charities

Courtesy of Connie Ellig, Photo by David Hopps

 

The Baja Blues Fest is bringing on the sound!  After recently meeting Baja Blues Fest organizers Jackie and Marty Alameda, San Diego vocalist/songwriter Michele Lundeen affirmed her enthusiasm about performing at the eight-hour music festival to be held on August 25 at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. Known as “The Queen of Steam,” Michele is internationally acclaimed for her own special blend of high energy blues, funk, soul and R&B, and her electrifying onstage presence. Also playing will be the Ensenada group, Coyote Mike & the Wetbacks, who are enthusiastic about the upcoming Rosarito event. Comprised of musicians from the U.S., Mexico and Canada who offer an international potpourri of sounds ranging from blues and rock to funk, jazz and reggae, the Wetbacks perform covers as well as original music. Like Michele, the Wetbacks have played concerts in Ensenada and San Felipe, but the Baja Blues Fest will be their first musical appearance in Rosarito.

 

 

Coyote Mike & the Wetbacks set to rock the Blues Fest

 

In addition to Michele Lundeen and Coyote Mike & the Wetbacks, the concert lineup will feature Stoney B Blues Band, Backwater Blues Band, Chet Cannon & the Committee, Lisa Cee, and the 145th Street Blues Band. The event will benefit six local children’s charities including BECA Scholarship, Friends of the Library, La Misión Children’s Fund, Baja Scholarship Fund, Los Angelitos Orphanage, and the Boys and Girls Club of Rosarito.

There also will be artist and artisan booths, food vendors, Corona beer, L.A. Cetto wines, and other surprises. Gates open at 9:30 a.m., music starts at 11 a.m. General admission to the Saturday concert is $20 US in advance, $25 US at the gate. VIP admission (sold in advance ONLY) is $50 US and includes concert, commemorative t-shirt, entry to Friday night Meet-and-Greet Pre-Party, and Sunday afternoon Jam Session. Info and tickets are available online atwww.bajabluesfest.com or contact Jackie Alameda from 8am-5pm Mon.-Sat. at Baja’s Click-on Internet Cafe & Business Center near Puerto Nuevo, tel. (661)614-0513; e-mail: admin@bajabluesfest.com

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.

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The Mongolian Grill Offers Asian-Baja Fusion

by Martina

Fast Pass alert:  The Fast Pass is the quickest way to return to the US from Baja!  Where to get it?  How about the Mongolian Grill…good food and a pass to go fast!

What a surprise right here in Rosarito! I came in from the busy ‘free road’, leaving the traffic noise behind and slipped into the simple, clean interior of the Mongolian Grill.

Now, I am not a connoisseur of Asian food but I do know good food. The Mongolian Grill didn’t let me down. A sunny greeting from Letty as I came in made me feel instantly at home. In a land of Mexican food restaurants, Asian food is an unusual offering here. Some call the menu “Asian Fusion,” and understandably so with names on the menu like Mongolian Stir Fry, Korean Tacos and Thai egg rolls. I looked forward to indulging myself in this one of a kind Asian feast.

Korean Tacos at the Mongolian Grill

I chose the Korean Tacos and they are to die for! Handmade golden corn tortillas filled with a choice of Thai Bulgogi pork, beef, tofu or chicken.  Finely chopped cabbage, sweet green onion and cilantro were stuffed inside the hearty warm shell. For those that like it spicy, try the homemade Arbol chili sauce. The Arbol chili is a deadly tiny red chili and is killer-hot. I was proud of myself as — after 12 years of eating Mexican food — I passed the Arbol test with flying colors. It added another layer of spice to an already delicious taco. Tuesdays are “buy two and get the third one free.”

Mongolian Grill is known for the Mongolian stir-fry bowls.  It is a ‘make it how you like it’, filling your bowl high with meats and fresh vegetables. You take your bowl to the grill chief, and he spills out the contents on a hot greaseless grill. You watch him do his magic with his two long spatulas flying and tossing your meal. Within three minutes, everything is steaming hot and you can eat guilt-free (okay, so maybe for low carb folks, you might have to pass up the noodles). A yummy peanut sauce is the final touch.

Signature stir-fry bowls

For the heartier appetite try the Asian Gourmet pizzas. The pizza crust is baked in a brick oven, then cooled. The thin crust is smothered in 3 types of toppings: Thai Chicken, Korean Pork Bulgogi and the Hawaiian Portuguese sausage is tomato based with pineapple. All come with mozzarella cheese, white and green onions and bell peppers. Because the crust is already baked fresh that day, the pizza, with its fresh toppings, is slipped into an extremely hot oven and comes out in minutes.

Letty admits she has tasted the egg rolls all over town, but pronounces the best is found here. Lee, the owner, quips it is because they are Thai, and filled more with meat than veggies. And there is so much more to choose. To really do it justice, returning is a must. Wine and beer are available, along with fragrant jasmine green tea, sweet fruit shushes and hot sake.

You will want to complete your meal with a scoop or two of homemade Gelato (ps– the green tea Gelato is luscious).

Pocketbook Pain?  No.  The price range is very easy on the pocket book, from $3.50 for tacos to $7.50 for the Korean stir-fry.

How to get there?  The rather bland location — just south of Rosarito on the four-lane Free Road at KM 29.5 — belies the friendly atmosphere that awaits within.  It’s an easy drive and easy parking, too.

When to go?  The summer hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

 Let us know if your taste runs to the Mongolian…and send us your great food photos!  

 

Martina is a long time resident of Baja, the editor of her own online publication, The Baja Sun, a journalist for Baja Times and the Baja News, and is well published on EzineArticles.com, Martina has also authored a true life adventure story in Baja, Call From the Heart, found on Amazon.

 

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.

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