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Trouble Remembering Valentine’s Day? The Rosarito Beach Hotel Has 29 Of Them

Baja hotel & resort offers special monthly packages plus a masked Valentine’s Ball

Declaring February the “Month of Love,” Baja California’s largest and best known beachfront lodging, the Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort, is offering one-night My Sweet Valentine Packages at special prices for all 29 days.

And on Valentine’s weekend (Feb. 12 and 13), separate one- and two-night packages are available that include tickets to the Saturday night Valentine’s Ball, a romantic dinner event featuring live music and dancing.

Valentine's Day Rosarito

February is the month of love at Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort, with special rates available for all 29 nights.

The Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort  has been a top destination for visitors from California  and the Southwestern U.S. since 1925. A short scenic drive south of the border, yet rich in Old World charm, the resort is the perfect spot for a two-nation vacation.

With 500 rooms – 271 suites in its Pacifico Tower – the resort has rates and specials to fit almost any travel budget. Lodging choices range from standard oceanfront rooms to a variety of elegant, fully-equipped suites.

Mexican  presidents and a galaxy of Hollywood stars including Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe , Gregory Peck and Rita Hayworth have been  guests over the years. And the property is conveniently close to many major Baja attractions, including the Puerto Nuevo Lobster Village (10 miles away), and the wine country of Valle de Guadalupe (just 37 miles south).

All February, one-night weekday packages in a standard oceanfront room are $159. Each includes getaway dinners for two, complimentary bottle of Guadalupe Valley wine, plate of chocolate-covered strawberries and marshmallows, and two 30-minute Swedish massages.

Valentine's Day Rosarito

Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort is hosting a romantic, masked ball for Valentine’s Day, with a buffet dinner and dancing to band Sonora con Inamita.

On Valentine’s weekend, one-night packages in a standard oceanfront room are $159 and  two-night packages $249. One-night packages in a deluxe one-bedroom condo are $229 and two-night packages $389. All include a late Sunday check-out.

Each package includes a complimentary bottle of wine, chocolate-covered strawberries and marshmallows, two tickets to the Valentine’s Ball, plus getaway dinners for two with two-night stays, Tickets to the ball purchased separately from a package are $39 per person.

The Valentine’s Ball will start at 7 p.m. in the Salon Mexicano Ballroom. Each ticket includes welcome margarita, carnival mask and free parking, As well as an expansive buffet and live music by Sonora con Inamita.

Plus, those who wear red to the Ball will have the chance to win a weekend getaway at the resort.

Reservations are available by calling 1-800-343-8582 (from the U.S.)  or 01-800-265-2322 (from Mexico), or by email online at reservation@rosaritobeachhotel.com.

 

 

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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Rosarito Beach Hotel Offers Special Rates to Potential Vacation Club Members

$55 and $99 2-Night Packages Available Through February 2016

Looking for an annual vacation spot and have Mexico in mind? From now until February, the Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort has an appealing offer.

Through Feb. 29 people interested in purchasing annual vacation time at Baja’s best known beachfront resort, just 30 miles south of San Diego, can ‘test drive’ the experience with a two-night stay in either a standard oceanfront room or deluxe condominium.

Sunday through Thursday, the special two-night stays in a standard room are $55 and $99 in a deluxe condominium , plus tax. Friday and Saturday night stays are $20 per night more. Each includes accommodations for two adults and two children 12 and under.

Rosarito Beach Hotel

Once frequented by celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe, the Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort remains a cross-border weekend getaway mecca for Southern Californians.

Each Vacation Club package includes four welcome margaritas and, to make it easier for guests to sample resort amenities, stays include a 20 percent discount on food and 20 percent at the luxurious Casa Playa Spa, once the mansion of the resort’s founding family.

To qualify for these rates, couples need only attend a 90-minute Vacation Club presentation during their stay.  The offer is open to married couples ages 32 to 62, with minimum  annual incomes of $45,000 and at least one major credit (not debit) card.

Mention the following code upon reserving: RBHCLUB. Available November until February 29, 2015, except Holidays and special events.  To reserve call 1-866-ROSARITO (from the U.S.) or 01-800-265-2322 (from Mexico). Offer based on availability only with prior reservations.

With almost 500 rooms and suites, the Rosarito Beach Hotel & Spa is Baja’s largest and best known oceanfront resort. It includes restaurants, bars, world-class spa, shops, pools, fishing pier, expansive beach and a host of other amenities.

Since it opened its doors in 1925, the Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort, has attracted millions of visitors as well as international royalty with its romantic old-world charm and hospitality. A galaxy of stars including Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra have been guests.

The Rosarito Beach Hotel is a totally self-contained resort and yet only a short stroll from the city’s downtown. It is near major Baja attractions, including the Puerto Nuevo Lobster Village and Baja’s Wine Country,

The resort also offers ownership options through its Residences program in its luxurious yet affordable 17-story Pacifico Tower, which opened in 2008.

Only 20 miles from the U.S. border, Rosarito Beach is home to mariachi bands, poets, artists and some of the best food in the world. Baja Studios, where Titanic, Master & Commander and other blockbusters were filmed is here

Rosarito also is known for surfing, fishing, off-roading, fine food and a myriad of nearby attractions – including the Guadalupe Valley Wine Country, just 37 miles away.

 

 

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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Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort Serves Up Special Packages for Thanksgiving

Historic Resort Celebrates Holiday with a Tasty Two-Nation Celebration

Just 30 miles south of San Diego, the Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort is a great locale for U.S. residents seeking to transform a traditional holiday into a two-nation celebration or mini-vacation.

This time of year, there are many opportunities to do so, from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s Eve. Thanksgiving includes some of the tastiest specials in Rosarito, a resort city that’s home to an estimated 14,000 expats.

Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort Serves Up Special Packages for Thanksgiving

Two-night lodging and dining packages are offered from $259 between Nov. 26 – 29, and three-night packages from $339. Packages includes lodging in a standard oceanfront room for up to two adults and two children (ages 12 and under), plus one traditional Thanksgiving dinner for each guest.

For those interested only in the dining option, the Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort offers three-course Thanksgiving dinners (including desserts) from Nov. 26 through 29. Early bird prices (before 6 p.m.) are $14.90 for adults, and $7.90 for children ages 12 and under. After 6 p.m., prices are $19.90 and $10.90, respectively.

The Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort has been a top destination for visitors from California and the Southwestern U.S., as well as from mainland Mexico. A short scenic drive south of the border, yet rich in Old World charm, the resort is the perfect spot for a two-nation vacation.

Founded in 1925, the resort boasts over 500 rooms – including 271 suites in its Pacifico Tower – with rooms, rates and specials to fit almost any travel budget. Lodging choices range from standard oceanfront rooms to a variety of fully equipped elegant suites.

The property is conveniently close to the downtown tourist district, and a short drive from major Baja California attractions like the Puerto Nuevo Lobster Village, Baja Studios (where Titanic was filmed), and the wine country of Valle de Guadalupe.

These packages are only available by phone reservation. Rates include tax, and no other discounts apply. Rooms are subject to availability. To reserve from the U.S., call 1-866-ROSARITO. From Mexico, dial 01-800-265-2322.

For information about other holiday specials, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve, go to www.rosaritobeachhotel.com.

 

 

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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Former Navy Vessel to Serve as Centerpiece of Rosarito Underwater Park

Destination Dive: Date Set for Sinking of Decommissioned Mexican Patrol Boat, Creation of Artificial Reef and Underwater Park Near Puerto Nuevo

On November 21, 2015, a few carefully calibrated charges will send the decommissioned Mexican Navy patrol boat Uribe to her final resting place: in 90’ of water in Bahía El Descanso, two miles off the coast of the famed lobster village of Puerto Nuevo.

Rosarito Underwater Park

Named for a hero of the Battle of Veracruz in 1914, the ARM Uribe served as a Mexican Navy patrol boat for nearly 30 years.

The sinking will be the culmination of years of hard work – bringing the 220’ ship over from Manzanillo, cleaning and preparing her, and determining her ideal underwater location were all expensive and time consuming propositions – but also the beginning of a far more ambitious project, which is the formation of the 100-acre Rosarito Underwater Park (or Parque Submarino Rosarito).

In addition to a “ship graveyard” and artificial reef formed by the Uribe and three other vessels, the underwater park will also feature shallower sections showcasing, respectively, pyramids and statues that evoke Mexico’s Pre-Hispanic past, and a Titanic tribute with chimneys, propellers and other pieces of wreckage. There will also be an onshore museum.

Rosarito Underwater Park

The 100-acre Rosarito Underwater Park will feature a graveyard of sunken ships, as well as a Pre-Hispanic “Atlantis,” and a tribute to the Titanic.

Although it will take at least two more years for the artificial reef to develop into a flourishing marine habitat, it is expected that the park will eventually become a Pacific Coast dive mecca and major tourist draw. And since late summer and early autumn are the best times to dive – warmer waters translate to increased visibility – the park should provide a much needed boost during the region´s slow, off-peak travel season. Forecasts estimate as many as 100,000 people a year will visit the park, many form nearby Southern California.

The Uribe, or ARM (Armada de la República Mexicana) P121, was launched in 1982, and was the first of six Spanish built Uribe Class patrol vessels. These were the first ships in the Mexican Navy to operate onboard helicopters. P121 was named for Virgilio Uribe, a young Naval Cadet who died fighting U.S. Marines during the Battle of Veracruz in 1914. The ARM Uribe was retired following a crippling fire in 2011.

For more information, or to help contribute to the project, visit www.rosaritounderwaterpark.com.

 

The Uribe may well be the centerpiece of the most ambitious artificial reef ever created off the Baja California peninsula, but it will not be the first. That honor belongs to the Fang Ming, which along with another vessel confiscated for transporting illegal Chinese immigrants, was sunk near Isla Espíritu Santo – just north of La Paz – in November 1999. The Fang Ming lies approximately 70’ beneath the Sea of Cortez, and is now a thriving habitat for fish, mollusks, sea turtles, and other marine life.

 

And Cabo San Lucas has recently begun offering dive trips to its own artificial reef, thanks to Hurricane Odile. The category 4 storm devastated the Los Cabos area when it made landfall on September 14, 2014, but it did have at least one positive long-term effect: partially uncovering the forward half of the Lunderberg, a cargo ship that went down in 1954 while transporting gypsum plaster from San Marcos Island near Santa Rosalía. That the ship sunk so close to Land’s End is rather curious, and local legend has it that the first mate knowingly steered her to her doom after suffering massive gambling losses. Whatever the cause, the shipwreck is now the site of a burgeoning artificial reef, and the southernmost city’s most exciting new dive destination.

 

 

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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Best Costume Wins Big Treats at Rosarito Beach Hotel Halloween Party

Weekend Lodging Specials Also Offered

The Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort will feature a Halloween party in its Rosa & Rita Bar the night of Oct. 31, with prizes for the person with the best costume.

Rosarito Beach Hotel Halloween PartyThe winner gets a luxurious one-night stay in a one-bedroom condo in the resort’s 17-story Pacifico Tower, as well as brunch for two, and two 30-minute Swedish massages.

In addition to the costume contest, the Halloween party includes happy hour prices from 8 to 10 p.m., plus karaoke at the historic hotel, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.

For those who want to expand the party into a stay at Baja’s largest and best known beachfront resort, the hotel offers a lodging special Friday and Saturday nights: $109 nightly for a standard oceanfront room, and $139 for a one-bedroom condo.

Each nightly stay includes Getaways dinner for two, and two children (12 and under) can stay free in their parents’ room. (Rates are plus tax and subject to availability; no other discounts apply).

Rosarito Beach Hotel Halloween Party

Since 1925, the Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort has been a top destination for visitors from California and the Southwestern U.S., as well as Mexico. A short scenic drive south of the border is rich in Old World charm, and the resort is the perfect spot for a two-nation vacation.

With 500 rooms – including 271 suites in its Pacifico Tower – the resort has rates and specials to fit almost any travel budget. Lodging choices range from standard oceanfront rooms to a variety of elegant, fully-equipped suites.

The resort is totally self-contained, yet only a short stroll from the downtown tourist district, and a short drive from major Baja attractions like the Puerto Nuevo Lobster Village, Baja Studios (where Titanic was filmed), and the Guadalupe Valley Wine Country.

To reserve the Halloween lodging special, call 1-866-ROSARITO, or go to www.rosaritobeachhotel.com.

 

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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Rosarito Beach Hotel Kicks Off Baja California’s Crustacean Season with its Annual Steak and Lobster Festival

October brings the start of fresh lobster season in Baja California, and with it the annual Steak and Lobster Festival in the oceanfront gardens of the Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort. Ten restaurants will be featured at the festival, scheduled from noon until 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 25.

steak-lobster-festival-en

The annual Steak and Lobster Festival coincides with the start of fresh lobster season, which extends from October until March.

Lobsters helped make Baja California famous, and the Rosarito region has given its name to the most famous preparation for the spiny crustacean:  Puerto Nuevo-style. Millions are served in the region, often along with fresh tortillas, beans and rice…and sometimes margaritas.

Dinners that include steak, lobster and a drink will be served for $20. But admission to the event, which will also feature music, dancing and local artists, is free. CANIRAC Rosarito, the local restaurant association, is the sponsor. Further details are available at (661) 612-0700 or canirac.rosarito@gmail.com.

The Steak and Lobster Festival is one of many special events featured at the Rosarito Beach Hotel and Resort during the year, and the property is offering specials for those who want to combine a weekend mini-vacation with a destination event.

Specials include deals on both standard rooms and suites, for both weekdays and weekends. Each includes lodging for two adults and two children (12 and under), daily dinners, and two 30-minute Swedish massages or facials.

Standard rooms Sundays to Thursdays are $129 per night, and $259 for a Friday and Saturday night package. Deluxe one-bedroom condos in the Pacifico Tower from Sundays through Thursdays are $179 per night; $339 for the Friday and Saturday package.

(Spa treatments are available daily throughout the work week, but are limited to one for weekend stays. Rates plus tax are based on double occupancy. Packages are valid until December 22, 2015, except during holidays or special events. Spa packages require advance reservations.).

To reserve one of these specials including spa time, call 1-866 ROSARITO, or go to www.rosaritobeachhotel.com and select reservation@rosaritobeachhotel.com.

The resort is totally self-contained, yet only a short stroll from the downtown tourist district, and a short drive from major regional attractions like the Puerto Nuevo Lobster Village, Baja Studios (where Titanic was filmed), and the Valle de Guadalupe wine country.

 

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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Sabor de Baja Reaches New Heights in 2015

Elegant End-of-Summer Affair at the Rosarito Beach Hotel Draws Rave Reviews from White-Clad Attendees

Sabor de Baja

The 3rd annual Sabor de Baja gala and culinary competition was held Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at the Rosarito Beach Hotel.

The weather was hot and humid – more like Acapulco than northern Baja – but the impassioned competition ended up being even hotter.

For the third year in a row, the annual Sabor de Baja event at the Rosarito Beach Hotel was a smashing success.  As a matter of fact, many of the guests at the sold out event indicated that they thought the 2015 gala set a new standard for elegant attire (dress code: all white), and elegantly prepared cuisine paired with Baja California’s finest wines.

Sabor a Baja

Chef Bo Bendana of Mi Casa Supper Club founded Sabor de Baja in 2013.

The founder of Sabor de Baja is Chef Bo Bendana of Rosarito’s venerated Mi Casa Supper Club. The restaurant is well known for its unique “Moroxican” fusion, which highlights the best notes of cuisines that originate in both northern Africa and the Republic of Mexico.

However, the true purpose of this annual gala is not to focus merely on the tasting of epicurean fare and fine wine, but rather upon the gastronomic magic that takes place when they are artfully paired.  Hence, the emphasis is on booths comprised of carefully selected teams of both a vintner and a restaurateur.

Chef Bendana explains: “Our Judges rate each pair of entries not only on how the food, wine or beer may taste individually, but on how well they work together.”

This year’s lineup of participating chefs included Erick Alcazar, Manuel Brito, Iker Castillo, Antonio de Liver, Nadya Fernandez, Jaime Galindo, Giannina Gavaldon, Diego Hernandez, Javier Plascencia and Martin San Roman.

The judging panel was made up of a variety of reviewers, which included TV Show host, chef and author Porter Brooks, Ms. Anita Lau, who is an international author, food and lifestyle blogger and food TV guest judge, Michelin starred Chef Drew Deckman, owner of Deckman’s of El Mogor restaurant, national food blogger Michael Gardiner and aspiring chef Marco Antonio Amado, who also happens to be the top enologist in the Valle De Guadalupe region.

Without a doubt, being a judge at the Sabor de Baja is not an easy task, since every entrant in the competition, whether vintner, brewer or restaurateur, represent the apex of their particular craft. Needless to say, winning top honors at an upscale event of this nature is the ultimate prize, yet simply being included as a contestant is a special distinction in and of itself.

Sabor de Baja

The Rosarito Beach Hotel’s chef and his kitchen staff show off their skills at the 3rd annual Sabor de Baja.

In the end, Chef Marco Marin of restaurant Latitud 32 and El Cielo wines from Valle Guadalupe took first place. El Cielo’s delightful 2014 Cassiopea Sauvignon Blanc proved to be the perfect pairing with Marin’s mouthwatering Mayan Black Ceviche, which incorporated a robust orange habanero chili oil, fresh tomato, red onion, cilantro sprouts and a dusting of recado negro.

In addition to wonderful food and wine, the lively entertainment on stage kept guests engaged throughout the event. Even though it was a bit warm, the music inspired many attendees to make it out onto the dance floor as the evening wore on.

Once again, the superlative efforts of Chef Bo Bendana and the Rosarito Beach Hotel combined to produce yet another top flight Sabor de Baja.  And, since they seem to get better and better every year, the tickets for this annual gala might very well end up being sold out even quicker in 2016.

 

Sabor de Baja

The weather was hot, but the oysters were on ice at Sabor de Baja.

 

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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Seafood Nirvana: Succumbing to Mariscos Madness in Popotla

Seafood Nirvana: Succumbing to Mariscos Madness in Popotla

POPOTLA, BAJA CALIFORNIA – Okay, I’ll admit it. El Gringo has a seafood jones the size of Ensenada. Not a day goes by when I don’t salivate, nay, slather, over a recollection of my favorite mariscos (seafood) – be it fish, mollusk or crustacean. In my fevered mental meanderings, the mariscos are carefully prepared raw, on a mesquite grill or in a kitchen, and served south of the border in the classic Sinaloan and/or Sonoran style. Sure, the Puerto Nuevo lobster was a good buzz for a while. Though in hindsight, I realize that these now-mostly-imported-frozen-from-Australia, buttery, fried crustaceans were only a gateway dish to a fresher, tastier kick. And that Popotla, a small fishing village just south of Rosarito Beach, was to me as beat writer William Burroughs’ Morocco was to him: an endless source of the only sustenance that could scratch a never-ending itch…the freshest seafood possible prepared in a seemingly infinite number of ways.

Mariscos madness in Popotla

Fresh fish and shellfish for sale, Popotla, Baja California.

Mariscos madness in Popotla

Popotla in all of it’s fresh, delicious and ramshackle glory.

Though we had recently returned from Oaxaca, El Gringo’s Señorita was in need of a day off –something amiss amongst the activity during our twelve days of Christmas spent exploring this beautiful region in the Mexican Heartland. When I saw that a favorite nearby Rosarito Beach area hotel, Las Rocas, had a special on rooms for 50% off, I immediately booked a full suite ($70/night) for us and our five-year old hijo, and eagerly anticipated the crash of the waves lulling us to sleep each night as I dreamt of the tasty critters swimming beneath them.

“Since we don’t check in to the hotel until 3 p.m. and it’s Sunday, we should really stop in Popotla for lunch.” I urged my Señorita, employing my best Pescetarian logic with a slight twitch in my jaw. Sunday IS the best day in Popotla. Locals, visitors and a smattering of tourists arrive by the car and truckload, lining the dirt road that hugs the south wall of Baja Studios. They shop for the day’s catch near the rocks down by the ocean and have it prepared and cooked for them at one of the many ramshackle restaurants that comprise Popotla’s center.

Mariscos madness in Popotla

Catch of the day displayed on a makeshift panga market.

Mariscos madness in Popotla

Preparing shrimp, sea urchins and other seafood, seaside.

We arrived in the village at around 1 p.m. and pulled up behind the last car in the long line leading to the shore. Walking past the restaurants toward the market on the beach, we chatted with a few of the hawkers attempting to entice us into their establishments and checked out what they had on offer. The shellfish shimmered in the cloud-muted sun. The displays of red snapper, ling cod and ocean perch appeared to be opening their hooked mouths, pleading, “Choose me. I’m better than the others.” Coming down from my Huachinango hallucination, I found myself posing for a photo holding a giant rock crab (aka “Martian”) by the claws as a gentleman placed a large sombrero on my head. NOOOOOOO! I’m not that kind of Gringo! That photo shall remain unpublished, BTW, and hopefully will not show up on TMZ!

Mariscos madness in Popotla

Magnificent mollusks, ready to be shucked, prepared and consumed in Popotla.

Arriving oceanside, we found at least two dozen tables lining the shore with every kind of seafood imaginable on display. Spotting fresh sea urchin, I quickly stopped and ordered a cocktail, this edible echinoid being a newly appreciated taste for El Gringo. The girl preparing it cracked open two sea urchins, separating the good, mushy yellow stuff from the rest in a bowl of salt water. She placed these very generous portions in a plastic cup, adding clamato, cilantro, lemon and a bit of hot sauce to create the perfect uni shooter. It was briny and refreshing and the urchin was perfectly fresh and delicious.

Mariscos madness in Popotla

She shucks shellfish by the seashore. Sea urchin prep in Popotla.

Mariscos madness in Popotla

A bit of clamato, lime, hot sauce, cilantro and loads of Sea Urchin!

I ordered up a chocolate clam for my hijo, which was shucked, cleaned and prepared for him ready to eat. We both slurped our seafood and enjoyed the ocean view.

Mariscos madness in Popotla

Delicious and fresh chocolate clams, served right by the ocean in Popotla.

Dizzy from the experience, we worked our way back up to “town” and chose Restaurant Atotonilco as our lunch destination. We were seated on the back patio with a fine ocean view, and presented with a menu of myriad and illicit seafood treats ripe for the picking. My head was swimming with the possibilities. El Gringo’s Señorita chose the bacon wrapped shrimp. Apologies for no photo of the meal, it was too good and we were too worked up with hunger, devouring them before we thought of taking a shot! El Gringo ordered a mixed mariscos cocktail with pulpo, shrimp and oysters (delicious and fresh) and of course, Pescado Zarendeado, a marinated, butterflied and grilled preparation of red snapper (Read about my Zarendeado epiphany here). We had it served in the “deluxe” style, which included grilled pulpo (octopus), shrimp and queso atop the flattened fish. Between the three of us, we devoured the kilo of snapper and accouterments, enjoying every savory, hot and delicious bite.

Mariscos madness in Popotla

My “Death Row Meal.” Pescado Zarendeado with grilled pulpo, shrimp and queso.

Satiated, we stumbled out of the restaurant and back up the road to our waiting Jeep and the next leg of our Baja adventure. As a fellow addict, I can only urge you to seek help the next time YOU need a fix of fresh fish. Just head south of the border to Popotla and tell them El Gringo sent you. Word on the street is that it’s good stuff.

Your Gringo in Mexico,
Scott

 

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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Mi Casa Supper Club: A Touch of Class in Rosarito Beach

Mi Casa Supper Club: A Touch of Class in Rosarito Beach

ROSARITO BEACH, BAJA CALIFORNIA – “Food isn’t a new passion. I started cooking when I was just six years old.” Chef Bo Bendana Sein eased back into the stylishly upholstered seat at our table. The last rays of sunlight streamed in from the edge of the Pacific just outside the large patio windows that line the western side of her new restaurant, Mi Casa Supper Club in the San Antonio del Mar community of Rosarito Beach. Dressed in chef whites, her brown and blonde streaked hair flowed from under a colorful bandana. Though not wearing makeup, Chef Bo is stunningly attractive, radiant – appearing at least a decade younger than her forty four years. Her dusty blue eyes sparkled in the setting sun as she continued…

Mi Casa Supper Club

Mi Casa Supper Club. Elegant “Moroxican” dining in Rosarito Beach.

“I lost track of cooking for a while and went to study interior design at the Fashion Institute, my first profession.” Bo’s time at FIT was well spent. The restaurant’s interior boasts delicate mother of pearl chandeliers, large upholstered wooden chairs, luxurious sofas, a fireplace and even two “bubble” chairs from Bali, the backs high enough to create a private, romantic table for two smack dab in the middle of the space. The finishes are all warm wood and earth tones, complementing the vast blue of the sky and ocean outside. The impression given is one of Morocco meets Orange County, Chef Bo’s home country and her last residence in the US before moving here with her husband Dennis nine years ago.

Mi Casa Supper Club

Mi Casa Supper Club’s cozy, elegant interiors.

Bo continued, “When things got a little tense in Baja California, no one wanted to go out to eat at night. So we’d go to each other’s homes. That’s when I started cooking again.” This was 2008, when cartel violence had reached a peak in the region. “Collectively, we formed a supper club, and would host weekly dinners in members’ private homes. But as our club became more popular, we outgrew even the largest houses. Our last private dinner had 52 attendees.”

With culinary tourism becoming popular in Tijuana, Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe, Bo and Dennis decided it was time to invest in a more permanent restaurant, building Mi Casa Supper Club from the ground up. Since it opened in the summer of 2014, the restaurant has quickly become a favorite of the local expat population and is also gaining popularity with visitors to Baja California. Recently, the restaurant rose to #1 on TripAdvisor for Rosarito Beach.

Mi Casa Supper Club

Tea time at Mi Casa Supper Club.

Just last night, Bo was host to the sold-out second annual Sabor de Baja, a culinary competition and white attire event that she and Dennis organize and manage. A monumental task for sure, the seemingly tireless Bo shows no sign of wear this evening, though is visibly enjoying her break from the kitchen to chat with El Gringo and family. I had helped judge the competition, tasting 17 dishes from Baja’s best chefs, winemakers and craft brewers and Bo had graciously invited us to her restaurant to sample her cooking. Chef Bo refers to her menu – which changes monthly – as “Moroxican”, the application of Moroccan recipes and preparation techniques to locally-culled Baja California ingredients.

Mi Casa Supper Club

Bo Bendana Sein with Martin San Roman, winner of this year’s Sabor de Baja, the event she organizes.

Earlier, when we arrived at Mi Casa Supper Club, Bo’s instruction to her head waiter was to “…keep bringing in small plates for them, so they can taste a little bit of everything,” turning to me, she smiled, “You just let us know when to stop.” Not a problem chef! Napkins on laps, glasses of wine poured – and a lemonade for El Gringo’s hijo – we were up to the challenge and ready to enjoy a feast of Chef Bo’s Moroccan-inspired Baja cuisine.

Mi Casa Supper Club

Fresh organic fig bruschetta with roasted walnuts, basil, goat cheese and aged balsamic vinegar.

Mi Casa Supper Club

Labneh cheese, black cured olives, Za’atar infused olive oil.

Mi Casa Supper Club

Gigamoto oysters with chili, ginger, champagne vinegar sauce & flying fish eggs.

Mi Casa Supper Club

Fried oysters with mango habañero chutney.

Mi Casa Supper Club

Chicken tagine with homemade preserved Meyer lemons and green olives.

Mi Casa Supper Club

Slow cooked sirloin in saffron sauce with sweet plums.

Mi Casa Supper Club

Mini chocolate cake, key lime pie cheesecake with candied rinds and chocolate truffles.

At the end of the evening, Chef Bo asked El Gringo’s 6 year old how he liked the food. He replied, “It was like a present for my mouth”. With Mi Casa Supper Club’s winning combination of Moroccan and Mexican, sweet and savory, delicate and hearty, I would fully agree with his assessment and suggest that you stop by for your own Middle Eastern feast in Baja California. And tell Chef Bo El Gringo sent you!

 

Mi Casa Supper Club is located at 54 Estero, San Antonio Del Mar, Rosarito, Mexico – at the entrance to the community of San Antonio Del Mar exit from the toll road. Phone: +52 664 609 3459. Open Thursday & Friday to everyone after 5:00pm. Sunday noon to 8:00pm.

 

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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Eight Ways to Eat (and Drink) Your Way through Rosarito Beach

Eight Ways to Eat (and Drink) Your Way through Rosarito Beach

ROSARITO BEACH, BAJA CALIFORNIA – Located off Baja California’s Highway 1, tiny Rosarito Beach (pop. 70,000) is often overlooked as a culinary destination in deference to Ensenada’s seafood scene to the south, and Baja Med just north (and closer to the border) in Tijuana. But a little time spent exploring some of Rosarito’s restaurants, taco stands, farms, hotels and its single winery will unearth an abundant, fresh, farm-and-sea-to-table smorgasbord. Of course, every old “Baja Hand’s” favorites are still there…Puerto Nuevo style lobster and El Nido’s mesquite-grilled Sonoran steaks. But on a recent trip, I found some surprises as well…craft beers at the Rosarito Beer Fest and a famous taco stand somehow missed during past excursions just south of the border.

In no particular order, read ‘em and drool…

1. Claudius Viña Y Bodega

Master winemaker Julio Benito Martin from Segovia, Spain, started Rosarito Beach’s only winery in 2010 with a 300 case production. Today, he’s planning on releasing 15,000 cases in 2015 and is bringing his wines to a wider national market. Claudius boasts some outstanding reds. Their 2012 Nebbiolo was my favorite – fruity, bold and with a bit of chocolate. Julio let me know that it was still young…and he’d be lucky if the rest of the vintage makes it until its peak 5th year. Claudius also hosts winemaking classes.

Claudius Viña y Bodega is available for private tastings by appointment, events and winemaking classes. They are located at Bulevar Sharp 3722, 22710 Rosarito, B.C., Mexico. Website.

Rosarito Beach

Ernesto Diaz Perez and Master Winemaker Julio Benito Martin of Claudius Winery.

2. Baja Produce

Owner Fernanda Sanchez stocks a variety of fresh produce including olives and cheeses from the Valle de Guadalupe, homemade bread and the BEST, firmest, freshest tomatoes I’ve ever had. On hand also are a variety of Baja produced lotions, honeys, wines, art, music and other goodies. The location, right on the free road, also has a quaint, rustic restaurant in which to kick back and enjoy some of Baja’s bounty, delivered right to your table.

Baja Produce is located at Popotla 10, Col. Cuenca Diaz, Rosarito, B.C., Mexico. Website.

Rosarito Beach

Baja Produce’s selection of Valle de Guadalupe cheeses at their Rosarito Beach location.

3. Popotla

If you’ve followed El Gringo, you know I have a “thing” for Popotla and this fishing village’s fresh seafood, as I’ve posted here. And here. In Popotla the fishermen bring their catch to shore daily and local vendors and restaurants prepare it at a price that’s typically much less than what you’d pay in the States. After you’ve experienced Popotla’s beachside and restaurant scene, you can head just north of the village proper to Popotla Restaurant and Bar for a more formal meal. Located oddly at a nicer mobile home park, their ceviches, clams and Puerto Nuevo style lobster are superb.

Popotla Restaurant and Bar is located at Carretera libre Tijuana Ensenada Km 34, 22710 Rosarito, B.C., Mexico. Website.

Rosarito Beach

Delicious and fresh chocolate clams, served right by the ocean in Popotla.

4. Tacos El Yaqui

They say, “If you haven’t had Tacos El Yaqui, you haven’t been to Rosarito Beach.” Well, it’s official, El Gringo has now been to Rosarito Beach and loves Tacos El Yaqui’s smoky beefy goodness. Founded in 1967, Tacos El Yaqui serves one type of taco only, and they do it very well. Marinated Sonoran arrachera (skirt steak) is cooked over oak on a metal box grill, then served with onions, guacamole, cilantro and beans in a hearty flour tortilla. Grilled chilis and radishes are served on the side. The line for Tacos El Yaqui has been known to go down the street…these are tacos worth waiting for!

Tacos El Yaqui is located at Mar del Norte, 22710, Rosarito Beach, B.C., Mexico. Website.

Rosarito Beach

Tacos El Yaqui does one taco really, really well. Marinated and grilled arrachera from Sonora.

5. Rosarito Beer Fest

El Gringo was privileged to attend the first annual Rosarito Beer Fest during a recent visit. Baja California’s proximity to the craft beer scene in San Diego has spawned a burgeoning brew culture here as well – particularly in Tijuana, Ensenada and Mexicali, all of whom represented at the Beer Fest held at the famous Festival Plaza in the center of town. Standouts were the Chocolate Stout from Funes in Tijuana, and a lineup of Tequila and Mojito-flavored brews from Salitos.

Rosarito Beach

Raul Aispuro Funes of Funes Beer in Tijuana shows off his new Chocolate Stout.

6. Puerto Nuevo

Puerto Nuevo. You remember it well. Home of the buttery, grilled, don’t-need-to-refinanace-your-home-to-afford-it lobster feast. This Baja village is still serving up mariscos and its world-famous lobsters at a number of restaurants in town. Though Puerto Nuevo has suffered a reputation for sourcing it’s crustaceans frozen and from Australia over the past decade (the local waters apparently “lobstered out”), La Casa Del Pescador served us up a platter of the tasty red critters that were moist, flavorful and wholly satisfying.

La Casa del Pescador is located at Paseo del Mar No. 5, Puerto Nuevo, Rosarito, B.C., Mexico.Website.

Rosarito Beach

Lobster feast at La Cas del Pescador, Puerto Nuevo, Rosarito Beach, Mexico.

7. Rancho Las Ilusiones

If you can tear yourself away from the beach and travel east of the highway up into the hills a bit, with the proper directions, you’ll arrive at the sprawling Rancho Las Ilusiones. Rancho Las Ilusiones is a family-owned working ranch and organic farm with crops, sheep, goats, cows, chickens, turkeys and even a few peacocks. In 2012, the Cordero family opened their palapa restaurant and offer a very fresh list of options for brunch, made from the ranch’s produce and meats. El Gringo dug into the Conejo (rabbit) Machaca and Eggs and had a couple of cups of really good, strong coffee. The desserts were homemade, and although I didn’t partake, I was assured by a fellow diner that they were delicious.

Rancho Las Ilusiones is located at Calle Baja California, Colonia Morelos, 22710, Rosarito, B.C., Mexico. Facebook Page.

Rosarito Beach

Rancho Las Ilusiones is a working ranch and organic farm just east of Rosarito Beach.

8. Restaurant El Nido

Another old Baja saying goes, “Where there are gringos, there’ll be an El Nido.” Opened in 1971, the Rosarito Beach location is the original and still the best. Much of the restaurant’s produce, fowl and game meats come from its farms just east of town in the foothills. One is Rancho Guacatay, which raises much of their free-range venison. El Nido’s location in town is a beautiful rustic mess of stone, waterfalls, plants, palapas, rusted farm implements and folk art. On a recent visit, I sampled their ribeye, venison and quail, which were perfectly grilled and presented.

El Nido Restaurant is located at Mar del Cortez #348 Sur, Rosarito Beach, B.C., Mexico.Website.

Rosarito Beach

El Nido’s paradilla of ribeye, venison and quail. All farmed and sourced locally.

Hungry yet? I am! Get down (or back down) to Rosarito Beach soon for the weekend or just a casual Sunday and enjoy some of the great cuisine the region has to offer.

Your Gringo In Mexico,
Scott

 

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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