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