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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Little Shops of Delight: A Maze of Tiendas in Rosarito

by Jack E. George

If you are visiting Rosarito Beach and have a few extra hours to enjoy this  friendly town, visit the ‘maze’:  a labyrinth of  delightful little shops that do not have an official name. You can find them by walking a few blocks north of the Rosarito Beach Hotel. They are immediately after you pass the El Nido steakhouse restaurant and right before you reach the Scotia Bank. Look carefully — there is a small placard outside that invites you in. If you look up and to your left, you will see the word, “Entrance.” The word is a bit faded, as is the placard. Chances are they are both original from when the shops opened more than 25 years ago.

A shopper's paradise Photo by Jack E. George

Marino Ruiz operates one of the units. He explained that each ‘shop’ is actually owned. He said that he owned this particular unit where I looked at his remarkable ceramic pieces, and then he proudly pointed across the way to a number of dresses gently blowing in the wind. He also owns that business but rents the space.  Marino has been at this location for more than 20 years. It has been in the family since the opening of the ‘arcade.’

 Marino explained that most of his ceramics come from Jalisco, Michoacán, Puebla, and Oaxaca. He does not buy directly from the people who make the products. Instead, he buys from a ‘middleman’ who travels throughout Mexico selling these wares. His shop across the way offers many dresses for sale. They are all from the state of Guerrero. Again, they are purchased from a middleman although different from the person selling the ceramics.

It is interesting to engage in a conversation with the various owners.  Each one is truly a unique individual with a great amount of knowledge and information, and owners eagerly and joyously share their knowledge with you.  When you find an article you want to buy, enjoy yourself by offering a little less than the asking price. The shop attendants expect you to ‘haggle’ with them.  So, do not be shy and chances are you will walk off with a real bargain. That said, remember that these prices are generally already excellent, considering the artisan handwork involved…so don’t be greedy!

Gilbert Mendoza owns a shop that has a variety of items for sale including dresses. His dresses come from Acapulco. Interestingly, none of the handmade dresses have tags inside indicating the seamstress. Throughout his shop you will not find two dresses made from the same material. Toward the back of the arcade Estella Lopez operates an interesting shop offering rocks and seashells. She has some elaborate pieces that hang from the ceiling. She buys her items from Guadalajara and Durango. She has been at her business for 25 years.

There are a number of ‘jewelry stores.’ One is owned by Peter Fernandez. He has a variety of rings, necklaces, earrings, and so forth. He actually works in his Rosarito Beach shop for four months a year and then hires assistants to operate it the other eight months while he returns to Mexicali. He operates more shops in his hometown but he likes to get away during the soaring heat of summer.

I asked each shop owner if anything sold in the arcade has products made in Rosarito Beach. I was then directed to the shop of Francisco Vazquez. He offers a huge number of clay art pieces and each one is handmade in Rosarito Beach. He was proud to let me know that he created the placard that stands in front of the arcade. He even has a name for his shop, and a business card, “Curios Leo.”

Once you enter the arcade you will be so overwhelmed, with the ‘feast of the eyes,’ that you will not know if you want to turn left or right. You probably will feel like you are in a maze. It really does not matter because it is truly a bit of Old Mexico right here in Rosarito Beach. The thing is, there are 198 different ‘units,’ although the placard out front says there are more than 200. You can really find most anything here. If you want a beautiful piece of jewelry from Taxco, all kinds of leather goods, a great Mexican painting, dresses, ceramics from all around Mexico, or thousands of other items, you will find them here, all in an area of less than one block.

This is truly a signature Baja day-trip!  What is the coolest thing you’ve bought on your vacation?  Let us know 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 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.

Get to Know Rosarito

Rosarito lies along the highway that connects Tijuana to Ensenada.  From skyscrapers, colonial hotel buildings, and spas to art galleries, shopping, and lobster, this beachfront resort town has a lot to offer visitors from near and far.

Image courtesy of Laura Wong

Surfing

Winter is prime surfing time, especially at beaches like Punta Mezquite. Here, the Pacific Ocean provides great views and ideal sport fishing conditions.  Nearby, you can find shops specializing in surfing and all kinds of water sports equipment.

Vibrant nightlife is another attraction: numerous bars and clubs have been the main engine for growth in Rosarito.

History

It all started during the 1920s, when the Rosarito Beach Hotel was built in Belgian-style architecture. It remains a local icon to this day.

No less important in the growth of Rosarito is the Hotel Calafia. It was designed with inspiration from important Spanish forts of the 16th century. It offers museum exhibits devoted to the history of Baja California and the movie Titanic, along with a replica of Columbus caravels.  As part of its commitment to the full satisfaction to its guests, the hotel offers spacious indoor and outdoor settings for weddings and conventions, as well as a bilingual trained staff.

Art and Film

Just down the road is the movie theme park, Xploration. This interactive cinema museum is an annex of a studio that was constructed in 1995 by Fox to film the movie Titanic. Visitors can learn about techniques used in film productions, such as models, animatronics, green screen, and sound effects. The Titanic exhibition presents several complete scenarios, props, and a legendary transatlantic boat in scale model. Other attractions in the park include the ship used in the filming of the movie Master and Commander and some tape scenarios used in the X-Men films.

Heading south toward Ensenada, you will pass through Popotla and the Artisans corridor, with a number of art galleries and shops selling Mexican crafts, furniture and home decorations. Look for wood furniture and handicrafts in clay and iron, among other decorative items. A few miles further south, you will arrive  in Puerto Nuevo, Baja’s lobster capital. Following local tradition, restaurants fry the lobsters in oil and serve them with red rice, refried beans and fresh, handmade flour tortillas. This is a must-try for those who travel to eat.

Outdoors

The Rosarito Canyon features vegetable gardens and flower fields that belong to various ranches and are open to the public. Other options for recreation include swimming pools and horseback riding trails.

For golf, try the Real Del Mar Golf Course and Hotel, which has an 18-hole course with challenging fairways and great ocean views.

Information courtesy of the Baja California State Tourism Secretariat.