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About Lisa Green

Travel has always been a source of great joy and wonder for Lisa. She has been fortunate to travel to many magnificent destinations all around the world, and has enjoyed amazing experiences throughout Europe, the Caribbean, North America, Down Under, Thailand and her beloved Mexico. The 2008 Olympics in China was definitely a “bucket list” travel highlight.

Have A Baja Moment! Todos Santos Hosts 2nd Annual Gastrovino Festival

Have A Baja Moment! Todos Santos Hosts 2nd Annual Gastrovino Festival

What better way to spend a sunny, gorgeous Sunday afternoon than drinking fine Mexican wines accompanied by samplings of great Baja cuisine! The 2nd Annual Gastrovino Festival brought over 700 people out to the plaza of the Pueblo Magico, Todos Santos on Sunday, May 5th, to celebrate the food and wines of Baja.

Gastrovino Festival

The 2nd Annual Gastrovino Festival was held on May 5th in Todos Santos.

Eleven wineries offered tastings of some of the finest vintages from the Valle de Guadalupe and elsewhere in the Baja. Combined with tapas from 17 different local restaurants and caterers, the large crowd was treated to the many different flavors and creations that represent Baja cuisine.

The competition was fierce, but the crowd voted Cavas Valmar’s Chenin Blanc as their favorite white and Vinos Shimul as their favorite red. Local winemakers Sierra Laguna won the favorite rose category with their unique fruit-wine showcased in a beautiful bottle painted with scenes of Todos Santos.

The gastronomy was just as special, with a guest visit from San Jose del Cabo Chef Drew Deckman, who wowed the crowd with his octopus and pork belly tacos. Todos Santos’ favorite chefs Sergio Rivera from La Casita served up hearty paella, Angelo Dal Bon from Tre Galline shared a rich pasta with duck, and Dany LaMote from Santo Vino featured his Barbacoa. There were some wonderful healthy choices served up as well. Whole wheat crepes by Dominique Catering, spring rolls and vegan “cheesecake” from Pura Vida, and a choice of yummy options from Bistro Magico, one of Todos Santos’ newest restaurants.

Gastrovino Festival

Eleven top Mexican wineries were represented at the 2nd Annual Gastrovino Festival, showcasing wines from Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe.

But Gastrovino is so much more than just the Sunday afternoon event. Throughout the weekend there were several wonderful opportunities for a more intimate experience with food and wine.

On Friday night, thirty lucky guests enjoyed a wine pairing feast combining the culinary artistry of our own Chef Dany LaMote from Santo Vino with the wine creations of Cava Maciel, a small family-run winery from Valle de Guadalupe. The diverse menu started with the local bounty of fresh shellfish, paired with chardonnay from stainless steel, and organic local produce with duck breast and chevre with an oaked chardonnay. The main course of panfried local halibut in green mole was partnered with the Cava Maciel Luneo Mouvedre, and a barbacoa of rabbit with wild mushroom risotto was beautifully complimented by their Merlot. They poured their Chardonnary and an herb dessert wine, along with Damiana to accompany the Drunken Thyme cake and zabaglione. This feast was truly a gastronomic dream!

Gastrovino Festival

The 2nd Annual Gastrovino Festival was hosted by La Bodega de Todos Santos, one of Baja’s best wine shops.

The festivities continued on Saturday with “Bubbly Time” – a tasting of Freixenet sparkling wines paired with tapas by guest caterer Stilleto & Spyce from San Francisco. It was another lovely afternoon at our host, La Bodega de Todos Santos, with music to accompany the creative preparations of gazpacho, crostini, sesame-crusted ahi, and lemon chia tapioca paired with four varied champagnes. Cavas Freixenet originated in Spain and has expanded throughout Europe, California, and South America, and they are now producing their great “espumas” on mainland Mexico, in Queretero.

Saturday night featured a choice of events. Chef Dany was at it again at Hotel California presenting a selection of appetizers, accompanied by eight select wines from Cava Valmar, Cava Maciel, Freixenet and Vinart. It was an elegant affair with live music. The Distillery also hosted a special showing of the ever-apropos film “Sideways” while offering tastings from Sierra Laguna, L.A. Cetto, Casa Madero, and MD Vinos.

All of these great events led up to the big day on Sunday, where all of the guest wineries shared their vintages, and the phenomenal local chefs displayed their culinary talents. The plaza was alive throughout the afternoon with musical performances by Los Shamanes, Sexto Sentido, and Alex Torra and Kurtis Parsons. And a fashion show even graced the stage which was beautifully adorned with murals by artist Sebastian Diaz Duarte, specially designed for Gastrovino, and featured in the program and posters. The festivities continued on Sunday night at the Hotel Guaycura after-party on their rooftop deck.

Gastrovino Festival

Los Shamanes perform live at the 2nd Annual Gastrovino Festival.

While indulging ourselves, those less fortunate were not forgotten. The silent auction raised nearly 40,000 pesos to assist the Bomberos and the local DIF, who provide much needed health services. Clearly, Gastrovino is quickly becoming a proud, signature event for Todos Santos. A full weekend of gastronomy, Baja wines, music and friendship is a privilege to share on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

Photos by Mayra Diaz Vivian.

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Todos Santos Music Festival: Let the Music Play

(Beginning January 9, and running for the next three consecutive weekends, Peter Buck presents the Todos Santos Music Festival to benefit The Palapa Society of Todos Santos. The Legend, Hotel California once again hosts the music extravaganza.)

by Lisa Green

Founding member of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame band REM, Peter Buck has made Todos Santos his second home. And he wanted to have an impact on his new community. He also wanted to share his Pueblo Mágico (the  Pueblos Mágicos are unique towns and villages that the Mexico government has identified as those that offer visitors a ‘magical’ experience in terms of natural beauty, cultural riches, or historical relevance) with some of his talented friends. So he conceived this festival a year ago and, in just nine weeks, put together three weekends of music, culminating with a concert on the town plaza, and ultimately raising over $50,000 for charity.

It was such a huge success that sponsors stepped up.  Now, the Second Annual Todos Santos Music Festival is under way. Mexican music television Telehit joined forces with US concert promoter Live Nation and local developer FarmMeetsBeach.com and many local hotels and businesses to advance the festival. Mexican government Boards of Tourism, SECTUR, Turismo Los Cabos and LaPaz Hotels & Tourist Association joined in their support. Baja.com is also supporting the fest.

Peter Buck, Bill Rieflin on drums, Kurt Bloch and Scott McCaughey are featured at the Todos Santos Music Festival. Photo by Lisa Green.

 

“Peter Buck has created a a hallmark event for Baja and especially Baja Sur, and we are proud to be part of it,” said Jim Pickell, CEO of Baja.com.  “Baja is rich with culture and arts, and the Todos Santos Music Festival sings out that message, loud and clear.”

Musicians like Robyn Hitchcock and The Venus 3, and The Minus 5, both featuring Peter Buck along with Scott McCaughey, John Ramberg, Dave Depper, and Bill Rieflin are all back on board again this year. They were the featured artists for the opening weekend, appearing at Hotel California on Thursday-Saturday, January 10-12.

Sean Nelson and Peter Buck add beautiful music to support Robyn Hitchcock. Image by Vivian Johnson 2013

After the great experience they had last year, The Baseball Project will be returning for performances on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, January 17, 18, and 20 along with The Posies, making their first festival appearance. Saturday night, January 19, these bands will be joined on the Town Plaza by The Twin Tones, Kev’n Kinney, Jon Langford, and The Elected for a special night of music. Peter Buck will sit in with all of the performers.

The final weekend will commence on Thursday and Friday, January 24-25 at the hotel, and feature returning artist, Chuck Prophet and festival first-timers Alejandro Escovedo and Joseph Arthur. They will all perform at the finale concert on the Town Plaza on Saturday, January 26. In addition, they will be joined by The Sensitive Boys, Torreblanca, Mission Express, and a few surprises to bring an impressive finish to another hugely successful music festival.

The Palapa Society is a non-profit organization supporting the local community, families and children with medical services, English language classes, and general educational support, including college scholarships. With the help of the funds raised by the Music Festival, additional programs are available and more students are receiving advanced educational opportunities.

To find out more about Todos Santoshotels and vacation rentals and activities, go to 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 restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com

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