Skip Napa!?

I just ran across this article from Vogue making the case for why you might want to skip Napa and head south!  Duh, no-brainer for us.  They didn't even mention that you are going to save money too!  There are so many good articles recently about our area, its been hard to post our own adventures.  

If you havent been to Mexicos wine country the time is now!

#8 Tijuana!!

So happy and proud to see the true colors of Tijuana shining through.  The New York Times just posted 52 places to see in 2017 and number 8 is Tijuana!   They highlight the great food scene.  Personally I think great is an understatement.  TJ has taken the food scene to new levels.  From some the best street food in the world (Tacos!) to local food gardens (think 10 food trucks all together) to crafty and unique farm to table fine dining (Baja Med!).

Monica and I just happen to have guests from Australia.  We ate a wonderful black bean soup of the day from La Carmelita at Telefonica Gastro Park (pictured)

Salud a Tijuana for another good year!

The Most Famous Tostada in the World.....

…….exists in Ensenada.  This is not new news, the one and only Anthony Bourdain has called La Guerrerense in Ensenada some of the best street food in the world and genius.  Bourdain visited her years ago on a trip to Baja for his show no reservations.  

The queen of the tostada, Sabina Bandera, has officially moved from her famous street cart (Definitely still there!) into her own restaurant directly across the street.  The restaurant is called Sabina Restaurante and will feature the entire street cart menu as well as extended seafood menu.  The restaurant will feature local beer and wine from Valle de Guadalupe.  In a statement about the street cart vs the new restaurant, Señora Bandera says they are both made with love J

While researching her more to write this blog I learned some fun facts that I thought I would share.  In 1976 at 21 years old, Señora Bandera traveled to Ensenada from Guerrero, Mexico on her honeymoon.  She never left!  In 2013 she represented Mexico at the annual World Street Fair Congress in Singapore.

Monica and I have eaten her famous tostadas in Ensenada and have to describe as a one of a kind culinary experience.   Truly some of the freshest fish and best seafood come out of Ensenada.  A must travel for any foodie.

Buenas Suerte Señora Bandera, we can’t wait to sit down and experience your restaurant!

Jason and Monica

Dinner with Friends

This is how we do a random dinner with friends in Baja!  Everything fresh from the sea and drinking local craft beer from Agua Mala brewery!  

Recently, after a day of running errands we got a call from friends in Popotla to come over for dinner.  This is what we showed up to.  That day they had gone to the local market in Popotla and prepared this meal.  I don’t think we could be luckier. 

Popotla is a small town just south of Rosarito.  Daily, local fishermen bring their fresh catch straight to the beach to sell.  They will clean and filet the fish for and if you want you can even walk into one of the local restaurants and they will cook a full meal for you with your fresh fish.

Fun fact, Anthony Bourdain visited Popotla on one of his TV shows in Baja.  He ate fresh crab and lobster on the beach.  Pretty sure he loved it!

Now This is Street Food

You can't find this stuff north of the Border. Down in Playas every Saturday the guys from Asados a la Lena pull up a spot (right next to Tacos Ruben for you locals). They start early and over coals on a rotisserie roast a whole pig. The tacos they make are called tacos de lechon horneado, which loosely translated means roasted pig tacos.

Now that's street food!  And right next to the beach! If I would have turned the camera to the right we are actually a stones throw from SD. It’s amazing how close we are, most people just don't really know what exists so close. If you need any help getting there message me, we will always help.

Here are some pictures of Monica and I enjoying some tacos de lechon.

Salud - Jason

Tacos Kokopelli!

The food scene in Tijuana is so amazing these days and one of the early innovators to make a name for themselves is Tacos Kokopelli. The restaurant actually started as a food truck but has branched out to multiple locations in Tijuana.

Their tacos are amazing. They took the traditional taco and added a ton of spin to create what are truly one of a kind creations. The place is unique and great from start to finish. As expected they have great yelp ratings and definitely worth a stop!

The pictures below are a couple from a recent trip down there. Interestingly, they just opened a Tacos Kokopelli in Chicago.

Plaza Fiesta in the SD Reader!

I was just walking down the streets of downtown SD and the San Diego Reader in the newsstand caught my eye. I'm sure it was the three large shining beers on the cover, but looking closer I see the Tijuana arch in the background! Turns out to be a really cool article on craft beer scene in TJ (Plaza Fiesta). Since there are more than 20 taps rooms in the plaza, they are calling it a daily beer fest....I like that! One small note, they forgot to mention that most tap rooms are closed on Mondays so we can’t do daily.

Kind of interesting, I have been calling this spot Plaza del Zapato. But Plaza Fiesta is where all of the tap rooms are. Zapato is right next store and is home to little shops and holidays events. So from now on it’s Plaza Fiesta!

If you are interested in heading down there let me know, I will point you in the right direction!

Below are some photos of another recent trip done there.

More Growth for Tijuana

Tijuana will have a new hospital catering to Americans that seek medical care. In a bi-national agreement, including Scripps Health, the hospital will strive to obtain international accreditation from the Joint Commission - a standard currently met by only four facilities in Mexico and none in Tijuana.

The $120 million dollar investment will be walking distance from the San Ysidro border and will be home to all major branches of medicine.

Scripps Health will be partnering with their Mexican counter part and will have their name on the finished hospital.

This is great news for the region; I am excited to see the continued growth. I personally have not had any major medical work done south of the border, but I do know many friends and family that have utilized services without a hitch. 

One big benefit to utilizing medical services in Tijuana is a medical pass program that Mexico has set up. The pass allows you to cross the border north in your own line. Making the border wait very minimal. I recently saw the line with 4 cars in it!

Salud - Jason

A Perfect Weekend in Baja's Wine Country

More great press for the Valle!  Minutes from sunny San Diego is the sunny valley of Guadalupe better known as - The Napa Valley of Mexico.  This piece from Conde Nast Traveler lays out some great places to go and how to get there.  To be honest they are only scratching the surface of how great the Valle is. From the wine to the food to the architecture, spending a day, or two, you are guaranteed to have an experience you will remember!

The CECUT – Tijuana Cultural Center

Another great spot not far from the border in Tijuana is the CECUT or Tijuana’s cultural center. The CECUT is home to multiple exhibit and concert halls as well as an IMAX theater.

Along with opera and piano concerts, in the past couple of years I have seen exhibits that featured work from Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozco. The museum often has exhibits that just do not come to San Diego or the states, which makes for great MyBaja experiences.

This last weekend we took a couple friends of ours to visit the current exhibits. We had a great afternoon! Our pictures are below. Currently there is a beautiful exhibit showcasing Mexican folk art from throughout Mexico. We also enjoyed a collection of contemporary pieces from Baja California artists.

There is a permanent exhibition, called "Museo de las Californias", which stores over 200 pieces and is a walk through the history of the Baja Peninsula and the state of California from the prehistoric period until the first half of the 20th century. Also there is a pre-Hispanic garden, called "Jardin Caracol (Snail Garden)" that contains sculptures from the different regions of the Mesoamerican cultures that inhabited south Mexico before the arrival of the Spanish Army.

Fun fact, the museums are free on Sunday! And reasonably priced every other day!

#5 Foodie Destination for 2016!

This is what I'm talking about! Great press for Valle de Guadalupe. A recent write up in the Worlds 50 best restaurants lists Valle de Guadalupe as the fifth best destinations for foodies in 2016. The Valle joins the list with other major cities including Seoul, South Korea and Santiago, Chile.  

Plaza Del Zapato

Some also call this area Plaza del Fiesta. As the name implies, it’s a great place to party and hang out!  

Plaza del Zapato is in the heart of the Zona Rio area of Tijuana. This area is a hub for nice restaurants, bars, a nice mall, and surrounding businesses. Plaza del Zapato is a craft beer connoisseur heaven.  

My recent trip in January of this year, pictures below, I counted 10 tasting rooms! Tijuana has followed the lead of San Diego’s amazing beer scene to create their own craft beer culture. The plaza not only has breweries from Tijuana, there are also a couple from Mexicali, Ensenada and one from Cabo. My favorite has to be Insurgente. They are making great beer and have recently collaborated with Stone Brewery in San Diego. If you are an IPA fan, the La Lupulosa is a great local beer. Fun Fact – La Lupulosa translated in English means the hoppy.

Salud - Jason