All posts by Astrid Erickson

I am a sophomore studying International Business at CETYS Universidad in Tijuana Mexico. I have lived in 12 countries (USA, Algeria, Seychelles, Panama, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Belgium, Bolivia, Colombia, Canada and Mexico). I fluently speak French, English and Spanish. I am writing this blog to get people to understand that Mexico is not the dark, dangerous country that the media portrays. The people, food, and places are great and it's a shame that foreigners are so afraid to travel to this wonderful country.

New Website!

Good morning,

If it seems as though I haven’t been very active it’s because I’ve changed sites! Good to http://www.bajaisyours.com to keep reading and learning about beautiful Baja California

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If you’ve made it to this page you’ve made it to the new and improved Baja is Yours!

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Day trip to the Valle de Guadalupe

Finally, after months of wanting to go to the Finca Altozano, we were able to eat at one of the Valle’s most famous restaurants! After waiting around the house for too long and stopping to get gas, we headed to the Valle de Guadalupe. We were excited for the trip and are lucky we decided to pack our swim suits for a post-Valle swim at La Fonda. Otherwise, my sister who has been in England for the past three years, would have never wanted to return!

View of the Finca from the top. Can you think of a better place to spend the afternoon?
View of the Finca from the top. Can you think of a better place to spend the afternoon?

We left TIjuana, it was a nice high 70s/low 80s and as we started approaching the Valle, it started getting hotter and hotter; finally stopping at a pleasant 100 degrees… We got to the Finca and though it looked empty, every single table was reserved (make sure you reserve at the beginning of the week otherwise you won’t be able to get a table). Our table was in the shade, unfortunately not under a fan but there was a light breeze. While waiting for our food, we walked around the grounds. 

They have a garden where they grow their spices and vegetables
They have a garden where they grow their spices and vegetables

This restaurant is the perfect example of farm to table cooking. They take advantage of the space surrounding the restaurant and leave space for a garden and a place for pigs, goats and chickens… Which will later make an appearance on your plate. 

Goats enjoying their lunch, before knowing they'll become yours
Goats enjoying their lunch, without knowing they’ll soon become yours

For lunch, we ordered the Chorizo de Res y Chistorra a la Lena as our appetizer, chistorra is a Spanish chorizo, both are made in house.  It was very tasty and well presented; you can either eat them alone or with a piece of bread. 

Then, we each ordered our meal. My dad got the Pulpo Pacifico a las Brasas.  It came in the same platter as the chorizo and was very good. Sometimes, octopus is chewy and not very good, this was not the case! My sister and I had the Birria de Borrego (she had no idea what she was ordering). Birria is a traditional dish from Jalisco and is a soup made of many spices and served with tortillas. 

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My mom, who does not like eating meat, ordered the Mini Tacos de Ceviche Pulpo Verde and the Tostada de Ahi. Both looked a lot cooler than our warm meals but we did not complain as what we had eaten was delicious.  

Tostada de Ahi
Tostada de Ahi
Mini tostadas
Mini tostadas

To accompany our meal, there was a large selection of local wines and cocktails made in house. We chose a bottle of Don Luis from LA Cetto and tried some sangria and a pomegranate sparkling drink with, of course, a lot of water! Because it was too hot, we did not try the desserts but there are a couple that sound quite good. 

As always, it's busy at the Finca
As always, it’s busy at the Finca

The food was delicious and the setting pretty great, but in 100 degree weather it’s hard not be hot. It’s nice that it’s outdoors and you are in nature. When you’re done with your meal, or waiting to be seated, there are wooden vats that have been re-purposed for you to sit, enjoy a drink, and enjoy the view. 

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 After the Finca, we checked out Monte Xanic, one of the Valle’s oldest wineries. They have just renovated their facilities and it’s quite nice (although I can’t compare it to before). The winery is located atop a hill and looks over a lake with clear water. By the water, you can enjoy wine tastings and relax before you check out the next winery. 

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 After Monte Xanic, we drove over to Vinas de Garza for a wine tasting. For $100 pesos you can try white wines and for $150 pesos, red wine. While you taste, you can order a cheese plate or olives. 

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 It’s a pretty winery, the rows and rows of vines make you think you are in a French vineyard. There is a nice breeze at the top of the hill and a lot of shade to protect you from the sun. It would be a nice place for an afternoon drink. But we were too hot, so we tasted the wine and went straight to the beach. 

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La Fonda is a very nice beach, with a weird, noisy airplane, but apart from that it’s a great place to relax and watch the sunset. Once it starts getting chilly, go to the restaurant and order a beer or margarita. It’s probably one of the best places in Northern Baja to end the night. 

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 Though the Valle is a great place to visit and has much to offer. Make sure you don’t go there on a very hot day. Most of the places take advantage of the area’s wind and have outdoor seating with no protection from the heat. September and October should be good months to check out what the Valle has to offer, because there is much to be discovered there!

 

 

If you want to keep discovering Baja California, check out our Instagram @Bajaisyours

Ensenada’s Todos Santos Bay Becomes One of Six World Surf Reserves

Because of the consistency and quality of its waves as well as vibrant marine life and history, San Miguel is where Mexican surfing started, today the Todos Santos Bay was inaugurated as the world’s sixth surf reserve. This means that no construction can be made on either of the five beaches, Salsipuedes, San Miguel, Stack’s, 3emes, and Todos Santos, and that access must be guaranteed. A win for surfers and ocean lovers!

Surfers coming back from the paddle out

The project started in 2007, when a group of friends found out that developers wanted to built ports and piers at their favorite surf spots. So, they got together and called the Surfrider Foundation asking for help. Surfrider told them they could protect their spots, but they would have to fight, no one would do it for them. Since then, an international collaboration between Surf Ens, Pronatura, Save the Waves and Costa Salvaje has helped the San Miguel bay become an international surf reserve.

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Kids describing what surfing means to them

Each of these five beaches brings something to the beaches of Mexico. San Miguel was the first spot to welcome American surfers. Although it is now private, Salsipuedes has gained an international reputation for the quality of its break and beach. 3emes and Stack’s welcome surfers of all levels while Todos Santos/Killers attract big waves and welcomes the Big Wave Tour.

Can you see Todos Santos in the distance?

The event was held at San Miguel, the first Mexican beach to welcome surfing in the 50s and today an iconic spot, both for American and Mexican surfers. It started with a paddle out, followed by a dance by an indigenous group, and a talk by people who supported the project and, most importantly, those who put the project together.

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Ensenada surfers celebrating their success

The event really was an international success. It is great to see that surfers will be able to keep enjoying these great breaks without fear they will be developed upon. And thank you to those surfers, who for the past seven years have fought hard to keep their beaches free. Thank you for your hard work!

One of the many reasons San Miguel is a world surf reserve
One of the many reasons San Miguel is a world surf reserve

Although the waves today were not the famed San Miguel waves, this meant that people were there to listen to the speakers (and were not distracted by the break’s famous rights).

*Follow Baja is Yours on Instagram @Bajaisyours to discover the beauties of Baja California.

A Picture Review of All My Friends

All My Friends is an annual music festival in Northern Baja, mostly near Tijuana. The premise of the festival is that every year it changes venue and time of year. This year, ALMV was beachside at the Hotel Castillos del Mar, the perfect location for a summer concert.

On top of having different kinds of music, there was plenty of food and crafts to be purchased. From Marfil’s awesome sweatshirts to brownies and everything in between, there was something you would want to buy. There was even a tattoo art gallery!

Welcome to All My Friends
Welcome to All My Friends
La Brownie Girl's delicious brownies were the perfect amount of sweet, without being over chocolatey
La Brownie Girl’s delicious brownies were the perfect amount of sweet, without being over chocolatey
Tibetan prayer flags, incense, cool shirts, you could find a little bit of everything!
VPaix was selling postcards
VPaix was selling postcards
Marfil with some great stuff and stickers!
Marfil with some great stuff and stickers!
Make sure you don't fall off the cliff!
Make sure you don’t fall off the cliff!
Tattoo art
Tattoo art
Beach concert, literally!
Beach concert, literally!
Not too sure what was going on during this performance
Not too sure what was going on during this performance
ALMV sunset
ALMV sunset
The crowd enjoying the music
The crowd enjoying the music

All My Friends was an interesting event, there was a garden, pool and beach stage. All attracting plenty of music lovers. Even if a particular band wasn’t to your liking, you could spend that time eating or browsing the arts and crafts.

Where and when will they be next year??

 

It doesn’t have to be Friday for you to eat at a food truck!

Right after the Boulevard Aguacaliente on the libre (free) road to Rosarito there exists a hidden food truck haven; have you heard of Estacion 55 yet? It’s relatively new, about six months old or so and is definitely worth the trip to Tijuana or a perfect lunch break on your way south.

How far are you from burgers, pizzas, tacos and crepes?? Closer than Paris or Sydney!
How far are you from burgers, pizzas, tacos and crepes?? Closer than Paris or Sydney!

So, you’re probably wondering what’s available? Well, there is something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a burger, pizza, fish tacos, tortas (burger-sandwich hybrid), empanadas, or crepes, you are sure to find something to suit your appetite. It’s the perfect place if your friends are picky eaters because there are meat, fish, and vegetarian options. (But, for lack of a liquor license, not the best place if you want to support local breweries!)

Tuna tostada loaded with guacamole and salsa
Tuna tostada loaded with guacamole and salsa

There are many ways to go about eating at the restaurant. You can either go for your meal and dessert, just your meal, a sampling of all the trucks, a snack, or just for dessert. It’s up to you!

Cheese, corn, and "rajas" empanada... Yummy!
Cheese, corn, and “rajas” empanada… Yummy!

As an appetizer, order one of the many combinations of empanadas. All are $19 pesos ($1.50 dollar) and accompanied by a boat of salsas. There are various types of empanadas you can order, chorizo with Oaxaca cheese (the king of Mexican cheeses), corn and rajas, picadillo, as well as other great combinations.

Try everything!
Try everything!

If you are craving fish and shrimp, try Ta’Costeno. Whether you ask the waitress what she recommends or you go for the “try everything for $150 pesos (about $12 dollars)” platter you will find your meal delicious.  I highly recommend the “try everything” platter, you try every taco and get the agua fresca of the day. If you aren’t too hungry and don’t want to try everything, give the shrimp taco or the tuna tostada a try.

Looks good and the shell shaped plates are awesome! Even if you’re not crazy about octopus, the Tentaculo Negro is a must try!

If you’re not in the mood for seafood, give Via Bistro a try. It’s a brick oven pizza with all kinds of combinations. And if you don’t feel like trying any other food truck, order a greek salad as your appetizer and a pizza as your main meal. Whatever you order, make sure you try the sauce; it’s the perfect companion to your tasty pizza.

Make sure to ask for the daily special, it's not on the menu but can surprise you, today's was ricotta cheese with basil
Make sure to ask for the daily special, it’s not on the menu but can surprise you, today’s was ricotta cheese with basil

And, the best for last, DESSERT! Make sure you try Rodante’s crepes and macaroons. The crepes are usually Nutella, caramel, Suzette (orange), berries, or apples. Obviously you can never go wrong with Nutella, but it’s always nice to try something new!

Apple crepe
Apple crepe

After eating all that food, there was no place for the tortas and burgers. However, considering everything else was exquisite, I can only imagine those are both great. The burgers have an eating contest, kind of like Man v Food; where you have to eat a GIANT burger, 1 liter of soda and french fries, all within 30 minutes. Are you capable?

Will you try?
If you make it, the meal is on the house!

I’m sure you can tell you should eat there, but the best part was the price. Sharing between four friends, we spent $100 pesos each (about $8 dollars)! How great is that?

 

*Follow Baja is Yours on Instagram @Bajaisyours to discover the beauties of Baja California.

Mami’s Place, Fresh Ingredients, Delicious Food

Right behind the Xolos stadium, in an area known as La Herradura, there is a cute, fresh, delicious restaurant, Mami’s Place. It offers both indoor and outdoor seating as well as a variety of food, drinks, and daily specials.

Outside the restaurant. It's right by a roundabout and a Soriana.
Outside the restaurant. It’s right by a roundabout and a Soriana.

Mami’s Place offers pizzas, salads, paninis, appetizers, fresh juices, wine and beer. You can also ask for the “platillo del dia,” the menu of the day. Today there was chicken or fish with vegetables and rice, both accompanied by beet soup. However, I chose to split a salad and a shrimp pizza.

The House Salad. plenty of colors to brighten your day!
The House Salad. plenty of colors to brighten your day!

The health starts as soon as you are offered the “wait for us snack,” whereas most restaurants give tortilla chips or bread, Mami’s Place gives you carrots and cucumbers with Tajin, a chile powder used on fruits and vegetables.

Fresh squeezed green and energetic juices as well as a fresh garden salad, what else could you ask for?
Fresh squeezed green and energetic juices as well as a fresh garden salad, what else could you ask for?

We ordered the House Salad, which had mixed salad greens, tomatoes and red onions. However the salad selection was varied and offered a red berry salad, a salad with orange slices, among other healthy options. You could either choose the small or large portion, because we said that we would be sharing, we got both a large salad and pizza. A lot of food!

A feast for two!
A feast for two!

There are many pizzas to choose from, whether you are vegetarian, pescatarian or a meat lover, there will be a pizza for you. The “camaron” pizza is shrimp pizza with chipotle seasoning and fresh avocados. It was the perfect amount of spicy and if you wanted more spice, they offer jalapenos and spicy olive oil.

Healthy combo
Healthy combo

The service is great and from the fresh juices to the freshly made pizza and salad, everything is served on time. Just make sure you specify which portion you want, otherwise the waitress will assume you are famished. To make sure the service is fast, the waitress gives you a buzzer in case you need something urgently.

Highly recommend this quaint restaurant. If you’ve been let me know if you liked it!

*Follow Baja is Yours on Instagram @Bajaisyours to discover the beauties of Baja California.

 

 

Taco Fest, What Tijuana Does Best!

There was a lot going on this week-end, from the Craft Beer Expo to the Tijuana Rumble Fest, there was something for every taste. However, I was feeling hungry and knew there were two more beer fests (one in July on the Revolucion and another in August at the CECUT), so I decided to go to Rock’n’Taco. A festival where rock and tacos were combined to offer a fun afternoon.

It sure attracted a lot of people!

The event was held on the world famous Revolucion between calles 8 and 9. The event was free and welcomed 20 local taquerias and seven local bands. As the night went on, the bands were better. Some bands even came from Ensenada.

Taquerias everywhere!
Taquerias everywhere!

You could find a little of everything, from the famous Kokopelli seafood and vegetarian tacos to soy based tacos, and obviously delicious meat tacos. There were birria tacos, adobada tacos, regular beef tacos, everything tacos!

Birria tacos… YU-MMY

I believe this was the event’s first time, however there’s a good chance they will be able to make this an annual one. I’ll be sure to keep you posted if it happens, I didn’t know about it until the day before. I’ll make sure you are aware ahead of time next time!

*Follow Baja is Yours on Instagram @Bajaisyours to discover the beauties of Baja California.