Category Archives: Week-end trip

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

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.

 

 

An Artist’s Memorial Day Week-end

For the past five years, artists have come together in Rosarito at the end of May for the Rosarito Art Fest. This festival celebrates the region’s different art forms, from photography and painting, to dancing and music, as well as food and drink.

A craftsman shows his drums
A craftsman selling handmade drums

Throughout the day, you can walk around the various tents and look at Baja art and artesanias. There is something for every taste, from David Silvah‘s art to interesting animals and people, as well as Damian Davila‘s surf photography; you are sure to find something you like.

"For a clean and safe Rosarito" and enjoying some local art
“For a clean and safe Rosarito” and enjoying some local art

The variety of food was typical of the region. You could find fish tacos, Caesar salads, quesadillas, Argentinian empanadas, and everything in between. If you were craving it, it was there.

Ever heard of three cheese quesadilla? Well that was available and fresh from the cow!
Ever heard of three cheese quesadilla? Well that was available and fresh from the cow!

On top of having delicious food, there were plenty of drinks. From Tequila jarritos to craft beer and local wine (as well as juice and lemonade!), you were sure to find something that quenched your thirst.

Check out the Ferris Wheel as you enjoy a nice, cold beer
Check out the Ferris Wheel as you enjoy a nice, cold beer

The event’s goal is to promote other aspects of Baja California. Not just the ugly ones the media portrays or the already well known Baja Med movement. This Art Fest has been getting bigger and more organized as people are becoming less afraid of Baja California. So get your calendars ready, next year’s will be in exactly one year!

Enjoying the music and dancing
Enjoying the music and dancing

 

*Follow Baja is Yours on Instagram @Bajaisyours to see what Baja California has to offer.

Week-end Idea: the CECUT’s Expo Artesanal

Are you not sure what you should do this week-end? If you passport hasn’t expired and you want to explore Mexico, not just Tijuana, drive to the CECUT, Tijuana’s cultural center. There’s currently an artesania (craft) fair you should definitely check out.

The CECUT set itself up with tents, food, and a fun concert.
The CECUT set itself up with tents, food, and a fun concert.

There are vendors from all over Mexico,such as Michoacan, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Nayarit. You name the state, it will most likely be represented. The variety of crafts being sold goes from organic make-up to intricately woven dresses and copper bathtubs.

The hand sewn dresses cost around $400 dollars, once you see the work that goes into it, you'll understand.
The hand sewn dresses cost around $400 dollars, once you see the work that goes into it, you’ll understand.

But if you’re looking for a small souvenir, you’ll also be able to find it, there is cool Mexican jewelry. From beaded necklaces and bracelets to silver earrings and cuffs, there’s something for everyone. There are even little backpacks and key-chains if you just want something small.

Little souvenirs you can take home... You can even pretend you traveled elsewhere than Tijuana!
Little souvenirs you can take home… You can even pretend you traveled elsewhere than Tijuana!

But the crafts are not the only reason you should visit. There is an abundance of food, drink, and salsa sampling from all over Mexico (think cool alcoholic beverages you’ve probably never heard of). If you get thirsty, you can buy a mug of café de olla, a typically Mexican way of making coffee or atole, a fruit and milk based hot drink (not the best idea considering the day’s heat but luckily the night was cooler!).

Mexico's typical atole and café de olla booth. You can also buy a cool mug for $35, it's way more eco-friendly than the styrofoam cups they usually come in!
Mexico’s typical atole and café de olla booth. You can also buy a cool mug for $35, it’s way more eco-friendly than the Styrofoam cups they usually come in.

The food involved your typical tacos and meat-based meals, however the ingredients were fresh. If there is a picky eater in your family or group of friends, you will be able to find something for them. Pancakes and nutella crepes were available for those afraid to try something new; and for those of you who have already tried tacos, try branching out by eating a huarache (beef on cactus).

Freshly made tacos!
Freshly made tacos!

To add to the already pleasant atmosphere, there was a great band playing in the background. The show went on until 11, when the band stopped and the booths rested until 10 am tomorrow morning.

Typical Mexican candy booth.
Typical Mexican candy stand.

If you can’t think of anything to do this week-end, definitely think of going to Tijuana. This event is a Mexican experience and you will get to see much more of Mexico than if you were to visit TJ on a regular week-end.

Intricately woven mantle pieces, also available as pillowcases.
Intricately woven mantle pieces, also available as pillowcases.

I’m hoping to hear about your experience; please share it in the comments!

To get to the CECUT: after crossing the border, stay on the route that says ZONA RIO you will see a big ball on your left. That’s the CECUT.

 

*Follow Baja is Yours on Instagram @Bajaisyours to see what Baja California has to offer.

A Unique Rosarito to Ensenada Bike Ride: I Rode the Toll Road!

Since 1979, the Rosarito to Ensenada 50 Mile Bike Ride has been inviting people from all over Mexico and the US to join in what has been recognized as the best national and international cycling event.

The Rosarito Beach Hotel welcomes riders to register the day of the event and offers week-end packages that include the hotel room and ride registration.
The Rosarito Beach Hotel welcomes riders to register the day of the event and offers week-end packages that include the hotel room and ride registration.

Because it became so popular, this race now happens two times a year, once in May and another in September. At their peak, the race welcomed 18,000 people, and it looks like the numbers are growing again.

The start of the race
The start of the race

The bike ride is 50 miles, from Rosarito to Ensenada. It’s known as being pretty tough due to the various uphills and the famous Cuesta del Tigre. However, this year we were lucky, due to the scenic road collapsing in December, the ride was on the scenic road, which was accommodated for the ride.

The Rosarito Ensenada bike riders may not get to see this view again
The Rosarito Ensenada bike riders may not get to see this view again

The ride did feel endless, and when it was time to bike was seemed like a windless, interminable gradual uphill, the people in the race and the cheerleaders (i.e: people who enjoy watching other people suffer while drinking beer) made it seem less bad.

Even the Federales were helping us ride,at the top of one hill, two smiling Federales were in their car blasting party music. Definitely lifting spirits and generating chuckles!

Not the famous never-ending uphill
Not the famous never-ending uphill, but a pleasant downhill near the sand-dunes.

The ride costs $400 pesos (about 32 USD) in presale and $450 (about 36 USD) for people who are riding for fun. And all types of people participate, from people in fleece long johns to people wearing green ballet tutus and large Mexican sombreros. If you are more intense, there is an elite category, this costs $450 pesos in presale and $500 (about 42 US) the day of the event.

Looking strong!
Looking strong!

Just remember, if you plan on biking, bring lots of water, a little snack (you get a Powerade and there are water and food stops but it’s good to be prepared), and candy. The candy is for the kids in Rosarito who are cheering you on and scream “CANDY” as you bike by them. One guy was even throwing dollar bills and the kids’ excitement was beyond belief!

And for those of you who are afraid you won’t be able to ride the 50 miles, no need to worry there is a bus that picks up people who are too tired or have bicycle problems. Everything has been planned!

So, start training for September’s, if you’re lucky enough it will be on the scenic/toll road and you won’t have to suffer the infamous Cuesta del Tigre. 

 

*Follow Baja is Yours on Instagram @Bajaisyours to see what Baja California has to offer.