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.

Tijuana’s Kokopelli Tacos: An Explosion of Flavor

What used to be a food truck in the center of Tijuana, and is now located in the Zona Rio, Kokopelli is a cute taco restaurant specializing in grilled fish, shrimp, octopus, and portobello mushrooms.

Jelly fish swimming around you as you eat
Jelly fish swim around you as you eat

When you first sit down, the friendly waiter will bring you an interesting assortment of sauces to try with tortilla chips. Don’t be fooled by his smile, some of the salsas he is offering you are deadly! They go from least spicy to the spiciest; even if you know this, you will not be prepared for what you may accidentally taste.

The salsas, the ones in the front are the deadly ones and as you go further up, they become less spicy.
The salsas, the ones in the front are the deadly ones and as you go further up, they become less spicy.

These tacos are mostly for seafood lovers, however there are some vegan and meat-eating options. The portobello mushroom tostadas are delicious and different from anything else you’ll find in Tijuana. And considering that Tijuana’s main market is meat-eaters, it’s nice to find a vegetarian alternative.

Funky: cheddar cheese, portobello mushrooms, spinach and a goat cheese based sauce.
Funky: cheddar cheese, portobello mushrooms, spinach and a goat cheese based sauce.

The presentation of the food is quite interesting, from aguachile filled boats to regularly presented tacos the restaurant gives its food an interesting touch. Although I don’t have a picture of it, I highly recommend the Gringos en Vacaciones (Americans on Vacation); it’s a shrimp taco with red sauce and spices, and it’s delicious!

The Pineapple Aguachile: pineapple, lemon cooked shrimp, jicama, avocado
The Pineapple Aguachile: pineapple, lemon cooked shrimp, jicama, avocado

The cool thing about Kokopelli is that it supports local breweries. Border Psycho in Tijuana and Agua Mala from Ensenada are a few of the local beers they support. These offer pilsens, IPAs, stouts and pale ales among others. And of course, the regular Tecate, Indio, and other Mexican beers are available.

Have you tried the Border Psycho?
Have you tried the Border Psycho yet?

So, if you are bored of eating the same thing every day and want delicious and affordable fish, shrimp, octopus, or mushroom tacos, try Kokopelli. You will enjoy the change of scenery and love the food!

To get there: after crossing the border, stay on the left, going towards Zona Rio. After the scissor roundabout and right before the Moctezuma roundabout, take a right. You’ll see a stop light, at the light keep straight and it will be on your right, before the next road.

 

*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.

The Tijuana Zonkeys, not just a Streetside Attraction

A couple months ago, I was at the Lakers’ historic defeat against the Clippers, the mood was off, the fans we silent, and the tickets super expensive. So when I was invited to the Tijuana Zonkeys game I was a little apprehensive. I still went and am glad I did so.

The Tijuana Zonkeys, fighting the win against the Hermosillo Rayos
The Tijuana Zonkeys, fighting the win against the Hermosillo Rayos

When many hear of zonkeys, they think of the zebra stripped donkeys on Tijuana’s avenida Revolucion. I am not talking about those! I went to the Tijuana Zonkeys vs. Hermosillo Rayos game two weeks ago. It was a great game! The entire game, the team was tied (until Hermosillo won in overtime) and the team was scoring great 3-pointers. The crowd was as into the game as any game in the US. It was great.

Game time
Game time

Something I haven’t mentioned yet are the reasonably cheap tickets. General admission is $100 pesos ($8), VIP is $300 pesos ($24 USD). You would think they would sell the beer more expensive, but it was still only $25 pesos ($2 dollars). So, if you’re looking for a fun, cheap guy or girl’s night out…. Think Tijuana Zonkeys!

The team has their own cheerleaders!
The team has their own cheerleaders!

The whole game was a blast and I will definitely go back and support the Tijuana Zonkeys because, and I truly mean this, I had a lot more fun at this game than at the Lakers’ game.

Friendly handshake at the end of the game.
Friendly handshake at the end of the game.

So next, time you don’t know what to do, catch a game at the Auditorio Municipal by the Galerias Mall. Here is a calendar of their games.

 

For more ideas on what to see in Baja California follow us on Instagram @bajaisyours  (there’s also a cool video of a Zonkey shot from the game I went to!)

 

The Foodgarden: Another Restaurant Adding to Tijuana’s Foodie Reputation

Over a year ago, a new restaurant opened, the Foodgarden. Well… to be honest it’s not a restaurant. It’s like a food court but in a garden, hence the name. And every couple of weeks they have an event, there was an Easter event on Thursday and from May 3rd to the 4th, there will be a cultural one. Local companies sell their products to make a name for themselves in the area. Marfil is almost always at their events.

Tom Yum from Asia de Baja
Tom Yum from Asia de Baja

So you’re probably wondering what kind of food there is… Well there are about five restaurants and each specializes in a different cuisine.  Los Chilaquiles offers all kinds of chilaquiles in delicious sauces, green, red, mole, avocado, you name it, they may have it (for those of you that don’t know, chilaquiles are tortilla chips cooked in sauces). Then there is Veggie Smalls, a vegetarian fast food with portobello burgers among other vegetarian delicacies. The crepes from La Luna are famous around Tijuana and not to be missed! There are both sweet and salty crepes. The Taqueseria offers a variety of tacos, salmon, meat, pork, and quesadillas. They’re not your typical street tacos!

The Foodgarden's famous frase... Now, it's your turn to visit tasty Tijuana
The Foodgarden’s famous frase… Now, it’s your turn to visit tasty Tijuana

Right next to the Taqueseria there is a seafood place called Tacos y Mariscos Walter. I haven’t been there yet, but I’ve been told it’s quite good and that the fish tacos are quite tasty. If you’ve been, tell me about it! And lastly, my personal favorite, Asia de Baja, their Tom Yum soups are unmissable! Loaded with vegetables and your choice of protein (chicken, shrimp, tofu, meat, or a mix) you will feel satiated and satisfied.

But the food isn’t the only reason to check out the Foodgarden, they have refreshing aguas; for those of you who have studied Spanish, this literally translates to water but is another name for juice. You will find a variety of unusual aguas; such as mint and watermelon, Thai tea, cucumber and mint. Every time you go, you may find a new flavor you haven’t tried.

What are you thankful for?
What are you thankful for?

So, next time you’re in Tijuana or are having a boring afternoon in San Diego, drive south and try some local food. You won’t regret your trip! And as they say in Spanish, buen provecho!

 

For cool trip ideas and to get to know Baja California, follow Baja is Yours on Instagram @bajaisyours