Life As We Know It

Life As We Know It

Here is a glimpse into our lives over the past couple of months. We have ventured down to the Valle, enjoyed some wonderful meals, explored some new restaurants, and eaten more tacos than we would probably like to admit.

We are also currently awaiting the arrival of our newest family member, that will be joining us in May. We are all so thrilled, and Giovanni can not wait to become a big brother.

This is life as we know it. Each and every day proves to be an adventure, as we continue to explore the world around us.

Tacos de birria in Tijuana's Colonia Cacho
Tacos de birria in Tijuana’s Colonia Cacho

Pozole at El Rincón del Oso at Mercado Hidalgo, Tijuana
Pozole at El Rincón del Oso at Mercado Hidalgo, Tijuana

Roadside barbacoa burritos in San Antonio de Las Minas, Baja California
Roadside barbacoa burritos in San Antonio de Las Minas, Baja California

Viñas de Garza, Valle de Guadalupe
Viñas de Garza, Valle de Guadalupe

Corazón de Tierra, Valle de Guadalupe<br />
Corazón de Tierra, Valle de Guadalupe

Corazón de Tierra, Valle de Guadalupe<br />
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Duck, swiss chard, pickled quail egg, carrot puree at Corazón de Tierra, Valle de Guadalupe

Mariscos El Güero, Ensenada
Mariscos El Güero, Ensenada

Tacos at Ta'Costeño at Estación 55, Tijuana
Tacos at Ta’Costeño at Estación 55, Tijuana

La Torta Plaza, Tijuana
La Torta Plaza, Tijuana

La Torta Plaza, Tijuana
Torta Tijuana at La Torta Plaza, Tijuana

Goat and beef birria tacos at Birrieria Don Rafa, Chula Vista
Goat and beef birria tacos at Birrieria Don Rafa, Chula Vista

Street art in Tijuana's Avenida Revolución
Street art in Tijuana’s Avenida Revolución

Panza de cerdo - Arepas + miel de lavanda + chicharrón + salsa de manzana at La Justina, Tijuana
Pork belly, arepas, lavender honey, chicharrón, salsa de manzana at La Justina, Tijuana

La Justina Gastrobar, Tijuana
La Justina Gastrobar, Tijuana

Tacos de Birria de Res y Lengua in Tijuana's Colonia Ermita
Tacos de Birria de Res y Lengua in Tijuana’s Colonia Ermita

Coffee at Das Cortez in Tijuana's Colonia Cacho
Coffee at Das Cortez in Tijuana’s Colonia Cacho

Calexico Creamery, Golden Hill Farmers Markett
Calexico Creamery, Golden Hill Farmers Market

Tacos de carne asada at Taquería Hipódromo in Tijuana
Tacos de carne asada at Taquería Hipódromo in Tijuana

Taquitos de lengua at Tacos Meño in Tijuana
Taquitos de lengua at Tacos Meño in Tijuana

Chef Ryan Steyn's foie gras dish during Club Tengo Hambre + Misión 19's night of four courses of Mexican foie gras Chef Ryan Steyn’s foie gras dish during Club Tengo Hambre + Misión 19′s night of four courses of Mexican foie gras



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Mariscos Yujajay

Mariscos Yujajay

Spring is just around the corner, and the warmer weather is in full swing. In the midst of higher temperatures comes the yearning for delicious mariscos, and icy cold refreshments. Having our lives and time being split in between Tijuana and San Diego, often times has us running errands on both sides. Whether we cross to visit Antonio’s side of the family, or just fill our stomachs that are yearning for tacos, and even just the smell of charcoal burning the air, we head to Tijuana.

Of course we have our favorite spots that we visit time and time again, but it’s the times that we find new little gems that make for just that much more excitement.

Meet Mariscos Yujajay. Their current location in Tijuana’s Colonia Ermita has only been up and running for a few short months. Prior to taking up shop on their busy street corner, they were located at a tiny restaurant just a few blocks down the way. They love their new location, and the interaction with the public, which was very apparent during our visit.

We grabbed a seat at the shade covered table, and were immediately greeted with friendly hellos, and a cup of fish consomé. Their menu offers items ranging from Cahuamanta to traditional battered fish tacos. We went ahead and ordered their “Te Acordaras” and “The Chuck Norris.”

teacordaras-yujajay
We definitely will be remembering the camarón encebollado taco. Plump shrimp sautéed in butter, and topped with rich caramelized onions, and a nice drizzle of their chile de arbol and olive oil salsa. I absolutely love caramelized onions, and you know what? They absolutely do work with seafood! I have had them on both raw ceviche dishes, as well as cooked preparations, such as this taco, and again I must say yes, they are wonderful!

chucknorristaco-yujajay
Another one of their featured tacos is “The Chuck Norris”. Sometimes you just don’t worry about asking why the name, and simply just dive in. The smoked Marlin stew was tender, and the bits of onions and peppers added lovely bursts of flavor.

This is only the beginning. There will be many more trips to this stand, with more mariscos cravings to be satisfied.


Mariscos Yujajay
Calle Alba Roja and Ramón Lopez Velarde
Tijuana, Baja California | MAP

Mon – Sat: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

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Saludos de Ensenada: The Cinderella of the Pacific

Saludos de Ensenada: The Cinderella of the Pacific

This year, Antonio’s birthday wish was to spend a day in the beautiful coastal city of Ensenada. He would indulge in callo de hacha tostadas, fresh almejas preparadas, and of course I had to fit my latest craving for fish tacos in there somewhere. Needless to say, we came and we conquered. Giovanni also had the time of his life, making sure to get plenty of sliced cucumbers, at our fish taco stop at Tacos El Fenix, and exploring the streets on foot.

Mariscos El Gordito, Ensenada – © Life & Food

This little beauty was the first bite of the day, fresh almeja preparada (pismo clam) at Mariscos El Gordito. The clam is shucked and prepared right in front of you. In with the meaty bits of clam goes, freshly squeezed lime juice, chopped tomato, onion, and, cucumber, and a healthy dowse of hot sauce and salsa maggi.

Ensenada – © Life & Food

Tacos El Fenix, Ensenada – © Life & Food

Tacos El Fenix, Ensenada – © Life & Food

There is always room for at least two (maybe even three) tacos de pescado at Tacos El Fenix. I can never get enough of their salsas, and it’s incredibly difficult to choose a favorite between the red and green.

Tacos El Fenix, Ensenada – © Life & Food

Ensenada – © Life & Food  class=

This little guy did the best job at making sure to scare away any pigeons that came close to our food.

Mariscos El Güero, Ensenada – © Life & Food

There you have it folks, the callo de hacha tostada at Mariscos El Güero. Just mouth watering, isn’t it?

Mariscos El Güero, Ensenada – © Life & Food

We can never get enough of Baja California! There are an abundance of options, that often times it’s even difficult to choose. I can tell you one thing though, there’s nothing like the salty air, ocean views, and amazing seafood in Ensenada.

Mariscos El Gordito | MAP

Tacos Fenix | MAP

Mariscos El Güero | MAP

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Valle de Guadalupe: Latitud 32

Valle de Guadalupe: Latitud 32

The damp and cooler temperatures does not seem to keep us, and even other frequent visitors from heading down to Baja California’s wine country. It is definitely on the quiet side, compared to the hustling and bustling season of the summer time, but the unforgettable feeling of serenity still very much remains.

We spent the afternoon enjoying our time at a newer addition to the valle, El Cielo vineyards, and its restaurant Latitud 32. What a gorgeous property! Before settling down for lunch, Chef Ryan Steyn led us down to take a peek at the barrel room, tanks, and beautiful tasting room. The private dining area that is set up down there, just had me dreaming of the upmost perfectly coordinated dinner party. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Chef Ryan Steyn prepared an outstanding five course meal for us on that afternoon. You know those meals that leave you highlighting every dish you had during the drive on the way home? That was Antonio and I. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that Giovanni took a visit to the garden with Chef Ryan, so he continued to ask for fresh peas the entire drive back up to Tijuana.

Okay, so back to the meal that continues to leave me wishing that I could transport each and every dish to my house at any given moment.

The dining room was aglow from the crackling fire place, and aromas of the wood fired grill lingering throughout the air. A delightful cozy setting during these cooler winter months.

Latitud 32, Valle de Guadalupe – © Life & Food

Latitud 32, Valle de Guadalupe – © Life & Food

The meal began with a delightfully rich foie gras, crunchy toasts, and refreshing Hibiscus jelly.

Latitud 32, Valle de Guadalupe – © Life & Food

Following that, a beautifully plated dish of Tuna Tataki, octopus, and local seaweed. Those little dots of avocado merengue were bursting with flavor, and notes of citrus. Each of the ingredients also picked up the earthiness from the painted beet, as well as the saltiness from the salicorina.

Latitud 32, Valle de Guadalupe – © Life & Food

This dish, honestly, I can’t stop thinking about it. Freshly made squid ink pasta, clams, deboned quail, and a carrot and orange sauce. Fresh pasta is huge in my book. I grew up with wonderful memories of making pasta with my grandma. It truly does make all the difference. The texture, and the slight brininess in contrast with the bright citrus sauce, and perfectly cooked quail and clams, was just magical.

Latitud 32, Valle de Guadalupe – © Life & Food

The colors on all of Chef Ryan’s dishes are so inviting. This grilled Ribeye had me salivating after each bite. It was seasoned perfectly. I had to make sure to get in bites before Giovanni finished the whole plate.

It’s not pictured, but I can’t forget to mention the dessert of Malva pudding. This is actually Chef Ryan’s grandma’s recipe. It’s warm, and buttery, and with the dollop of vanilla ice cream on top, just divine!

Latitud 32, Valle de Guadalupe – © Life & Food

Latitud 32, Valle de Guadalupe – © Life & Food

Latitud 32, Valle de Guadalupe – © Life & Food

What an afternoon to remember. I can not wait for the upcoming spring and summer seasons, and just the thought of dining al fresco at Latitud 32 makes me so excited.

El Cielo | MAP
Parcela No. 118 km. 7.5 Carretera Guadalupe – El Tigre
Ejido El Porvenir, Ensenada Baja California.

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Mariscos El Paisa

Mariscos El Paisa

The Mariscos El Paisa food truck has been a favorite of ours, and one of the most frequent stops for ceviche here in the Southbay since 2007. This was actually one of the first places that I tried mariscos at, when I first moved to San Diego. The family that owns and runs the truck hails from Culiacan, Sinaloa Mexico. The quality is always consistent, which explains the fact that I could eat there multiple times a week.

On this wonderful pregnancy journey of mine, especially this second time around, I have had some pretty intense cravings. I don’t know whether to blame it on the gorgeous weather that we have been experiencing here in San Diego or what, but this past week has been “fish taco mania” for me. I don’t know how many of you will agree with me or not, but when you crave something to such a certain extent, the quality better be up to par, or you will continue searching for it until it is found. Am I right? Here on this side of the border, the fish tacos at El Paisa are more than up to par. The batter is crispy and light, and both the fish and shrimp (above) are the perfect tender surprise once you bite into that taco. The hot sauce drenched pickled red onions not only have great color, but they add just the right amount of heat, to any of the dishes you may order.

Mariscos El Paisa, San Diego – © Life & Food“Las Super Ranas” – Octopus, smoked marlin, fish and shrimp

Mariscos El Paisa, San Diego – © Life & Food Aguachile de camarón

Antonio ordered their Aguachile de Camaron, and “Las Super Ranas” taco. In between bites, there were plenty of up and down head nods, as well as “mmm’s” said under his breath.

Mariscos El Paisa, San Diego – © Life & Food

If the warm weather has you yearning for some refreshing ceviche, or delicious fish tacos, this truck should be on your list. I am resisting the temptation to head on over there just as I get finished writing this.

Mariscos El Paisa | MAP
Iris Ave & Beyer Ave
San Diego, CA 92154

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Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro: New Tijuana Inspired Lunch

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro: New Tijuana Inspired Lunch

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro – © Life & Food

While we attended the San Diego Bay Wine and Food festival a couple of weeks back, as we enjoyed the cured salmon tostadas that Romesco’s stand was serving, they happened to inform us that starting in December they were introducing a brand new Tijuana inspired lunch menu.

So here we are in December, and of course we could not wait to head over there for and check out their new menu. It’s nice knowing that they are open during the day time as well now, adding an amazing option for lunch time cravings.

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro – © Life & Food

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro – © Life & Food

Their new Tijuana inspired lunch menu is full of options, and we actually had to hold ourselves back not ordering every single item. The table was plenty full with their Torta de arrachera, Taquitos dorados de cachete, Chupacabras beer battered fish tacos, Pulpo asado a las brasas (grilled octopus), and who can forget to order the roadside ahi tuna tostada. I’m not going to lie, I inhaled that torta. Don’t worry I put it down in between bites of tender lemon juice drenched octopus, but it wasn’t easy. They have a few different torta options, so if you are a lover of these fine sandwiches, get on over there. Oh, and the crunchy tacos filled with juicy and perfectly seasoned beef cheeks are a must! We have had their Cazuelita de cachete, where you get to make your own tacos, and this crunchy version is nothing short of amazing. Antonio didn’t say a word as his Ahi tuna tostada begin to disappear from his plate, just saw a smile from ear to ear.

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro – © Life & Food

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro – © Life & Food

I already have in my mind what I want to order on our next lunch visit to Romesco. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the freshly made agua frescas as well. The flavor of the day was watermelon, and it was so refreshing!

No lunch plans today? Well you are in luck, Romesco is open to serve you an absolutely delicious meal from 12-4pm.

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro
4346 Bonita Rd
(between Otay Lakes Rd & Villas Dr)
Bonita, CA 91902

Closed Monday
Tuesday – Thursday Lunch 12 to 4 pm
Tuesday – Thursday Dinner 5 to 10 pm
Friday – Saturday Dinner 5 pm to 10:30 pm
Saturday – 2 to 10:30 pm
Sunday – 12 to 8 pm

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Modern Times Beer Tasting Room

Modern Times Beer Tasting Room

We have had our eyes on the Modern Times Beer Tasting room for the past couple of months since it has opened. We follow their Instagram feed, and loved seeing the updates and finishing touches they made to their tasting room. Founded by long time home-brewer Jacob McKean, named Modern Times after a crazy utopian community founded in 1850. Almost all of their are named after real utopian experiments or mythological utopias.

Modern Times Beer Tasting Room San Diego – © Life & Food

Always up for trying new local beers, as well as discovering new places here in San Diego, we made our way to Point Loma. They do allow children in their tasting room, so of course Giovanni came along for the ride as well. Speaking of that, the comic wall that you will see in the last photo, kept his busy long enough for Antonio to get through his tasting flight. We got a kick out of the giant colorful post-it mural on the wall, and the shelves full of books are a wonderful touch as well.

The tasting flight consisted of their four year round beers: Blazing World- Hoppy Amber, Fortunate Islands- Hoppy Wheat, Black House- Coffee Stout, and Lomaland- Saison. It was hard to pick favorites on this trip, but it came out as a tie between their Amber and Wheat beers.

Modern Times Beer Tasting Room San Diego – © Life & Food

Modern Times Beer Tasting Room San Diego – © Life & Food

Modern Times Beer Tasting Room San Diego – © Life & Food

Modern Times Beer Tasting Room San Diego – © Life & Food

If you have yet to make a trip to the Modern Times Beer Tasting room, consider adding that to your list.

Modern Times Beer Tasting Room

3725 Greenwood St.
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 546-9694

Open Every Day 12pm-9pm

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Verde y Crema

Verde y Crema

Meet Chef Jair Tellez’s latest project: Verde y Crema. The story behind the name of Tijuana’s newest restaurant, stems from the fact that during the 1960′s and 1970′s this very location was a union site for the green and cream Tijuana public transportation drivers. Today this urban spot is filled with an array of colors, owed to the local artists and muralists that expressed their work as a reflection, passion, and praise for the wonderful city of Tijuana.

Hermosillo born, and Tijuana raised Chef Jair Tellez not only was chosen by GQ Mexico this week as “Chef of the year 2013″, but his other two restaurants Laja (#46) in Valle de Guadalupe, and Merotoro (#26) in Mexico City earned spots in Latin America’s 50 Best list this year. Merotoro also just recently won “People’s Choice” at Travel+Leisure’s 2013 Gourmet Awards.

Dark lacquered wooden tables, modern lighting fixtures, and recycled materials all make up this gorgeous restaurant. The attention to detail is refreshing, and I couldn’t help but notice them more as I walked throughout the space.

The kitchen runs only on wood fire, which adds and unforgettable flavor to the food. As always Chef Jair Tellez, like at his other two restaurants, pays very close attention to the products and where they are sourced that are being served. There is no doubt in my mind that being able to taste that attention to detail only enhances your meal. A focus on tying in the border region of San Diego’s exploding craft beer scene, and Baja California’s bounty of regional spots and products inspires what Verde y Crema has become today.

With one glance at the menu, we tried to hold back and not order every single item. This is a great place to order a few dishes and share them amongst the table, especially along side a crisp glass of craft beer. The small bowl of lime drenched, seasoned nuts and seeds that is brought to your table will have you ordering one first thing. Take a look at their carefully selected craft beer collection that lights up the back of the beautiful bar.

A young and talented Tijuana born, and graduate of Culinary Art school, Martin Vargas was head of the kitchen for the evening. He has worked under instruction of Jair, as well as different kitchens in Puerto Vallarta, Tepoztlan, and Mexico City.

I apologize for any hunger that these following pictures may provoke, but hey just sitting here writing about it makes me wish I was sitting back at that table filled with all of these delicious dishes.

Verde y Crema, Tijuana – Life & Food

Verde y Crema, Tijuana – Life & Food

Verde y Crema, Tijuana – Life & Food

IMG_0323
Ensalada de durazno parrillado, lechuga, pepitas de girasol

The citrus dressing on this salad was on point. So light and refreshing, with the sweet peaches that cut the tang just perfectly. I will be ordering the other salads from their menu on my next visit no doubt.

Verde y Crema, Tijuana – Life & FoodEssquites Verde y Crema

I’m not going to lie, the second I saw “esquites”, I knew that this would end up on our table. This ramped up version of a street food classic is nothing short of amazing. The addition of thinly sliced radishes, and pieces of crunchy tostada combined with the tender corn kernels, altogether rounded out the creaminess and hints of citrus and spice.

Verde y Crema, Tijuana – Life & FoodHamburguesa de res “Normanda”, queso de Valle de Guadalupe, y papas fritas

Of course knowing my husband, we knew there was no doubt that the hamburger would not be ordered. I am so glad it was. One bite into the juicy, cooked to a perfect medium rare patty actually brought back childhood memories. There is one burger that will always stick out in my mind, that I ordered all the time during the summers of sailing as a youngin’. Absolutely mouth watering. Oh, and  you can’t forget to dip the crispy potatoes into their house made take catsup.

Verde y Crema, Tijuana – Life & FoodTacos de carne asada oriental, kimchi, cacahuate japonés

My husband took his first bite of this taco, and all I heard was, “Yes.” That statement makes perfect sense. I mean, we could live off of tacos de carne asada, and the oriental flavors and textures are a fresh and tasty variation.

Verde y Crema, Tijuana – Life & Food

Verde y Crema, Tijuana – Life & Food

Verde y Crema, Tijuana – Life & Food

Verde y Crema has a vibe like none other. It’s very relax, and ideal for a night out with friends or family. The food that we tasted left us yearning for more, and we can not wait to return.

Verde y Crema | Map
Orizaba 3034, Colonia Neidhart
Tijuana, Baja California
Tel: (664) 6812366

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Super Cocina: Comida Casera Mexicana

Super Cocina: Comida Casera Mexicana

I absolutely love to cook at home, but sometimes you can’t avoid the obvious of wanting to get out and enjoy someone else’s cooking. To me the taste of home cooked Mexican and Italian meals really tug at my heart strings, and more often then not my rumbling stomach. Who doesn’t love a nice heaping dose of comfort food?

Mole Poblano, Potato and Cheese Patties, Rice and Beans – Super Cocina: Comida Casera Mexicana
Mole Poblano, Potato and Cheese Patties, Rice and Beans

Super Cocina has had its doors open in San Diego since 1988, employing women with no professional cooking background, just those with a passion for their hometown’s dishes. Every day the menu changes at Super Cocina, offering meals from different regions throughout Mexico.

Sopes, Rice and Beans – Super Cocina: Comida Casera Mexicana
Sopes, Rice and Beans

This spot is the perfect place to warm you up from the inside out. I ordered the sopes, which I think I have a small addiction to. It’s just one of those dishes that will pop into my head, and bam! I need them for lunch or dinner. I could also survive off of a pot of home cooked beans, and oh, fresh flour tortillas are my ultimate weakness. I know you guys could not live without that last little factoid.

Chicharron en Salsa Verde, Taquitos Dorados de Pollo, Rice and Beans – Super Cocina: Comida Casera Mexicana
Chicharrón en Salsa Verde, Taquitos Dorados de Pollo, Rice and Beans

If you haven’t ventured over to Super Cocina yet, and are yearning for the delicious temptations of a home cooked meal while eating out, head on over. Especially with the upcoming chilly days, nothing sounds quite better.

Super Cocina: Comida Casera Mexicana
3627 University Ave
San Diego, CA
(619) 584-6244

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