Valle de Guadalupe: Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero’s La Esperanza Baja Med

October 28, 2014
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No stranger to the Valle de Guadalupe, Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero has graced us with his incredible Baja Med dishes at his newest spot: La Esperanza Baja Med. What a beauty! As you walk into the restaurant, your eyes are immediately drawn out towards the expansive vineyards and gorgeousness that we all know as Mexico’s wine country.

La Esperanza Baja Med by Miguel Angel Guerrero, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life + Food

La Esperanza Baja Med by Miguel Angel Guerrero, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life + Food

La Esperanza Baja Med by Miguel Angel Guerrero, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life + Food

La Esperanza Baja Med by Miguel Angel Guerrero, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life + Food

La Esperanza Baja Med by Miguel Angel Guerrero, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life + Food

La Esperanza Baja Med by Miguel Angel Guerrero, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life + Food

La Esperanza Baja Med by Miguel Angel Guerrero, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life + Food

We dined with close friends and family, so sharing dishes worked out just perfectly. Soon our table was filled with fresh oysters del Pepe, shot glasses filled to the brim with an assortment of seafood and a splash of beer, a huge plate of lamb chops drizzled in pesto, lechon, and a trio of tostadas (duck, marlin and lechon). As I assembled my lechon tacos, our son Giovanni was going to town on the mouthwatering lamb. I think he really enjoyed that it was in the shape of a “lollipop”.

Even though I could have easily walked away without dessert, one of my all time favorite desserts is the pastel de crepas from Miguel Angel Guerrero’s La Querencia. When I heard the waitress say that they served it there as well, Antonio didn’t even have to look at my reaction before ordering it. I can’t even finishing typing this, as my mouth has now begun to water. It is that good!

La Esperanza Baja Med by Miguel Angel Guerrero, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life + Food

La Esperanza Baja Med by Miguel Angel Guerrero, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life + Food

Breathtaking views, amazing food, and wonderful company, made up our Sunday afternoon at La Esperanza.

Now please forgive me as a daydream throughout the rest of the day..

@laesperanzabajamedcocina by @bajamedbymiguelangel. New to #ValledeGuadalupe.

A photo posted by LIFE + FOOD (@lifeandfood) on

La Esperanza Baja Med | Facebook
Km. 73.5 Carretera Tecate-El Sauzal
22750 Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California

+52 (664) 6481267 (664) 1430999 | (619) 7342360

Tue – Thu: 12:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Fri – Sat: 12:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Sun: 12:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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Valle de Guadalupe: Finca La Carrodilla

October 24, 2014
Finca La Carrodilla — © Life + Food

Fernando Perez Castro and his family welcome a new venture, and sister winery to Hacienda La Lomita, Finca La Carrodilla. The beauty that makes up this recent addition to the flourishing Valle de Guadalupe, is just stunning. Only open to the public for just a couple of months now, this winery’s first production was in 2011. The 20 hectares of land that make up the property were previously planted with Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz. In the newer part of the vineyard, both biodynamic and organic farming practices are used in the production of wines in that area.

The gorgeous rooftop garden, where we had the chance to taste their wines also provides a natural insulation to the barrel room just below. It was a refreshing fall afternoon, with a light breeze that set the ideal background as we sipped their luscious wines. We enjoyed their Shiraz, Chenin Blanc, and a blend made up of Cabernet, Shiraz, and Tempranillo. I could have easily sat there for the rest of the afternoon, their wines are just wonderful. We look forward to exploring their other wines, and seeing any new projects that may develop at their lovely property.

Finca La Carrodilla — © Life + Food

Finca La Carrodilla — © Life + Food

Finca La Carrodilla — © Life + Food

Finca La Carrodilla — © Life + Food

Finca La Carrodilla — © Life + Food

Finca La Carrodilla — © Life + Food

Finca @LaCarrodilla, Valle de Guadalupe

A photo posted by LIFE + FOOD (@lifeandfood) on

Finca La Carrodilla| Twitter
Parcela 99 Z1 P14, Ejido El Porvenir
Ensenada, Baja California

Thursday-Sunday | 11am-5pm

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Telefónica Gastro Park in Tijuana

October 3, 2014
Teléfonica Gastro Park - Tijuana - ©Life + Food

Food trucks have really started to pop up more and more in Baja California. We have visited some of the mobile additions in Valle de Guadalupe, and of course the classics that have been in Tijuana for over a couple of decades. This new wave of young entrepreneurs and chefs opening up their own food trucks in Tijuana, is a wonderful addition to the ever changing culinary scene in the city.

The current round up of these three trucks at the Telefónica Gastro Park in Tijuana, gives locals and food lovers alike a chance to conduct their own mini food crawls. Okay, so even if you don’t have the appetite for a food crawl, the space offers a great vibe, and sitting back with a cold beer and enjoying your meal with friends or family is an outstanding option.

La Carmelita - Tijuana - ©Life + Food

La Carmelita - Tijuana - ©Life + Food

La Carmelita

La Carmelita, “Cocina de Hogar”, or home cooking will take you right back to the dining table at your mom or grandmother’s house. When you come across aromas or flavors in dishes today that remind you of your childhood, it doesn’t get much better than that. In the last few years, I have come across more and more dishes that really take me back some amazing memories of my yoouth. The fideo seco dish was nearly demolished by our son Giovanni, and I don’t blame him. The milanesa de lengua torta was incredibly hard to put down, and Antonio loved the cerdo braseado con tomatillo y chile morita.

Chef Jose Rodrigo Figueroa Sanchez, with former experience at La Cazaclub, leads the kitchen of this new food truck.

Humo - Tijuana - ©Life + Food

Humo

Humo, headed by chef Giovanni Brassea is known for their sausages, and pulled pork sandwich. We ordered their “Greek” sausage, and it’s safe to say that there was nothing left on the plate. The smokiness in the sausage that lingers in each bite is just lovely. Even the sauce drizzled over the sweet corn, carries on the smoky flavors throughout the dish.

Máquina 65 - Tijuana - ©Life + Food

Máquina 65

Maquina 65, “Alta Cocina Callejera”, Bernardo G. Piña prides himself on using great local products to create a higher level of “street food”. We enjoyed their quesadilla de pato al pastor. The colors, and flavors of this dish are just beautiful. The addition of blue corn tortillas are a memorable touch, as we do not come across them often on our street food jaunts through Tijuana.

Telefónica Gastro Park
Avenida Ocampo | Between Agua Caliente Blvd & 11th St | MAP
Mon – Sat | 1pm – 7pm

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Tijuana Innovadora’s Culinary Battle | Oct 18-19, 2014

September 25, 2014
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The first edition of Tijuana Innovadora’s “Batalla Culinaria” was held two years ago. This year, the competition builds and presents battles in three categories: men, women, and pastry. Notable chefs from both the San Diego and Baja California region will compete in each category, while representing the event’s slogan, “Food Has No Borders.”

This year’s hosts of the Culinary Battle include chefs Javier Plascencia, Miguel Angel Guerrero, and Chad White. A well-known judging panel of influential chefs and food writers ranging from Valle de Guadalupe to Los Angeles, will come together under one roof to select the winning dishes.

Who will reign supreme?

Chefs Ryan Steyn, Drew Deckman, Martin San Roman and Adria Montaño amongst some of Tijuana Innovadora's Culinary Battle — © Life + Food

2014 Culinary Battle participants, chefs Ryan Steyn, Drew Deckman, Martin San Roman and Adria Montaño — © Life + Food

Chefs in the battles are:

Men’s Competition
Drew Deckman of Deckman’s en El Mogor, Valle de Guadalupe, George Morris of Beaumont’s, La Jolla; Martin San Roman of La Terrasse, Valle de Guadalupe; Jason McLoud of Ironside Fish & Oyster, San Diego; Rodolfo Luviano of Ta’costeño, Tijuana; Ryan Steyn of Jardin Adobe, Valle de Guadalupe; Antonio Santoyo of Elementos Restaurante, Tijuana; and Iker Castillo of La Justina, Tijuana

Bone marrow dish from Batalla Culinaria's chef participant Giannina Galvadon at Olivia seasonal campestre in Valle de Guadalupe — © Life + Food

Bone marrow dish from Batalla Culinaria’s chef participant Giannina Galvadon at Olivia seasonal campestre in Valle de Guadalupe — © Life + Food

Women’s Competition
Adria Montaño of Dandelion, Tijuana; Amy DiBiase of Tidal, San Diego; Christine Rivera of George’s at The Cove, San Diego; Karla Navarro of The Kitchen, Tijuana; Mariela Magoni of La Palette, San Diego; Sara Polczynski of The Blind Burro, San Diego; Giannina Galvadon of Olivia, Valle de Guadalupe; and Nancy León of Chan’s Bistro Tijuana

Pastry Competition
Bianca Castro of Biscotti’s, Mexicali; Elsa Fernanda Flores of Dolce Salato, Tijuana; Hermilia Corbala of Mily Sweets, Tijuana; Jordana Salas of Oh Bon Bon, Tijuana; Margu Plascencia of L’Artisan, Tijuana; Maribel Villareal of L’Apricot, Tijuana; Rachel King of Nine-Ten, La Jolla; and Donna Antaloczy of Ironside & Fish Oyster, San Diego

Follow Tijuana Innovadora’s Batalla Culinaria on Facebook | Website | Purchase Tickets

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Valle de Guadalupe: Clos de Tres Cantos

September 18, 2014
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Meet Clos de Tres Cantos. In fact, the winery is so new that they were still constructing a few added details when we made our visit. The grounds itself are breathtaking. There are so many eye catching architectural pieces, structural details, and overall just so much beauty. This winery is unlike any other in Valle de Guadalupe. I actually could not stop myself from talking about it with Antonio for the rest of the day.

The owners Joaquin and Maria developed Clos de Tres Cantos with the land in mind. Their concept behind the project is sustainable, and respectful to the surrounding areas. You will see this in the use of the local materials such as the laja stone that makes up most of the exteriors, as well as reclaimed wood, and recycled wine bottles that have created art in their own way. The light that shines through the different green tinted, and clear wine bottles in their future barrel room, is brilliant.

You can’t visit the land of Mexican wines, without tasting them of course. This day we tasted their “Nada”(Tempranillo & Petite Sirah), “Duda”(Carignan & Mourvedre),”Resilencia”(Petite Sirah), and “Noesis”(Tempranillo).

It was really difficult to pick favorites, but their Duda and Nada remained in my thoughts throughout the day. More than anything, I can not wait to return and see the finished project, and even more importantly experience their wines again.

Check out those cement covered chairs in the photos below! When this lovely heat wave decides to behave, you can bet we will be there with glasses of wine in hand, taking in the wine tinged Valle air, and most of all just relaxing.

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Clos de Tres Cantos | Valle de Guadalupe, San Antonio de Las Minas

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Clos de Tres Cantos
Rancho Santa Lucia, San Antonio de las Minas KM 81
Ensenada, Baja California

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A Week in NorCal

September 3, 2014
Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz

Being able to escape the normal every day scenery for a week was more than needed. We love being able to visit NorCal, and even more so with family. Our first stop, Santa Cruz. My brother has lived there for 8 years now, and I can’t believe that it took us this long to pay a thorough visit. We spent time walking through the redwoods, hitting the local coffee shops and wineries, and tasting our way through the farmers market in the downtown area. The produce was not only beautiful, but absolutely delicious as well! Antonio and I shared a BLTA sandwich, and let me tell you those tomatoes were at the peak of ripeness, and probably my favorite part of the sandwich.

Another favorite of ours, was picking up some bread from the Manresa Bread Project in downtown Santa Cruz’s HEY POPUP space. Savory ham and cheese brioche, a sweet brown butter hazelnut cake, and of course we had to take home a loaf of their levain. It was sliced, heated up, and then smeared it with butter. I could easily eat that every day.

My birthday dinner at Bantam was unforgettable. An evening filled with lovely local wines, an amazing meal, even better company. It was a happy birthday indeed!

Giovanni had the time of his life cruising the boardwalk, hopping on and off rides, and eating cotton candy until his hearts content. We also had to make a quintessential stop for funnel cake, I mean who can resist that?

Santa Cruz, CA

Hallcrest Winery | Santa Cruz, CA

Hallcrest Winery | Santa Cruz, CA
Wine tasting at Hallcrest Winery | Santa Cruz, CA

Verve Coffee Roasters | Santa Cruz, CA

Verve Coffee Roasters | Santa Cruz, CA

Verve Coffee Roasters | Santa Cruz, CA

Verve Coffee Roasters | Santa Cruz, CA
Verve Coffee Roasters |Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Farmer's Market

Manresa Bread Project | Santa Cruz, CA

Manresa Bread Project | Santa Cruz, CA
Manresa Bread Broject | HEYPOPUP, Downtwon Santa Cruz

Bantam | Santa Cruz, CA

Bantam | Santa Cruz, CA

Bantam | Santa Cruz, CA

Bantam | Santa Cruz, CA
Birthday dinner at Bantam | Santa Cruz, CA

San Francisco

San Francisco is absolutely one of our favorite cities in the world! We do not get the chance to visit often enough. We only had 24 hours this trip, in which we tried to fit as much in as we possibly could. We always make lists of spots to visit, wherever our destination may be. We hit a couple of new spots, as well as old favorites. Giovanni and Camila had their first run at using the underground transportation.

A lasting memory of mine, was the McEroy Olive oil ice cream from Humphry Slocombe. The Ferry Building never gets old. Our Saturday morning was spent visiting the Farmers market, which we are completely envious of.

Dearest San Francisco, we will try our hardest to visit you more often. Until next time!

Bay Bridge | San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

Blue Bottle Coffee | San Francisco, CA

Blue Bottle Coffee | San Francisco, CA
Blue Bottle Coffee at the Ferry Building | San Francisco, CA

20th Century Cafe | San Francisco, CA

20th Century Cafe | San Francisco, CA
20th Century Cafe | San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

Ferry Building | San Francisco, CA

Ferry Building Farmers Market | San Francisco, CA

Ferry Building Farmers Market | San Francisco, CA
Saturday’s Farmers Market at the Ferry Building | San Francisco, CA

Hollow Cafe | San Francisco, CA

Hollow Cafe |San Francisco, CA
Hollow Cafe | San Francisco, CA

San Francisco International Airport

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Valle de Guadalupe: Lechuza Vineyards

August 22, 2014
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Valle de Guadalupe is a destination of solitude, relaxation, and simply just brings us pure joy. Whether Antonio and I make the trip down by ourselves, or bring the two littles along, we love the journey of exploration. The times that we pay visits to new spots, we always make an effort to visit the ones that have left a lasting impression. Such spots share wonderful stories behind them, and contribute to the overall narrative of the valley.

Lechuza vineyards is indeed that. A gorgeous property, with a more than generous and passionate family behind the project. It was established in 2005, with its first vintage released in 2007. Ray Magnussen and his daughter Kristin are more than happy to fill you in on what their labor of love means to them, and more importantly pour their delicious wines for you. Their buttery unoaked Chardonnay is perfect on a hot summer day. I could not resist leaving without a bottle of a favorite of mine, their “Amantes” red blend.

They are neighbors with Laja Restaurant, and I mean talk about jealousy when Kristin mentions that she can smell the wonderful aromas that come out of their kitchen on a daily basis. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it?

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Lechuza Vineyard
82.5, Carretera Tecate-Ensenda, Valle de Guadalupe
Ensenada, Baja California

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Valle de Guadalupe: El Pinar de 3 Mujeres

July 22, 2014
El Pinar de 3 Mujeres, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life & Food

I officially made my first trip down of the summer down to Valle de Guadalupe, and not only that, it was also Miss Camila’s very first trip. Giovanni was so thrilled to show his sister the spacious grounds that he likes to run on, as us parents sit back and enjoy a glass of wine. It was so wonderful to venture to El Pinar de 3 Mujeres. It was our first time there, and we couldn’t have been more relaxed or in awe with our entire lunch experience. Chef Ismene Venegas runs the outdoor “kitchen”, whose aromas alone left us inhaling and exhaling releasing the sweet sounds of “ahhhh” with each breath. Just like the smells of charcoal burning grills at our favorite taco spots in Tijuana, that same smokiness lingering in the air as you drive through Mexico’s wine country, will always remain a lasting memory of mine.

We sat down for our six course lunch, under the beautiful shady pine trees, and just let the rest of the afternoon pass us by. Camila stayed snuggled up close to me in her wrap, as Giovanni raced his cars through the dirt. In between car races, he repeatedly asked to go and visit the property’s ducks and chickens. He couldn’t get over the fact that the ducks had their own personal bathtub that they could take dips into as they pleased.

El Pinar de 3 Mujeres, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life & Food

So on to the food portion of the afternoon. The meal was enjoyed with glasses of their Merlot wine.  A chilled white grape and almond gazpacho was the first to hit our taste buds. It was incredibly refreshing. Next out came a lovely garden salad, and lentil and arugula salad. Prior to the main dish, we crunched on tostadas piled high with fish tartare. The cucumber, and purple onions kept this dish nice and bright. The main part of the show, pork ribs with potato salad and grilled vegetables. Let me tell you, I could have eaten 5 more of those ribs if I had the chance. The char on the outside, with the sweet tender meat underneath. Pure bliss!

El Pinar de 3 Mujeres, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life & Food

El Pinar de 3 Mujeres, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life & Food

El Pinar de 3 Mujeres, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life & Food

El Pinar de 3 Mujeres, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life & Food

El Pinar de 3 Mujeres, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life & Food

El Pinar de 3 Mujeres, Valle de Guadalupe — © Life & Food

It was such a welcomed change, just taking in the natural scenery of our beloved Valle, sipping local wine, and enjoying yet again another memorable meal.

Here’s to as many trips down there as we can make possible this summer season!

El Pinar de 3 Mujeres | MAP
Km. 87 Highway 3 Tecate-Ensenada (Same exit as Viñas de Garza)
Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California
+52 646 101 5268

Thu – Sun: 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

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La Terrasse de Martin San Román — Valle de Guadalupe

July 15, 2014
La Terrasse de Martin San Roman — © Life & Food

Over the weekend Chef Martin San Roman opened up his new restaurant La Terrasse San Roman at Alximia vineyards in Valle de Guadalupe. The Baja Provençal menu will focus on rustic French recipes using local ingredients from the region. France and Baja coming together in one place, that right there combines two of my greatest passions. Enjoy the beauty of dining al fresco in Mexico’s sprawling wine country, with a touch of French feel, and all of the richness of the Valle in this beautiful spot. Congratulations to both Chef Martin San Román, and Álvaro Álvarez of Alximia wines!

La Terrasse de Martin San Roman — © Life & Food

La Terrasse de Martin San Roman — © Life & Food

La Terrasse de Martin San Roman — © Life & Food

La Terrasse de Martin San Roman — © Life & Food

La Terrasse de Martin San Roman — © Life & Food

La Terrasse de Martin San Roman — © Life & Food

La Terrasse de Martin San Roman — © Life & Food

La Terrasse de Martin San Roman — © Life & Food

La Terrasse de Martin San Roman — © Life & Food

La Terrasse San Roman
Km.3 EL Tigre
Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California CP 22766
Phone: +52 646 196 7803

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