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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VIDEO: Mesamérica 2014 – Expresiones urbanas, comida callejera.

May 21, 2014
lacahua002_tijuana-©lifeandfood

Mésamerica, one of the most notable food focused events, is taking place right now in México’s capital city. Hundreds of renowned chefs, food & drink personalities from Mexico, as well all over the world get together to celebrate and discuss the industry in a series of panels.

For Mesamérica’s inaugural event, we were asked to collaborate with a series of street food stand photos from Tijuana and Ensenada. Take a look at the video and enjoy!

Special thanks to ¿Donde Comere?!

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Life As We Know It

May 8, 2014
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Here is a glimpse into our lives over the past month or so. It was filled with more quesabirria cravings than I would like to admit, a wonderful private outing with Club Tengo Hambre, enjoying delicious local eats in Tijuana, Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe and San Diego, and a beautiful Easter Sunday with family.

Our little lady is set to make her arrival any day now, and to say that we are anxious is an understatement. We can’t wait to see what the upcoming summer season brings, all I know is that it will involve unforgettable meals, sipping of different wines and beers, and amazing times with friends and family are to come.

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.

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Tacos de NY from Don Esteban — Tijuana

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La Cacho’s La Stazione — Tijuana

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The Lunch Box Food Truck — Tijuana

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Chicharrón prensado with roasted chiles salsa at The Lunch Box — Tijuana

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Cenaduría La Once — Downtown, Tijuana

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Jalisco style Menudo at Menudería el Tapatío — Tijuana

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Tacos El Gallito — Otay Dristrict, Tijuana

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Mercado Negro — Ensenada

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Jacu Brew Bar — Downtown, Tijuana

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Satisfying birria cravings at Birrieria Don Rafa — Chula Vista, CA

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Rancho El Mogor — Valle de Guadalupe

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Lamba caja china tacos with an Agua Mala craft beer — Valle de Guadalupe

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View of Tijuana from San Diego — San Diego, CA

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Duck confit salad and pork belly torta at MIHO’s Juke in North Park — San Diego

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Take-out from Filipi’s — Little Italy, San Diego

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Fish tacos from Mariscos El Prieto — Chula Vista, CA

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Gio hunting for Easter Eggs

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Tuna fin and moronga + olive oil octopus taco at La Cahua del Yeyo — Tijuana

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La Cahua del Yeyo — Tijuana

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Pico de gallo from curbside cart — Tijuana

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Verde y Crema’s Chef Martin Vargas preparing a tiradito dish — Tijuana

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Yellowtail tiradito with jicama, rainbow radish and ash based salsa at Verde y Crema — Tijuana

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Verde y Crema — Tijuana

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View of Tijuana from Colinas de Agua Caliente — Tijuana

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Birria tacos at Fernandez Restaurant — San Diego

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Homemade carnitas

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San Diego Chef Taco Collaboration Night at Puesto — The Headquarters, San Diego

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Braised lamb taco by Chef Matt Gordon, Suckling pig taco by Chef Joe Magnanelli, and California fish and chips taco by Chef Brian Malarkey at Puestos SD Taco Collaboration Night — The Headquarters, San Diego

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Jai Alai — Downtown, Tijuana

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Life As We Know It

March 20, 2014
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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

March 10, 2014
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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

February 17, 2014
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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

February 4, 2014
Mariscos El Gordito, Ensenada – © Life & Food

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

January 10, 2014
Mariscos El Paisa, San Diego – © Life & Food

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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