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Day trip: Eating events in Baja California

The region's reaching cult status among foodies, have a look for yourself

Brilliant. The way Baja California’s culinary scene has soared in the past two years, picking up new Mexiphiles and big endorsements from America’s food media.

I’ve even heard murmurings about Mexico having the cooking edge over San Diego.

“Tijuana has so much more style than San Diego,” a diner recently told me. “The food of Mexico is very colorful, with a lot of ingredients. Not just french fries and meat.”

To avoid an international incident, let’s just say ingredients like roasted chilies, mole and chicharrones appear in high-end, seasonal plates, making Baja’s chef-driven restaurants distinct. From Javier Plascencia’s Misión 19 in Tijuana to Jair Téllez’s Laja in Valle de Guadalupe, their creations show poise and Mexican pride.

Add to that the miracle that the region’s chefs created a new genre of cuisine — branded “Baja-Med” and conceived in a moment of crisis for Mexico.

"In 2008-2009 when the American tourists disappeared, the culinarians in Baja dug in deeper," explains San Diego's chief Mexiphile, Jay Porter, owner of North Park restaurants The Linkery and El Take It Easy. "(They) committed themselves to becoming something really special to Mexico -- which they've done."

Now safety concerns have subsided. And U.S. gourmands are road-tripping to Ensenada for sea urchin and Pismo clam tostadas at the legendary La Guerrerense cart, for beef tongue and cactus at nearby Manzanilla restaurant, for oysters with fried lamb at Valle de Guadalupe’s Corazón de Tierra.

It’s nothing like the 1990s, when French-Mexican fusion ruled the other side of the border. It’s Baja-Med’s time.

Let’s continue to give it its due.

Upcoming Baja culinary events:

20th annual San Felipe Shrimp Festival

Of all the exotic creatures swimming in the Sea of Cortez, this little fishing village made its name with the jumbo blue shrimp. At this year's festival, see cooking demos by Javier Plascencia (Misión 19; Erizo) 7 p.m. Nov. 2; Benito Molina and Solange Muris (Manzanilla) 3 p.m. Nov. 3; Esteban Lluis (Mediterránero Restaurant Plaza Lienzo) 9 p.m. Nov. 3; and private chef Juan Eumir 3 p.m. Nov. 4.

The Shrimp Festival includes a rodeo, tequila tastings, music and more. It runs 6 p.m. - 2 a.m. Friday, Nov. 2; noon – 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3; noon – 11 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4. Free admission.sanfelipeshrimpfestival.com

Turista Libre’s Dia de los Muertos Cemetery Tour

Meet at the San Ysidro crossing at 1 p.m. Nov. 3, for a relaxed, history-tinged, urban-hipster tour of Tijuana. Tip through Puerta Blanca, Tijuana's oldest cemetery, shop at a few botanicas (pharmacies) and refuel with a mole pizza at El Taller – a gourmet spot from one of Baja Med’s fathers, Miguel Angel Guerrero. The tour ends with a round of Tecate Rojas at Panteon del Taurino. Border transport, pizza and a Tecate included in your $35 ticket.


Baja Wine Tours from San Diego

Five Star Tours takes the wheel, carries you to Valle de Guadalupe. The trip includes wine tastings at LA Cetto, Adobe Guadalupe and Baron Blanche, plus chocolate and pastry shopping, then lunch at Hacienda Guadalupe. A wine expert leads you behind-the-scenes at the wineries, too. Departs 9 a.m. Nov. 3 and Nov. 24 from downtown San Diego's Amtrak Train Station, but pick-ups can be customized. $189. 619-232-5040or sandiegowinerytours.com.

keli.dailey@utsandiego.com (619) 293-1541 Twitter @kelidailey


Published Thursday, November 1, 2012 6:21 AM by Kanoa Biondolillo


# Day trip: Eating events in Baja California – Mexico Real Estate For Sale | San Felipe Mexico Travel

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