As I mentioned on the previous post, Valle de Guadalupe is considered Mexican wine country and quickly becoming a culinary and wine destination. Wine Enthusiast named it one of the worlds top 10 travel destinations. I imagine it is what Napa was 50-60 years ago. Rough around the edges, exciting with new talent and experimentation, and so much passion behind every winery and restaurant! Living in San Diego, we are also seeing Baja's flavors making their way onto the menu's of many local restaurants. Chef's are going south of the border and exploring new flavors indigenous to Baja and serving them up in new innovative ways, a different way of eating!
I guess you could say the ambassador of this Baja food revolution is Javier Placencia who has made it his personal mission to make Baja an international food destination one day as he has told both the New York Times and the New Yorker. Well my friends, it is happening.
San Diego Magazine recently did a fantastic article that was pretty much our foodie guidebook on this trip, here is the link. Below I thought I would share some of the highlights from our trip. Places that offer a unique experience, fantastic service and of course great food and wine.
To start you must visit Corazon de Tierra. They strictly do a tasting menu that features only the freshest seasonal ingredients. The produce is all grown in the adjacent garden and picked daily. All the proteins come from locally sourced vendors. Chef Diego Hernandez Baquedaro's highlights life in Baja California. They are know for their 5yr sauce. I can't say more but it's pretty darn delicious!
Vena Cava is the winery adjacent to Villa del Valle and not to be partial but it is nothing short of magical! In it's entirety it is build of recycled materials. Tires, irrigation hoses, boats! This is a passionate movement in the area, reuse and recycle. In a addition many of the local wineries have taken it upon themselves to build water reservoirs to get through the dry months. The below photo of the row boat is just that. Conveniently there is a food truck right outside the tasting room in case you happen to drink a little too much vino or just want to drink a little more. We spent quite a bit of time there. ;)
Another stop not to miss is Encuentro Guadalupe Antiresort. The coolest eco hotel with just 20 little rooms perched on a rocky hillside. It is stunning! Not to be missed if you are a design buff. These guys not only have great wines but they also carry some fantastic local microbrews.
La Finca Altozano is one of Javier Placencias restaurants. It offers what I would describe as Baja country side food. Think game meats such as lamb and rabbit all cooked over open flames. Local wines and craft beers. The compound is beautiful, perched on a hillside. Great for a casual dinners under the stars.
Laja, this restaurant holds a special place in my heart. We discovered it on our first trip to Valle de Guadalupe when they had only been open a few months. It was my first introduction to what Chef's are doing here! It is a single story house, minimal, no fuss. Tasting menus that are French inspired with a twist.
Deckman's en el Mogor, regrettably we did not make it here but I am SO excited to visit! Michelin star chef Drew Deckman or as some of the locals refer to him "Mad Food Genius", has created a truly farmhouse al fresco dining experience with a fine dinning menu.