Chefs, wine give Baja a new flavor

 

Chefs, wine give Baja a new flavor
Region’s gastro scene is boosting tourism and its image
By Michele Parente6:13 P.M.OCT. 18, 2014Updated12:14 P.M.OCT. 21, 2014

Last Sunday, chef Javier Plascencia was in Buenos Aires promoting Baja cuisine, having just taped an episode of ABC’s “The Taste” in L.A.

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Tijuana‘s new taste: The rustic chic interior of El Taller Baja Med Cocina. — Photo by Michele Parente

On Wednesday, chef Flor Franco was in New York cooking for about 160 editors at Condé Nast, publishers of such titles as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Condé Nast Traveler.

And during the first week in November, chef Miguel Ángel Guerrero will be in Paris, serving up rustic Baja Med cuisine to the French.

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Javier Plascencia’s popular Finca Altozano in the Valle de Guadalupe.— Photo by Michele Parente

The trio, with about 12 restaurants between them in San Diego, Tijuana, Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe, are Baja’s Emissaries of Eating. While out promoting their own businesses and brands, these globe-trotting gastro ambassadors are at the same time shifting the narrative of a region once known more for kidnappings and cartels than quail and kumamotos.

More than just reputation burnishing, Baja’s food and wine are driving new development around the region as well as an influx of first-time visitors from within Mexico, Europe, Asia and Latin America. It’s also reviving tourism from north of the border, which plummeted in 2008 as the global economy sunk and Tijuana’s death rate skyrocketed.

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Mexico’s Burgeoning Wine Scene

 

Mexico’s Burgeoning Wine Scene
The country may be best known for its beer and tequila, but that’s slowly changing

By WILL LYONS
Updated Oct. 23, 2014 7:50 p.m. ET

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Mexico’s Burgeoning Wine Scene

WHAT ARE THE WORLD’S most unlikely wine-producing countries? India, Russia, China? It may surprise you to learn that China has one of the world’s largest wine industries, with more than half a million hectares now planted with vines.

I have touched down in some unusually located vineyards—Brazil springs to mind—so I wasn’t surprised to hear that Mexico has a fast-growing wine industry. What did surprise me, though, was just how old it is. By common consensus, it seems vines were first planted there in the 1530s by Spanish settlers. One estate can trace its lineage back to 1597. Even by European standards, where there are centuries-old châteaux, 450 years is a long time to be in the wine game.

I expect many of you reading this will never have come across Mexican wine. After all, this is a country known more for its gassy lager and tequila than its grapes. But that’s slowly changing, and wines from regions like the Valle de Guadalupe on the Baja California peninsula, a few hours’ drive south of San Diego, have found their way onto various restaurant wine lists and specialist shops. But not many. Few are exported to Europe and tracking those down is no easy task.

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New lanes ease wait times at border

 

New lanes ease wait times at border
By Sandra Dibble 6:36 P.M.SEPT. 17, 2014

SAN YSIDRO — Could long lines at the San Ysidro Port of Entry be largely in the past?

Many drivers accustomed to waiting in line for hours instead sailed through the busy border crossing within minutes on Wednesday.

What made it possible was the reopening of seven inspection lanes — and the completion of a key phase in the $741 million reconstruction of the massive port, the busiest on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Long Lines Disappear

Wednesday afternoon the lines at the San Ysidro Port of Entry were incredibly short, sometimes as small as 3-4 cars. Sean M. Haffey U-T San Diego

The expanded capacity in the primary inspection lanes means that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency charged with operating the port of entry, now has at its disposal 25 rebuilt inspection lanes with total of 46 booths. And that’s just the beginning: By January 2018, the port is expected to grow to 34 lanes with 63 booths.

“This is incredible. I can’t believe it. There’s something like 15 cars ahead of me,” said Marco Montano, as he waited early Wednesday afternoon to cross in the general lanes, which are usually the longest. He and a friend were heading from Tijuana to San Diego to purchase a bus part and had been prepared for the usual wait of two to three hours — not 10 minutes.

And so the cars flowed into San Diego from Tijuana: A grandmother returning from a family visit, an unemployed man from Spring Valley coming back from a doctor’s appointment, a construction worker from Lake Elsinore going home after visiting family in Rosarito Beach.

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Study: Words in Listing Ads Can Boost Sales Price

The words that real estate professionals choose to describe a property in listing ads could potentially result in the home selling for a premium, suggests an analysis that looks at listing descriptions and their effect on sales price and probability of sale. For example, property descriptor words in listing ads, like granite countertops and wood-burning fireplace, can help net higher sales prices.

Study: Words in Listing Ads Can Boost Sales Price

Study: Words in Listing Ads Can Boost Sales Price

Researcher Bennie Waller, a professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., found that each property characteristic mentioned in a listing increases the sale price by just under 1 percent and it’s probability of selling by, on average, 9.2 percent.

“That means a listing with 15 additional property characteristics sells for roughly a 13.5 percent price premium,” says Waller, who excluded standard features in his analysis, such as bedrooms. Waller and his co-authors examined more than 16,300 transactions between March 2000 and February 2009 from a south central Virginia MLS. read more »

Disaster Relief from Hurricane Odile Los Cabos and How You Can Help

By  Susie Albin-Najera

The International Community Foundation is raising funds to support immediate disaster relief and rebuilding efforts in Baja California Sur in response to damage caused by Hurricane Odile.

A man stands by a trailer that was swept along with debris, by the flood waters and high winds of Hurricane Odile in Los Cabos, Mexico, Monday, Sept. 15 2014. Hurricane Odile blazed a trail of destruction through Mexico's Baja... - The Associated Press.

A man stands by a trailer that was swept along with debris, by the flood waters and high winds of Hurricane Odile in Los Cabos, Mexico, Monday, Sept. 15 2014. Hurricane Odile blazed a trail of destruction through Mexico’s Baja… – The Associated Press.

September 17, 2014 San Diego, CA. Hurricane Odile made landfall near Cabo San Lucas at 9:45pm (PDT) on Sunday night, September 14, 2014, as a powerful Category 3 hurricane, with estimated winds of 127 mph and torrential rainfall; one of the strongest hurricanes to ever make landfall in Baja California Sur. Odile continued to rake the state of Baja California Sur Monday, as it marched northward with strong winds and heavy rains flooding the southern half of the peninsula. The heavy rains threaten to trigger mudslides and floods.

The storm has already caused widespread damage across the southern half of Baja California Sur, including homes, hotels, hospitals, and roads.   Mexican authorities report that at least 15,000 people in high risk areas suffered damage or total loss of their home due to heavy winds. Currently all airports and ports are closed to civilian traffic. There remain power outages across the region, a lack of clean running water, and phone service is down.   Emergency officials also report that at least 135 people have been treated for varying injuries as a result of the storm, mostly from broken glass and falling objects.

The International Community Foundation (ICF) is actively working to assess needs of local communities in those areas most directly affected by the hurricane, and will work to mobilize needed resources for immediate disaster relief and rebuilding efforts. ICF will partner with on- the-ground disaster relief organizations, including our long-time partner, the Mexican Red Cross, and our grantees throughout the region. Charitable donations in support of relief efforts can be made to the Baja California Disaster Relief Fund at ICF.

How to help Contributions by mail: Checks payable to the International Community Foundation, with Baja California Disaster Relief Fund in the memo line, can be sent to: Baja California Disaster Relief Fund c/o International Community Foundation 2505 N Avenue   National City, CA 91950 Online contributions to the Baja

California Disaster Relief Fund at the International Community Foundation may be made at:

http://icf-xchange.org/donateonline/?webkey=bajadisasterrelief

18 thousand tourists flown away from Cabo in just three days in remarkable “air bridge” operation

The aftermath of Odile left 26,000 tourists stranded in Baja California, away from their homes, and with no communication means. But in a remarkable operation, the Mexican Government, the military and the private sector coordinated an “air bridge” that would move 18,000 tourist out of the affected region in three days.

By Thursday, Mexico’s Transportation Ministry declared that 18,000 people had already been flown out on more than 120 flights.

By Thursday, Mexico’s Transportation Ministry declared that 18,000 people had already been flown out on more than 120 flights.

Americans, Europeans, and others  were flown to major cities such as Guadalajara, Toluca, Mexico City and Los Mochas.  American passengers arriving at Tijuana were swiftly taken to San Diego.

Odile hit Baja California on Sunday, causing major damage to the International  San Jose Los Cabos Airport. By Tuesday, tens of military and commercial airplanes were flying out of the runway to lead tourists to safety.  Aeroméxico, Volaris and other Mexican airlines, were quick to react to the emergency,   establishing hotlines,   offering free trips to those in need and honoring fares for clients who had previously purchased their tickets.

By Thursday, Mexico’s Transportation Ministry declared that 18,000 people had already been flown out on more than 120 flights. “Rescue efforts will continue until every tourist is taken out of the region”, pledged the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Though the situation is not easy, and Mexico is still  faced with many challenges, the efforts to tend to the Tourist sector must be acknowledged.

We at the Baja Real Estate Group wish to make our best effort to aid the local Baja California population. Tens of thousands Mexican nationals that live and work in Cabo are without basic electricity and water, and in desperate need of basic products, shelter  and food.

These are several ways you can join us in helping our brothers in Baja California:

Financial aid
https://bisbeesconservationfund.org/Donate/CaboRelief

Items needed

  • Canned food/goods of any kind
  • Bottled water
  • Diapers
  • Bleach
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Buckets
  • Brooms
  • Towels / blankets

These are being collected at:

Rosarito DIF
The Lighthouse Sports Bar & Restaurant (KM 58 Carretera  Tijuana-Ensenada Libre)

Ship or deliver from 8 am-5pm to:
Mexicana Logistics US HQ
7734 Formula Place
San Diego, CA 92121

MEXICO DONATIONS
Ship or deliver from 8am-5pm to:
Mexicana Logistics Mex HQ
Calzada de las Americas #951
Col. Compuertas. Mexicali, BC 21218
(Cruzando la calle del Colegio de las Americas)

http://www.race-dezert.com/forum/threads/baja-strong-off-roaders-hurricane-relief.119455/

 

Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas, Mexico

 

Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas, Mexico
DESTINATION & TOURISM | BRANDI ANDRES | SEPTEMBER 11, 2014

Just a 40-minute drive south of the California border to Mexico, a few miles beyond Rosarito, is the quiet, guard-gated community of Las Gaviotas.

Beyond the walls of this Northern Baja retreat is a calming escape from the daily grind that inspires a whole new fondness for Mexico. Rows of houses are stacked on a slope above the Pacific and have second-level views of the deep blue. Since the homes are privately owned (there are no resorts or hotels here), the best way to find a vacation rental is through a search online or through a travel agent.

Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas

Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas

Within the community, there’s a private beach where many Southern California surfers can be found from morning to early afternoon paddling out, determinedly, beyond the pounding waves to catch the kind of curls most people would think only exist in places like Hawaii. Although the surges can fluctuate, these waters aren’t for the faint of heart. Less experienced surfers should proceed with caution, and beginners might consider avoiding the waves altogether. The tides are strong and every evening the salty sea crashes against the cliffs that protect a string of homes along the shoreline.

For families with little ones and those who’d rather not mess with sand, there’s a community pool and hot tub that overlook the ocean. On some days a pop-up fish stand sits at the edge of the stone-paved terrace of the pool house where guests can order the freshest catch of the day sashimi-style or in a mouth-watering ceviche, a mixture of seafood cured in lemon or limejuice with salt, spices and in this part of the world tomato, onion, avocado and cilantro.

What’s nearby?

Most who stay in Las Gaviotas bring their own groceries for home-cooked meals, but anyone who loves seafood must visit the “lobster village” of Puerto Nuevo. Only a short drive to the south on Carretera Libre (free road), this small town has shops filled with Mexican art, jewelry and trinkets, plus restaurants that serve up fresh-caught fried lobster piled high on a platter and shared family style with sides of rice and beans.

Siete Mares (Paseo del Mar #2, 646-218-2370) is the place we’d recommend for the food, friendly service and a gorgeous sunset view from the outdoor deck. Villa Ortegas Restaurant seems to get a good crowd, as well. Keep in mind all of the restaurants and shops are cash only.

The city of Rosarito is also close by, just eight miles north of Las Gaviotas, and offers a larger variety of shopping, restaurant options and deep-sea fishing charters.

Across the road from Las Gaviotas is the most helpful White Horse convenience store, which sells snacks, beverages and ice.

When to go?

The weather is similar to Southern California, which means it can be nice year-round. But beach-lovers and sun-tanners would enjoy the summer months best.

How to get there?

The nearest airport is the Tijuana International Airport which has many of the well-known car rental companies, such as Thrifty, Alamo, Budget and Auto Europe.

For a weekend getaway, however, most visitors drive across the border at San Diego. The main stretch of the drive is along the highway, which is also a cash-only toll road. An important consideration, as with driving in any unfamiliar destination, is to follow all traffic rules (speed limit signs note kilometers/hour). An absolute must when crossing the border by car is to purchase Mexican auto insurance prior to entering.

A few road rules to know: drivers must wear seatbelts and it is illegal to use a cell phone while driving. For the safest trip by car, try staying on toll roads or along a main highway as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to stay within the gated community after dark.

When the weekend is over, consider heading back toward California in the morning hours. Wait time at the border can be anywhere from 3-5 hours, otherwise.

Be prepared to show a passport upon returning to the states.

As with traveling to any foreign country, please visit the website of the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs.

 

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Read more about the Baja style of living: http://www.bajarealestategroup.net/

Mexico Developers Selling Cheaper Alternative to U.S. Luxury Senior Housing

 

Mexico Developers Selling Cheaper Alternative to U.S. Luxury Senior Housing
Jason Oliva-August 25, 2014

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Mexico Developers Selling Cheaper Alternative to U.S. Luxury Senior Housing.

A popular tourist spot, beachfront real estate and a newly converted resort hotel adds up to what developers say will give luxury senior housing in the U.S. a run for its money south of the border.

Those are the ingredients for Front Beach Retirement Mexico, a Mexican development company that sees opportunity in targeting American and Canadian seniors looking to retire in Mexico, particularly the widely popular tourist town of Puerto Vallarta.

Through an agreement with the Las Palmas Hotel, Puerto Vallarta-based Front Beach Retirement converted the 225 rooms of the all-inclusive hotel into an independent and assisted living community, Front Beach Puerto Vallarta.

“We’re offering a buffet-style of living,” says Front Beach Retirement and Mexico Assisted Living Marketing Director Joshua Ketner. “Rather than convert rooms into apartments, we left them at resort-style living.”

Though the company declined to disclose costs associated with the senior housing transformation, Ketner—who previously worked for A Place for Mom and as a caregiver at Aegis Living—told SHN that the overall spending on the conversion was minimal, as many of the rooms and accessibility features, such as hand rails, were already in place. The main cost, he says, was to convert a room into a doctor’s office.

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Mexico Developers Selling Cheaper Alternative to U.S. Luxury Senior Housing.

The community embraces its hospitality roots, offering amenities like housekeeping services, two swimming pools, various dining venues, large common areas, direct beach access, a Tiki Bar and Internet accessibility.

Where the campus caters to its senior clientele becomes apparent with medical alert systems in every room, daily activities programming, transportation to medical appointments, wheelchair accessibility and 24-hour care provided by on-site nurses as caregivers and a resident physician who also lives within the community.

Aside from the seaside real estate and all the resort-style amenities included, the biggest draws for the Puerto Vallarta community are its lower price points on monthly rent and healthcare, says Ketner.

For $3,000 a month, residents at the Puerto Vallarta community can enjoy rooms with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as utilities such as air conditioning, electricity and water that are included in the rent. For double occupancy rooms, the monthly rent is $4,600.

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Mexico Developers Selling Cheaper Alternative to U.S. Luxury Senior Housing.

In the U.S., the costs for assisted living are considerably more expensive at $3,500 per month, according to the 2014 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. While this figure signals a 1.45% increase in the last year, costs for assisted living have grown 4.29% annually on a five-year basis—the highest of all long-term care settings recorded by Genworth.

A unique feature of the community is that it doesn’t restrict its age-50 and up cliente to a one-month stay minimum.

In another attempt to target those “snowbird” vacationers heading for warmer weather during their retirement years, Front Beach also offers one-week stays at $780 for single occupancy and $1,100 for doubles. Additionally, a two-week stay runs $1,509 for a single and $2,140 for a double room.

Still in its early stages of operations, with a grand opening slated in the next couple of weeks, Front Beach Puerto Vallarta has seen about 10 leads looking to move in come September so far.

“There’s quite the misconception of Mexico, but the economy is growing and there is a large middle class here,” says Ketner. “It’ll just take more time getting people accustomed to the idea, and us a few months to figure out what our niches are.”

http://seniorhousingnews.com/2014/08/25/mexico-developers-selling-cheaper-alternative-u-s-luxury-senior-housing/

Written by Jason Oliva

 

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Read more about the Baja style of living: http://www.bajarealestategroup.net/

After The Kids Have Gone: Former Spring Break Destination In Mexico Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper

 

After The Kids Have Gone: Former Spring Break Destination In Mexico Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper
By Rebekah SagerPublished July 18, 2014Fox News Latino

Town Once Known For Spring Breakers Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper

The Rosarito Beach area of Baja California in Mexico, once a thriving spring break locale that was decimated by crime and a collapsing economy, has had to find new, quieter ways to prosper.

Until 2008 or so, Rosarito Beach, about 10 miles south of the United States-Mexico border in Baja California, was a hot spot for kids on spring break looking to drink tequila, eat cheap lobster dinners and party the days and nights away. Then the economy crashed and crime reached epidemic proportions and suddenly the streets went from 24 hour fiesta to ghost town.

Baja Fresh Produce

The Rosarito Beach area of Baja California in Mexico, once a thriving spring break locale that was decimated by crime and a collapsing economy, has had to find new, quieter ways to prosper.

Until recently, that is. Today Rosarito is a thriving place for families, foodies and small businesses.

A visit to the only winery in Rosarito, Claudius, provides a glimpse into the innovation and resilience desperate (and resourceful) business owners in the area have gone through.

Julio Benitez, a native of Segovia, Spain, established the business just four years ago, and only this year is the label releasing its first bottles onto the market. The vinyard caters primarily to aficionados who can take classes at a small wine-making school, and a tasting room and restaurant for enthusiasts who would rather savor it.

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6 ways to stage your home for less than $1,000

 

6 ways to stage your home for less than $1,000
Make your house stand out to potential buyers without breaking the bank.
By Anne Kates Smith of Kiplinger

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6 ways to stage your home for less than $1,000

Staging a home for sale is all about making it inviting to the largest number of potential buyers. If a home is vacant, a stager will haul in furniture and décor so buyers can imagine themselves living there. If it’s occupied, the stager will declutter, neutralize and decorate for the masses.

Slide show: Real-world examples of home staging for less than $1,000
Staging won’t make a home sell for more than it’s worth. But it can set your home apart and boost the selling price to the top of the range for comparable homes. It can also cut the time on the market. Because nearly 90% of homebuyers start their search on the Internet, staging is a good way to make sure online photos pop.

Home sellers spend an average of $1,800 to stage a home, but costs can range from a couple of hundred dollars to $5,000 or more. Here are six ways to stage your home for less than $1,000.

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