Tag Archives: Ensenada

In Ensenada, Cheap Mexican Charms Await

 

TRAVEL
In Ensenada, Cheap Mexican Charms Await
Jan.14.2015

For as long as I can remember, Ensenada has had a whiff of south-of-the-border excess and spring-break stigma. Less than two hours from San Diego, down the Baja California peninsula, it’s one of the easiest and safest places to experience Mexico on a budget — which makes it easy to think of this small coastal city and cruise line layover as a sort of Mexico for Beginners. But dismissing northwest Baja is a mistake. Beyond the souvenir shops selling sombreros, knockoff artesanía (handicrafts) and tacky T-shirts, there’s a college town, a port town and a budding culinary capital that invite exploration. While Ensenada and the surrounding area can require a bit of patience, its pleasures are worth the time it takes to find them — and all the more so because they can be had so affordably.

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A restaurant at La Bufadora, a powerful blowhole where families pose for photos as the Pacific sprays them with sea mist. Credit Freda Moon

 

I’ve had an affection for Ensenada since childhood, when it was a daylong car ride from my Northern California hometown and my introduction to international travel. In those days, I’ll admit, its beaches looked cleaner and the Pacific Ocean felt warmer. My brother and I would sip virgin piña coladas and spend hours scouring the beach for sand dollars. In college, it remained exotic in my mind — a place Tim, my then-boyfriend (now-husband), and I could go on winter break and feel like adventurous runaways. These days, Ensenada is simply the closest we can get to the Mexico we love without a plane ticket.

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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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Housing inventory not much of an issue in northern Baja California, broker Kathy Katz says

 

Housing inventory not much of an issue in northern Baja California, broker Kathy Katz says

By GLENN GRANT, Special to The Daily Transcript
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

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Sales have doubled each of the past three years at Baja Real Estate Group in Rosarito Beach and Ensenada, says broker/co-owner Kathy Katz. Courtesy photo

Low housing inventory is a challenge for most San Diego County real estate firms. But it’s a different story just south of the border.

“We have great inventory in northern Baja California,” said Kathy Katz, broker and co-owner with husband Max Katz at Baja Real Estate Group in Rosarito Beach and Ensenada. “There’s been a lot of developer-financed new construction the past few years, but because we got hit by the economy along with everybody else, we have new standing inventory.”

Americans by birth, the Katzes have lived and worked in northern Baja for more than 20 years. They have a second home in Chula Vista but raised their children in Rosarito Beach, where they’re active in community affairs and among other Americans who live in the coastal city.

“I was doing vacation rentals in Rosarito, then met up with a developer and started re-launching his condos,” Kathy Katz said. “I was always in sales, so I guess this was my calling.”

The firm has clients in the United States, Baja and the Mexican interior, and prides itself on educating them about property ownership along the border. A client-relations staff member was recently hired to funnel prospective buyers to agents and help them make informed decisions.

The firm’s eight agents also help clear up prospective buyers’ apprehensions and beliefs about Mexican laws regarding foreign ownership, such as the 99-year land lease.

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The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

 

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico
January 15, 2014

Below is an unbiased look at the best places in Mexico to retire – with real pros and cons – to help you make an informed decision as to which best meets your needs, interests and ambitions.

So writes “Johnny Punish” (www.JohnnyPunish.com) in edited excerpts from his article written originally as an exclusive for www.munKNEE.com (Your Key to Making Money!) and under the title The Top 10 Places to Live and Retire in Mexico and the reasons why. Note: this paragraph must be included in any re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

Punish goes on to say:

In the process of putting together this comprehensive report I have consulted with highly experienced ex-pats who have lived and/or live in the places that I rate here so, without further wait, here’s the top 10 places to live and retire in Mexico and the reasons why:

1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco
2. Ensenada, Baja California
3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
4. Guadalajara, Jalisco
5. Merida, Yucatan
6. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
7. Mazatlan, Sinaloa
8. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
9. La Paz, Baja California
10. San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas

1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco (Winner)

According to Kristina Morgan of Focus on Mexico, “Of all the places in Mexico I have been, none can quite compare with Lake Chapala. There’s something about this place that just seems…magical and, as corny as it sounds, that’s the word I hear people use to describe Lake Chapala time and again. Lake Chapala gets into your heart and becomes home. It’s like stepping back 50-70 years here regarding the simpler lifestyle, culture and values. When I’m here I feel like I can be me, like I can breathe a little more freely and be the person I want to be and this is a sentiment expressed by most everyone who has ever been here or lives here”.

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Experience the winery, dining and beauty of Baja California, Mexico

 

Experience the winery, dining and beauty of Baja California, Mexico
Jan 12, 2014
By Fernanda Beccaglia   

Approximately only 10 percent of Baja California’s wine gets exported, meaning you will need to make a trip to the area, specifically Valley of Guadalupe, to sample it for yourself–personally, I don’t mind.

Some of the popular varieties you will find include Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Malbec and Barbera.

If you are planning a trip any time soon to Mexico’s Baja California, here are my top suggestions.

wine in Baja California

Only 10 percent of the wine in Baja California is exported. Experience wine tasting, dining and travel destinations to its finest in the Mexican city. (Shutterstock)

Editor’s Top Choice
2005 Zinfandel Cru Garage, Torres Alegre y Familia

Graduated in Agricultural Engineering, Víctor Torres Alegre, owner and enologist, is the first enologist in Mexico to have a Ph.D. in the Science of Enology.

He received his doctorate from the University of Bordeaux, France, and has formulated innovative ideas and practices for winemaking that have been accepted throughout.

Its winery blends delicately into the dusty Baja Californian landscape, amid vineyards and olive groves.

His wine reflects his devoted passion and dedication to winemaking for over 30 years.

Signature wines

  • Cru Garage: Zinfandel, 75 percent Tempranillo – 25 percent Petit Verdot, Grenache and Nebbiolo
  • La Llave Blanca: (50 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 40 percent Chenin Blanc and 10 percent Moscatel)
  • La Llave Tinta: (70 percent Cabernet Franc, 20 percent Merlot and 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon)

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Looking to rent a car in California to drive to Mexico

Looking to rent a car in California to drive to Mexico

You must have so many  questions, hopefully the following will help answer all your questions.

Is Mexico safe and should I be worried? When talking about Mexico, many people do not understand that there is Mainland Mexico and Baja Mexico. Mainland Mexico has many wonderful areas, but has had its share of bad publicity for shootings and drug cartel action, most of which takes place in Juarez, Mexico.

How far can I travel into Mexico with your vehicles? We let you drive all the way to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico which is the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Most car rental agencies only let you travel as far as Ensenada, which is only 70 miles south of the border. Cabaja lets you explore the entire Baja Peninsula, and even go into mainland Mexico.

Looking to rent a car in California to drive to Mexico

Looking to rent a car in California to drive to Mexico

Do you offer unlimited miles when driving into Mexico? We do not offer unlimited miles but we do give you a certain amount of free miles with every rental. The amount of free miles is based on the length of your rental period.

Do you have restrictions on what type of vehicle you allow into Mexico? No, you’re allowed to drive into Mexico with any one of the vehicles in our fleet. Most car rental agencies only let small or midsize cars cross the border.

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An oasis of music and wine in Baja

 

 

An oasis of music and wine in Baja
Steve Lopez
Recent Columns
October 12, 2013, 12:05 p.m.

In the hills high above Ensenada, on the road to Ojos Negros, a dust-covered, mustachioed cowboy named Don Heriberto Aguilar has found the perfect life.

A trip to Aguilar’s rancho was not on my itinerary in Mexico. I was there to research a story, which will be coming soon, on more than three decades of good deeds performed in Baja California by the owners of Benning Violins in Studio City.

But Tito Quiroz, a musician who started Ensenada’s Academia Benning (which he named for his longtime mentors), was determined to give me and Times photographer Michael Robinson Chavez a look at a Mexico few visitors see. If we were interested, he said, he would take us to a party at a winery in the hills.

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Talks Of Ownership Laws in Mexico Generate Surge in Real Estate Sales

Changes to foreign ownership laws in Mexico expected to generate a surge in sales
The historical amendment to Mexican Constitutions´ 27th Article, has stirred the interest in   properties along the Baja Riviera, as evidenced by the surge of real-estate activity along the Northern Baja Coast. “We have seen an important increase in the number of inquiries by potential clients since discussion about the reform hit international media outlets”, said Maday Valdenegro, Sales Manager at Santa Barbara in Bajamar.

Manlio Fabio Beltrones - Mexican Federal Senator

Manlio Fabio Beltrones – Mexican Federal Senator

The amendment to article 27 was approved by the Mexican Senate on April 23rd, “but it still needs to be approved by a majority of Congresses of each of the States in Mexico for a reform of the law to be final”, noted   Javier Troncoso, an Attorney at Law based in Los Cabos

The reform would now allow foreigners to acquire real estate within the “Restricted Zone” (100 kilometers wide from the borders and 50 kilometers wide from the coastal shores).

“Historically, once an amendment has passed in the Mexican Senate, the State Congresses have approved it. An amendment to the Law of Foreign Ownership would still be needed”, added Troncoso. read more »

A Taste Of Mexico’s Wine Country

 

A Taste Of Mexico’s Wine Country
As seen on Forbes Magazine, Amanda Arnold , Contributor

Just a two-hour drive south of San Diego across the Mexican border lies a peaceful Baja California valley brimming with ripened grapes, delicious wines and gourmet cuisine concocted from the freshest of fresh local ingredients. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors take a peek at Mexico’s lovely—and somewhat little known—Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley), a wine country destination screaming for a late summer getaway of the great outdoors, delicious food and plenty of vino.

Interested in trying a sweet alternative to beer? Venture over to our blog to explore Washington’s cider scene.

A Taste Of Mexico's Wine Country

A Taste Of Mexico’s Wine CountryThe Fiestas de la Vendimia, a celebration of the annual harvest, runs from Aug. 2 through 18 this year, which is why we recommend a late summer visit to the Valle de Guadalupe.

Where To Play
The Fiestas de la Vendimia, a celebration of the annual harvest, runs from Aug. 2 through 18 this year, which is why we recommend a late summer visit to the Valle de Guadalupe. Many of the valley’s wineries participate in the festivities by hosting special events: This year, there’s a wine pairing dinner at oft raved about restaurant Laja with special guest and prominent Mexican chef Daniel Ovadia on Aug. 7; a street party at the Plaza de las Artes in Ensenada on Aug. 8; and a wine pairing dinner at Viñas de Garza on Aug. 15—to name just a few of the happenings.

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