Tag Archives: Tijuana

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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Parental Indiscretion

 

Parental Indiscretion
Like Old Times

BY RACHEL LAING
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Published: 2014.10.23 03:12 PM

The superiority of the American childhood of the ’70s and ’80s to that of today is pretty well chronicled on the Internet, but missing from those nostalgic lists (Atari! Underoos! Riding in the back of a pickup!) are memories exclusive to those of us who spent part of our childhoods in San Diego: Baja adventures.

ILLUSTRATION BY KRISTINA MICOTTI

ILLUSTRATION BY KRISTINA MICOTTI

There were the family day trips—lunch at Calafia, curio shopping, maybe a stop in Tijuana for a photo with a zebra-striped donkey if we had an out-of-town visitor along. As teenagers, my friends and I took the trolley to San Ysidro and walked across the border, treating TJ like an exotic mall. San Diego kids went to Baja to surf and camp and eat fish tacos and drink Coronas. (Let’s not discuss the nightclub shenanigans we partook in once we could pass for 18.)

Baja trips were just part of growing up in San Diego. But by the time my kids were old enough to enjoy their first family trip to Puerto Nuevo for cheap lobster, going to Baja was no longer a simple thing you could do on impulse. I wasn’t scared by the dire warnings about drug cartel violence, which I always thought were overblown. But you now need a passport, and the reports of hellishly long border waits were definitely a deterrent. I couldn’t imagine sitting for hours at the border waving off peddlers of gaudy Last Supper paintings while my kids whined in the back seat.

“Kids went to Baja to surf and camp and eat fish tacos and drink Coronas.”

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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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The New Tijuana: Craft Beer, Gastronomy & Art

In this week’s episode we cross the border and move past the myths about Tijuana, Mexico to explore the cultural revival that’s turning Tijuana from a border town into a rising travel destination.

Muchas gracias to Let’s Go Clandestino Tours, Verde y Crema Restaurant, The Beer Box, Border Psycho Brewery, Baja Craft Beers, & Tacos Kokopelli.

And also to our good friend Drew McGill for help filming!

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VAGABROTHERS: We’re Marko and Alex Ayling, brothers, backpackers, and bloggers on a mission to explore the world through its people.  Winners of the global travel-video competition “The Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List” which paid us to travel the world for six months, checking off our travel bucket list and documenting the adventure on YouTube. read more »

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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New fusion cuisine flourishes in Baja California

TIJUANA, Mexico — Until recently, Baja California’s culinary contribution to the world amounted to the Caesar salad, a dish hardly associated with Mexican food. Beyond that, this long, thin peninsula was known more for its Chinese food and pizza thanks to the thousands of migrants from all over the world who began to settle the Mexican state south of California in the 19th century.

 New fusion cuisine flourishes in Baja California


New fusion cuisine flourishes in Baja California

Now a group of chefs wants to change that, working to create a unique cuisine largely based on fresh seafood caught in the seas flanking Baja and the produce from its fertile valley. The new culinary craze, known as Baja Med, is a fusion of Mexican food with influences from the Mediterranean and Asia.

The movement has resulted in dozens of restaurants that are helping to pull a new kind of tourist to the beleaguered border city – one who enjoys great food and art rather than a brothel and a cheap drunk. People attending conventions in San Diego think of crossing the border for dinner in Tijuana, said Javier Plascencia, the chef of Mision 19, whose quest to put his city on the culinary map was the subject of a New Yorker magazine profile earlier this year.

Baja Med mixes uniquely Mexican ingredients such as chicharron and cotija cheese with lemon grass and olive oil. Signature dishes include tempura fish tacos and deep sea shrimp served with fried marlin, baby farm tomatoes, scallions and a sauce made with local cheeses.

“What Baja Med proposes is for the ingredient to be the main actor in the kitchen,” said Miguel Angel Guerrero, chef of La Querencia, a Tijuana restaurant serving such dishes as beet carpaccio with blue cheese and mint vinaigrette. “Geographically, we are privileged because throughout the year we have a variety of products available. And yet, many generations have passed, and we still don’t have a regional cuisine.”

The port of Ensenada, 40 miles south of Tijuana, is one of the country’s largest for mussels, oysters, clams and shrimp, as well as a hotbed of blue tuna sea farming. Baja California is the fourth largest producing vegetables in Mexico, according to the state government. read more »

Crime In Mexico: Is Baja Safe For Travelers?

by Dave Seminara

Fifteen years ago, my brother who lives near San Diego took me to coastal Baja in Mexico and the experience has stayed with me ever since. We ate fish tacos, went swimming at a sublime, deserted beach and fell asleep on the beach to the sounds of the surf. In December, I’m heading west to visit my brother again, this time with my wife and sons, ages 3 and 5, but when I asked him to take me back to the same places we visited long ago he told me that it wasn’t safe.

Beach in Rosarito

Beach in Rosarito

“No one goes down there any more,” he said. “Those places are all ghost towns.”

And after contacting Budget, the company we’d reserved a car with at its LAX location, and being told that we weren’t allowed to take our rental car down to Mexico, I wondered if perhaps my brother was right.

Crime in Mexico is serious business and anyone who suggests that safety isn’t a legitimate concern is kidding themselves. But I’ve been traveling to different parts of Mexico for years, including recent trips in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and I still believe that there are parts of the country that are safe to visit.
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First Look At Salma Hayek & Mathieu Demy In ‘Americano’

Written by: Oliver Lyttelton – THE PLAYLIST

It’s always said that when it comes to breaking into the film industry, it’s not what you know, but who you know, and it’s hard to deny that nepotism is rife in the industry. But when it’s meant that talents like Sofia Coppola, Nicolas Cage, Peter Fonda, Drew Barrymore, John Huston and, uh, Clint Howard, to name but a few, it’s hard to complain too much. Today we’ve obtained an exclusive first image of a project that utilizes a number of members of famous film-making families, and it’s looking pretty promising.

First Look At Salma Hayek & Mathieu Demy In ‘Americano’

First Look At Salma Hayek & Mathieu Demy In ‘Americano’

Actor Mathieu Demy comes from famous film-making stock, being the son of French film-making giants Agnes Varda and Jacques Demy, and he’s already racked up an impressive career in front of the camera, in films like “God is Great, But I’m Not,” “Aram” and “The Girl On The Train.” Now, according to a press release from BAC Films International, who’ve picked up all of the worldwide rights to the project, he’s made his directorial debut, on a self-penned project entitled “Americano,” and he’s attracted fellow filmmaking family members to the cast like Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve, Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of Charlie Chaplin and Carlos Bardem, the older brother of Javier Bardem. But the film will be toplined by Demy himself, opposite international star Salma Hayek.

Demy will play Martin, a man grieving from the death of his mother, and escaping a failing relationship, who returns to Los Angeles, where he grew up, to sort out his inheritance. Troubled by childhood memories, he goes off to track down Lola, a Mexican woman (Hayek) who he knew in childhood, eventually finding her down at the Americano club in Tijuana, where she works as a stripper. Mastroianni will play Martin’s ex-girlfriend, while Chaplin will play an old friend of the family who kicks off his quest.

Demy comments in the press release “”Americano” is a film I have been working on for years. I wanted to tackle a theme that directly relates to my history, my identity: transmission. What do you inherit from your parents? How do you deal with it? And how do you write your own story?” And it seems like he’s using the unique advantages of his own upbringing: “I used footage from one of my mother’s film, “Documenteur”, where she filmed me when I was 8 and was living with her in LA. Those images find a special echo in the film, and question our relationship to fiction and reality. But I also wanted to do a universal film, that will travel and please all type of audiences. That is why I decided to gather a very special cast, whom I must thank for their support and their faith in the project.”

The film’s now in post-production, having recently wrapped its multi-lingual, globe-spanning shoot—it lensed in Paris, L.A. and Tijuana, and will be in French, English and Spanish—and should apparently be ready for the festival season in the fall, so a bow in Toronto or Venice wouldn’t be out of the question. Les Films du Losange will distribute in France, and BAC Films will be the sales agent. It all sounds fairly intriguing, and Demy’s parentage alone is reason enough to make us very, very curious about what he’s come up with.

Browse for Mexico Real Estate and Real Estate in Baja.

Baja California Responds To Safety Concerns And Eyes Rebound In Tourism

By Jeff Barnes, Editor, Mission Times Courier

(Mission Times Courier, San Diego, CA) – If safety concerns have kept you from visiting Baja California, the State wants you to know security has been stepped up across the region with your safety in mind.

Baja California Responds To Safety Concerns And Eyes Rebound In Tourism

Baja California Responds To Safety Concerns And Eyes Rebound In Tourism

The mayors of Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Mexicali and Tecate recently invited media on a three-day tour of the region to discuss the changes that have been made to ensure the safety of tourists. The Mission Times Courier was one of several media outlets from California, Arizona and Nevada that joined government officials on the tour.

Tijuana’s new mayor and police chief say public safety for tourists is a top priority. Mayor Carlos Bustamante says media reports of crimes involving drug cartels over the past several years have led many to believe Tijuana has turned into “a crime city”. Today, officials say that perception couldn’t be farther from the truth. Police Chief Gustavo Huerta credits heightened enforcement and training for turning the city back into a safe place for residents and tourists. Thanks to greater coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement, the city has seen a higher number of seizures of drugs. The city has seen a 30% decrease in crimes involving cartel members and a 40% decline in violent crimes and robberies.

The police chief says new training standards and procedures have also been implemented to make sure officers are fulfilling their obligation. More than 500 officers have been fired for failing to comply.

“We’re not going to put up with any corruption,” Chief Huerta said.

A new “tourist police” force has been put in place in tourist areas, including Avenida Revolución, a downtown area known for its restaurants and shopping. The bilingual officers are more easily recognized and are eager to help tourists during their stay.’ read more »

How safe is travel in Mexico

It all depends on your destination. The State Department warns against travel in the border towns of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros, but most beach resorts and other historical spots popular with American tourists are unaffected.

Carol Pucci
Seattle Times staff columnist

How safe is travel in Mexico?

How safe is travel in Mexico?

How safe is travel in Mexico?

It all depends on where you’re going.

As a new travel warning by the U.S. State Department (http://travel.state.gov) points out, the areas of concern are not the beach resorts or historical cities most Americans visit, but rather the border towns, specifically Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros.

Too often in the past, these types of government alerts have taken a broad-brush approach, simply advising against travel to a country as a whole. What’s different about this warning, issued Sunday following the shooting in Ciudad Juárez of three people with ties to the American consulate, is its level of detail, and the way it rightly targets only towns where drug-related violence has been rampant.

This could have something to do with the fact that Mexico’s tourism economy is fragile, and the U.S. government doesn’t want to do anything that might damage it, but let’s hope it also has something to do with a new, more responsible approach to travel warnings in general.

As the State Department points out, millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year, and this isn’t likely to change. Nearly a million Americans live in various parts of the country, enjoying the benefits of an inexpensive retirement and low-cost medical care. read more »