October Food Events

Eat Your Way Through October

by Wendy Lemlin

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What is it about October that always makes it such a busy month for food events? Is it because it’s usually one of the best weather months in San Diego, when temperatures start to cool down and skies are clear?  Is it because it fits so nicely between summer vacations and holiday frenzies? Or maybe it’s more about fiscal calendars and venue availabilities.  Whatever the reason, this will be every foodie’s dream month—just be prepared to splurge, both calorie-wise and money-wise, if you plan to go to everything! Here are a few events coming up. Continue reading

Bracero Brings It!

by Wendy Lemlin

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After months of delays, and about a year of anticipation, Bracero Cocina de Raiz finally opened in mid July. The first restaurant in San Diego proper by Baja mega celeb chef Javier Plascencia (Romesco in Bonita, Mision 19 and Erizo in Tijuana, and Finca Altozano in the Valle de Guadalupe) and partner Luis Peña, opened its Little Italy doors to much foodie-world buzz and advance reservations booked several months out.

Was it worth the wait? In a word, yes!

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Hacienda El Capricho: Heaven in the Baja Hills

By Wendy Lemlin

Welcome to Hacienda El Capricho

Welcome to Hacienda El Capricho

For those of us in Southern California, a trip to northern Baja might entail heading to some coastal destination between Rosarito and Ensenada, usually to eat some tacos, drink some cold cervezas, maybe do some surfing or lounging on a beach, and then finishing off with a stop in Popotla to pick up some colorful pottery at the roadside “studios”. Or, maybe it’s a wine-tasting and gastronomic extravaganza to the now uber-popular Guadalupe Valley, where the numbers of upscale wineries, restaurants and flashy events have increased exponentially (along with prices!) in the last five years. Foodies and artists are discovering the culinary and cultural delights of Tijuana, and San Felipe is still a laid back-destination for sport fisherman, and gringo retirees. It’s all out there and readily accessible.

But, way, way off the beaten path, nestled in the Baja mountains several miles inland from

The road to Hacienda El Capricho

The road to Hacienda El Capricho

the coast near Puerto Nuevo, exists an amazing slice of Baja that few tourists even know exists. If you continue for several winding, bumpy, dusty miles on the dirt road that runs east uphill from Primo Tapia, past All the Pretty Horses of Baja Rescue, after about 30-40 minutes you will arrive at Hacienda El Capricho, the dream of Alberto Ortiz, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but in the midst of abundant natural beauty and tranquility. It may not be easy to find, but it is certainly easy to love. At this elevation, the

The hills are alive on the way to Hacienda El Capricho

The hills are alive on the way to Hacienda El Capricho

hills, even in the heat of mid-summer, are greener and lusher than you would ever expect, covered in native oaks, flowering buckwheat, grasses, and a variety of vegetation, watered by natural springs and underground streams.

The sound of bird calls fill the air—the acorn woodpeckers that run through their impressive vocal repertoire in the oaks, the cooing of doves, the chatter of hooded orioles, the chirping of sparrows and the melodies of robins. Sometimes you’ll hear the mooing of cattle at a nearby ranch, or the whinny of a horse.  At night there’s the occasional yip of a coyote.  There are noises here in the Baja outback, but they are the noises of nature, which only accentuate the tranquility, rather than disturb it.

The entrance to Hacienda El Capricho

The entrance to Hacienda El Capricho

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Flying to San Felipe

by Wendy Lemlin

These arches, the symbol of San Felipe, greet visitors at the north entrance of town.

These arches, the symbol of San Felipe, greet visitors at the north entrance of town.

San Felipe, on Baja’s Sea of Cortez, has always been a playground and vacation home destination for those in the San Diego and SoCal areas, but until recently, getting there was definitely NOT half the fun, necessitating a 4+ hour drive into Mexico, over mountainous roads and sometimes long border waits on the return trip home. All this changed this past December, when Portland, OR-based SeaPort Airlines began offering non-stop air service from San Diego International Airport to San Felipe in their nine passenger prop planes, currently on Monday, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

SeaPort Airlines' 9 passenger planes fly between San Diego and San Felipe.

SeaPort Airlines’ 9 passenger planes fly between San Diego and San Felipe.

The easy, hour and 20 minute flight takes passengers over breathtaking views of mountains and canyons that few travelers ever see, far from any roads or vestiges of “civilization”, and deposits them at the small San Felipe airport, on the placid shores of the Sea of Cortez, just a 5 minute drive from the lovely beachfront San Felipe Marina Resort and Spa.  Continue reading

A Taste of Baja California Culinary Fest

by Wendy Lemlin

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So, you’ve been hearing all these great things about the Baja culinary scene, and have just been waiting for a good excuse (not that you really need one!) to experience it for yourself, right?  Well, you’ve got one—in fact two!

For the first time, Baja California Culinary Fest is teaming up with The Culinary Conference Ensenada Gastronómica to present five days of mouth-watering excitement. From October 29th to November 2nd, guests will be able to explore the many flavors of Baja and discover the local natural resources of the region that the rest of the world is clamoring for these days. Chefs’ dinners, outings, tours and culinary competitions are among the exciting events planned for this foodie extravaganza. Continue reading

Info for Attending Tijuana Innovadora

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If you’re planning to attend Tijuana Innavadora–and if you’re a fan of Baja, innovation in the arts and technology, the exciting culinary scene, and so much more, you should be!—here’s what you need to know to attend this incredible conference which takes place Oct. 16-26:

The innovation conference Tijuana Innovadora will present 200
innovators in technology, health, education, business, food, fashion and more on Oct. 16 to 26 at the Centro Cultural Tijuana (Cecut), although the Culinary Battles will take place at the Arena Tecate/Hipódromo Caliente (Caliente Racetrack).
The purpose is to highlight the innovation in the Tijuana-San Diego region and to promote cross-border business opportunities. This year’s theme is a celebration of the contributions Mexican immigrants have made in the United States.
The speakers are leaders in their field in Latin America, the United States and the border region.
Lectures and panel discussions will be available in English through simultaneous translation.
Special events will highlight innovation in specific areas:
Batalla Culinaria – Oct. 18 and 19, featuring top chefs from the Baja California and San Diego.
General seating $30; VIP seating $47
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Campus link (Oct. 21 and 22) : Speakers and activities aimed at college students focused on Internet technology, given by leaders from Google, MIT, National Geographic, and founders of successful site and apps.

InnovaModa – Oct. 25, featuring Mexico’s famed Pineda Covalín brand as well as local designers. General seating $29, VIP seating $42. Package of four designers’ talks (Oct. 24) is $33,students $17.
TICKETS
Conference tickets can be bought through the website: Tijuana Innovadora or at Cecut box office. $27 for conference block of speakers and panels (generally morning or afternoon), per day. $54 for Rudolph Giuliani or César Millán; InnovaModa and Batalla Culinaria have separate pricing (see above).
Expo — free
Workshops – more than 40, free (in Spanish)
Chats — most free
TRANSPORTATION FROM SAN DIEGO
Individuals – May drive across the border and park at or around the Centro Cultural Tijuana, minutes away from San Ysidro border crossing. Parking will be extremely limited, however.
Uber: Individuals may take the trolley or Uber San Diego (a conference sponsor) to the border and from there Uber Tijuana to the cultural center.
Mexicoach: Individuals may leave for conference venue throughout the day from
the Mexicoach office in San Ysidro, 4570 Camino de la Plaza, 92173. Round-trip ticket is $5,with expedited crossing.
Groups — Transportation will be provided by Mexicoach with expedited border crossing, leaving from Inspiration Point in Balboa Park, for $15 per person. Reservations:
http://goo.gl/forms/kfQu7aaHlK; email is: groups@tijuanainnovadora.com
OTHER EVENTS
Neon Run 5K (Oct. 18) Runners and walkers will light up Tijuana streets.
TEDxTijuana (Oct. 21) — $26 for 16 speakers on a variety of subjects.
Cosplay Parade (Oct. 26), 3 p.m. “Comic-con”-style parade of Tijuana cosplayers.
Complete program at Tijuana Innovadora.

Chef Profile: Martin San Roman

by Wendy Lemlin

Chef Martin San Roman in his kitchen at Dobson's .

Chef Martin San Roman in his kitchen at Dobson’s .

There are cooks— and then there are chefs.  Creative cooks abound these days, but truly talented chefs, with a culinary education, a firm foundation in the basics, and years of executive experience in running all types of kitchens, from hotels to intimate dining rooms, are few and far between. Martin San Roman is a highly accomplished chef, in every sense of the word. Continue reading

Food Without Borders: Culinary Battles at Tijuana Innovadora Conference

By Wendy Lemlin

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Come October 18 and 19, there will be some cross-border battles raging in Tijuana— but don’t be alarmed; it’s a very good thing!  In fact you could say a delicious thing, as some of the finest chefs from San Diego and Tijuana compete in three separate Iron Chef-style competitions, or Batallas Culinarias, as part of the biennial Tijuana Innovadora Conference, which showcases innovation in technology, industry and culture. Continue reading

Wine, Sculpture, Opera–and Pizza!– at Salerno Winery

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salerno 7Lovers of award winning wines and world-class art can now indulge both passions at the newly expanded Salerno Winery in the scenic hills of Ramona, CA, in San Diego’s East County. Continue reading

Bravo for Zarco

By Wendy Lemlin

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I’d be willing to wager that for most of you reading this, downtown Chula Vista is not the first place you’d think of—or at all— when deciding where to go for a fantastic dinner and amazing wine selection. Yeah, me neither—that is, until my recent visit to Zarco, Cocina De Baja, in the heart of Chula Vista’s 3rd Avenue shopping district. There, among shops whose windows display the most colorful of flouncy quinceanera dresses, Chef Flor Franco has converted the commercial kitchen of her highly successful Indulge Contemporary Catering company into a first rate showcase for her take on the much acclaimed cuisine and wines of Baja California. Continue reading