Personal work – Travel Photography – Food Photography
Valle Guadalupe, Ensenada, Mexico
(this post also appears on buttersage.com – my food & travel blog)
Ryan and I decided on a little post-holiday get away. Nothing crazy, we didn’t want to deal with airports and the cost of a big to-do. So we decided on wine country…. in Mexico! We live only 45 minutes from the border here in San Diego, so trips to Rosarito or Ensenada are fairly easy. Just don’t forget the passport!
I put up a little facebook post and asked our local chef & foodie friends…. where would they go in Valle de Gualalupe? This is the wine valley just east of Ensenda chock full of wineries, and amazing food. Their suggestions did not disappoint.
Thank you everyone for all the help!
We set of Friday around 11am heading for Ensenada. Yes, the toll road was re-routed as Andrew mentioned. But, I must say it gave us such a different view of the area that I highly recommend it. It was a beautiful climb around the little mountain there and a surreal lunar landscape for part of it.
Fist stop was a must: La Guerrerense for lunch-time tostadas! Pretty much the best Mariscos street food I’ve tasted. I took the crowd surrounding the tiny little stand as a testament to their quality. Street food in Mexico can be questionable, but you don’t get a crowd like this for offering sub-par food.
La Guerrerense Mariscos
pulpo tostada la guerrerense + ryan caught mid-bite.
We took Julie Darling’s advice and booked our hotel stay with Adobe Guadalupe. So happy about this choice!!! So quiet and beautiful. Excellent food and we loved the wine. Actually this is the only place we bought wine to bring home with us. Huevos Rancheros for breakfast and a hot-tub… vacation heaven!
adobe guadalupe tasting room and cave
Dinner Friday night at Corazon de Tierra was amazing. A seven-course meal that highlights local ingredients. You don’t get a menu and you don’t have a say in what you get short of mentioning allergies. We loved almost everything. Two courses were slightly salty for us, but we are a little sensitive to that so I don’t think most people would mind it. Overall we were super happy. No photos here as it would have been too obtrusive to the other diners in the small dining room. I would love to go back during daylight hours however and have some fun documenting the place. On the same property, mentioned by Michelle above, is Vena Cava, we came back Sunday so I’ll get to that a little later in the post. But great rec Michelle!
Saturday we headed out for some wine tasting. We did so well at wine tasting that I made myself sick and had to cancel our dinner plans… but hey it was a fun ride regardless!
First stop of the day – Torres Alegre – namesake winery for the wine maker. And guess who gave us the tour and poured our tasting? Yes indeed, non other than the wine-maker himself! His very modern winery which holds everything (crush / tanks / cave / tasting room) was a treat. We especially loved the top deck with a 360 degree view of the property.
wine tasting in guadalupe valley – fist stop Torres Alegre
wine tasting in guadalupe valley
Torres Alegre Winery
Next up was Carlos’s suggestion – Viñas de Garza. What a stunning tasting deck!
Then Julie’s recommendation of Monte Xanic (sounds like shanique). Here we had some fun chatting with two other couples from San Diego while drinking more wine.
A little late lunch at Hacienda Guadalupe for some mole and I was stuffed, done, ready to die…. in a good way. We were treated to a beautiful sunset on the way back to our hotel as well.
Sunday morning I was back to my normal self and ready to have more fun. After another scrumptious breakfast at the hotel we checked out and started heading home. Of course there were a few more wineries to hit along the way. Tres Mujeres (thanks Julie) and Vena Cava (thanks Michelle) were great, unfortunately nobody was around at Mogor Badan. I was most impressed with Vena Cava.. first, their barrel & tasting room are built under a roof of over-turned boats. There is an amazing picnic area, complete with a food-truck and man-made lake. Visually i was impressed, but the wine had to impress too… and it did. I will be coming back here for sure.
vena cava winery – valle guadalupe
And finally, a detour back into Ensenada proper for a little lunch at Manzanilla. Thank you Fernando for the gracious recommendations for the whole weekend. Your suggestions were so perfect for us. I had emailed Fernando after Carlos’ suggestion. I told him a bit about our plans, including wanting to check out some food in Ensenada and he was kind enough to send me a lovely email full of suggestions.
Muelle 3 is closed until Jan 7th. Barra Azul it’s a good substitution but off the touristic area. I’d go to La Guerrerense or Birrieria La Guadalajara instead. (Sarmiento, one of my favs is also closed). Then, check in at Adobe Guadalupe, maybe tasting there, chill time. I’d suggest Vena Cava for wine tasting (closes at 5p) and Corazon de Tierra for dinner (alternative: El Cielo Winery and Latitud 32 restaurant, both in the same location).
For Sat, I’d suggest the next wineries: Viñas de Garza, Monte Xanic, Torres Alegre y Familia (next to Adobe Guadalupe). A place to chill, taste and enjoy sunset: Encuentro Guadalupe. Dinner, if not Adobe then definitely Laja or if feeling like going to Ensenada, then Manzanilla.
On Sunday, if you go to La Guerrerense on Friday, then another good option is La Cocina de Doña Esteña in Guadalupe Valley. If you feel like another tasting, Hacienda la Lomita is right next to that place.
Other wineery options for Fri and Sat: Sol y Barro, Mogor Badan, Casa de Piedra, Tres Mujeres and Baron Balche.
Last, if in the future you or your friends need assistance with transportation from SD, accommodations, tailor-made culinary experiences (with winemakers and chefs hosting), let me know. Baja Wine + Food provides those services, we design and take care of everything for you. – Fernando
As i started to say, our final stop on the way out of town was at the Ensenada fishing port. A hidden little gem of a restaurant names Manzanilla (thank you Fernando). I think this is more of a dinner spot, but we stopped when they opened at 1pm for lunch and were of course the only people there. Not to worry though, Perla and the rest of the staff took great care of us despite having to clean up from the previous night’s party (that didn’t wrap until 5am). The food was awesome… lots of fresh and mostly raw seafood for appetizers. We were hungry and unfortunately when starving I forget to take photos of the food before it is gone!
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Copyright Jennifer Dery 2017. Images are not to be copied or used in any way without written permission.