y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: Baja California Culinary Festival

Baja California Culinary Festival

Last weekend I was part of a very fortunate group of food writers, editors and friends of Baja cuisine that Mexican street food ambassador Bill Esparza gathered together for a gastronomically adventurous weekend.

Last year a Pleasure Palate group went on a smaller weekend trip, and after that one, this trip was a no brainer. I signed up as soon as the information got posted. Most attendees were alumni as well.

The First Annual Baja California Culinary Festival, organized by Baja Master Chef, Javier Plascencia (Mision 19, Cebicheria Erizo, Casa Plascencia, Villa Saverios and Caesar's Restaurant), celebrated local food treasures and the innovative, thriving culinary scene at select locations (Ensenada, Mexicali, Rosarito,Tecate, Tijuana and the Valle de Guadalupe) over 4 days.


I plan on doing a series of a couple of posts on various experiences during the weekend. Let's start out of chronological order, with Saturday Oct. 8th at the festival.

El Trompo Museum - site of the festival
Bill giving us directions and schedule for the festival
We spent just under 3 hours at the festival. We got wrist bands and food/drink tickets to pretty much try it all.

It feels like a made a dent in hitting all the offerings, yet covered a lot and felt super full upon leaving. That's a feeling quite prevalent throughout the weekend.

Casa Plascencia - salsas
herb and chile oil-based salsas
tuna, guacamole cream and beat cilantro salsas
The bright pink-red of the beat and cilantro salsa totally caught my eye, as did many of these gourmet salsas in earthen bowls.

lamb crostini

Casa Plascensia served three tacos. On the left is lamb, back is beef cheeks and front is beef ribs.

smoked marlin taco
oyster taco

One of my favorite bites were La Diferencia's made to order blue corn quesadillas. They offered a trio of mushrooms, squash blossoms and fresh huitlacoche (corn "truffle", also known as corn smut).

flor de calabaza (squash blossom) quesadilla


Caesar's was serving freshly made Caesar salad, originally created at this restaurant in Tijuana.

Caesar's - Caesar salad
La Diferencia's nopales salad (cactus)
Los Arcos - shrimp ceviche
I ate one of these cups of ceviche then drank the residual juice, it was that delicious.

tostada de chicharones
Casa Plascencia - freshly made paella
fresh coconut juice and Clamato
Senor Sushi menus - Mexican style sushi

After walking to the other end of the festival, I found an extraordinary barista station and must have spent half an hour here chatting with these friendly gentelmen and learning about their naturally infused syrups and slow drip methods.




The technique was impressive. I asked them to recommend and make a drink of their choice and they ended up making a latte, my favorite.

It was a far cry from L.A.'s nonfat lattes. Very rich and decadent without being too sweet or heavy. They could give Intelligentsia a run for their money.

Sangria and Tepoznieves ice cream
On the last visit we stopped at Tepoznieves and tasted various local flavors. Imagine my delight to find their booth at the festival.

All flavors tasted great but I chose Beso de Cenicienta (queso, nata, miel, mermelada fresa). In English that's cheese, cream, honey, strawberry marmalade.

Making tres leches chocolate cake


This membrilla, or quince, pudding hit the right creamy, fruity and not-too-sweet note. Loved it.

sweet potato flan


Several booths offered artisanal goods for sale - everything from olive oil to fresh sugar cane stir sticks. The bread and cheese booths drew in a constant stream of traffic.

Overall the festival offered a lot of great classics and surprises for everyone.

0 Responses to “Baja California Culinary Festival”:

Leave a comment

Please feel free to provide feedback and comments.