Waking up with with a serious hangover in Antigua, Guatemala either means last night was a raging success or a crushing failure. If you’re hanging out with the crew from Ilegal Mezcal at Café No Sé, a morning of squinty eyes, pounding head and mouth dry with the lingering taste of gasoline and smoke, generally indicates the former.
Based in Marshall, California, Hog Island has become not only a day-trip destination for bivalve-loving bon vivants and a dining institution in San Francisco, but more importantly, a beacon of aquaculture sustainability.
“What are you doing in this lane?” a Customs and Border Patrol agent in at the crossing into Douglas, Arizona, yelled at us from outside the car. This border crossing was not like the others.
Valle de Guadalupe is Mexico’s wine country. People come here to sip little-known red wine blends and huddle up next to a roaring fire as the air cools and the sun slips behind the desert mountains. Then they return to their hotels, where they run the shower, blissfully unaware that every drop of water they use brings their hosts closer to disaster.
Too often, the discussion of Baja’s culinary revolution skips over the Valle de Guadalupe’s sleepier little sister, the port city of Ensenada. Flanked by desert mountains, facing the stark blue Pacific Ocean and bestowed with one of the most pleasant climates on earth, Ensenada is just 90 miles south of downtown San Diego, making it the ideal destination for a day trip.
If you go, you’ll find pristine, near-empty beaches; understated eco resorts; a varied and delicious homegrown cuisine with priority on sustainable foods; and a laid-back people who recognize you could’ve gone elsewhere, and who appreciate your efforts.
What makes this a particularly odious option is the commodification of it all – that one must pay for something that should be public and egalitarian, putting us shoulder-to-shoulder, facing the organic pull of our common history.
“Oh, yes. We have Under the Counter,” the waiter responded as the entire table erupted in laughter and looked towards me. He turned and sped off, presumably to grab the hooch.
At a certain point on the road to Long Island’s east end, a stretch of beaches and farms, there’s a sign that reads “Welcome to: Long Island Wine Country.”
Ask those in the know about global food trends and, undoubtedly, one of their answers will be “Modern Mexican.” Paying tribute to the complex and, in many cases, ancient food traditions of Mexican cooking, chefs are upping standards and price tags by taking classic ingredients and time-tested recipes and giving them a fresh, fine dining-oriented spin.
Things move at a different pace here in San Diego. National trends take a long time to reach us, but sometimes, we’re lucky enough to find ourselves at the cutting edge of one -- not because we’re on top of our game per se, but because we’re still enjoying it from its first incarnation.
We know you’ve heard of Tijuana, a city that, up until recently, hasn’t needed an introduction—or, maybe we should say, a reintroduction.
After chatting with people and getting through the requisite rounds of “Congratulations on your new president!”—which was funny, but also not funny—I sought out an apfelwein tavern to drink off the jet lag.
It must be said that as Mexico's most northwestern state and one of its youngest, Baja has a newer food culture and it has only crystallized in the last 15 years or so. Though Baja’s cuisine was previously undefined, what is for sure is that there are certain dishes— some of which are taking the food world by storm right now (um, tostadas, anyone?) — that are undeniably “Baja.”
While agave spirits were gaining traction around the world, hopeful vintners in northwestern Mexico were quietly making wine. Good wine. Fifteen minutes in from the Pacific Ocean and 90 minutes south of the United States-Mexico border is where the grape juice can be found, in Valle de Guadalupe.
Since early October, when Hurricane Matthew devastated an already limping Haiti, refugees have been fleeing the island, with many ending up in Brazil. From there, they take buses towards the United States, where their journeys often end in Tijuana.
It was during that low tourism period that Tijuanenses seized on opportunity and reintroduced Tijuana on their own terms, ushering in a golden age of food, drink, design and art to sustain the city. That effort has paid off; Tijuana has been rediscovered.
Even in daylight, candles are necessary at Café No Se. The bar is a bit of a vortex: a dingy-yet-charming cave with no natural light in Antigua, Guatemala. Following the path of Café No Se’s several windowless rooms and through a crawlspace door will eventually deposit the adventurer at yet another bar, where they serve only mezcal.
There’s usually one way to wake up in Baja California's Valle de Guadalupe during a normal weekender: head pounding, eyes squinting, smelling like last night’s bonfire, and desperately groping for a water bottle. But add an organized festival to those regular festivities—a festival where winemakers, chefs, and hoteliers are ready to party—and you have an entire region in full-on revelry.
This is a list of must-hits while in San Diego, and includes everything from casual tacos and ceviches to sit-down extravaganzas worthy of a robust expense account. What’s common to everything on this list is simple: it’s all exceptionally delicious.
Everyone knows someone who’s been to Barcelona. Through rigorous, scientific research we’ve concluded it has long been the number one destination for American college students looking to party/study abroad, which means you probably have no shortage of friends to ask for suggestions for your upcoming vacation.
Do you like tequila, tacos, and fun? Congratulations! You must be a human. Are you also a human residing in America who's curious about crossing the border into Tijuana to experience said tequila, tacos, and fun? Well, you'll want to read this before you go.
Your challenge: you have one day and night in Mexico's emerging Valle de Guadalupe, located two hours south of San Diego—known for its wine, boutique hotels, and farm-to-table Baja Med cuisine.
Just as the world is starting to take tequila seriously and opening its eyes to mezcal, another agave spirit has burst onto the scene. Raicilla, the newest drink on the block, is an herbal distillate from the Mexican state of Jalisco, an area best known for the tourist hot spot of Puerto Vallarta, and the country’s second-largest city, Guadalajara.
You did it. You and your friends crossed from San Diego over the United States-Mexico border, made your way through Tijuana traffic, and maneuvered your car up a winding highway and over a hill to a sprawling view of the Pacific Ocean. This can mean only one thing: you’re on a weekender in Baja, heading south on Route 1D.
Serious wine lovers, both self-styled and professional, frequently hear the terms “natural,” “biodynamic,” and “organic” used to describe wine.
Many claim Oaxacan food is the heart and soul of Mexican cooking, owing its diversity and quality to a plethora of enduring pre and post-Columbian recipes and techniques. Hailing from Oaxaca’s central valley, the tlayuda is an iconic street food staple that shines as a shared plate.
Until recently, San Diego's most sought-after culinary offerings were, simply, whatever you could eat on a patio overlooking the Pacific. Nothing against an oceanside table for two, but the city has quietly grown into a food destination befitting its location: a huge metropolis that mashes up the best of Mexican flavors, Californian experimentation, Pacific Rim seafood culture, beer mad-science, stuck-in-the-'60s post-war Americana, and the surfer's inclination for simple pleasures.
Even after decades of accolades, including three Michelin stars and repeat appearances at number one on the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list, the three Roca brothers at the helm of El Celler de Can Roca place family at the heart of what they do. Won Third Place in the Profiles category at the 2016 San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards.
If you've been paying attention at all, you'll know that Oaxaca is on the top of everyone's must-visit list these days. This southern Mexican state has made a name for itself, thanks to a strong indigenous culture, and its most famous exports are the the impressive food traditions and colorful folk art.
The Phoenix metro area is anything but a food desert, starting with South American-style wines made from Arizona grapes.
Wellness vacations are a dime a dozen these days, but Cabo San Lucas’s Resort at Pedregal has gone a step beyond the usual suite of treatments. The resort’s spa offers an experience that not only gets guests back in touch with themselves, but also allows them to connect more deeply with the roots of the local culture with ancient Mexican traditions.
Tequila needs no introduction and mezcal has cemented its popularity and importance. But raicilla? That’s a much tougher sell. While the world is forever searching for the next “next best thing”, Mexican spirit producers think they have found their new nirvana. Won First Place in the Food category at the 2016 San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards.
Often touted as Tequila’s smokier cousin, Mezcal is the Mexican agave spirit now distillate all over cocktail lists throughout the world. So, what is it? Is it any good? The answer starts in the southern state of Oaxaca, where most of the Mezcal sold globally originates.
It’s that time again: the start of a new year. While others are busy making resolutions, we think January is best spent plotting out the months ahead.
A common knock on San Diego is that it's "just a beach town." For ocean lovers, that's a gentle jab at worst. For culture seekers, it couldn't be more of an oversimplification. More than just patches of surf and sand, beaches allow a large part of San Diego's life to revolve around the water. Locals wouldn't have it any other way.
Two years ago, I moved from Long Island to the West Coast and I found there are certain things I never knew I needed that now always make me homesick.
Spanish food is the latest trend in American dining and the United States is lucky to have a Spaniard of its very own, Chef José Andrés.
The journey never stops, people. But part of that journey is celebrating all of life’s big moments - from graduations to anniversaries to promotions. And when it comes to celebrations, San Diegans definitely know a thing or two.
If you’re a wine drinker, no doubt you’ve heard the terms “natural,” “biodynamic,” and “organic” thrown around, but do you know what they mean? Is this latest fad in wine just that—a fad—or is it here to stay? Are they even any good?
South Africa, a country known for surfing, political conflict, and safaris is now slowly beginning to be recognized as a vibrant food and wine powerhouse.
Iceland’s ethereal landscape is just as other-worldly as one would expect from a volcanic outcropping in the north Atlantic Ocean.
There is no shortage of industry conferences if you work in food and wine. The one festival everyone wants to be at—and invited to participate in—is undoubtedly the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
Spring has sprung following an especially rainy winter, which means San Diego is freshly green and brightly blooming. When raising a glass to sunnier days, consider choosing a cocktail that tastes like it was plucked straight from the garden.
American author Graham Greene hit the nail on the head when writing about Vietnam. Laden with a rich, complicated history, it’s a fascinating country that remains a mystery as travel there only picked up pace in the last decade or so.
Every corner of the city has a new “must-visit” spot, including fine-art expositions, chic tasting rooms, rooftop dining and design stores. Here are a few places to fill your belly, quench your thirst and rest your head.
For a long time now, people have been coming to or passing through San Diego for four main things: beach, beer, tacos, and Mexico. None of that has changed – in fact, all of those things have gotten even better – but America’s Finest City has been pushing beyond serving as the Mecca of surf bros, fish tacos, and all things 1975.
Luxury is at the heart of any experience had at Fairmont Grand Del Mar, which is nestled in the hills at the edge of the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve and twenty minutes north of downtown San Diego.
In the world of food, no place has a greater buzz around it right now than Mexico does. One of its epicenters is off in the far northwestern corner of the country, just an hour and a half south of the United States border at San Diego.
So, what’s wrong with us? Why don’t we love you, Colonia Verde? Like my charming date who just wanted me to crash into him, everything on this menu presents very well, but most of it is insanely bland. I actually thought for a second that I must have blacked out before dinner and powered through a carton of Marlboro Reds, because I really couldn’t taste a thing I was eating.
Baja California’s Valle de Guadalupe is a wine region that the world is finally waking up to. After a couple of decades of hits, misses, and pushes forward, the valley and its wine, food, and hotels is finally getting the acclaim it’s been due. We’ve gathered the best of the best to show you how to have the greatest time on your visit south of the border.
It’s just about time for the world to gather and watch the Monaco Grand Prix. The most glamorous event in Formula One, it’s also the most anticipated race of the season, with film stars, socialites and royalty all flocking to Monaco to catch a glimpse of the festivities. For those in the mix, excess is the name of the game.
We know you’ve probably heard about the “real” Little Italy in the Bronx, and we also know you’ve probably never been.
Spain is no stranger to rustic chic, as many hotels in the countryside are repurposed feudal manors and farmhouses. In the northeastern region of Catalonia, these old homes called mas or masia dot the rolling hills.
The surging popularity of dating apps has changed the game for good, but its transparency means that certain people can’t participate—those that are particularly wealthy, good-looking and well-known. Could you imagine what would happen if Joe Jonas popped up on Tinder? Yeah, neither could he, which is why he joined Raya.
What’s old is new again, as the saying goes. This has never been truer for one of the world’s most favored vehicles, the Land Rover Defender, which is living its best life in the form of a roaring aftermarket.
French food is hardly a novelty in New York, especially in Manhattan, but finding an un-fussy, un-pretentious joint absent throngs of girls-in-heels increasingly is.
You know you're at the right place when you see the old, sky blue Fiat sitting on the sidewalk. It´s so cheesy, it could only come from someone who really means this sh*t.
If you’re in the market for a yacht, chances are you’ve come across the work of master designer Luiz de Basto. His award-winning, eponymous yacht design company, De Basto Designs, is at the forefront of cutting-edge design and technology for yachts of all sizes.