Friday, February 16, 2018

Valle de Guadalupe

This is my sixth visit to Valle de Guadalupe, along the Ruta del Vino.  Every time I come here I immediately start to look forward to the next visit.  
From Oceanside it takes approximately two and a half hours to arrive at the first vineyard.  It is a long day but it is so worth it.  It is such a different experience in comparison to wine tasting in Temecula, which is much, much closer.

I have been enough times now to know exactly what I want and what I don't want.  I don't want to feel like I am wine tasting in LA or Temecula, or France or Italy.  I want to feel like I am wine tasting in Mexico.  Not the negative stereotypical Mexico, but the Mexico that I know and love.   
Welcoming and mellow, and proud of their product.

This is exactly what we found.  Which was easy considering I have been to both of the wineries that we visited today on previous trips. 
We started at Viñedos Malagón.
The last time I was here was with Kimmie and Nuno back in 2013. (Time sure does fly...)
This ranch has been in existence for over a hundred years, when Russian settlers began farming this land.  

Eric and I both enjoyed a large glass of red wine ($5 each), one glass of Equua and the other the Reserva.  Both are mostly Grenache "old vine" grapes, and are aged in oak barrels. 

My friends, Vanessa and Jennifer, went with the wine tasting ($12 each) which included two whites, a rose, and a red.  This is the second time that Vanessa has come wine tasting with me in Ensenada, and I have a feeling it won't be the last.  (I am a pretty dang good tour guide.)  

We were the only patrons on this early Friday afternoon (or was it actually beforenoon?) so it was extra relaxing.

The small Russian house is open to the public, and located right behind the new tasting room.  When Kimmie and I were here years ago the wine tastings were offered inside the house.  They did an excellent job with the expansion.  

God I love wine tasting in Mexico.  

Next we headed to Château Camou, a favorite of Eric's and mine the last time we were here together.
We were really excited about the little taco shop in the courtyard but they are only open on the weekends during summer.  Next time!

Château Camou has excellent wines and even better sommeliers.  
Valle de Guadalupe has a sommelier certificate program, which takes three years to complete (THREE YEARS!!).

We all decided to do the wine tasting (four tastings for $12, two whites and two reds).  

I do not typically drink white but I actually bought a bottle of this little gem.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love wine tasting here?

We wanted some good "economical" food so we were sent to the Adobe Food Truck.  Which was definitely the right choice.  The food was amazing and for less than $20 Eric and I ordered two sandwiches, agua fresca (strawberry and mango) and an appetizer.  

Although the food was ordered and created in a food truck, the seating was nice and looked more like a restaurant than anything else.

Our last stop was pretty spontaneous.  We saw a building in the hills and wanted to explore it.  We stopped into Cuarzo restaurant for libations and directions.

Okay, maybe we will be back to eat some other time.

We played around here for probably an hour.  It was really more of a construction site than anything else, but sticking with our theme of tranquility and isolation, it was the perfect way to end our wine tasting tour.

La Ruta del Vino is incredible.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Carlsbad Beach Camping

When we were kids staying at the Carlsbad State Beach I don't recall any whale sightings.  Today we saw four whales as soon as we pulled up to the Helton campsite, and that was just the beginning.  They saw more as the weekend continued.  Gray whales are still heading down to San Ignacio Lagoon in Mexico to birth and breed.  Love is in the air.
I didn't have by DSLR camera, but my phone was at least able to capture a spout.

They are going for a Helton record, three nights of beach camping.

We are going to be busy, we have two birthdays to celebrate.

And a double digit birthday at that!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


According to NPR, Romans celebrated Feb. 13-15 by sacrificing goats and dogs and then whipping their women with the hides of the recently slain animals.
Somewhere along the timeline of human history, men figured out that women prefer flowers.  

Eric made reservations for us at 608 in Oceanside.
This restaurant has been open for about a year and a half but this is our first time eating here.  Although they are a "farm to table" restaurant (and they buy their veggies from Cyclops Farms in Oceanside) the menu just never has been that tantalizing.  But now that they have goat and dog on the menu to celebrate Valentine's Day, we are IN!  
Kidding.  But they did change up the menu again and there were several items that sounded interesting.

Happy Valentine's Day!

We started with fried broccolini and macaroni and cheese.  Both were spectacular, but the broccolini was particularly incredible.  I am not sure how they did it.  You wouldn't even know it was fried except the super thin outer layer of crisp.  I have never had anything like it before.  This is no Japanese restaurant tempura.

The first course was followed by stuffed sweet potato for me and fried chicken, corn bread and jalapeño potato salad for Eric.  It all was divine.

Pistachio cake for dessert, with pieces of honeycomb and a yogurt sauce.  (Eric always surprises me with his willingness to try different things!)