Monday, January 9, 2012

Feliz Navidad

Feliz Navidad


In December, our backpacking & sailing friends from Colorado, Bev, Jim & Karen arrived in Ensenada for the Christmas holiday.  Our first stop was lunch and wine tasting at La Villa del Valle, an inn in Valle Guadalupe.  


               
Corazon de Tierra restaurant & garden


The restaurant, Corazon de Tierra was recommended by one of the racers we met at the Todos de Santos race.  The restaurant was created for Chef Diego Hernandez, who has been cooking his way through some of Mexico's finest restaurants.  I can't say enough about our meal ... a winter salad made from organic produce grown on the property, local duck dumpling soup three ways, fish with gremolata, fennel puree & sautéed Swiss chard with arugula, rib eye with black bean jus & acorn squash puree, and lemon verbena ice cream with lavender cream and fermented fig compote ... wow!  It was one of the best meals I've eaten!  And they make their own Vena Cava wine which is outstanding.  Congratulations to the owners of La Villa del Valle, Phil & Eileen Gregory.


Anges Cameleyre, who arranged our visit, and Chef Deigo Hernandez


We can't wait for lunch!


               
Winter Garden Salad & Ribeye with Acorn Squash Puree

We stopped by Adobe Guadelupe Winery ... they also create excellent wines.  Keep your eye on the Guadalupe Valley wine region - they won't be able to keep their wines secret for long.

Adobe Guadalupe Winery

Tasting Room


Christmas Eve: On Christmas Eve, Kathryn took our friends to show them the sights in Ensenada while I went to a doctor's appointment.  


Cultural sights & ... 

Commercial sights


After lunch we took Agave Azul offshore to sail and to look for migrating Gray Whales.  It was a great sunny day with temps in the mid-60's.  A few miles offshore we found our whale.  We found just one on this trip and it didn't breech, but we did follow the whale for a half hour or so as it surfaced and spouted.  We sailed around the islands, the wind picked up to 20 knots and we had a great sail back to the marina.


               
Jim & Beverly

               
Karen & Kathryn

Bev, Jim & Karen in search of migrating Gray Whales

Thar She Blows!

North Island Light

Surf off the windward side of Islas Todos de Santos

Christmas Day: It was another beautiful day on Christmas and we left early to take our friends down the coast to see more of Mexico and to visit the natural blow hole, La Bufadora.  As we drove on the road high above Punta Banda we saw several whales spotting offshore.  The traffic was light and it was early for the local tourists so we had an easy time getting there.


               
La Bufadora shopping & a snack of churros!


The tide was high and so was the spray at La Buffadora 

The girls ... 


On the way back to the marina we continued our search to find the best fish tacos in Ensenada.  Our first stop was a return to one of our favorite's, Tacos Don Zefe.  


Tacos Don Zefe Cocina


Tacos Don Zefe

We asked the staff at Tacos Don Zefe for directions to another place that we heard had great tacos.  It was across town and their directions were right on target.  The fish tacos at El Chopipo are the best we have had to date.  They had large pieces of fish fried in a light batter and they had a good selection of sauces.  Kathryn is a fan of ceviche, so she tried a tostado de ceviche, which was excellent, but we will definitely go back for the fish tacos.  We have a few more of the smaller street stands we want to sample on our next visit.

El Chopipo

Tostadas de Ceviche

El Chopipo Cocina


We headed out for another chance to see the Gray Whales.  We didn't see any whales, but thought I saw a large pod of dolphins in the distance and as we got about 9 miles offshore, we sailed through a huge feeding frenzy by birds and dolphins.  Even the sea lions from Islas Todos de Santos came out to join in.  We were under sail the whole time so we tacked several times through hundreds of dolphins as they continued feeding and surfing our bow wave.  It was an amazing display of wildlife.


Pelican feeding frenzy

Hundreds of dolphins also feeding on a large school of fish

video
"How Cool Is That?"

video
Dolphins surfing our bow wave

Christmas Day sunset behind Islas Todos de Santos