Grape Harvest Humbug

Ensenada’s grape harvest fiestas(Vendimia) kick off tonight at the Riviera.  I am in Grape Harvest Humbug mode.

Tonight, for the cost of a moderate dinner($40 USD), you get to stand in line to taste one finger of wine.  Granted, the wine flow is unlimited and it comes from as many as 40 different wineries.  Some of the wine is world class and some of it is closer to what you might expect from a box of Almaden.

Food is also served on Vendimia‘s opening night.  It is typically tapas(normally my fav!) with small, frilly, photo-op foods that taste ok.  But, I’m a sit-on-my-ass, chew, quaff and converse leisurely kind of diner.  Flitting to and fro around a courtyard to nibble and slurp is an interesting sport for many.  Meh.

The promotional idea of the event provides you a taste of the restaurant or winery in hopes of you buying full meals or wine cases in the future.  I completely support this marketing approach and wish my friends in the industry well.

For the most part, this looks like the female prom for adults.  The guys go, because the women are going with or without the boys.  The women put on their best promenade threads and shawls.  I have seen a guy in an ascot once at this event.

The Facebook Fotofeed will be lit up on Saturday morning by females(gay exception noted). Each photo album will be a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 139[you know whom] photos of Friday’s Vendimia Fiesta.  Staged group photos, local celebrities and the groupie scene will dominate these albums.

Out of a 100 comment thread of “oohs and aahs” over the photo album, there will be 2% of the comments by males.  My team of statisticians have studied this trend extensively since 2008.

Oh, c’mon, you crusty old geezer, Doc!  Why poke criticism at people having fun?  You are right, guilty and shamed as charged!  *(     There is live music, so that adds a star for just about any event.


Above rendering(“photo-chopped picture”) elevates(“$25″) 2 succulent, peeled, deveined, butterflied, braised, sauced, herbed and plated shrimp from the Sea of Cortez(“shrimp”) in a luscious swimming lagoon(“puddle”/”slop”) of organic artisan churned, fermented cream(“butter”) with a tiara(“?”) of native oil fried wheat pasta(“burnt noodles”) and an arrangement of our garden’s fresh arugula(“weeds”).

It’s just that so much food has focused upon presentation that it becomes pretentious and over-produced.  My music analogy is the 70s disco stuff with flutes, violins and a whistle.  The more swirls, sparkles, smilies and vertical weeds that I see on the plate, the more I’m about to be disappointed for my $100 dinner investment.

When I see a chalkboard menu, I am in.  Ain’t no friggin time or space to write a 100 word essay about today’s pork taco or lasagna.

What do I prefer?  Sitting with a group of 2 to 8 at a table with food and wine freely flowing, so that my fat ass doesn’t have to chase after it.  If the bottle is good, “Dos mas botellas, por favor…y POUR, POUR, por favor!!!“.

Finca Altozano in Valle de Guadalupe works for me.  I’m also looking forward to Cerveceria del Valle.   El Pinar de Tres Mujeres is high on my list.

Tonight, I will enjoy a leisurely happy hour of ceviche, tostadas and Sam Adams lager.  Might throw some meatballs in a quick red sauce with a $4 Grifone Sangiovese for supper.

For my low-tech Vendimia celebration?

Any Valle de Guadalupe winery with bread and cheese from Cremeria Los Globos works for me.  Big hunk of bread, torn, not sliced, with cheese and a FIVE FINGER POUR in a water glass is the way to enjoy an evening with friends or strangers.

So do food trucks.

Geegollywhillikers, Doc, a food truck for haute cuisine and wine?  Are you some kind of Ritz crackers, Cheez Wiz  and Mad Dog 20/20 kind of food dinosaur?

Ummm…stay tooned.


LunchBox Food Truck

San Diego Red

TIJUANA.- The idea behind The Lunchbox is to offer restaurant style food, i.e. duck, pork loin, rinds, and octopus, to guests that don’t have time to sit down at a restaurant for an hour and a half. At the same time, they wanted to offer delicious and nutritious food.

Carlos Gallegos, and his father Jesus Gallegos, thought up the idea to offer to event banquets, but it has since expanded to join the food truck market, with an added twist.

The menu, designed by Chef Marco Mundo, a graduate of the Culinary Art School, combines haute cuisine, with street food in that no cutlery is needed, and it is quick and easy to eat. Things like shrimp skewers, and jicama tortillas to eat tuna, amongst other things.

Although some of the food is made elsewhere, the bus has been adapted to contain all needed appliances such as a stove, oven, and fridges. This small kitchen enables freshly prepared meals to be made in a clean environment.

When I took the pictures, I was taken aback by how small the interior was. As the third person standing inside I felt I was in the way because of how reduced the space is. When I asked assistant Maxim Perez, also a graduate of the Culinary Art School, on the comforts of working inside he said that they have had up to six people working in side and that as long as things are coordinated and everybody is focused on their task they can work together as a team.

The biggest advantage of food trucks is that they can constantly change locations, and if a spot is working they can easily adapt. Also, there is no overhead for rent as only a mobile vendor permit is required.

Another advantage is that they can be called on for events, and have participated in many thus far including the Craft Beer Expo, All My Friends festival, and the Tijuana Makes Me Hungry festival.

One of the main disadvantages is that they cannot sell alcohol, and if anything happens to the truck you are grounded. Of course, you are also at the mercy of the weather, which varies greatly from day to day in Tijuana and cannot always be controlled.

The Lunchbox is not only present here in Tijuana, but also at Emeve wineries in Valle de Guadalupe, where a fully equipped container is set-up to serve meals while you enjoy wine tastings (and so that that you don’t get too tipsy). The container will be running from July through September.

When it comes to the culinary environment in Tijuana, Chef Marco Mundo thinks that this city is writing a new chapter on food. Especially the fact that millennials are creating projects where there creativity can be exploited, and involving fun projects, without the formality of an established restaurant, and where they can easily implement their own ideas.

Don’t miss: The new Black Hamburger, which is not yet on the menu, and can for now be tasted in mini versions.

Location: On the corner of Mision de Mulege and Paseo de los Heroes near Hospital Angeles, from Monday through Thursday 12:00 to 7:00; Friday through Saturday on “La Recta” near the Hippodrome from 12:00 to 7:00 pm; and in Valle de Guadalupe’s Emeve Friday through Sunday from noon to 6:00 pm.


Carlos Gallegos and Marco Mundo: Tostada de Lechon, a tostada made of pressed rinds and the Black Hamburger.

Maxim Perez: the onion rings, and french fries, the Duck Sandwich, and the Sheriff Hamburger.

As for me, I especially liked the french fries, a weakness of mine, and the Sheriff Hamburger is delicious. I love these unique projects, and especially the fact that this container and food truck are run by young people that are passionate about food and about kicking off successful careers.

San Ysidro Crossing



Bajadock: Past few years of construction, re-routing, the 2011 collapse , Tijuana lane access of the day on a whim, Ready Lane intro and confusion, Fast Pass lane and the overall adventure that is Tijuana have made it very difficult on travelers between Baja and SoCal.  Veteran border crossers have had little difficulty.  But, throw a first timer into this traffic blender on a Sunday afternoon and they will never again return for a fish taco, margarita, Baja souvenir or Tijuana street map.  

The good news is that more are learning about the Border Wait Time app, Otay Mesa and Tecate alternatives, Ped crossing with a Sentri holder technique and efficiency of the new southbound El Chaparral crossing into Mexico.  IF! The CBP will have personnel at these new 26 “double stack” booths, we could see 1 hour waits on weekends.  Can’t wait to see the October version:

El Mexicano

Starting in October, will begin operating the 26 lanes to San Ysi-dro, each with double booth, which will reduce waiting times and increase the capacity of attention and review, as reported by U.S. authorities to work -rios of state government.

Secretary of Infrastructure and Urban Development (SIDUE), Manuel Morales Guevara, said that in recent meetings binational, has put them abreast of the progress of the project to remodel the lodge, but it has also made them stressed the Mexican side should reorganize the crossing.

“What we have asked is that we are prepared for this side of the border to sort the storage lanes of vehicles to these 26 doors. The demolition of the building of the federal agencies that are no longer in use, known as La Concha, is an option, “he said.

He added that the General Services Administration (GSA, for its acronym in English), he informed them that this year will begin with the executive project connecting Interstate 5 to El Chaparral.

“The works are planned to start in 2015 and end in 2017, so the curve and interim storage lanes were built in 2012 are removed. Through this, could also come into operation nine additional tracks you already have in the El Chaparral, for a total of 35 entrance doors to San Ysidro, “he said.

Guevara Morales said part of the project involves the construction of a pedestrian crossing at the El Chaparral will operate in both directions.

On the Mexican side will take advantage of existing infrastructure, which only have to be adapted to operate in both directions.

The state official said that work on the new Puerta Mexico, which is where the crosswalk is made to Tijuana, registers an important advance, so expected delivery to the Institute of Administration and Estimates of National Heritage (INDAABIN) late August, to carry out the equipment and begin operations.

In all construction work, remarked, they have had the support of the municipal and federal government, aware of the need for the border crossing more modern and agile. Regarding the Master of Border Crossings (Border Master Plan) Plan of the U.S. government, there has been communication and inclusion in the meetings.

Currently, due to the remodeling of the San Ysidro border crossing and closing of doors, delays have increased by more than 40 percent. In normal lanes waits can exceed three hours on average.

Free Music Miercoles

Across from Hotel Corona, adjacent to the Riviera

#ensenadamusic     #ensenadajazz

Adobe Food Truck

Adobe Guadalupe Food Truck is scheduled to open first week in August.  Facebook


The Adobe Guadalupe Winery is on the El Porvenir side of the Valle de Guadalupe.  There are several paths to hop over here from the Tecate-Ensenada Hwy 3.  In very non-Mexican fashion, Adobe Guadalupe has loads of signs to steer you correctly.





Immigration Debate 1980

Rain in July?



One thing we rarely get is rain.  A rain storm is more unusual.  Lighting and thunder are a once per year occurrences.

No lo creo!

Lazily cleaning up my photo files and suddenly I hear this belching eruption from the sky.  A thunderboomer just broke out in my neighborhood.  Lighting is dancing all around Punta Banda.

This squall was moving northwest, per the photo above.  Then it reversed course and I skee-daddled back to my monastery for cover.  Saw lighting bolts attack the point of Punta Banda.  That’s the quiet volcano at the northwest tip of our neighborhood with all of the antennas and microwave dishes.

Rain lasted a few minutes and any precipitation is welcomed.  The fresh smell is fantastic.

Here’s the weather underground radar shot of the storm.



Baja Photos



click anywhere above to get to full sized photos

Dove into my computer’s photo folders and files.  YIKES, what a mess.

That little project led me to my Flickr photos that I linked to via the Bajadock/Ensenada Gringo website here.  While my house construction and charity photos had interest for me, those photos are like looking at your neighbor’s grandkid or cat photos.  One will suffice and sleep is induced way before you’ve reached the 152nd photo of cute little Josh’s Batman Halloween costume.

Just kidding to my neighbor with the cat named “Josh”.   That is the cutest cat in creation, especially in his Batmask.

So I axed the Flickr link, and replaced that with “Doc’s Baja Photo’s” link.  I’m limiting those photos to Baja travel and scenery.  There are only 24 photos in that link right now, but, these are my favorites of my hiking and roving around my neighborhood.

Three of the photos are not mine and I gave credit  with thanks to my neighbors for my photo shoplifting.  Thanks “I”, “D” and “M”.  Any and all photos around here are free to share without crediting me.  One exception: when I credit another photog(like Lima below).  Those guys are trying to make a living at it, so, please reference their names/sites, as do I.

Will add and update photos as I find oldies that are worthy and new candidates that jump up and slap me.  Like a seldom-used closet or storage spot on a garage, it’s amazing the amount of junk photos and downloads I can accumulate in a few years.  Still having “whattheheck did I save that for” moments as I delete, delete, delete.

I have been tutoring a couple of locals on computer, facebook, photos, files, etc.  Just found myself guilty of DOASISAY, not DOASIDO!  Naming files and photos is typically one of my strengths.  But, I found some of the most abstruse naming conventions to old photos that I had lost/misplaced.

Obviously, a pro photog I ain’t.  The outdoor subject matter here is far superior to my photog skills.  But, I’ll keep hacking away at the beauty and share it.


For a pro photographer, check out Edgar Lima’s site.  He has some of the most stunning photos of Baja’s scenery, like this one of the Valle de Guadalupe.

If you are looking for photos of smiling gringos stuffing their faces with food or wine, you will be disappointed here.  I rarely post photos of people.  I have several friends, to whom I can refer you, with daily posts of hundreds of photos of gringos stuffing their faces with food and wine, grandchildren in costume and cats, some of which are naked.

Customs and Border Patrol Video

Bajadock:  Do we the sheeple know what the heck is really going on?  I dunno.  Back to my coffee.

Free Road Report July 2014

No drama during my Thursday San Diego shopping day that began in light fog just before sunrise.

1. Free Road northbound from Ensenada to La Mision was clear with speeds averaging 60mph.  Only bogged down as I approached the coast behind a slow moving truck for the last 3 miles of the Free Road. borderoptions 2. Toll Road was extremely light.  I have not used Blvd 2000 from Popotla to Otay in a couple of years.  That haul east and trackback to Otay is too long at approx 32 miles vs. Toll Road to North Rosarito Free Road.  Using NRFR to TJ Airport for Otay access is only 22 miles.  Traffic IS heavy on Hwy 2 to TJ airport , but, it moves swiftly during morning rush hour.   tjfreerdsentri 3. Ahead of schedule and picked Tijuana/San Ysidro over Otay this trip.  The N.R.F.R. dumps you into downtown Tijuana at the Cuauhtemoc roundabout.  Stay straight through that roundy, cross the rio and I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES that a sign guides you to the SAN DIEGO SENTRI LANES.   Take the semi right hand turn as you approach this green belt and it will move you 270 degrees to a stoplight that will access Linea Int’l(aka Av Padre Kino).  SENTRI LANES have more good signage on Av Padre Kino.  It’s only 1 mile from the stoplight at green belt to SENTRI entry.

4. Lineup was just behind the stop sign at the SENTRI LANE bridge, but, total wait time was less than 10 minutes at 8AM.  The east bank of SENTRI gates were closed off for some kind of construction, so you wind west a bit as you approach the gates. sbb&g

5.  Did my usual shopping stops and my car’s outside temp gauge reaching 96F when inland.  Wow, that heat is not my thing.  Highlight of San Diego tour was the WORLD’S BEST FISH TACOS at SOUTH BEACH BAR & GRILL/Ocean Beach. (click the highlighted purple link for taco porn).  The Mahi fish is grilled and the salsa topping is fresh and crunchy.  View of the surf is not bad. 6.  Crossed TJ southbound at 6:45PM.  Lineup was about 200 yards before the new right hand turn.   What’s the idea with the white canvass canopy of lights just before that right turn???  Took about 10 minutes to get through the gates and to the bridge leading to TJ Playas/Scenic Road.


7.  I take the Free Road TJ Bypass(see first map above) when heading south to home.  After the big hill along the border, instead of the right turn toward TJ Playas, stay straight.  The Pemex here takes credit cards, fyi.  In 6 miles you will merge to North Rosarito Free Road.   From here, another 7 miles south, you can hop on the Toll Road at the WalMart/Home Depot shopping center.   The time difference between the Toll Road vs. my Free Road routing described here is negligible.  The Free Road TJ Bypass hauls ass with no stop signs and no traffic lights.  

8.  Traffic on the La Mision to Ensenada Free Road was heavy but behaving well this evening.  This 20 mile stretch of the Free Road a good 2 lane highway and usually takes 30 minutes to navigate.  If you are alert and keep plenty of space between you and the car in front of you, you should have no problem.

9. The latest construction on Carretera La Bufadora has made big progress in the last 10 days.  There is pavement all the way except for approx 1/2 mile stretch just east of Cantu.


10. SECOND best part of climbing the hill up to Colonia Puerto Escondido in last night’s fog was seeing my car’s outside temp gauge dive to 67 degrees.  Best part was of the hill climb was getting out of the Vibrator for a couple of beers with my good friend to complete a productive day. CHEERS!


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