Zoo Food Wine and Brew




This tasty night for wildlife benefits the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy. San Diego Zoo Global is a nonprofit organization committed to saving species worldwide and leading the fight to end extinction.




Sentri Goes Nexus TSA Pre Comparison

Chart outlines the Trusted Traveler programs offered by the Department of Homeland Security.

You can also use our new interactive program selector for guidance on selecting the best Trusted Traveler program for your particular travel needs.


Bajadock: just got new vehicle SENTRI approved in 2 week time period.  Online reports of people waiting 3-6 months had me worried.  

When I first got my SENTRI, I had no idea about the airport TSA PRE check being included.  First time through, I was waved to a “special” line.  Thought I was in for extra screening.  No prob.  Shoes and belts stay on.  Laptop stays in bag.  Line in PRE is shorter than the line to coffee.

TSA PRE is a wonderful way to endure the TSA drama at airports.

San Ysidro Border Closure Sep 23

In December 2014, the federal General Services Administration completed Phase 1B of a three-phase San Ysidro Port of Entry makeover. The construction project opened 25 new northbound lanes and 46 new primary inspection booths at the largest land port of entry in the world: on average, 50,000 vehicles cross northbound each day.

“Our traffic model indicates that if all lanes and booths are manned and operated, the expected border crossing time will dramatically decrease to less than 30 mins,” Traci Madison, the agency’s regional public affairs officer wrote in an email dated September 9, 2014.

While 30-minute waits did occur for a brief time, in a presentation to the Chula Vista City Council on September 12th, Anthony Kleppe, the port of entry program manager, said that the current wait for northbound vehicles at the port is about two and a half hours. In a later interview, he explained, “When we developed the project, there was a lot of discussion about latent demand. The concept of latent demand is that if you have an environment where people are waiting long periods of time to cross the border, they don’t cross. Then when you open up the border and make it more accessible, people who maybe previously would have hesitated in crossing the border decide to cross. What we’ve seen at San Ysidro with the opening of the 1B project is about a 20 percent increase in the number of people crossing.”

Now Phase 3 — the last in this $741 million project — is underway. From September 23rd through 25th, southbound Interstate 5 from State Route 905 to the San Ysidro port will be closed. Thereafter, only three southbound lanes will be open to traffic until November 21st. By 2019, the General Services Administration’s goal is to open 8 additional northbound lanes, 15 additional northbound booths, and 10 southbound lanes.

The new San Ysidro border reconfiguration began in 2009 and throughout the years, the General Services Administration has held numerous local meetings where they have received input from the community. In an original plan, residents had asked for a “bridge deck,” that is, a covering between the Camino del Plaza bridge and the Pedestrian East-West Bridge that could provide park space. The General Services Administration scrapped the plan early on.

Then, in 2014, the General Services Administration unveiled architectural designs for a new pedestrian crossing, known as PedWest, located across the street from the Las Americas mall. During community meetings, some called the rendering a “road stop bathroom” and asked for a world-class facility, but the General Services Administration opened PedWest in 2016 with no design revisions.

The General Services Administration also bought UETA Duty Free’s 12-acre property to make way for the upcoming I-5 realignment. Community members protested, asking that UETA retain three and a half acres to construct a new building and a parking lot, especially since the Interstate 5 expansion would decrease the number of parking spaces available for the public. In a compromise, the General Services Administration agreed that UETA would be able to retain about two and a half acres. The company currently has leased the easement to the General Services Administration for construction trailers and will likely build in the future.

Jason Wells, chief executive officer at the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, said in a phone interview that he supports the reconfiguration and the opening of more lanes. He added, “We will demand that we see a huge drop in 2019 of wait times. Now, if in 2021 or 2022 it starts creeping up again, then I’ll happily go after [Customs and Border Protection] and their efficiency. At least we’ll know the infrastructure is there.”

Wells explained that, at the end of the day, it comes down to the guy in the booth. “We could have kept our original 24 lanes and had 30-minute wait times if CBP wanted to do so.”

When asked if the General Services Administration has any input into whether lanes and inspection booths will be fully manned by Customs and Border Protection agents after the reconfiguration is complete, Kleppe said, “GSA’s job is to construct the facilities necessary for our federal tenant agencies to conduct their missions. If you have questions about operational elements within [Customs and Border Protection], we would direct you to go talk to them.”

Taqueria Trailero Reforma

Trailero Reforma opened 13 Sep 2017.  On Reforma, north edge of Smart & Final.  Porvecho!


Valley Girl Baja Wine Tours

Taste the area’s flavors with Valley Girl Wine Tours, catering to lovers of fine wine and great food. Offering a chance to choose from over 130 vineyards, the operator specializes in private behind-the-scenes tours of boutique estates producing award-winning wines. Your trip will allow you to sample a range of wines at each location, where you’ll also learn about the winemaking process and unique local techniques. After the final stop, you’ll have an opportunity to stop for a bite at a local eatery, where your plate will be prepared by a Michelin-starred chef. And if you just don’t get the world’s obsession with wine, relax–craft beers are also available in this area, so you can always add hops to your tour. With our custom trip planner, Ensenada attractions like Valley Girl Wine Tours can be center stage of your vacation plans, and you can find out about other attractions like it, unlike it, near it, and miles away.






El Grito and Mexican Independence Day

Grito at the Zocalo 2013 (Photo: Animal Político)


On the night of September 15, 1910, the special envoys stood on the illuminated balconies of the National Palace and watched the fiesta of all fiestas on the Mexcian civil calendar: the grito de independencia, the “cry of independence.” One hundred years earlier (less a few hours) at dawn on Sunday, September 1810 — while Napolean’s troops were occupying Spain and King Ferdinand VII was still in captivity — Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a fifty-seven-year-old priest from an old family ofcriollos (Mexican-born Spaniards) had suddenly begun to harangue his parishoners in the small town of Dolores in the state of Guanajuato, “seducing them” (according to a chronicle of the time) to rise up in arms – even with stones, slings, sticks or spears – in order to defend their religion against the “French heretics” who had occupied Spain since 1808 and now threatened to come over to the Americas.

What Hidalgo intended – and accomplished – was to launch his flock against the hated gachupines (Spaniards born in Spain and living in Mexico) “who had been exploiting the wealth of the Mexican people with the greatest injustice for three hundred years.” Within a month, he had been joined by more than fifty thousand men, mainly Indians from the poorest levels of society. Attracted by his religious magnetism and by other, less noble motives, this multitude devastated the cities of San Miguel, Celaya, and Guanajuato and were on the point of entering Mexico City when Hidalgo ordered them to retreat.

A few months later, in July of 1811, he was tried by the Inquisition, condemned by the civil authorities, and executed. But by then the seed had begun to sprout. It took the form of a long and violent social earthquake, almost without precedent in New Spain or the Americas: the Mexican War of Independence – a truly popular movement led by four hundred armed parish priests – only to be compared in its fury with the uprising of black slaves in Santo Domingo in 1801, and the Indian rebellion of Tupac Amaru (1781) in Peru.

Not many remembered the revolutionary aspect of the War of Independence on that night of nights in 1910. As in every other year, what really mattered was going to the Zócalo (central plaza) to participate in the ritual of the grito. According to witnesses pressent at the original event, Hidalgo and then his followers had shouted “¡Mueran los gachupines! Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!” (“Death to the Spaniards! Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe!”), but after one hundred years, time, good manners, and the secularization had transformed the ritual from the call for a holy war, to a peaceful, patriotic affirmation.

At 11:00 pm on that September, 1910, President Porfirio Díaz stood on the main balcony of the National Palace, and once again rang the same bell Hidalgo had rung in Dolores. He shouted several vivas: “Long Live the Heros of the Nation!” “Long Live the Republic!” Below him, in the majestic zócalo that, from the days of the Aztecs had been the ceremonial heart of the Mexican Nation, a hundred thousand voices shouted in reply “¡VIVA!”

But why had the President delivered this grito on the night of the September 15th rather than at dawn on September 16th, when it all really began? A minor historical licence: September 15 was the Day of Saint Porfirio (a Greek saint of the fourth century) and the birthday of President Porfirio Díaz.

Abstracted from “Mexico: Biography of Power”
by Enrique Krauze,
Harper Collins, 1997. pp. 11 & 12.

Ensenada Scenic Road Report

by staff reporter Hanna Hardhat  

Friday 15 Sep UPDATE: 3 different friends are sitting in traffic in Tijuana due to El Grito and Dia de la Independencia celebrations.  Avoid TJ this weekend.

Despite reports of 3 to 6 month waits for getting a new vehicle approved for SENTRI, mine was approved within 2 weeks.  Enjoyed this 2 minute wait on Wednesday at San Ysidro border crossing very much. It was 9:30AM.

Crossed northbound 6 times in past 2 months without SENTRI at SY/TJ.  Longest wait was 90 minutes and shortest was 2 x 35 minute waits in Ready Lane at SY during morning rush.  I’ll call anything less than an hour at SY/TJ crossing a good day.

NOWWAITJUSTADOGGONEMINUTE Doc!  If you have a SENTRI pass, why did you not use the SENTRI LANE these past 2 months?  That is a long story.  But in addition to you being SENTRIFIED, you need a SENTRIFIED vehicle as well.

Missing the characters in the regular and Ready Lanes.  SENTRI is quick, but lacks TJ color.

Which bring us to the Border Option Bingo question.  Between San Ysidro, Otay and Tecate, which crossing is easiest?  That is not an easy question.  But, I prefer TJ/San Ysidro, using the Free Road(red route) from north Rosarito.

Several friends enjoy the Blvd 2000 strategy to Otay(yellow route).  That is a big haul east imho.

Never cross on a Sunday or during a Monday holiday without a SENTRI pass.

Other good news is that the Scenic Road is mostly trouble free and easy between TJ and Ensenada.  The Salsipuedes ever changing cone zones still exist and are a sign that 80MPH speed here is not a good idea.

The terracing construction projects on these hillsides between El Mirador and the Ens toll booth are ongoing with heavy earth moving equipment invading the highway.  Why all of the rumble strips, especially both directions at K95?  Was someone going to open a taco shop there?

There was a rollover accident being cleaned up at 6PM Wednesday southbound.

Salsi is a beautiful area and if you have the time to stop and take a breath at El Mirador, top of the hill, K84, do it.  Home is the shadow of land’s end on the horizon here.  It is a gorgeous area and dangerous driving.  Salsipuedes translation is “leave if you can”.

Will they ever finish this highway’s rehab?  I no believe thees.  There are new terraces in at least two different areas of the Salsi Scenic Road area that are similar to the big fix on the December 28, 2013 landslide.

Safe travels.

San Diego El Grito Dinner

El Grito de Mexico – Mexican Independence


Chef Flor Franco

Chef Daniella de la Puenta


Chef Doña Esthela



Cali v Baja Ceviche Contest Photos

by W. Scott Koenig

SUPER LATE POST! Here are some photos from the Baja vs Cali Ceviche Challenge over Labor Day weekend at the Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa. Since I was busy with emcee duties, I turned my camera over to Ursula Koenig, along with a verbal list of what to shoot. I think she did a great job! This round, Baja took the prize and Gilberto Morales of Restaurante Nómada – cocina Itinerante‘s Kumeyaay-inspired ceviche was the people’s choice. Thanks again to all the chefs from Baja and Cali who participated, to our attendees and friends, and to Michael Poompan and Aaron Obregon for organizing such a fun and delicious event!

Danilo B. Tangalin Jr and Zach Stofferahn

Julio C. Rodriguez Rodas

Aaron Obregon

Claudia Sandoval and Scott

Rael C. Rivera

Mauricio Parra and Gilberto Morales.

Baja Wines
Zach Stofferahn

Ensenada Water Challenges Continue


The financial crisis suffered by the State Public Services Commission of Ensenada (Cespe), and the purchase of water to the desalination plant from December, will force a strong increase in water rates in 2018, warned the director of that parastatal, Carlos Loyola Peterson.

He explained that the repeal of the Water Law aggravated the financial problems of Cespe, as it contemplated a 20 percent increase in tariffs this year and the metropolization of the service to the benefit of the parastatal.

The cancellation of the increase to the rates and also of the metropolization, caused Cespe to stop receiving more than 213 million pesos that were projected would be captured with both measures, said the state official.

Loyola Peterson avoided giving a percentage of how much the tariffs should be increased, but throughout his participation in the weekly session of the Embraer Early Bird Group, he reiterated the need for users to be aware that this rate adjustment should occur and be drastic.

In his presentation he emphasized the serious economic problems of the Cespe, which maintains debts to the Issstecali, the SAT and can not even retire employees who are already entitled to their pension.

Likewise, “he said,” Cespe owes thirty million pesos to the State Public Utilities Commission of Tijuana for the electricity used to pump water from the Colorado River that reaches Ensenada by the reverse flow.

In addition, added Loyola Peterson, in April 45 million pesos were paid to the company that builds the desalination plant, as this is agreed in the contract, and although the operation was delayed for the water supply, the causes are not attributable to the company.

The economic problems have also led to non-compliance with other agreements with the National Water Commission, which has had a number of repercussions on the operation of Cespe, the official added.

He indicated that for 2018 the purchase of water to the desalination plant will be for 145 million pesos, to which will be added the expense for the electricity that is used to bring the water of the Colorado River, 30 million pesos, which will increase the expense of the parastatal between 175 and 180 million pesos.

All this added to the other debts that has the parastatal would generate for the following year a financial deficit of more than 400 million pesos.

Loyola Peterson noted that much of this situation is because for political reasons in the last nine years there were no real adjustments to water rates.

“The boat has been kicking all those years, but now it is a” botezote “, which can not be kicked without breaking the foot,” he said in a colloquial tone.

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