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Dec 10, 2013 11:04 AM

Eating in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

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  1. ¡Hola!

    Long weekend in Valle de Guadalupe...Laja, along with a couple wineries.

    Has anyone stayed at the Encuentro Guadalupe on the hillside overlooking the valley?

    21 Replies
    1. re: Beach Chick

      I believe your buddy Mr. Fake Name has stayed there. I was booked in for last August for a pivotal B-day but had to end up cancelling due to family stuff. I still want to stay there simply because it looks so cool.

      I have visited the EG property several times. Very sleek, very modern. Has a nice vibe to it.

      1. re: DiningDiva

        Thanks, that's the place he was excited to go to but didn't remember the name.

        Is Deckman's close?
        Would you go the Tecate route?

        Gracias Mamacita!

        1. re: Beach Chick

          BC, yes, Deckman's atMogor Baden is close. Maybe a 7 or 8 minute drive away, if that. Javier Plascencia's place Finaca Altazano is also nearby as is Benito Molina's Silvestre. Finca Altazano is already open, I don't think Silvestre probably opens until next month and I'm not sure when Drew intends to open up Deckman's this year. There are also several other of these open air campestre venues in the Valle.

          I would probably definitely do Tecate going South. Coming back would depend upon the day and time. If you're coming back on a Sunday forget Tecate. But if you're coming back on a weekday, anytime after about 10:30ish (AM) the wait should not be too bad. Before that and Tecate backs up with the people crossing that live SOB but work NOB. And if you're thinking about crossing late, remember that the Tecate gate closes promptly at 11:00 pm...and any cars in line that haven't passed through the gates into the crossing area are SOL

          If you've got Sentri then either Otay or San Ysidro would be your best bet for crossing back.

          1. re: DiningDiva

            I'm in touch with Drew off and on, and he told me that Deckman's is not going to be open in April. If I hear when exactly it is opening, I'll try to remember to let folks know one way or another. Last year I think it was a bit later in the season.

            As an alternative, I believe Chef Ryan Steyn is working at the El Cielo winery, the restaurant is Latitud 32 (mentioned below in another post). (for more, see ). I've not been there, but I really like Ryan's cooking.

            Also, La Villa del Valle has an outdoor, casual place next to their winery (Vena Cava) now, called Troika. It's a pretty enjoyable setup.

            1. re: jayporter

              FWIW Deckman's opened in June last year.

              There are a couple of new places opening in the next couple months. Miguel Guerrero is returning to the Valle with La Esperanza on the LA Cetto property. And Chef Bossuet from San Miguel de Allende will helm Lozhka Bistrot @ Bibyoff Winery.

              @jayporter When do you think Salsipuedes will open?

              1. re: SDClark5

                @SDClark5 the current thinking is November/December 2014 but it could be pushed a couple months in either direction depending on circumstances.

                1. re: SDClark5

                  They keep saying November but, well, a ver...

                1. re: SDClark5

                  Looks like Deckman couldn't wait. According to Facebook the new official opening date is June 12th.

          2. re: Beach Chick

            Frequent visitor to the Valle here. When are you going? Lots of restaurants now open - Finca Altozano, Malva, Almanzara, Latitud 32, El Pinar de 3 Mujeres, Corazon de Tierra, and Quercus all worthy of a visit. Some info here:

            1. re: Beach Chick

              Yes, stayed at Encuentro three times, enjoyed each stay. Had lunch once at their restaurant, and it was OK- pretty good. But that restaurant has been in play for a while, I know Flor Franco has been doing special projects (or something) there.

              The thing about Encuentro is going to dinner is distant, given night driving and wine consumption (and for me, riding motorcycle at night, in Mexico, high from great food and 6 wine parings- not a great combination) so a taxi ride is in order. I've had only positive experiences, but you have to factor that into the price of the meal.

              The Mrs and I will be returning (on four wheels) to Encuentro next month, I believe.

              1. re: Fake Name

                First of all, I am drooling over that off road thing of beauty..who makes that?
                I would love to ride off road down there with a Mike's Sky Ranch side trip.. ; )

                Second, three times at Encuentro...awesome!

                Third, does the resort have shuttle service..are taxi's out that way?

                Have you been to Deckerman's?
                Look forward to hitting up all the Baja wineries, campestres and resto's.

                Gracias Poppi!

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  Not, FN, but I can answer some of your questions...

                  Taxis...are ubiquitous is Mexico, you know that. They're everywhere. EG will arrange transportation (i.e. drop off and pick up) for you if you ask

                  Decman's - Yes, I've been to Deckman's. It's definitely worth going. The setting is serene and Drew's food is excellent. He just kept feeding us and each course was almost better than the last. Fabulous rabbit dish that we thought was the entree...until the pork chop arrived. There's a reason he earned a Michelin star ;-)

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    Well, I might as well just leave. I'm not needed here.


                    Well except to identify that 1000ccs of fuel-injected wonderbike, the KTM 990 Adventure.

                    The food at Mikes gets better with every tequila. With enough of those, the food becomes edible!

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        Love KTM and their signature orange is my fave color.

                        If you have more pics of food and scenery, please showcase..
                        Gracias Senor Fakèy!

                        1. re: Beach Chick

                          Funny. Just added another bike to the stable (retired another) and the first thing I did when I got it home, before I even started it, was to take it apart and replace all the orange with black.

                          If you look at my profile, I believe you can see all the images I've posted. There is a collection from Corazon de Tierra that might interest you.

                          1. re: Fake Name

                            Orange is the new Black. .

                            Look forward to eating and drinking in the Valle.

                  2. re: Beach Chick

                    I have. It's beautiful and romantic and isolated and you have no concerns about noise... ;-)

                    However, it's a pain in the nalgas to get up there and back. You park at the winery and are driven up in a Land Rover... to get back down, you call the front desk on a walkie talkie and ask to be brought down. So only go there when you're ready to stay in for the night.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      I actually drove my car up the hill to the hotel. My car is not small; it was a bit hairy :-)

                      Driving out of Corazon de Tierra in the dark can also be a pain in the nalgas...thank god for the reflective Mex 3 signs and arrows!

                  3. Quick Deckman update. We were in the Valle this weekend and stopped by Mogor. Talked with Natalia mainly about the zoning controversy, but did ask about Deckman's. Seems his tentative plan is come up in August, but nothing is definitively set. Apparently his schedule getting jammed with other demands.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: SDClark5

                      Yes, the rumor mill says Drew has some exciting new plans that should be announced shortly. Until then...?

                    2. My last visit to the Valle was 8 years ago when Laja was the only restaurant and there were only a handful of wineries. My, how things have changed.

                      Stayed at Encuentro this weekend and ate at Deckman's. Both perfecto. Encuentro has its quirks. The logistics aren't smooth, and the service feels a bit confused. BUT, the place and the architecture are incomparable-- and I'd go back in a heartbeat. Walking up the hill was no issue and helped work off the vast amounts we ate. Ruth at the front desk is very helpful and offered us taxis. But I chose to be DD for my daughter.

                      (Thanks to those who advised me to drive to the Valle through Tecate. The road work was daunting at times and the Mexican driving scary-- but we made it. Me driving, my adult daughter telling me not to freak out when the semis passed us.)

                      Deckman's was one of the great dining experiences of my life. Food and service excellent. Drew made us feel like favored guests, and everything we ate, from clam and tongue ceviche to roast pork, was more delicious than anything I can remember eating in SD in a long time.

                      We also ate at La Cocina de Dona Esthela, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Her housemade queso fresco, tortillas, and salsa are the real deal.

                      1. What's the best route for a short weekend trip through the area? Based on DD's comments, was thinking of going south through Tecate on Friday afternoon, spending 2 nights at La Villa de Valle (with a day trip to Ensenada), and back up through Tijuana on Sunday. Isn't the highway along the ocean still washed out or something? In that case, what's the best route back towards the border?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: shouzen

                          If you leave early enough Friday afternoon, cross at San Ysidro. From the new crossing, El Chaparral, the feeder road to Rosarito/Ensenada is well marked. It may even say toll road. The cross does back up on Friday afternoons as the approach to it is a little curvy, narrows down and then widens out. The toll road will be a much easier drive at dusk and early evening than will Mex 3 south from Tecate. If you're going after daylight savings begins, then the drive south from Tecate is fine. The washed out parts of the toll road reopened right before Christmas

                          I'd come back through Tijuana as well. If they've got all the crossing lanes open the wait won't be too bad. If you're driving do not cross without car insurance. I've used Baja Bound, they're reasonable and trustworthy. They also have driving directions - with photos!! - of how to find the border crossing whether you're going north or south -

                        2. If I'm going to the Valle de Guadalupe with friends next weekend, what are the best spots to eat at?

                          We're planning on having lunch at Troika one day, Finca Altozano another, and Deckman's one day.

                          For dinner, we have reservations at Ha Che, and Corazon de Tierra.

                          We have one more dinner we need to book

                          Should we also go to Laja or are there other new places that we should try?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ashleylafood

                            Wow! That's a very ambitious eating schedule, but it looks like you have done your research. I have not been to Ha Che, so please let us know what you think.

                            Laja is the original and iconic gourmet restaurant in the Valle, and for the most part continues to get excellent reviews.

                            I'll throw out a couple of suggestions of new places with the admission that I have not eaten at either place. One is La Esperanza, Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero's restaurant on the LA Cetto property and the other is Olivia El Asador del Porvenir.

                            Given your current itinerary it would be hard to squeeze in, but for some of the best homemade Mexican food you'll find anywhere - La Cocina de Dona Esthela's.