If you like wine, gourmet sustainable cuisine, the outdoors, and being close to the ocean, then Valle de Guadalupe is the place to lose yourself for a few days. Two hours south of the border, you will find a stretch of vineyards, and hotels of both rustic houses and modern architecture. Most hotels are small and subtle with limited space, so as to keep the guest surrounded by nature as much as possible with minimal tourist traffic.
The brightest gem in Valle de Guadalupe by far, is the restaurant Deckman’s, that takes place outside, kitchen and all. This is the taste of Baja, as you will only taste meat, fish, herbs, salts and wine from the region. I was working on a film that was shooting at one of the prestigious hotels, and on the crew’s weekend off, it seemed like everyone got the memo that Deckman’s was the place to splurge on food. It also seemed to be the place to have a date travel over for a romantic dinner. I ran into many crew members and producers with their spouses or parents that had driven over for the weekend. The setting is simply beautiful with dangling wine bottles, small critters wandering by, candles, and the view of the sunset over their vineyard.
As I started to mention before, Chef Drew Deckman takes pride in cooking only with local ingredients. The vegetables, oils, and herbs are picked right from their Mogor Ranch. Their seafood is from the Baja waters, and their meats and cheeses are all from local producers. Even their salt is from San Felipe. They recycle everything, including the water for irrigation. They don’t offer commercial bottled water or soft drinks. They continue the respect for their lands by cooking outside among their ranch, vineyards, and guests. Throughout the evening, you see the kitchen staff work non-stop with keeping the flames alive, as everything is cooked by hand-made fire.
My co-workers and I went for the 5 course “Bounty of Baja” menu for 700 pesos, that’s about $40 for a 5 course dinner of the freshest and most organic ingredients prepared by the talented Chef Drew Deckman.
KUMIAI OYSTERS from Ensenada/ mignonette/ olive oil
2ND COURSE – MOGOR CEVICHE / tomatillo/ radish/ fermented habanero
3RD COURSE – VALLEY QUAIL/ black beans/ radish/ purslane
4th COURSE- PORK JOWL/ young vegetables
This was by far the most succulent pork I have ever had. The meat quickly separated the second I pressed my fork onto it. This even had my vegetarian co-worker go carnivorous and had no regrets.
5th COURSE- A DESSERT OF ORANGE IN MANY WAYS
At this point, the sun is starting to set, and then there’s nothing left to do but sit back, feel the warmth of the setting sun, sip more wine and talk with friends…and a kitten that has been circling our table the whole time.