DISCOVER TECATE TOUR: With A Gringo in Mexico
CURRENT TOUR: Wednesday, October 24
In 2012, Mexico’s tourism board designated Tecate as Baja California’s only Pueblo Mágico due to its colonial charm and provincial character. But while Tijuana and Ensenada have gained international attention over the past decade as Baja California’s culinary gems, tranquilo Tecate has been largely overlooked. Until now.
During recent visits, I’ve been surprised to see that provincial Tecate’s culinary scene has grown up since my early visits in the 1990’s when tacos and the town’s namesake beer were the order of the day. One reason for the gastronomic growth is the sheer volume of female talent sharpening their knives and skills in chef Denise Roa’s kitchen at La Cocina Que Canta at Rancho La Puerta.
Additionally, many of the town’s chefs, trained in Europe and throughout Mexico, are choosing to work closer to home and capitalize on the current hunger for Baja California cuisine. Tecate-based traditional cocineras (female cooks) are preparing native Kumeyaay recipes as well as traditional dishes from around Mexico.
As the northern entrance to Baja California’s wine country, several boutique wineries have begun appearing in and around Tecate as well — positioning the hamlet as the “next Valle de Guadalupe“.
I’ve grown to love Tecate, and I think you will too!
W. Scott Koenig
The Discover Tecate Tour is hosted by the blog A Gringo in Mexico’s W. Scott Koenig. This daylong tour will stop at several of our favorite restaurants for breakfast, comida (midday meal) and dinner. The cuisine ranges from traditional Mexican (Mallinalli) to rustic campestre kitchen (El Lugar de Nos) to European-informed Baja California cuisine (Restaurante Amores). We’ll also visit one of the vineyards outside of town (Casa Veramendi) for a tasting of their latest vintage. We’ll experience the magic of the region’s indigenous culture as the tour begins with a traditional ceremony and blessing from the leader of the Tecate Kumeyaay tribe and includes a visit to Tecate Community Museum.
9:00: MEET AT TECATE BORDER/US SIDE
9:30: Kumeyaay ceremony and blessing at Mallinalli
9:45: Traditional Mexican breakfast at Malinalli
11:30: Tour of Tecate Community Museum
1:30: Small plates and cocktail at El Lugar de Nos
3:00: Wine tasting at Casa Veramendi
5:30: 4-Course Dinner at Restaurante Amores
8:00: DROP OFF AT TECATE BORDER
We will meet at the US-Mexico border in Tecate on the US side. It is about an hour drive from San Diego to Tecate. There are several secure parking lots that charge around $5 US to park for 24 hours. We will meet at a designated meeting point and walk across into Tecate together, where a comfortable 14 person van and personable driver will be waiting for us.
BRING YOUR APPETITE. AND YOUR PASSPORT:
Bring your current US passport book or card. There is no SENTRI pedestrian line at the Tecate crossing, so your SENTRI pass won’t be necessary. Since we are going back to the US on a weekday, the wait should be minimal or even nonexistent.
Cost for the tour is $150 and includes transportation, three meals, wine tasting at Casa Veramendi and modest donations to the Tecate Kumeyaay nation and Tecate Community Museum. All taxes and tips are included. Wine during dinner at Restaurante Amores is not included. I’ve added a $5 surcharge for PayPal. Payments for the tour must be made in advance. If you need to cancel after payment, no refund is offered, but you can reschedule for one of our next tours.
If you have any questions at all, please contact W. Scott Koenig at firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile at 619-787-9918.