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Baja California Gets its First Michelin Stars

Baja California has always been a hotspot for sun, surf, and, let’s be honest, some of the most drool-worthy tacos on the planet. But now, the culinary scene here is getting some serious global recognition. That’s right, folks—Michelin stars have landed in Baja, and it’s time to dish out the details!

Recognized as having “the most revolutionary gastronomy in Mexico,” the region secured 16 awards and 22 restaurant recommendations, showcasing its diverse and innovative culinary landscape.

The Star-Studded Lineup

One Michelin Star Winners:

  • Damiana (Valle de Guadalupe) – Esteban Lluis
  • Conchas de Piedra (Valle de Guadalupe) – Drew Deckman
  • Animalón (Valle de Guadalupe) – Javier Plascencia and Oscar Torres

Bib Gourmand Recognitions

These spots are celebrated for offering excellent food at reasonable prices:

Green Stars for Sustainability

Restaurants committed to sustainable practices include:

Special Awards

  • Sommelier Award: Animalón (Valle de Guadalupe) – Lauren Plascencia
  • Service Award: Restaurante Amores (Tecate) – Marcelo Hisaki and Reyna Venegas

Honorable Mentions

Michelin also highlighted several outstanding eateries:

Baja California’s culinary scene is not just about delicious food but also about innovation, sustainability, and a deep respect for local ingredients. Whether you’re a die-hard foodie or just love a good meal, these Michelin-recognized spots are a must-visit.

So, next time you’re here, make sure to indulge in these top-notch dining experiences. Bon appétit!

Rosarito Celebrates 139 Years with Sun, Fun, and Community Spirit

Rosarito just threw a birthday bash for the books! The city celebrated its 139th anniversary, and let me tell you, it was a party you wouldn’t want to miss. The government pulled out all the stops to make sure this milestone didn’t just pass by; they turned it into a grand celebration of Rosarito’s rich history and vibrant community.

The day was packed with cultural performances that showcased the local talent and traditions. Picture this: dancers in colorful costumes moving to the rhythms of folk music, each step and note telling a story of the city’s past. It wasn’t just a treat for the eyes but also a reflection of Rosarito’s cultural heritage.

But hey, what’s a birthday without a cake, right? And Rosarito didn’t disappoint. The city presented a giant cake, because when you’re celebrating 139 years, a regular-sized cake just won’t cut it. This wasn’t just any cake; it was a symbol of the city’s gratitude towards its residents and a sweet start to another year of growth and development.

The mayor, along with city officials, took this opportunity to remind everyone of Rosarito’s journey from its early days to becoming the vibrant tourist destination it is today. They highlighted the achievements over the years and outlined future plans that promise to enhance the quality of life for its residents.

$800 Million Approved to End Desalination Plant Dispute in Rosarito

Tijuana.- The Baja California government has secured federal funding totaling 800 million pesos to purchase land for a new desalination plant and settle an international lawsuit with Aguas de Rosarito. Víctor Amador Barragán, Secretary for Water Management, Sanitation, and Protection (Seproa), announced the allocation for the formalization of the land purchase and the discontinuation of international arbitration.

The dispute began after a contract cancellation by former governor Jaime Bonilla Valdez, prompting Aguas de Rosarito S.A.P.I, a consortium slated to execute the desalination project, to file a lawsuit under the trade agreement between Mexico and the European Union.

Marco Moreno Mexía, State Finance Secretary, indicated that an agreement with the consortium is imminent, which will conclude the international litigation. He mentioned that details on the restructuring of the project are forthcoming, emphasizing the sensitivity of the ongoing negotiations involving the Mexican state.

The planned facility will be built on the same site initially intended by Aguas de Rosarito, next to a hydroelectric station operated by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). Moreno Mexía cited this location as optimal due to existing infrastructure.

Moreover, he revealed that the states of Arizona and California have shown a “real interest” in investing in the project, but priority will be given to addressing local water supply issues in Baja California. The plant is expected to produce one to two cubic meters of desalinated water per second, ensuring water supply to the coastal zone of Baja California for the next decade.

Red Cross Day and Local Efforts in Rosarito

Every May 8th, we celebrate World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. It’s a special time to acknowledge the local and global humanitarian efforts spearheaded by the Red Cross and founded over 160 years ago by volunteer Henry Dunant. This day is not just about remembering our roots but also about paying tribute to the millions of volunteers and staff who dedicate their lives to helping those in dire need of protection, medical care, social aid, and solidarity.

Across the globe, the Red Cross steps up in scenarios most of us can barely imagine—armed conflicts, natural disasters, climate crises, epidemics, and more. Their emblem, recognized worldwide, is a beacon of hope and safety. It’s crucial for ensuring the safety of Red Cross personnel everywhere, allowing them to deliver life-saving assistance while maintaining the neutrality essential for reaching isolated and endangered communities.

Despite numerous challenges vying for attention and resources, the Red Cross remains committed to highlighting forgotten crises and upholding humanity, especially in contexts of extreme polarization and dehumanization. Upholding international humanitarian law is not only a commitment to the dignity of those affected by crises but also to our shared humanity.

In Rosarito, the local Red Cross chapter mirrors this global mission with profound dedication. They recently kicked off the 2024 School Collection with an event at El Rosario Primary School, aiming to surpass last year’s impressive fundraising total of two hundred thousand pesos. The demonstration by Red Cross paramedics showed students the critical work performed in emergencies, inspiring the next generation to support and contribute.

Sergio Conrado Hernández, the local Red Cross President, shared a touching personal story about how Red Cross paramedics saved his hand, motivating him to support the organization. He encouraged students from all educational levels to contribute, with the funds aimed at supporting the over 500 monthly emergency calls responded to by the Rosarito Red Cross.

Today, as we honor the bravery and sacrifice of Red Cross volunteers worldwide, let’s also celebrate the significant impact of our local chapter in Rosarito, whose tireless efforts keep the spirit of humanity alive every day.

Ensenada Navy Conducts Medical Evacuation from Cruise Ship

The Mexican Navy, operating through its Coast Guard duties, successfully carried out a medical evacuation in recent days. This operation was executed by personnel from the Naval Station for Search, Rescue, and Maritime Surveillance (ENSAR) in Ensenada, which is part of the Second Naval Region.

The rescue mission commenced following a report to the Navy Command Control Center about a 70-year-old foreign national exhibiting symptoms of a myocardial infarction aboard a cruise ship south of Ensenada, B.C.

To ensure the safety and well-being of the individual, the Navy dispatched a MLB-type vessel equipped with Naval Health personnel to securely transport the patient to the naval facilities. Upon arrival at a safe port, the individual was transferred to an ambulance and subsequently taken to a local hospital for specialized medical care.

The Second Naval Region reminds the public that in maritime emergencies, they can contact their hotline at (646)-177-38-30. Additionally, the Secretary of the Navy provides a contact number: 800 MARINA (800-627-46-21) for further assistance.

Netflix’s “Gringo Hunters” Filming in Baja California

Roll out the red carpet, Baja California! Netflix is making waves in our coastal paradise with their latest series, “Gringo Hunters,” slated to hit screens next year. This gripping crime series is inspired by a real elite Mexican police unit known for nabbing American fugitives across Mexico, promising to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. 

This Monday morning, the bustling area around the Palacio Municipal in Tijuana turned into a film set, complete with extras holding protest signs and actors in police uniforms, creating a vibrant scene of staged chaos that’s sure to translate into thrilling television. 

But the action isn’t just confined to Tijuana. From the iconic Avenida Revolución to the Chevron Stadium in Zona Río and the sunny shores of Playas de Tijuana, the production has been hopping across our state. Not to be outdone, the scenic city of Ensenada has also caught the director’s eye, featuring picturesque locations like the Ventana al Mar pier, the bustling boardwalk, and the panoramic El Vigía hill. 

“Gringo Hunters” draws its inspiration from a Washington Post article by Kevin Sieff, which detailed the daring exploits of this police squad and where the Gringo Gazette North was proudly mentioned.

With a stellar cast including Harold Torres, Mayra Hermosillo, Manuel Masalva, Andrew Leland Rogers, and Héctor Kotsifakis, this series is poised to be a highlight of Netflix’s offerings next year. 

Netflix announced that alongside Baja California, some scenes will also be shot in Mexico City, adding an urban flair to the series’ diverse Mexican landscapes. 

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, keep your eyes open: you might witness some movie magic—or even find yourself in the middle of it! “Gringo Hunters” isn’t just filming in our backyard; it’s shining a spotlight on the unique charm and drama of Baja California. Get ready to binge-watch this action-packed series that celebrates our local culture and scenery while unraveling high-stakes crime stories. 

Stay tuned, and let’s watch our beloved Baja become a star on the small screen! 

May 6, 2024 Edition

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Carlos Hussong’s Nautical Vision Brings Us the Isla de Guadalupe Regatta

BY LUISA ROSAS

Carlos Hussong is not just a former tuna fisherman turned maritime law expert; he is also a visionary in the nautical sports community. With his deep understanding of the sea and its regulations, Hussong has transformed his passion for sailing into a significant force in the maritime sector, particularly through the establishment of the Ensenada – Guadalupe Island off-shore regatta. 

Carlos Hussong’s journey from fishing to founding regattas is as vast as the ocean itself. After a succesful career in the commercial fishing business  and as the national president of the fishing chamber, Hussong decided to pursue his passion for sailing by acquiring his yacht, the Foggy Valentina, four years ago. It wasn’t long before he ventured into the thrilling world of regattas, beginning just three years ago on Foggy Valentina. 

Hussong explained that there are generally three types of regattas: 

1. Protected Area Regattas: These are typically the simplest and occur in bays and lakes. 

2. Coastal Regattas: Limited to 30 miles from the shore. 

3. Offshore Regattas: Extending beyond 30 miles, these are considered the most challenging and exciting. Among these is the unique Regatta Isla Guadalupe in Mexico, a 550 nautical miles journey that passes around Isla Elefante and lasts about 5-6 days. 

Drawing on his experience, Hussong highlighted Ensenada, Baja California, as an ideal location for these demanding offshore events, given its natural maritime conditions and climate. He founded the Todos Santos Oceanic Regatta Club to develop and promote these yearly regattas, particularly focusing on the complex offshore type. 

Launched in 2022 by himself, the REGATTA ISLA GUADALUPE is proof  of Hussong’s commitment to the sport. It’s a 100% Mexican event that embarks from the Hotel Coral and Marina in Ensenada, organized under his leadership. Up until this edition, that will begin on May 18, the only participant on the regatta has been the Foggy Valentina, in which  a crew of six navigate approximately 550 nautical miles, demonstrating the challenging nature and allure of offshore sailing, but he hopes more and more participants could join him in the coming years. 

With Italy hosting the world’s largest regatta featuring 4,000 boats, Hussong aims to put Mexican regattas on the global map. By creating events like the REGATA ISLA GUADALUPE and enhancing international participation, he hopes to elevate the profile of local sailing events to that of world-renowned regattas. 

For those interested in the sport or looking to gain more knowledge about sailing, Hussong tells us that sailing workshops are available in Ensenada. Potential future participants in the REGATA ISLA GUADALUPE can contact him directly at +1 (858) 353 3320 or via email at hussongc@pescabrava.com for more information. 

Carlos Hussong’s story is a powerful reminder of how passion, when combined with expertise and vision, can significantly impact a community and a sport, stay tuned as we bring you some of his fantastic sea-bound stories in coming editions!

The Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race turned 70 this year. Read more on this edition's Que Pasa in Baja column.

Que Pasa in Baja?

Finally! Santa Anita Territorial Dispute Resolved. The governments of Ensenada and Playas de Rosarito have begun the process to officially transfer the administration of the town of Santa Anita to Rosarito by the end of 2024. This area, which has been at the center of legal and administrative disputes between the two municipalities since 1995, is moving towards resolution. The official page of Playas de Rosarito reported ongoing meetings aimed at transferring community accounts and ensuring Santa Anita residents will soon be able to handle their civic duties and taxation within Rosarito’s jurisdiction. The transition involves the exchange of information on commercial permits, land use, and cadastral data among other administrative details, led by Rosarito’s Syndicate. A public ceremony will soon announce the official transfer, marking a significant step in resolving this longstanding territorial conflict.

Economic Boom from the 76th Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race. The 76th edition of the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race was not only a thrilling sporting event but also a financial windfall for the region, with over 100 sailboats participating and generating more than 1 million pesos in local economic impact. This race, held from April 26 to 28, saw competitors from the U.S., Mexico, Spain, the UK, Germany, France, and several South American countries, underscoring its international allure. The local hospitality sector, including hotels and restaurants, greatly benefited from the influx of visitors, adding substantial revenue to Ensenada’s economy. The race also marks the beginning of Ensenada’s peak tourist season, which includes off-road races, the Vendimia wine harvest festival, concerts, and destination weddings. This year’s race saw 126 sign-ups with 108 actual participants, and the weekend was supported by over 120 volunteers who helped make the event a success.

Baja California Faces Severe Colorado River Water Cuts. The Permanent Forum on Binational Waters has issued a stark warning: the upcoming cut in Colorado River water allocations to Mexico in 2024 will exceed the annual water usage of all Baja Californian cities reliant on this source. According to research by professors from the University of California and Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), the cut will amount to 263 million cubic meters. This figure surpasses the combined annual water consumption of Ensenada, Mexicali, Tecate, Rosarito, and Tijuana, which is about 235 million cubic meters. Furthermore, 2025 promises even sharper reductions, with an additional 346 million cubic meters withheld. This sequence of cuts, which started in 2021, will reduce Mexico’s Colorado River water by 33% compared to the allocations established in the 1944 treaty. The cuts are linked to the water level at Hoover Dam; lower levels mean more severe cuts. While some of the withheld water is recoverable by 2026, only 37% will actually return to Mexico, with the rest utilized by the U.S.

Baby Owls Found in Rosarito Office. In a surprising turn of events, the staff at a factory in Rosarito discovered six baby owls in the human resources office, prompting an unusual rescue operation by local firefighters.

On a typical Tuesday morning around 10:00 AM, the call for help came from Manufacturing, a local factory nestled in the Lucio Blanco neighborhood on Balbino Obeso Street. The human resources manager stumbled upon the little owls and quickly reached out to the firefighters for assistance in safely handling the feathered foundlings.

The owlets were promptly taken to a veterinary clinic managed by Francisco Ayala, a well-respected figure in the community and former president of Rosarito’s Veterinarian Association. According to Ayala, the owlets were barely over a week old and needed immediate care.

To provide the best environment for their recovery, the decision was made to house the baby owls in a residential setting temporarily. Here, they could be closely monitored and fed until they were ready to grow their full plumage. Once mature enough, the plan is to move them to a wildlife refuge located in Ensenada.

Ayala explained that owls are primarily nocturnal feeders, and currently, the rescuers are feeding them meat. However, he noted a concerning detail; two of the baby owls showed little interest in food, a potential indicator of health issues that will require close observation.

New Rules for Tinted Windows and Public Drinking in Rosarito. The local government just rolled out a new set of rules that are about to make life a bit easier for those of you sporting tinted windows. Starting now, you can cruise around with your windows tinted without sweating over fines or being pulled over, as long as your tints aren’t too dark. Think California-style rules, and you’re on the right track.

But that’s not all—Rosarito is also introducing a more laid-back vibe in its tourist zone. You can now sip your favorite drink openly in designated streets and even on public transport within this area, no hassle. This move aims to keep the festive spirit alive and kicking, without the nagging interruptions for enjoying a drink.

The move aims to avoid unnecessary fines by the local police, which only amount to extra opportunities for extorting our precious tourists.

Ensenada Gears Up for Bluefin Tuna Tournament. This May, Ensenada will host the exciting “Baja Bluefin Tuna Tournament,” boasting a prize pool over $45,000. The event, set for May 10-12, aims to position Ensenada as Mexico’s tuna fishing capital, with more than 50 teams from around the globe expected to compete. The tournament promises significant economic benefits, with an estimated $6 million impact on the local economy. Organizers and Baja California’s Fishing Secretary highlighted the event’s potential to showcase the region’s prime bluefin tuna migration season, making it a unique and strategic fishing contest. With stringent catch limits to ensure sustainability, the competition aligns with conservation efforts while offering impressive prizes for the winners.

Rosarito Claims, Ensenada Clings. The Santa Anita Saga!

It seems like there’s a bit of confusion stirring in the air between Ensenada and Playas de Rosarito over the Santa Anita area. Despite recent buzz in some media outlets (including this) originated by a post on the official Rosarito government website claiming that Ensenada had waved the white flag, allowing Rosarito to take over Santa Anita without a fuss, the reality paints a different picture.

Carlos Ibarra Aguiar, the acting mayor of Ensenada, stepped in to set the record straight. According to him, the paperwork needed to hand over land records and government permits from Ensenada to Rosarito hasn’t even started yet. This clarification comes after the IX Municipality of Playas de Rosarito boasted earlier this year that the transfer process had kicked off.

Ibarra Aguiar explained that while there was indeed a meeting between officials from both municipalities, it was merely a response to a request from the State Congress. This request wasn’t about giving up the fight but was aimed at sorting out how the transfer should eventually be handled, should it come to that.

Despite a 2023 ruling declaring Rosarito the victor of this decades-long territorial tiff over an area spanning 168 square kilometers—which includes the town of Santa Anita—Ensenada isn’t backing down. Ibarra Aguiar emphasized that the State Congress’s resolution merely suggested that both parties start discussing the matter. As of now, there’s no set process or timeline for the transfer, and Ensenada continues to police the area and provide public services in Santa Anita.

The tussle over this territory isn’t new; it dates back to 1995 and remains unresolved, much to the frustration of everyone involved. So, while rumors fly and officials post, it looks like the saga of Santa Anita is far from over. Stay tuned, as this local drama is sure to offer more twists and turns.