While we can’t be traveling around Baja right now, here are 10 things that we’re doing at home to stay connected to the peninsula and to keep spirits high.
1. Cook Like a Baja Chef
It’s no surprise that at a time when we are all stuck at home, more and more people are returning to the joys of cooking. If you’re looking for a way to branch out from all of that pasta that you bought, try some Baja California-inspired dishes. It can be as easy as trying your hand at homemade tortillas or making the DBTC staff’s favorite beer-battered fish taco recipe.
If you want to step up your game, Chef Rick Bayless—who has spent a lot of time in Baja California studying the cuisine—has a treasure trove of Baja recipes on his website. He also has a Taco Tuesday series on YouTube, chronicling taco stand visits and providing recipes. The Culinary Institute of America did a lovely video series on Baja California cuisine and has a correlating PDF of recipes, many of which were provided by some of Baja and Mexico’s top chefs.
2. Work Your Green Thumb
Since you’re cooking a lot and trying to minimize trips to the grocery store, this is a great time to start growing some of your own food. Whether it’s some herbs in your apartment or a full vegetable garden in your backyard, it’s a fun and useful hobby to take up. If you want to add a Mexican twist, we recommend you learn about and start a milpa, a sustainable vegetable garden with a foundation of squash, corn, and beans, that originated thousands of years ago in Mexico. At the very least, it’s easy to start a small vegetable garden with staples like tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro so that the ingredients for fresh salsa are never in short supply.
3. Brush Up On Your Spanish
Use an app like Babbel or Duolingo to brush up on your Spanish. If you’re looking for a more casual way to practice, have a virtual “Spanish happy hour” with friends where you FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, etc. while enjoying cocktail hour and talking to each other only in Spanish.
4. Drink Baja Wines
Just because you can’t visit the Valle de Guadalupe right now doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your favorite Baja wines at home while supporting your favorite wineries. For California residents, LMA Wines ships right to your front door and is currently offering a few discounts for free shipping with orders over $75 with code FREESHIP75 or 5% off of your order with code WINE@HOME.
5. Get Crafty
If you’re looking for a creative output as well as a way to brighten up your home, why not try making Mexican tissue paper flowers or papel picado? Kids of any age will love a homemade piñata. And with Easter coming up, make cascarones—confetti-filled eggs that are crushed over the recipient’s head to shower them with confetti and good luck.
6. Be An Armchair Explorer
Lucky for you, there are plenty of options for exploring a variety of facets of Baja California from your couch. Fans of Jorge Meraz can rejoice as there are lots of Crossing South episodes to stream online, meaning you can travel along on all of his northern Baja explorations. Watch outdoor adventurer Greg Aiello explore the northern Sea of Cortez from San Felipe down to Bahía Gonzaga. History buffs won’t want to miss the entire season of San Diego Historic Places that was dedicated to Baja California and the missionaries. And foodies will want to watch the aforementioned CIA Baja Cuisine video series as well as Netflix’s Taco Chronicles, which features a few of Tijuana’s beloved street taco stands.
7. Meditate Your Stress Away
Feeling a bit stressed with everything going on? Wishing you could go for a spa or wellness retreat? Tecate’s famous Rancho La Puerta is giving you the next best thing with a number of meditation videos and exercises on their website to help you stay balanced in these crazy times.
8. Plan Your Future Baja Adventures
Dreaming of that day when you can finally get back outside to travel and explore? Now is a great time to work on plans for your next Baja adventure! A fall trek through the Sierra de San Francisco to see the impressive cave paintings? A camping trip to the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir? A swim with the whale sharks? The DBTC blog is a great place to start gathering ideas and travel tips.
9. Enjoy Baja Happy Hour
Make “quarantini” cocktail hour a daily ritual, and infuse some Baja into your drinks. There are plenty of Mexican-inspired cocktails to try. Aside from the classic margarita, don’t forget a refreshing paloma, a savory michelada, or get creative with a dirty horchata. If you really want to get Baja inspired with your drink, the Clamato cocktail was invented in Mexicali at the Lucerna Hotel and we got the original recipe from them.
10. Virtually Explore Mexico’s Museums
If you can’t physically travel to Mexico, virtually travel there instead. Some of Mexico’s best museums are currently offering virtual tours including Frida Kahlo’s house, the Casa Azul, and Mexico City’s famous National Museum of Anthropology. It’s finally possible to enjoy the sights without the crowds.