After a rainy trip to Bellingham, WA last weekend, Jay and I felt a sunny getaway to Mexico was in order.

We knew this weekend would be busier than most with the Valle Wine & Food Festival taking place on Saturday, so we decided to take advantage of the crowd-free restaurants and booked a 6-course lunch instead.

This weekend would be a little different because we decided to splurge and book a room at Hotel Coral & Marina. It’s funny how luxurious a hotel room can seem when your default accommodations are camping, but this dynamic does make you appreciate the little things ????.

We left early Saturday morning to check some surf spots on our way down to Ensenada and I sometimes think this is just as enjoyable for me as it is for Jay (me being someone who was not getting in the water with the size of these waves!). I love pulling off the highway into the coastal communities where I would otherwise probably never go. The houses, local restaurants, and people are always fun to observe.

We met up with our friends Miles, Jojo, and Jojo’s friend Steph who was visiting from NY at a wave around La Fonda. I really liked this spot because the wave breaks close to shore making it easier and more fun for spectators like us girls to watch. After about an hour or so, we parted ways and Jay and I set out for Hotel Coral & Marina.

We stayed in the Junior Suite and were placed on the 5th of 6 floors, directly in the center of the hotel. At first, I thought we had the best location in the hotel, but after looking out from our balcony for a bit, I realized there wasn’t a bad view at the place. Every single room had a balcony and every room had a different angle of the beautiful marina that the hotel is set on. Based on the size of the suite and view alone, we immediately knew we’d be back.

Getting ready in our hotel room was another one of those moments where you just appreciate having an outlet to plug your curling iron into ❤️. I love camping, but I also love getting dressed up! We were getting ready for a 6-course tasting at a restaurant called Quercos. I’m not sure how we stumbled upon this private tasting, but the experience from start to finish was fantastic. The owners were so accommodating and communicative before, during and after the meal.

Quercos is located right at the start of Valle de Guadalupe off Highway 3 on a little dirt road. Unlike other vineyards & restaurants in the Valley, Quercos has no blue sign to let you know where it is. It’s accessible via Waze & Google Maps, so I suggest finding it that way if you decide to go.

Pulling up, the outside of the restaurant is pretty picturesque. There are empty wine bottles used for decor and old, wooden tables scattered about a dirt patio area (remember, the Valle is rustic!).

Chef Luciano

We were greeted by the owner who was also the person I had been chatting with on Facebook with a few days prior. We sat where we wanted and were brought water and some homemade bread & olive oil (if you’re like me and you don’t eat bread too much, eat this bread!!).

Shortly after, our meal started. This is the menu we were sent beforehand but we made some changes due to food preferences & allergies:

  • Course 1: Catch-of-the-day ceviche with grilled apples, tiger milk with pepper ashes
  • Course 2: Clam cocktail with guava and mezcal
  • Course 3: Roasted butternut squash cream with tender corn kernels and epazote
  • Course 4: Duck confit tostada with fried kale and chile de árbol
  • Course 5: Lamb ribs with yellow mole, brussels sprouts and grilled squash
  • Course 6: Apple pie with a scope of homemade ice cream and their own smoked bacon

All of this was served with two glasses of wine, one red and one white, for a price of $700 Pesos (that’s $37 USD…).

But was it good? It was delicious. Each course was presented by the Chef himself, Chef Luciano Gonzalez. He grows and picks the fruit & vegetables from his garden next door and literally everything is homemade. If you like farm-to-table style restaurants, look no further.

Overall, the experience was exactly what we were looking for, especially having opted out of the Valle Food & Wine Festival. We wanted something intimate and that’s exactly what we got. We were the least bit rushed, had our own private corner of the restaurant, and we felt like we really knew the staff by the time we left!

Jay and I decided we would 100% go back, but probably not for the tasting. Unlike tastings in the states, Quercos served a LOT of food. We could have easily been full after 2 courses, but the food was also too good to stop! There was a group next to us who ordered full entrees and they looked really, really good. That will be us next time.

We finished the afternoon at Decantos, a vineyard neither Jay or I had been too, and it was great! It’s a big place with an awesome view of the Valley and we’d like to go back there when we have more daylight (and maybe less mezcal in us).

The remainder of the evening was spent meeting up with friends in downtown Ensenada and just enjoying the little staycation we had planned for ourselves. The next morning, we enjoyed a long walk around the Marina which was honestly one of the highlights of the weekend. It was hard to get over how gorgeous it all was. We climbed the jetty in search for surf (there was none, too rocky) and ate brunch at the hotel (Dmytri’s is still #1!) all before packing up and heading home. And as always, we used the SENTRI lane to breeze through what was a longer-than-usual line in just under 20 minutes.