The Lost Plants of Baja

The Lost Plants of Baja

by Bryan Jáuregui, Todos Santos Eco Adventures

The National Geographic Society, as venerable an institution as ever graced the shores of the North American continent, has an image problem. Since 1888 the NGS has been supporting adventurers and explorers of every stripe across all the corners of the globe, and such is their success that it is now safe to say that we know it all. Satellites and surveyors, exploring on the ground and from the air, have neatly filled in all the spaces on the old maps where there used to exist nothing but the terrifying admonition: Here be dragons! Does this mean that the Age of Exploration is dead? Is there no more geography left around which a society can coalesce for discovery? Is the NGS, as some naysayers opine, obsolete?

Dr. Jon Rebman in the Sierras

Not a chance. A glance at the interactive NGS global explorers map, which shows thousands of explorers engaged in equally numerous projects across our well-mapped continents, definitively lays that notion to rest. A zoom from the global view of the map down to our own Baja California Sur shows just how vibrant an era of discovery we inhabit. Here you’ll find a hiker symbol in the Sierra La Laguna mountains just outside of Todos Santos, which is the avatar for NGS explorer Dr. Jon P. Rebman, director of the San Diego Natural History Museum’s Botany Department, and author of the definitive Baja California Plant Field Guide. Dr. Rebman’s work demonstrates not only that the Age of Exploration is alive and well, but that we are always gaining a deeper knowledge of the areas depicted on our maps. Perhaps more importantly, we are conserving the existing knowledge of these areas that is in danger of slipping away.

Explains Dr. Rebman. “After 20 years of floristic research on the Baja California peninsula and adjacent islands, my colleagues and I created an annotated, voucher-based checklist of the vascular plants of Baja California. We published this in 2016, and when we compared it to the only floristic manual for the entire Baja California region published by Wiggins in 1980, we found that we had added more than 1,480 plant taxa to the area, including approximately 4,400 plants (3,900 vouchered taxa plus 540 reports), of which 26% are endemic to the region. As part of this process we identified several plants in Baja California that are very rare and only known from one to very few collections.”

“We got focused on the need for conservation efforts to protect the region’s rare flora during a November 2013 expedition in the Cabo Pulmo area to document biodiversity in an area slated for development. My colleagues and I documented two plant species that had been lost, meaning not collected or scientifically documented, for decades. One of these rediscoveries was Stenotis peninsularis (Rubiaceae), a micro-endemic species that was last collected in 1902 by T.S. Brandegee. Yes, that means we had not seen this species in over 110 years!”

Inspired, Rebman continued his quest for the lost plants of Baja during a workplace re-assignment from San Diego to La Paz August 2015 to June 2016. Working with local Baja botanists, he rediscovered approximately 50 plant species in the Cape region that were known from just one, or a tiny number, of historical specimens. But there were more. Specifically, there were 15 more “lost” plants, all endemic to the Baja California peninsula, that had been collected between 1841 and 1985, but had not been seen since. Rebman was intent on finding them. “With the ever-increasing detrimental impacts to native plants and natural landscapes, I realized that the time was now to attempt to re-discover some of Baja California’s very rare, unique, and presently “lost” plants before they are gone forever.” The National Geographic Society agreed to fund the project, and Rebman got his Mexican colleagues – Dr. Jose Luis Leon de la Luz, Dr. Alfonso Medel Narvaez, Dr. Reymundo Dominguez Cadena and Dr. Jose Delgadillo – to join the effort. But how do you find a “lost” plant? It’s not for the faint of heart – spiritually, physically, or intellectually-speaking.

Astragalus piscinus: an image of the holotype specimen deposited in the united States national Herbarium (uS) at the Smithsonian.

Consider. In March 1889, self-taught British botanist Edward Palmer disembarked from a boat at a place on the Baja peninsula that he called “Lagoon Head”, found what he thought was a common weedy plant, and deposited it in an herbarium without further ado. Sometime later, renowned American botanist Marcus E. Jones found it in the herbarium, realized it was a very rare, endemic Baja California plant species, named it Astragalus piscinus, (common name Lagoon Milkvetch), and that was the last time anyone recorded it. In 1884 noted California naturalist Charles Orcutt was in a place he christened “Topo Canyon” when he chanced upon the very rare Physaria palmeri, took a sample, and recorded it with the fledgling San Diego Natural History Museum. No one has noted a sighting of it since.  The entire list of the 15 lost plants Rebman and his colleagues set out to find reads like this, with very precise information about the plant, but incredibly imprecise information about the location. Therefore, the first thing the team had to do was pore over the papers, books and letters of the botanists who originally discovered the plants, and do their best to figure out where, exactly, in this 1,000 mile long peninsula, these botanists were when they took their samples. As a result, one of the cool byproducts of the expedition is a map put together by the NGS team that shows the place names used by these early botanists with the actual place names in use today. As every good cartographer knows, maps are an ever-evolving business.

The team narrowed down the possible locations for each plant (“Lagoon Head” turns out to be near Scammons Lagoon and “Topo Canyon” in the mountains of northern Baja), but then they had to actually find these very rare plants in an area that they had already demonstrated held over 4,400 different plants. It would seem almost impossible to make any progress while stopping to investigate all the different possibilities. Unless, of course, you are already so familiar with all the plants that you can immediately discern the one you don’t know, the one you’ve only seen as a specimen or a drawing. John Rebman and his Mexican botanical collaborators are quite possibly the only people alive today to stand a chance of finding any single one of these 15 lost plants. Yet so far, they have looked for ten and found seven. For the others, they need to wait for rain, in Baja, to find the blooms.

“It has not been easy” remarks Rebman. “We were in a desolate area in northern Baja where bandits are known to congregate, and I was looking for Orcutt’s

Astragalus piscinus flowers. Photo by Jon Rebman

Physaria palmeri. There were signs that the bandits were around, and alarm bells were going off in my head. But I had read Orcutt’s journals, had a firm sense of where he had been the day before he discovered the plant as well as the day after, and I really believed I was close. Yet I kept not finding the plant and kept getting more nervous. Finally, I decided that if I hadn’t found it by the time I reached the next tree, I would turn around. I got to the tree, got off my horse, looked down, and there it was. Orcutt, probably found it when he stopped to take a break in a shady spot all those years ago.”

Finding each of the 7 plants they’ve recovered so far has required serious expeditionary skills and effort, with horses, burros, camping gear, local guides, packed water and food. It’s been hot, it’s been dusty and, as we have seen, sometimes it’s been scary. But, as happens with most NGS projects, the results have been quite tidy. Says Rebman, “For each “lost” species that we encountered, we scientifically documented each population using standard protocols to make an herbarium specimen, we recorded all necessary label data, took a census of the populations, and assessed any visible threats to the well-being of the plant populations. Primary herbarium specimens have been deposited in the SD Herbarium at the San Diego Natural History Museum, and duplicate specimens have been deposited in the HCIB Herbarium in La Paz, Baja California Sur, and the BCMEX Herbarium in Ensenada, Baja California. I photographed each re-discovered plant using a digital camera, and these images, along with the map depicting old and new place names together, can be found at bajaflora.org.”

Dr. Alfonso Medel Narváez with Bouchea flabelliformis (Verbenaceae). Photo by Jon Rebman

While looking for the “lost” plants of Baja, Rebman and his team actually made several new discoveries. “From the expeditions we have taken so far, we have already encountered 30 new species previously unknown to science, all sitting in my cabinet awaiting further investigation.”

The NGS likes to quote American explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who said you never should have an adventure if your planning is good and you pull off every detail; an adventure is when things go wrong. With multiple expeditions looking for 15 ultra-rare – or possibly even extinct – plant species in poorly-described locations, there is bound to be an abundance of adventure in the process for Rebman and his botanical collaborators. But that is the essence of discovery, the essence of exploration, and Rebman and his team are showing us that there is still a huge amount to be discovered, and re-discovered about the places where the dragons used to roam.

 

The Festivals of Todos Santos: 2016

The Festivals of Todos Santos: 2016

By Todos Santos Eco Adventures

2016 is shaping up to be one of the best years yet for festivals in Todos Santos! There will be festivals celebrating music, film, food, wine, nature, and art filling the entire calendar year.  Event organizers will be refining their plans throughout the year, so please check back often for updates. Janice Kinne’s magazine, Journal del Pacifico, will be carrying in-depth coverage of most of the events. Please confirm festival dates with organizers before you book your tickets as organizers sometimes must change dates. ___________________________________________________________________ Todos Santos Music Festival 

  • Date: January 14-16; January 21-23, 2016
  • Organizer:  Hotel California and friends
  • Details: It’s yet another fabulous lineup this year and we’ll see the return of the Old 97’s, grammy award-winners La Santa Cecilia, Mexico City’s alternative Rock band Torreblanca, The Autumn Defense (comprised of Wilco members Pat Sansone and John Stirratt), The Jayhawks, Drive-By Truckers, and the incredible core of every festival so far: Joseph Arthur, Kev’n Kinney, Chuck Prophet, and Steven Wynn. This will be the TSMF debut for Death Cab for Cutie, Tigria, Jeff Tweedy (lead singer and guitarist of Wilco), Mark Eitzel (founding member of the American Music Club) and FRANKIE, an all-female indie rock band from Vancouver. All shows will be in the Hotel California with the exception of the show on the 23rd, which will be in the town plaza.
  • Why It’s Fun: Peter Buck of REM conceived of and curates this event. Not only does he play, he invites his musician buddies from the US and Mexico to come play to raise money for the Palapa Society and other Todos Santos charities. And it turns out that Peter Buck’s friends are all these incredibly nice people who are insanely great musicians. It’s nothing but fantastic music and great fun pulsing through the streets of town for nights on end – you don’t want to miss it!
  • Inception: 2012

___________________________________________________________________

Todos Santos Art Festival /
Festival del Arte de Todos Santos
  • Date: March 5-12, 2016
  • Organizer: Jorge Barajas
  • Why it’s fun: It’s a week-long celebration of Mexican culture that typically features live music, dance and theatre performances, painting and drawing exhibitions, lectures on local environmental and social issues, piano and poetry recitals and lots more. Artisans from different parts of Mexico also set up shop next to the church to sell their crafts. Diverse, fun and engaging.
  • Inception: 1997
  • Special Note: The Todos Santos Open Artist Studio Tour will be February 6 and 7, 2016. Over 40 studios participated in 2015 and mediums included oils, pastels, watercolors, mixed media, encaustic, ceramics, sculpture and photography. Proceeds from the Tour go to the Children’s Art Fund of The Palapa Society Of Todos Santos, A.C. It’s a wonderful event.

___________________________________________________________________ Todos Santos Film Festival / El Festival de Cine de Todos Santos 

  • Dates: March 15-21, 2016
  • Organizer: Sylvia Perel, director of the San Francisco Latino Film Festival and the Latino Festival of Redwood City, California.
  • Benefits: Youth in Video program, teaching the children of the Todos Santos area about film making. They usually present a film they’ve made at the festival each year.
  • Why it’s fun: This fantastic festival brings together a terrific selection of feature films, documentaries and shorts from across Mexico and Latin America that many folks would otherwise never have the opportunity to see. Many well-known film directors attend to present their films and lead audience discussions. It’s a truly great event.
  • Inception: 2004

___________________________________________________________________    

Eco Expo 2016

  • Date: April 22, 2016 (Earth Day!)
  • Organizers: Todos Santos Chapter of WILDCOAST
  • Benefits: Environmental education for the children of Todos Santos
  • Why it’s fun: This is a super fun gathering of environmental and community groups engaged in conserving, preserving and protecting the natural beauty, bounty and health of Baja California Sur. 2016 exhibitors include Whale Shark Mexico, CONANP (National Commission of Natural Protected Areas), CIBNOR (Center of Biological Investigations of the Northwest), Punto Verde (Todos Santos Recycling), SINADES (Sistemas Naturales y Desarrollo), Alianza Keloni AC, ACTS (Todos Santos Community Association), Archipelago Espiritu Santo, ECOVIS, Islas de Golfo, Pueblo Limpio/Pueblo Magico, Todos Santos Builders, Rescatando Nuestros Arrecifes y Manglares (Save Our Reefs and Mangroves), CONAFOR (National Forestry Commission), and the Bird and Turtle Laboratories of the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur.
  • Inception: 2015

___________________________________________________________________ GastroVino Festival de Todos Santos

  • Date: April 22-24, 2016
  • Organizers: Perla Garnica and Mac Sutton of La Bodega de Todos Santos
  • Benefits: Silent auctions of previous years have benefitted the local orphanage and the Todos Santos fire department.
  • Why it’s fun: The main festival is in the town plaza on Sunday, April 24, with wine-pairing dinners on the preceding nights. The GastroVino is a wonderful celebration of the food and wines of Baja California – and you get to indulge in plenty of both! It’s a great opportunity to get to know local chefs from Todos Santos (and their food) and wine makers from Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe wine-growing region (and their wines). Terrific live music performances throughout the day. It’s fabulous!
  • Inception: 2012

__________________________________________________________________ Mango Festival y Fiestas de San Ignacio en Todos Santos  Mango Festival 2015

  • Date: Usually late July and/or early August
  • Organizers: Todos Santos Pueblo Magico
  • Why it’s fun: Ripe, juicy mangoes everywhere! There’s also dancing in the town square, polka bands, a parade of horsemen (cabalgata), folkloric ballet, artisan products, coronation of the Mango Festival Queen and much more. Lots of fun for the family.
  • Inception: 2007

___________________________________________________________________ Festival del Dia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar / Todos Santos Foundation Festival

  • Date: Our saint’s day is October 12, and there are usually 5 days of celebration around then. Details when available.
  • Why It’s Fun: It’s a celebration of the founding of Todos Santos and our patron saint, Pilar. Lots of music, dancing, regional foods, arts and more. There is typically a parade of horsemen and a wonderful horse show October 13 and 14. Great time for the whole family.

___________________________________________________________________ Other Festivals There is also an annual Chili and Strawberry Festival in late March/early April in Pescadero, an annual Baja Reggae Festival at Los Cerritos Beach in April (or so), and there’s even a Shark Festival in November. And that’s just the festivals! Please feel free to contact us to learn more about the many interesting/exciting/engaging events organized in town each year – and to plan your adventures to accompany them. Todos Santos Eco Adventures.

© Copyright Sergio and Bryan Jauregui, Casa Payaso S de RL de CV, 2015

Pizza and Burgers: An Insider’s Guide to the Restaurants of Todos Santos

Pizza and Burgers: An Insider’s Guide to the Restaurants of Todos Santos

By Todos Santos Eco Adventures

Welcome to the fourth installment of our Insider’s Guide to the Restaurants of Todos Santos! Here we present:

Category Seven: Pizzas and Burgers

For information on more of the fabulous restaurants available to food lovers in Todos Santos, please see our other categories including Great Food, Great Chefs, Great Atmosphere; Wonderful Food in a Beautiful Garden Setting,  Killer Local Joints and Taco Stands and Cafes, Healthy Fare and Live Entertainment. All restaurants are presented in alphabetical order within each category.

© Copyright Sergio and Bryan Jauregui, Casa Payaso S de RL de CV, 2014

Category Seven: Pizza, Burgers and Take Out Chicken

A. Pizza

Gallo Azul Pizza Bar

  • Overview: Local entrepreneur Alan Becerril  created Gallo Azul Pizza Bar in 2013 and it’s a great addition to the Todos Santos restaurant scene. Alan serves up authentic Napolitan pizza made in a blisteringly hot wood-fired oven with a volcano stone floor with natural leavened dough – the results are delicious. There is a full bar, great salads and lots of fun events like Saturday night Latin nights with salsa lessons.
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday, 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Contact: 612 158 8457

Café Santa Fe

  • Overview: As with everything else on the menu, the thin-crust pizza at the Cafe Santa Fe is fabulous. It ain’t cheap but you get what you pay for!
  • Contact: 145-0340

La Coronela at the Hotel California

  • Overview: The Hotel California restaurant serves up a pear and gorgonzola cheese pizza that is fantastically delicious.
  • Contact: 612-145-2722

Pizzeria Napoli

  • Overview: This is a great little spot in the middle of town that cranks out very tasty, very affordable pizzas from 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM every day but Wednesday. It’s a favorite with locals. You can do take out or take advantage of the simple seating at the restaurant and enjoy cold beer and soft drinks with your meal.
  • Contact: 612-145-1085.

Tres Marias

  • Overview: Coming soon – stand by for details!

B. Burgers

Chill ‘N Grill

  • Overview: Fun tropical bar atmosphere with full bar and good bar fare including burgers, ribs, steaks, wings and hot dogs. (Best vegetarian option is to stick to the booze or get take out from Our Pura Vida next door – the owner of the Chill ‘N Grill and the owner of Our Pura Vida are brother and sister!) Pasta Mondays, Taco Tuesdays and 2-for-1 happy hour 4-6 PM every day. NFL and other sporting events flowing on the bar TV. They often have live music on the weekends.
  • Hours: 4-10 PM daily (unless everyone’s having a great time and you can stay later); Sundays open at 10:00 AM for ball games.
  • Contact:  612 151 1441.

La Cueva Tres Marias

Shut Up Frank’s

The Festivals of Todos Santos: 2015

The Festivals of Todos Santos: 2015

By Todos Santos Eco Adventures The great Todos Santos festival tradition will continue in 2015, with celebrations of music, film, food, wine, nature, and art filling the entire calendar year.  This is a list of the festivals currently scheduled for 2015, and please check back often for updates. For more in-depth coverage of these events, their organizers and other Todos Santos happenings, be sure to check out Wendy Rains’ weekly radio program Todos Santos Weekend with Wendy, as well as Janice Kinne’s magazine, Journal del Pacifico. Please confirm dates for festivals before you book your tickets as organizers sometimes must change dates. ___________________________________________________________________ Todos Santos Music Festival 

  • Date: January 15-17; January 21-24, 2015
  • Organizer:  Hotel California and friends
  • Details: Confirmed bands and musicians include  Joseph Arthur, Kev’n Kinney, Chuck Prophet, Steven Wynn, Drive-By Truckers, Old 97’s, La Santa Cecilia, Conor Oberst, Nortec Collective, M. Ward and Dawes. All shows will be in the Hotel California with the exception of the show on the 24th, which will be in the town plaza.
  • Why It’s Fun: Peter Buck of REM conceived of and curates this event. Not only does he play, he invites his musician buddies from the US and Mexico to come play to raise money for the Palapa Society and other Todos Santos charities. And it turns out that Peter Buck’s friends are all these incredibly nice people who are insanely great musicians. It’s nothing but fantastic music and great fun pulsing through the streets of town for nights on end – you don’t want to miss it!
  • Inception: 2012

___________________________________________________________________

Todos Santos Art Festival /
Festival del Arte de Todos Santos
  • Date: February 21-28, 2015
  • Organizer: Jorge Barajas
  • Why it’s fun: It’s a week-long celebration of Mexican culture that typically features live music, dance and theatre performances, painting and drawing exhibitions, lectures on local environmental and social issues, piano and poetry recitals and lots more. Artisans from different parts of Mexico also set up shop next to the church to sell their crafts. Diverse, fun and engaging.
  • Inception: 1997
  • Special Note: The Todos Santos Open Artist Studio Tour will be held on Saturday, Feburary 7 and Sunday, February 8, just after the art festival. 38 studios participated in 2014 and mediums included oils, pastels, watercolors, mixed media, encaustic, ceramics, sculpture and photography. Proceeds from the Tour go to the Children’s Art Fund of The Palapa Society Of Todos Santos, A.C. It’s a wonderful event.

___________________________________________________________________ Todos Santos Film Festival / El Festival de Cine de Todos Santos 

  • Dates: March 12-22, 2015: Film festival events at venues across Todos Santos, Pescadero and La Paz
  • Organizer: Sylvia Perel, director of the San Francisco Latino Film Festival and the Latino Festival of Redwood City, California.
  • Benefits: Youth in Video program, teaching the children of the Todos Santos area about film making. They usually present a film they’ve made at the festival each year.
  • Why it’s fun: This fantastic festival brings together a terrific selection of feature films, documentaries and shorts from across Mexico and Latin America that many folks would otherwise never have the opportunity to see. Many well-known film directors attend to present their films and lead audience discussions. It’s a truly great event.
  • Inception: 2004

___________________________________________________________________ GastroVino Festival de Todos Santos

  • Date: April 24-26
  • Organizers: Perla Garnica and Mac Sutton of La Bodega de Todos Santos
  • Benefits: Silent auctions of previous years have benefitted the local orphanage and the Todos Santos fire department.
  • Why it’s fun: It’s a wonderful celebration of the food and wines of Baja California – and you get to indulge in plenty of both! It’s a great opportunity to get to know local chefs from Todos Santos (and their food) and wine makers from Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe wine-growing region (and their wines). Terrific live music performances throughout the day. It’s fabulous!
  • Inception: 2012

__________________________________________________________________     Mango Festival y Fiestas de San Ignacio en Todos Santos  

  • Date: July 31-August 2, 2015
  • Organizers: Todos Santos Pueblo Magico
  • Why it’s fun: Ripe, juicy mangoes everywhere! There’s also dancing in the town square, polka bands, a parade of horsemen (cabalgata), folkloric ballet, artisan products, coronation of the Mango Festival Queen and much more. Lots of fun for the family.
  • Inception: 2007

___________________________________________________________________ Festival del Dia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar / Todos Santos Foundation Festival

  • Date: Our saint’s day is October 12, and there are usually 5 days of celebration around then. Details when available.
  • Why It’s Fun: It’s a celebration of the founding of Todos Santos and our patron saint, Pilar. Lots of music, dancing, regional foods, arts and more. There is typically a parade of horsemen and a wonderful horse show October 13 and 14. Great time for the whole family.

___________________________________________________________________ Other Festivals There is also an annual Chili and Strawberry Festival in late March/early April in Pescadero, an annual Baja Reggae Festival at Los Cerritos Beach in April (or so), and there’s even a Shark Festival in November. And that’s just the festivals! Please feel free to contact us to learn more about the many interesting/exciting/engaging events organized in town each year – and to plan your adventures to accompany them. Todos Santos Eco Adventures. © Copyright Sergio and Bryan Jauregui, Casa Payaso S de RL de CV, 2014

Cafes, Healthy Fare, Live Entertainment! An Insider’s Guide to the Restaurants of Todos Santos

By Todos Santos Eco Adventures

Welcome to the third installment of our Insider’s Guide to the Restaurants of Todos Santos! Here we present:

Category Four: Charming Cafés with Great Breakfasts – and More!

Category Four and a Half: Fonda El Zaguan!

Category Five: Healthy Fare

Category Six: Fun Places with Cute Atmosphere and Live Music / Live Theater / Live TV!

For information on more of the fabulous restaurants available to food lovers in Todos Santos, please see our other categories including Great Food, Great Chefs, Great Atmosphere; Wonderful Food in a Beautiful Garden Setting snd Killer Local Joints and Taco Stands. All restaurants are presented in alphabetical order within each category. The sample menus shown with each restaurant are literally just a snapshot from our last visit; menu options and prices may naturally evolve over time.

© Copyright Sergio and Bryan Jauregui, Casa Payaso S de RL de CV, 2013

___________________________________________________________________

Category Four: Charming Cafés with Great Breakfasts – and More!

 Cafélix 

  • Overview: Since 2007 Felix Ramon Vaquez Guluarte has been dishing up all the things that you need to get through the day – and feel good doing it: great coffees (frappucinos, cappucinos, iced lattes and more) tasty baked goods, natural smoothies, hearty breakfasts (all manner of eggs, French toast, waffles – you can choose how badly you want to sin) and delicious lunches. His sidewalk café on the main street of Todos Santos has become something of a gathering point for visitors and locals alike and he works hard to keep the experience fresh for his clientele. He now serves dinner – including wood-fired brick oven pizza on the weekends – at Cafélix, and since 2010 has been serving up great tacos, burritos and hamburgers next door at Boyitacos. He frequently features the work of local artists, sponsors photography contests, and of course shows Mexican soccer matches on the flat screen TV. Very nice, relaxed atmosphere with both inside and outside/sidewalk seating. Free WIFI. Air conditioning in the summer – a rarity!
  • Service: Very friendly and efficient.
  • Rating: Tasty, tasty, tasty! If we need to find one of our guests this is often the first place we look.
  • Hours: Cafélix is open 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM daily, 365 days a year. Boyitacos is open 12:00 Noon – 9:00 PM daily except Tuesdays.
  • Contact: 612-145-0568  Location No. 57 on Journal del Pacifico Map
  • Cafelix Menu

Indoor dining area at Caffe Todos Santos

Caffé Todos Santos 

  • Overview: Fresh, large and delicious applies to everything on offer at Caffe Todos Santos. From the wonderful fresh juices, to the dazzling cinnamon buns, from the original inspired salads, to the fabulous fruits of the sea, every dish is a joy for the taste buds and a treat for at least two of you at the table! There are 3 seating area options, each with its own unique ambiance and all thoroughly delightful. There is the sidewalk table option where you can lounge under a canopy of bougainvillea and watch Todos Santos street life roll by; there is the indoor option where you can enjoy the fun collection of posters and objets d’arte (and keep a close eye on the pastries); and there is the garden dining option where you can spread out around large tables framed by a lovely brick wall that gives one the feeling of having stumbled into the private garden of a wealthy entrepreneur – which it once was. Owned by Angelo and Magda Dalbon, who know also operate Tre Galline in the same location.
  • Service: Very relaxed.
  • Rating: Charming, fresh, large and delicious! We often bring our groups here for lunch and enjoy hanging out with friends and family here.
  • Hours: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM Tuesday-Saturday. Sunday 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Monday 7:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
  • Contact: 612-145-0300  Location No. 4 on Journal del Pacifico Map
  • Caffe Todos Santos Menu

___________________________________________________________________

Category Four and a Half: Fonda El Zaguán!

El Zaguán 

Erik and Staff at El Zaguan

  • Overview: This tiny spot on the main street of Todos Santos straddles so many of our categories that we finally decided to just put it in a class of its own! Owned by Erik Castellanos, one of the original developers of Los Adobes, El Zaguán serves some of the freshest, tastiest seafood in town – accompanied by delicious organic salads and a nice selection of wines. El Zaguán is in a very charming, very convenient and vibrant location. There are a couple of tables under a palapa roof on the sidewalk where you can enjoy the ebb and flow of Todos Santos street life while delighting in an El Zaguán creation. Or if you prefer to leave the street behind there are several tables and a small (but full) bar in the streamlined open-air space “inside”. The restaurant’s motto is “Always good, Always fresh” and we’re happy to report truth in advertising here at El Zaguán!
  • Service: Attentive and nice.
  • Rating: Triple D: Delicious, delectable, delightful! We often bring our groups here for lunch and many of our guests then find their own way back for another meal on their own.
  • Hours: 12:00 Noon – 9:00 PM daily except Sunday.
  • Contact:145-0485,  Location No. 34 on Journal del Pacifico Map
  • El Zaguan Menu

___________________________________________________________________

Category Five: Healthy Fare

Bistro Mágico

Rima at Bistro Mágico

  • Overview: A fantastic new addition to the Todos Santos food scene that has everyone raving! Owner/chef Rima Lyn thought about calling her place “Waffle ‘n Falafel”, only trouble being that her signature breakfast dish is pancakes, not waffles. But oh what pancakes! Using a recipe that her mother developed “by mistake”, Rima gets her pancakes to fluff up like hot cakes on steroids, then stuffs them with berries and smothers them with cinnamon butter sauce. It’s positively indecent. For lunch she always has her awe-inspiring falafel pita on hand, as well as a wonderful array of daily specials such as lentil salad, turkey burgers, fish chowder, celery soup, fruit smoothies and so on – all fabulously fresh and delicious. She invites guests chefs in on a regular basis to prepare special treats  for her customers such as crepes or Indian food, and this is always an extremely tasty event. Food is served in the small, homey/funky dining area next to the kitchen that always features the work of local artists, as well as on the sidewalk just outside.
  • Service: Rima and her team love what they’re doing and it shows. They are always delighted to see you, chat about the food – or anything else – and make sure you get the perfect meal you’re looking for.
  • Rating: Yes! Yes! Yes! We’re addicted and you definitely don’t want to miss it while you’re in town.
  • Hours: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday. Closed August – October 2014.
  • Contact: 612-169-9200

Frieda at the Indigo Cafe juice bar

Indigo Café 

  • Overview: Owner/chef Frieda Telemans had three growing boys in the house, which inspired her to focus on the science of nutrition. That was the easy part. The hard part was the art getting teenage boys to not only tolerate healthy food, but love it. She succeeded wildly, and now that the boys are grown and gone, the rest of us get to discover how fantastically delicious Frieda can make disgustingly healthy fare. Right inside the art gallery she’s been running for 8 years on the main street of Todos Santos – Galeria Indigo – Frieda offers a simple menu with complex and wonderful flavors that spread joy to your taste buds and arteries alike. The menu features fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, sandwiches, wraps, salads and espresso. And from the portabello mushroom panini, to the fresh vegetable and hummus “burritos”, to the beet and goat cheese salad, everything is absolutely yummy. Need proof? We took three groups of teenagers there this summer – to a kid they loved it all and asked for more. ‘Nuff said.
  • Service: It’s just Frieda right now and she’s always happy to see you!
  • Rating: Winner of the Todos Santos 4-H award – a Heavenly Hip n’ Healthy Humdinger! We love it and now take many of our groups there for lunch. If you want to go with more than 2-3 friends best to call ahead so that she can be prepared for you.
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9-6, Sundays 11-4.
  • Contact: 612-137-3473

La Esquina 

  • Overview: With its proximity to the more gringo-laden communities of Todos Santos, and its terrific selection of fresh, healthy and tasty fare, La Esquina quickly became a favorite with many residents in town after its opening in 2007.  A delightful array of breakfast entrees, fresh-baked goods, and great sandwiches, all of which can be washed down with a good selection of juices, teas, coffees and beers, is served in a charming, open-air space under a large palapa roof. Free WIFI and an area with overstuffed chairs and sofa invite visitors to lounge for a while. Happy Hour from 5-6 PM draws the after-surf / pre-dinner crowds, who can enjoy 2-for-1 beer, wine and margaritas. There is a farmer’s market each Wednesday during the winter.
  • Service: Quite relaxed and nice.
  • Rating: Fresh-n-tasty! It’s a favorite spot for many folks to meet friends and associates – not only because of the good libations, but because many of the tables are set far enough apart that you can have a private conversation. That being said, there is often a convivial group atmosphere about the place.
  • Hours: 7 AM – 7 PM Monday – Saturday. 9 AM – 3 PM Sundays. Open until 9:00 PM on Thursdays for live music, bar service and super burros. Closed September 1-30, 2014
  • Contact: 612-145-0851  Location No. 9 on Journal del Pacifico Map
  • La Esquina Menu

Our Pura Vida Health Food Deli 

  • Overview: When you’re craving delicious / fresh / organic / vegetarian food for breakfast or lunch Pura Vida is the place to go! Since 2009 the dynamic husband-and-wife team of fashion designer Joella Corado (Todos Santos born and raised) & Kurtis Parsons (massage therapist and professional percussionist) have featured a refreshingly brief menu of a few items that they do extremely well and that reflect their goal of living an alternative, healthier lifestyle. For lunch you can indulge in pesto quesadillas, vegetable spring rolls, veggie Panini, organic salad, veggie/organic burritos and nachos, and for breakfast there is oatmeal, fruit, granola, chilaquiles, and Spanish eggs. Perfect!  Vegan, gluten-free and wheat-free options abound. While it is a health food place there are a couple of (relatively) sinful options, including the delicious chocolate avocado pie and cheeseless cheesecake. Joella and Kurtis also run regular specials like Vegan Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles, Mushrooms, Spinach, Broccoli, and Creamy Cashew cheese. Pura Vida has just a few tables under a palapa roof that also houses a small store with organic / healthy / exotic food items, as well as some of Joella’s Belazul Beach and Active Wear line of clothing and jewelry.
  • Service: Deeply relaxed.
  • Rating: A great gift for your taste buds! We come around for a fix as often as we can.
  • Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily. Summer hours are 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, closed on Sundays.
  • Contact: 612-145-0471  Location No. 141 on Journal del Pacifico Map
  • Pura Vida Menu

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Category Six: Fun Places with Cute Atmosphere and Live Music / Live Theater / Live TV!

 El Teatro Luna Azul / Blue Moon Productions 

El Teatro Luna Azul Production

  • Overview: Started by long-time Todos Santos residents Isabel Smyth and Raul Cavazos, El Teatro Luna Azul brings the idea of dinner and a movie to a whole new wonderful level. Once in a blue moon, i.e., whenever they feel like it, Isabel and Raul invite the public to their huge, open air theater space where they show fascinating, hard-to find movies ranging from classic to controversial, musical to mystery, altered lives to the altered planet.  Prior to some shows – but not all – they serve creative meals featuring seasonal fruits and vegetables fresh from their on-site garden, prepared in their open-air kitchen. Vegetarian options are always available and all options are wonderfully fresh and delicious. The movies are great fun, but they are perhaps more famous for their live theatre productions in which they use local talent to bring comedies, musicals and the performing arts to the community. Isabel and Raul also host full moon drumming and music nights.
  • Rating: Worth howling about! It’s a great gift to the community and always a lot of fun, no matter whether you’re watching a movie at the theater or participating in a drumming circle on the beach.
  • Hours: Once in a blue moon. Which generally ends up being a dinner/movie option once or twice a week November-July, and maybe twice a month August-October. Please check their blog for details and information about their live performances
  • El Teatro Luna Azul 

La Coronela at The Hotel California 

  • Overview: What? It’s the Hotel California – you have to go at least once while you’re in town. And the good news is that you’ll be glad you did! The restaurant has a truly wonderful atmosphere and reflects the combination of fun, whimsy, magic and practicality that original owners John and Debbie Stewart infused the whole place with back in 2002. And Executive Chef Dany Lamote has made the restaurant a mecca for all comers, with plenty of traditional US / international fare for those who aren’t in the mood for Mexican, and terrific local dishes for those who are. Jalapeño margaritas made with Hotel California Tequila are not to be missed no matter which category you fall into! The Hotel California has live music on many weekends, puts on a killer New Year’s Eve program, and is now the venue of the Annual Todos Santos Music Festival organized by Peter Buck of REM.
  • Service: Totally rocks!
  • Rating: Too much fun! We begin or end almost every one of our adventure weeks with a meal at the Hotel California. It is always a hit!
  • Hours: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM daily unless there’s music, when it closes at 11:00 PM. Except on New Years. And some nights of the Music Festival.
  • Contact: 612-145-0525  Location No. 63 on Journal del Pacifico Map
  • La Coronela Menu

La Santeña at Hotel Casa Tota 

  • Overview: La Santeña is a cantina-style Mexican restaurant that evokes an earlier time in Mexico. Built by Mexican entrepreneur and builder Miguel Ochoa, La Santeña has a very charming, warm atmosphere created by the brick walls, high, exposed-beam ceiling, copper-plated bar panels and wooden liquor cabinets.  Traditional Mexican fare, some American staples, and a full bar are yours for the sampling in either the delightful inside dining area or the very enjoyable and comfortable tables with umbrellas on the sidewalk.  La Santeña often features important sporting events on the flat screen TV.
  • Service: Very relaxed and nice.
  • Rating: Very fun! Very nice place to have a meal or a drink with friends.
  • Hours: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM daily
  • Contact: 612-145-0590  Location No. 20 on Journal del Pacifico Map
  • La Santena Menu

More Places from Other Categories with Live Entertainment / Live Music in Todos Santos

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© Copyright Sergio and Bryan Jauregui, Casa Payaso S de RL de CV, 2014

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