2nd Annual Baja Bash Shows Off Best of Regional Cuisine While Spotlighting Sustainable Sources

Photo from Kenny Kondo
June 21, 2013

On the evening of Saturday, June 15th, eight of San Diego and Baja's best chefs converged at The Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier for the 2nd Annual Baja Bash, a celebration of regional cuisine, sourcing sustainable ingredients, and life in general.  This intimate affair was hosted by WILDCOAST and highlighted the organization's conservational successes on both sides of our shared coastline, all while offering guests delicious dishes, local libations and an amazing setting for a party that successfully promoted philosophies of unity and eco-consciousness.

Meat grilling for Chef Deckman's tacos
Baja Bash began with a cocktail reception, where guests were treated to craft beer offerings from north and south of the border, including Stone Brewing Co., Green Flash Brewing Company and Cucapá, as well as a selection of regional wines. Chef Marcela Valladolid served as the host for the evening, and featured her tequila line, Hacienda de la Flor Tequila.  Local food trucks The InSlider, Delicioso and Epic Eatz all parked on Broadway Pier's bayside patio and offered hosted selections from their menus.

Inside The Port Pavilion, 8 top regional chefs prepared tasty offerings for the packed house, including: (from San Diego) Flor Franco of Indulge Catering, Jason Knibb of NINE-TEN, Todd Nash from Blind Burro, Chad White of Plancha Baja Med, and (from Baja California), Humberto Aviles of La Caza Club, Drew Deckman of Deckman’s San Jose, Miguel-Angel Guerrero of La Querencia, and Javier Plascencia of Mision 19.  The chefs were provided support from Tijuana Culinary Art School students.

The food at Baja Bash was certainly lavish.  From the line up of dishes, we had our favorites.  Chef Todd Nash's shrimp taco was served on a perfect jicama 'tortilla' with mango salsa, avocado and cilantro and was good enough for seconds and thirds.  They were even nice enough to accommodate my brother's vegan diet by making him a taco sans shrimp.  Chef Drew Deckman also made tacos, his filled with octopus, braised pork belly, salsa verde and cilantro, filled with flavors and a pleasantly surprising combination of surf & turf.  Maybe my favorite dish of the day, Chef Chad White presented a deconstructed taco, with pork heart, liver, lung, a guajillo chili gastrique and charred onions.  Although I'm not generally a fan of offals, this dish came together melodically in one bite.          

This year, lucha libre icon El Hijo del Santo was honored as a defender of the ocean and marine life, as well as chef Javier Plascencia, for leading Baja’s gastronomic revolution with a sustainable message. San Diego's own and nationally recognized B-Side Players served as the featured musical guests and closed out the festivities.  A silent auction offered values and a means of further supporting the efforts of WILDCOAST.

Baja Bash was a fun tasting event with a warm and cozy crowd.  We look forward to seeing the evolution of this event as Baja cuisine continues to gain momentum in the culinary world.  To stay up to date for next year's Baja Bash, be sure to follow on Facebook, and check out the video below for scenes of this year's bash.