There is a pond.
The deck is a lovely setting for outdoor dining. And ARTIO was our choice for the evening before Kim and Phyllis headed back to California the next day.
ARTIO has only been reviewed once on TripAdvisor. Although we glance at reviews, they don’t define our choices. And we liked the pond.
The menu sounded pretty great too.
We made reservations and showed up on time, found no wait, and were escorted to our table. Little light bulbs surrounded the terrace, giving it a glow. It was getting dusk and the remaining sunlight filtered through the surrounding trees, birds sang. And the mosquitos came out.
But, of course, that happens when eating next to a pond. We would scratch for days. But, we endured. The food in between shots of tequila and bottles of wine was worth it.
Our waiter was delightful. The service not so much. Plates came out staggered, although the restaurant was not very full.
Thank god for our witty repartee and discussion of future travels, we stayed hours.
Many of the restaurants and wineries here are small and intimate. That is one reason we enjoyed the Valle so much. But check first and see if reservations need to be made.
After almost a week in the Valle, I would not call it the “Napa of Mexico.” We learned that places should not be compared to others. We do them a disservice when those thoughts are applied. Valle De Guadalupe is a special little corner of the world, let it stand on its own.
We returned to the Airstreams on the rough roads that led past wineries and eating joints that would have to be explored at another time. Wine on our deck while stars tried to peek through a haze of a distant wildfire brought the last of our long conversations with friends. It seems no place is immune from the fires this year.
After an early breakfast, the next morning we waved them off for their drive back to California and we turned to each other and asked “what next?”
And we set off to drift around on our last day. We wanted to hang out somewhere and relax. Have a pleasant chat between ourselves.
We had passed Casa Frida many times. A bright blue building drew our attention. And there is something going on with brightly painted cars and trucks at entrances to many of the properties. Frida was open and it seemed like the perfect place to pass some time. The photos on TripAdvisor showed a deck with wine, perhaps some tidbits to munch on. The reviews for Frida’s were mixed. The website mentions reservations, but we winged it. No problem. There are at least three very different restaurants on the property, a Cava, and an expensive Frida Select Tasting Room – which we were allowed a peek into. Casa Frida is color! Like Mexico and Frida herself. The Select Tasting Room was full of bright paintings of Frida and do-dads all in the midst of velvety upholstered chairs and settees.
The restaurants are spread out, and in the end, we settled at a table on the Lake Deck – Oyster Bar, where we were the only ones for most of our two-hour visit.
Once again, as is Mexico, a very friendly waitress joined in our conversation and we learned about her life in the Valle, her family, and her dreams. The munchies had us opt for a cheese, olive, bread platter, which was way too big for us to finish. We tipped handsomely – as one should for a pleasant addition to an afternoon, smiles all around, and a desire to make up for a slow period.
Frida’s is Instagrammer territory. Lots of color and quirkiness, and plenty of spots to take that perfect shot. There are restrooms, of course, so that wardrobe changes can be accomplished easily. From photos on TripAdvisor and Instagram, Frida’s looks like a young person’s poser party hang out, so we were glad to have come during a quieter time.
We had one meal left. We were still seeking outdoors and colorful. Cantera Cocina Del Valle, another multicolored spot, fit the bill for some craft beer and pizza. Yummy and reasonable.
For a Valle full of wine, unique hotels, and luscious restaurants; that were not immediately apparent in the barren land we drove into six days ago, Valle de Guadalupe is filled with spread out and colorful respites.
Our experience here was much more than we hoped it to be. And, with short flights from Leon (BJX) to Tijuana (TIJ), it is a simple change of pace when our feet get antsy to travel.
The Airstream bed provided comfort as we cuddled together for a dramatic, bright, noisy, heavy rainstorm. In the morning, we packed up the rental SUV, drove up the coast, and returned to the airport for an evening flight home.
Glenn needs sustenance throughout the day, and we desperately wanted our wake-up coffee. So we stopped at Encanto Restaurante in Rosarito for breakfast. This colorful stop is right on the cliffs. Encanto provided an ok breakfast, but the coffee was wonderful, we had a lovely view, and the sound of the ocean was a pleasant change.
We splurged for the VIP lounge at the Tijuana airport and made good use of the $30USD per person fee to stock our bodies up with espresso, beer, tequila, wine, and little plates of goodness.
Now we have signed up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card – which includes VIP lounge stays around the world and we have decided lounges are definitely the way to make airport waits more pleasant.
BajioGo awaited us hours later, and as we entered our lovely hometown of San Miguel de Allende we exalted that we had such a wonderful place to return to and looked forward to our days ahead while planning where to visit next.
The color of Mexico, the abundance of it, shouldn’t surprise us anymore. We are surrounded by the vividness of the people, towns, markets, streets, food, and shining personalities.
We are so happy that it all seems to be rubbing off on us too.