Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Trip to Todos Santos and Art & Beer

Ironically right before our trip to Cabo this year we happened to catch one of Rick Bayless' PBS "Mexico-One Plate at Time" episodes titled Todos Santos Magic.

He visited Todos Santos, which is about 40 miles north of Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific Ocean side. On the episode he visited the famous Hotel California and a very funky roadside restaurant called Art & Beer.

This episode was caught just at the right moment for our vacation;
1) Some friends were staying just outside of Todos Santos this year during the same week we were there and we knew we somehow all wanted to get together while we there.

2) With the whole family coming to Cabo this year we knew we wanted to go take some sort of adventure with Tracy & Mike giving them a kid free day.

So inspired by Rick Bayless yet again we made a plan. We'd rent a car with Tracy & Mike and meet our friends at the Hotel California at noon on Wednesday. G&I had never rented a car in Mexico for a variety of reasons. At the top of the list includes drivers there appear out of control and  drinking + driving + Mexican jails = BAD IDEA! So we generally stick to taxis and shuttles. So this was indeed an adventure for us.

Mike actually ended up being the brave one who drove our rental jeep. And after one quick missed turn we did end up on the correct route to Todos Santos. It started off fine. A newer 4 lane highway. Road signs along the way pointing to Todos Santos. But then about 15 miles down the highway at 60 miles an hour..the highway just stopped, turned into dirt, no cones, signs...just dirt for a few miles and then the highway is back...very surreal. This happened two three turns along the highway. But Mike expertly got us there in one piece.

When we arrived to Todos Santos, it was the perfect kind of day in Mexico to do some touring; beautiful blue sky but a little cooler thanks to a nice breeze.

Todos Santos is a quieter, historical town known for it's artisans and culture. No vendors, no over the top Time Share sales people trying to convince you they are the only way you'll ever be able to do an activity in the whole of Mexico..much more peaceful than downtown Cabo.

We arrived to the Hotel California just exactly on time. Our friends were waiting for us on the bench outside.

On Rick's show he sampled two different margaritas that he insisted must be tried if ever in Todos Santos..so who were we to not listen to his advice. We went to the Hotel California restaurant's patio to indulge in some jalapeno margaritas.

The restaurant's patio was lovely with lots of beautiful and quirky art placed throughout. The margarita was pretty tasty as well.

After our margarita we decided to wander the town and find some street food for lunch

and check out some of the galleries.

Todos Santos was charming and slow paced. A nice midweek detour during our vacation.

After some lunch and our fill of town our friends invited us to check out their rented casita on the beach just outside of town.

We followed in our rental car. We had no idea when they said it's on a dirt road directly off the highway that we'd be traveling that bumpy dirt road for what felt like 10 miles once we turned off the main drag. Wow, we all couldn't believe what it must of been like the night they arrived in the pitch dark.

But what a gem of a place they found.An American family owned little estate with 5-6 little individual casitas. Clean, quiet and equipped with everything you might need and just a very short walk to the beautiful waves of the Pacific Ocean.

I'm not sure I could ever truly give up the amenities and bonuses of our paradise resort (good thing since we made a 40 year commitment) but G was in love. This was his kind of place..basically a surfers paradise. I have a feeling we'll be visiting those casitas again possibly compromising and extending a trip in the future.

After a beer on the surf we headed to our destination, Art & Beer. We had passed it on our way into town and since it was directly off the highway it was easy to find.

We were all pretty excited when we arrived. It's really next to nothing in the middle of the dessert..with the ocean off in the distance.

We arrived to a cluster of large palapas.

There were only a few other customers inside. We were seated by the owner Lourdes Campos who explained the two menus.

One for their famously large margaritas and the other for their fresh ceviche tostadas.

It wasn't trick photography at all on Rick's episode...the margaritas really are that big and

beautifully adorned with scrumptious fresh fruit.

Lourdes explained that the ceviche plates are served with 3 tostadas and 3 is plenty for two people to share. G&I went with shrimp, scallop and smoked marlin.

While we waited for our food we explored the art placed all other the restaurant grounds. There were boardwalks that meandered through the cactus allowing close up viewing of the "interesting and eclectic" art pieces.
 G & Frost were both quiet impressed with the large whale pelvis artfully displayed.

It was clear this was quite rustic living made a little more interesting with art.

We enjoyed our monstrous margaritas and then our first course arrived.

It was a slightly warm vegetable soup sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. Both soup and dessert came with the tostada plate.

Our tostada plates arrived and finally where "ART" fit into the restaurant really became apparent. The plates were bright and beautifully garnished ..the tostadas really were something special.  A piece of art you might say.

Our favorite of our 3 choices was the scallop ceviche. The scallops were sweet and briny just perfect. So, so good.

As dessert was served; fresh fruit drizzled with Kahlua the sun started to set and it was an absolutely stunning sunset and end to our day in  Todos Santos.

It started to get very dark and we were getting a bit nervous about our trek back to Cabo on the "interrupted" highway.

We found our way back to the main palapa and found the owners asking for our checks. We found out they don't have electricity, phone or Internet on the grounds (WOW.) We told them we had found out about their restaurant on Rick Bayless' special. They said they had not seen the episode. They asked to stay for a complimentary cerveza. As we explained "No, we had to drive back to Cabo" the bartender was pouring our beers into red to go keg cups. When we responded "Oh, no thank you but we've got to drive." They replied, "Drive slow, really it's okay."
Ohhhh.... only in Mexico!

They encouraged us to take our beers up to the balcony to get a few good shots of the sunset. We took them up on both offers.

The entire adventure was one to remember! We'll definitely be finding our way back to Art & Beer and I already have a ceviche tostada dinner party idea brewing in my head.

Mike again, not drinking and driving, expertly chauffeured us back home again. Sometime we'll have to share our experience stopping at a local large Mexican (meaning no Caucasians in sight) super-supermarket that felt more like a nightclub on a Saturday night than Wednesday at the grocery store.

How we love our Mexico stories. 


  1. Great story! You guys need to find a way to channel this to Bayless himself. ;)

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