The weather could have not been more beautiful in El Valle de Guadalupe. As soon as you make the first left turn following the sign to La Villa del Valle a whole new world opens up. We rolled down the windows and let in the sweet smells of nature outside flow in. You may feel as if you are driving to the middle of nowhere, but just continue to follow the signs, and you will see the gorgeous property on the horizon. We pulled up to Corazon de Tierra, but before entering the restaurant we decided to walk around the gardens and take a closer look at La Villa del Valle. I honestly felt like I was on the beginning of a vacation, and just blown away by the scenery.
As you walk into Corazon de Tierra you are welcomed by floor to ceiling windows, that let you longingly gaze out into the fields. The tables are all pre fab wood, that set a tone of warmth with clean lines alongside the steel accents.
Agnes greeted us, and told us to choose a seat. We sat in the far corner of the restaurant nearest to the giant glass window/door. The door is left open when weather permits, and the restaurant is full of the fresh aromatic breezes from outside. Just watching your food being picked out of the garden, right before its plated is an incredible feeling.
We were then presented with a brown paper bag full of slices of homemade Rosemary bread, a dish of Beet leaf pesto, and a plate of local Baja cheeses. The weather was in the eighties that day, and Agnes came by and suggested that we try out their Vena Cava Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was full of fruit forward flavors with a delightful crisp acidity to it.
Before I even had time to blink Chef Diego Hernandez was joining us at our table for a little conversation. We talked about his studies at the Culinary Art School in Tijuana, and his experiences in the kitchens of various restaurants around Mexico. He is so incredibly full of passion for the food and dishes that he creates. It made me so happy to see the love come out when he spoke about the restaurant and its garden surroundings. He explained to us the difference between the way that the soil is in Baja California, and that being the reason for instance that a carrot straight out of the ground would have such an amazing taste. I can't help but get goosebumps when I see someone so in love with what they are doing.
His menu changes daily, and varies depending upon the availability of the produce from the garden, as well as the meats from local farms, and fresh seafood from Ensenada. Each dish was so beautifully presented, they each looked like a piece of art.
Our amuse bouche was a fresh oyster with a drizzle of olive oil and soy sauce. In one slurp your mouth is full of flavors of the ocean. The soy sauce added a nice touch of saltiness, that even enhanced its natural flavors.
The first course was a salad composed of pan seared radishes, pigs feet, Daikon flowers, and a turnip and fennel puree. Pan searing a radish really does something magical. The pigs feet had a silk like texture, that were a nice surprise against the crunch of the radishes and smooth puree.