Baja California

Corazón de Tierra: The Heart and Soil behind Baja California Cuisine

A place full of tasteful wonders at Valle de Guadalupe

The second course was a bowl filled with spider crab, radish sprouts, and mint. Poured over the top was a sweet carrot broth creating a velvety soup. There are so many flavors in the one bowl. The heartiness of the crab and its sweetness is heightened by the almost golden carrot broth. The simplicity of adding some fresh mint brings on a whole other level of flavor that is so refreshing. Hot weather or not, I finished every last bite of this dish.

The third course was a contender for my favorite of the meal. It was so hard to pick any favorites, but this was one dish that I could not stop talking about. A filet of perfectly cooked rock cod sat on a smear of tomato aioli, and was surrounded by sprouted lentils and broccoli. On top of the fish was Chef Diego's version of a "gremolata". Sprouted lentils are a new addition to my life, and from now on they will continue to be present. They added this texture and flavor to the fish that words can't even describe. The perfect bite full of flaky fish, and earthy vegetables with a hint of the slight acidity of the creamy aioli and citrusy gremolata, will instantly have your taste buds throwing a party.

The fourth and final savory course was quail on a bed of black beans and spinach. Over the quail was an added element of heat from a Chile Guero and black radish relish. The fresh carrots from the garden that Chef Diego Hernandez spoke of earlier made it to the plate, as well as some potato flakes. Quail is not as commonly on menus as I feel it should be. The meat is so tender, and oozes with its natural juices.

The fifth course before the dessert came a granita palate cleanser. It was chocked full of the floral flavors of lavender and chamomile with cubes of mint, and a drizzle of local honey from their own bees. Each invigorating spoonful tasted as if you spent your day at the spa in a room full of aromatherapy candles. It made me feel even more relaxed and tranquil than I already had, and who know that was even possible.

[p]The sixth and final course was a yogurt and honey ice cream on a banana puree drizzled with a bourbon sabayon, and a piece of crisp chocolate bread wedged in. The portion was so ideal, and you are able to get each ingredient of the dish in one bite. The bourbon added a touch of the alcohol taste in the finish, but it did not at all overwhelm the other flavors.

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The dining experience at Corazon de Tierra left me feeling inspired. It is a truly different and enlightening experience that will make you appreciate your food and where it comes from more than ever before.

Corazon de Tierra is the restaurant in connection with La Villa del Valle, the charming 6 bedroom luxury inn. The property also houses their Vena Cava Winery, which you will often find the owners Phil and Eileen Gregory around the site.

lifeandfoodblog@gmail.com

Kristin and Antonio blog at Life & Food and you can follow them on Twitter at @lifefoodblog and Facebook

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