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“Cali Baja Cuisine,” by Michael A. Gardiner

The Culinary Historians of San Diego present “Cali Baja Cuisine,” with author and journalist Michael A. Gardiner, at 10:30 am on Saturday, March 16, 2024, San Diego Central Public Library.

The vibrant flavors of Baja California inspire home cooks to recreate the flavor-forward and passionate cuisine, inspired by the sea, and the land.

There’s a line between Northern Baja and Southern California but nature knows no such borders and, neither does food nor the people. Baja’s food culture has long influenced Southern California and vice versa. The fish taco may be San Diego’s signature dish but it comes from Baja and the streets of Tijuana, sport nearly as many takes on the hot dog as on the taco. The Baja region has a wealth of distinctive ingredients from the ocean and the land such as: the fish of Popotla, San Diego’s sea urchins, the wine of the Valle de Guadalupe, California artichokes or the ubiquitous avocados on both sides of the border.

Baja chefs, street stand vendors and home cooks use these ingredients and flavors to create dishes from old homes elsewhere. The mission of this book is to help it be the next big thing out of your kitchen. Featuring a mix of both traditional and modern takes on signature Baja dishes, such as: Crab with Pickled Asparagus in Guajillo -Pork Broth; Cantaloupe Aguachile al Estilo de Californios, Puerto Nuevo-style Lobster Tortas; Golden Beet Pozole; and Smoked Pulled Lamb Shoulder with Seared Tomatillo.

About Michael Gardiner

Michael Gardiner is a regular feature writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, restaurant reviewer for San Diego CityBeat, and has won 2018 and 2019 San Diego Press Club awards for his contributions to both publications. Gardiner is also a freelance writer for Edible San Diego, Thrillist, and Fox News Latino, as well as the primary writer for the San Diego Food & Travel Blog. In addition, he is the creator and co-host of the podcast Art of Spooning, on the Specialty Produce Network.

Baja California is a big part of Gardiner’s life. He owns a family home in South Rosarito and spends every other weekend in Baja, covering the dining scene extensively for various publications.

About the Culinary Historians of San Diego

Culinary Historians of San Diego (CHSD) is a nonprofit charitable organization that provides free lectures at the San Diego Public Library. Topics about food and how it relates to history and culture are presented by speakers from around the nation.


To bring these speakers to San Diego, CHSD relies on funds from donations and membership dues from people like you! Your contribution helps to continue providing these free educational programs. Please visit chsandiego.org to join, renew your membership, or donate. Foodservice industry and corporate sponsorships are available. Contact us for details. Thank you!

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The event is finished.


Mar 16, 2024


10:30 am - 12:00 pm




Neil Morgan Auditorium
330 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101

Neil Morgan Auditorium is located downtown in the San Diego Central Library.

Culinary Historians of San Diego


Culinary Historians of San Diego
[email protected]

Culinary Historians of San Diego


  • Michael Gardiner
    Michael Gardiner
    Journalist, Author

    Michael Gardiner is a food writer and California attorney living in San Diego. He is a regular food writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune and regular restaurant reviewer for San Diego CityBeat as well as the monthly food columnist for L’Chaim, San Diego Magazine and the primary writer for the San Diego Food & Travel Blog. He has also staged in various high-end restaurant kitchens in the United States and Mexico and brings that back-of-the-house experience into his writing..