Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Todd Chase Joins Tijuana Flats as CFO

Orlando, FL  (Restaurant News Release)  Tijuana Flats, notorious for its fresh Tex-Mex food and mouth-numbing hot sauce, has named Todd Chase as Chief Financial Officer of the fast-growing 97-unit Tex-Mex restaurant chain. Chase, began his leadership for the organization this month.

As the CFO of Tijuana Flats, Chase brings 16 years of experience in finance and business administration and will be responsible for administering all financial functions for the company including finance and accounting, corporate tax and information technology.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Tijuana Flats team,” said Chase. “I look forward to taking a hands-on approach to this new position and working closely with all departments to continue to grow the brand.”

Chase was formerly a CFO at Buca di Beppo, a national Italian restaurant chain, and Senior Vice President of Finance for the parent company, Earl Enterprises, where he managed operation disciplines and restaurant efficiencies for brands such as Planet Hollywood and Earl of Sandwich. He also held leadership positions for Universal Studios Resort and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Chase obtained his Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science degree in finance from the University of Central Florida.

About Tijuana Flats
Established in 1995 in Winter Park, Fla., Tijuana Flats is a unique, fast-casual Tex-Mex dining experience featuring superior guest service and fresh, made-to-order food. Tijuana Flats has nearly 100 locations in Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The restaurants are typically found in high-traffic areas and average 2,200 square feet.

Since the restaurant first opened its doors in 1995, Tijuana Flats has used zero trans-fatty acids (TFA) cooking oils, 100 percent hormone free, white meat chicken, fresh produce and all of its menu items have been lard free. 

Customers can choose from flour or whole-wheat tortillas for any of their tacos, burritos, quesadillas, chimichangas and flautas. This restaurant also has a popular “Power Lite” selection, which allows customers to choose low-fat cheese and fat-free sour cream in any menu item. There is no charge for selecting a whole-wheat tortilla or Power-Lite.

Known worldwide for their own brand of hot sauces, Tijuana Flats Hot Foods Inc., a separate company, provides the restaurants’ specialty products, hot sauces and condiments, including one of the hottest sauces in the world, Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally…“Going Postal.” For more information about Tijuana Flats, including menu and locations, visit www.tijuanaflats.com.

AMF Music Festival Breaks Boundaries

The All My Friends Music Festival is calling all indie-music hipster fans south of the border to Tijuana for a full lineup of cutting edge acts. The festival's trinity: Argenis Garcia, Pablo Dodero and Marty Preciado have organized an innovative music festival that promises to break down borders by bringing together 30 music acts from Europe, Latin America, California and Tijuana under one roof on three different stages.

“We want to eradicate the notion of a border separating us,” Preciado says. “Through music and art, we can bring down borders and come closer through our passions.”

Last year was their first stab at booking bands from the U.S. This year's fourth edition of AMF has tapped into Europe's music scene by including the cheeky Estonian-born experimental pop artist, Maria Minerva. She recently tweeted, “Officially poor, got my first pair of shoes from Payless, got no kitchen, next purchase either raw food and/or Ja Rule's microwave cookbook.” How can you not love her? Minerva will definitely fit in with Tijuana's equally cheeky hipster crowd.

The punk Tijuanese will be in full mosh with Calafia Puta, Teenage Kicks, Biocrisis, Walle and Bonebreaker. Los Angeles alt-indie bands include, Deep Magic, Matthew Sullivan, and Geddes Gengras. Two ridiculously talented EDM artists to look out for are LAO and DJ Smurphy from Mexico City. If you're looking for the latest buzz band in Chile's music scene, check out Ases Falsos headlining at La Puerta stage.

AMF will also feature the innovators in Baja's Latin alternative music scene with Ibi Ego, Celofan, Ramona, Rancho Shampoo, Letters From Readers, Siete Catorce and Electric Healing Sound.

“We think they represent whats going on in Latin America, Europe, California and Tijuana, as far as independent music goes,” says Garcia.

“Every year comes with new challenges, we have to keep reorganizing and reinventing ourselves. As the music spectrum in our region keeps growing, including more genres is something we have enhanced this year to keep up with the needs of the festival.”

AMF is a promising leader in indie music festivals, not only in Tijuana, but for all of Mexico. Grab your backpack, park in San Ysidro, and grab a cab into Tijuana to experience high doses of transcultural, bilingual musical exchanges at Casa de la Cultura on Nov. 16. For complete lineup and performance times visit: AMF Music Festival.


Nissan, Mexico take their relationship to the next level

FORTUNE -- The inauguration this month of Nissan Motor's automotive assembly plant in Aguascalientes, its second in the town, marks the latest and most striking symbol of Mexico's growing status as a global automotive powerhouse.

Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto joined Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's CEO, on Tuesday to celebrate the start of vehicle production. The new factory, which will build Sentras headed mainly to the U.S., is Nissan's third in the country.
The investment by the Japanese automaker underscores Mexico's standing as fourth-largest exporter of vehicles worldwide, after Japan, Germany, and South Korea; and its status as sixth-largest automotive producer, having passed Spain and France in the last two years.
While southern U.S. states drew automakers away from Michigan, Ohio, and the Midwest starting in the 1990s, Mexico lately has become an ultra-competitive alternative location to Georgia, Alabama, and other southern states. And the auto industry has been a key factor in the growth of Mexico's middle class, which now includes more than half of its population.
"The reason Nissan is here is because Mexico is a highly competitive place to do business," Ghosn told reporters following a ceremony at the factory. "It's not just wages. The government supports us. Our suppliers are here. The transportation system is excellent."
That transportation system includes rail lines north and south. Nissan exports 70% of the vehicles it builds in the country. Ghosn said Nissan's Mexican plants are top-ranked in quality and efficiency among Nissan's 40 plants worldwide. Nissan soon could be building more cars in Mexico than in Japan.
The plant, a $2 billion investment by Nissan, has an annual capacity of 175,000 cars a year and employs 3,000 workers directly and 9,000 through parts suppliers.
But Nissan already is hinting that it intends to expand capacity at the Aguascalientes plant (the city's name refers to the area's "hot springs") as long as demand remains strong and other factors don't change. The assembly line in its current configuration can build four different vehicle architectures simultaneously and will operate six days a week.
Production is carried out as two work shifts of nearly 12 hours daily, six days a week. Thus workers put in about 48 hours over four days.
No expense has been spared for the latest manufacturing technology. Automated guided vehicles glide about the plant rather than fork lifts. The paint shop is so advanced, Nissan officials said, that journalists and other outsiders are barred.
The technological crown jewel, though, is likely the enormous high-speed transfer press, built by IHI of Japan. The press stamps car parts -- some as large as the entire side of a vehicle -- from metal blanks at the rate of 575 per hour.
Nissan chose Mexico as its first manufacturing base outside of Japan more than 50 years ago. Almost every other major automaker is manufacturing in Mexico as well, only in part because of low wages.
Worker's wages and benefits may be as low as $5 an hour in Mexico, compared to $50 an hour in some unionized plants in the U.S. Though this sum sounds preposterously small, it is regarded as an excellent salary due to the low cost of living and heavy government subsidies for many basic needs, like health care.
Happily for those workers who have snagged automotive jobs, the salaries are helping more and more families achieve middle-class status. Aguascalientes is dotted with residential neighborhoods, shopping centers, and paved highways -- all reflecting the prosperity that the auto industry has created.
But the rate of privately owned vehicles remains low in Mexico, compared with the rest of Latin America. The trends suggest that the cars Mexicans build soon will be owned by more of the workers that build them.

asa Dorada Los Cabos Sponsors the 2nd Baja International Film Festival

Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S, Mexico, November 14, 2013 --(PR.com)-- Casa Dorada Los Cabos Resort & Spa is proud to be among the sponsors of Baja International Film Festival 2013 (BIFF) starting today in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The celebrity-studded four-day festival will continue until November 16th showcasing dozens of cinematographic works by directors from Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. Aiming to create a bridge between the film industries of these three neighboring countries, BIFF explores reflective, daring and inspiring film proposals, and consolidates a platform for cultural exchange, trade and tourism for industry leaders.

Program includes the animated film Foosball, by Academy Award winner Juan José Campanella, as the opening film and premiere in Mexico, as well as the world premiere special presentation of Cafe Tacvba’s new documentary: The Object Formerly Known as a Record. The Science of Sleep by Michel Gondry – a tribute to Gael García Bernal – and The Movie, by Gregory Allen, are also among the highlights of this year’s program.

The official competition section consists of eight features and documentaries from Mexico, Canada and the U.S., including Matt Johnson's Sundance winner The Dirties and Daniel Patrick Carbone's drama Hide Your Smiling Faces, which premiered at Tribeca.

Five films will have world premieres in Cabo San Lucas: Bering: Equilibrio y Resistencia, Filosofia Natural del Amo, Luto, El Charro Misterioso and Volando Bajo.

In addition to film screenings, there will be workshops, industry panels and a series of exclusive events, where movie lovers will be able to mingle with celebrities such as Charlie Sheen, Peter Greenaway and Oscar winner Juan Jose Campanella, among others.

“We are truly pleased to sponsor the Baja International Film Festival 2013 which brings a lot of excitement and enthusiasm to the area for film aficionados from across North America,” said Leonardo Perli, General Manager, Casa Dorada Los Cabos. “We look forward to offering the attendees of this exclusive event beautiful accommodations in the heart of Medano Beach.”

About Casa Dorada

With an incomparable location on Medano Beach--the best swimmable beach of Cabo, Casa Dorada is just steps away from world-class shopping, dining, entertainment, and the marina. As a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, a collection of the world’s finest independent luxury hotels, Casa Dorada Los Cabos brings the upscale service and family-friendly features to the Cabo San Lucas oceanfront. The Resort grants visitors a more convenient, yet equally spectacular, alternative to the more remote hotel zone of the Tourist Corridor. Boasting unobstructed vistas of Land’s End and the famous Arch, Casa Dorada is just 30 minutes away from Los Cabos International Airport. All of the 185 spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom suites and penthouses, open up to Los Cabos’ most dazzling ocean view, while the luminous and contemporary interiors ensure your comfort and satisfaction.


Want to catch Ricky Martin live in concert? Of course you do!

Moon Palace (part of Palace Resorts, which has amazing properties you might have stayed at or want to stay at in Cancun, Playa del Carmen & Cozumel) is giving away a 3-night stay for two at the resort and VIP tickets to see Ricky Martin in concert when he performs on December 28. What else? You'll get an $800 air credit to use on Delta Air Lines.
The sweepstakes ends on December 4, so make sure you enter now! All you have to do is become a fan & “like” the Palace Resorts Facebook page and follow the on-screen instructions.

Ashley Benson: Cancun Getaway Before New Orleans

Ashley Benson keeps her head down as she arrives at LAX airport for a departing flight on Thursday morning (November 14).

“Off to New Orleans,” the 23-year-old actress tweeted before take off. She’ll be filming her guest appearance on Ravenswood with Tyler Blackburn.

Check out the latest pics of just the week before, Ashley headed down to Cancun with a few friends for a week long vacation at the Villa del Palmar Cancun. The group relaxed poolside, kayaked and enjoyed the gourmet restaurants around the resort.

Anna Trebunskaya Debuts Pregnant Bikini Body on Vacation in Mexico

Anna Trebunskaya is one stunning mom-to-be! Two months after revealing exclusively to Us Weekly that she's expecting her first child, the pregnant Dancing With the Stars pro showed off her bare baby bump in a bikini while vacationing with friends in Cancun, Mexico. 

The Russian dancer, 32, looked gorgeous and glowing as she soaked up the sun in a forest-green two-piece swimsuit with metallic accents. She and her pals have been relaxing for the last week at the Villa del Palmar Cancun Resort & Spa, where they enjoyed some paddle boarding and kayaking, among other activities.

"It was interesting because in the last six to eight months, I was saying to my friends, 'I'm ready for a change. I feel a change coming on,'" she added. "And sure enough, this is going to be one huge change!" 

The veteran DWTS pro declined to name the father of her baby-to-be, but said he was "very supportive." She also assured Us she'd be back on the dance floor once the baby is born.
"I'm looking forward to getting back into shape and dancing afterward and bringing the baby on board into the DWTS family!" she said.

Travel — Cabo In Style

By Bob Page

Let me confess up front. I love Cabo.
No, not necessarily the town of Cabo San Lucas, with all of its craziness. Spend a little time bar hopping between  Squid Row and the Giggling Marlin and you’ll get a fast introduction to Cabo’s fun side.
I criticize them not and for a certain age crowd, why not but when you get to be on the long side of 50 (or is it 60 or 70, you choose!), I think you look for a little more  sophisticated peace and quiet.
So, on a recent foray “down Mexico way,” as Sinatra sang it, we popped in for a few days  at the Westin Resort and Spa, which is airport-close and a short hop to San Jose del Cabo.
San Jose,  as the locals call it, is San Lucas’ sort of sister town, although about the only thing they have in common is the Corridor Road through which they  will be forever linked.
San Lucas is new, loud  and funky. San Jose is historic, a port and quiet.
The most photographed icon is Cabo’s unique rock formation known as “El Arco” and when you arrive at the Westin, you’ll quickly imagine that its famed architect, Javier Sordo Madaleno, must have had “El Arco” in mind when he sat down to design this spectacular property.
Someone once referred to the Westin as “colorful and an exciting architectural gem” where  “Candyland meets Frank Lloyd Wright.” I’d guess that  Madaleno would accept the compliment.
The hotel folks will tell you that it was literally cut  into the side of the cliffs, blending colors of the sea, sun and desert with straight lines, rigid edges and fantastic geometrical forms. It’ll absolutely take your breath away. This magnificent red stone building leads out to the Sea of Cortez.
Every one of the Westin’s 243 rooms has a private balcony and most with a view of the Sea of Cortez.
Well, so much for the brick and mortar. What will leave you talking and dreaming about how soon you can get back to the Westin are the folks who run it, the food you’ll eat, the wine you’ll drink and the spa where you’ll dream off into la la land while some pretty young masseuse works to rejuvenate the spirits in your body.
After all, isn’t that one of the reasons to travel?  To be spoiled!
In the mood for a swim? Seven pools from which to choose, including a free-form pool with an infinity edge. Or, how about the Margarita Pool with its swim-up bar.
Hungry? They’ll never let that happen to you at the Westin. There is fabulous upscale dining at Arrecifes. Chef Jesus Olivares has masterfully created not-to-miss Tuna Tartar with creamy avocado as an appetizer. Entre seafood choices range from Mexican Seabass to Pacific Salmon Steak and, of course, there is a wide selection of USDA imported Angus prime beef dishes from which to choose.
And whatever you do, don’t miss the Westin’s barbecue on the beach. It makes for a  memorable night. The cold stations and hot stations were all about Mexican dishes, everything from guacamole to scrimp, Mexican hors d’oeuvres, hand-made tortilla and tacos al pastor.
For dessert, everything  from flan to Mexican  sweet desserts to s’mores.
What fun. I couldn’t possibly remember the last time I had s’mores!
The ultimate spoil for yourself would be to book a room in one of the Royal Beach Club and Suites and you’ll have access to a Royal Beach Club Lounge that allows you to stop in for a continental breakfast with hot options, coffee, tea, fruit and snacks anytime; and at sunset, hors d’oeuvres, wines and beer, soft drinks and bottled water.
The Westin is wonderful at booking ideas for you away from the  hotel. You can take a sunset cruise along the coastline, or rent a car and explore Santa Maria Bay or pop to Todos Santos, a quaint coastal town known for its spectacular surf.
Hotel choices are many between the two Cabos, which makes options plentiful.
Choose the Westin. You’ll be glad you did.

“MTVU Spring Break 2014” Goes South Of The Border To Cancun, Mexico

“MTVU Spring Break 2014” Goes South Of The Border To Cancun, Mexico With Special Themed Programming Week Taking Over All MTV Screens
Spring Break Headquarters Set for The Oasis Hotel from March 19-25, Featuring a Week of Exclusive Performances and Celebrity Appearances

Students Can Enter Now to Win a Trip for Two to “mtvU Spring Break 2014”

NEW YORK, NY – mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, today announced that “mtvU Spring Break 2014” will be an international affair to remember, taking place at The Oasis Hotel, the all-inclusive entertainment resort in Cancun, Mexico from March 19, 2014 to March 25, 2014. A special week of Spring Break-themed programming will air across MTV, MTV2 and mtvU starting March 31, 2014. The week will feature exclusive musical performances, surprise celebrity appearances and live tapings of hit MTV and MTV2 series, as students soak up the Cancun sun and take part in the ultimate Spring Break. More information will be announced at a later date.

As part of this epic mtvU Spring Break event, mtvU and StudentCity are offering viewers 18 years-old and up the chance to win a trip for two to “mtvU Spring Break 2014.” The package includes four nights of all inclusive hotel accommodations at The Oasis Cancun Resort; round trip air fare for two; round trip ground transportation between the airport and hotel, and the best VIP Spring Break experience for the winner and their guest. To enter, visit SpringBreak.MTV.com. In business since 1987, StudentCity is North America’s leading tour provider for Spring, Winter and Summer break trips, targeting college and high school leisure travel. As the industry leader, StudentCity has traveled over 400,000 students to top destinations all over the world.

For more information, visit MTV.com, mtvU.com or SpringBreak.MTV.com.
About mtvU:

Broadcast to more than 750 college campuses and via top cable distributors in 700 college communities nationwide, mtvU reaches nearly 9 million U.S. 

college students – making it the largest, most comprehensive television network just for college students. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, mtvU can be seen in the dining areas, fitness centers, student lounges and dorm rooms of campuses throughout the U.S., as well as on cable systems from Charter Communications, Verizon FiOS TV, Suddenlink Communications, AT&T u-Verse and nearly 70 others. mtvU is dedicated to every aspect of college life, reaching students everywhere they are: on-air, online and on the campus. mtvU programs music videos from emerging artists that can’t be seen anywhere else, news, student life features and initiatives that give college students the tools to advance positive social change. mtvU is always on campus, with hundreds of events per year, including exclusive concerts, giveaways, shooting mtvU series and more. 

For more information about mtvU, and a complete programming schedule, visithttp://www.mtvU.com


A guide to All My Friends festival

Between San Diego Music Thing, San Diego Indie Fest, Golden Hill Street Fair and Adams Avenue Street Fair, there’s no shortage of music festivals in San Diego. But just across the border in Tijuana, there’s another one happening that’s offering a compelling alternative to U.S. music events: the All My Friends festival. On Saturday, Nov. 16, a long list of bands and DJs will perform at Casa de la Cultura (Av París y Lisboa 5, Col. Altamira), beginning at noon and keeping the party going well into the night. Go to amfmf.com for the full lineup. Here are my recommendations: 

Maria Minerva: Estonianborn producer Minerva specializes in minimal, synth-driven pop tunes that are dreamy and a little bit surreal. They’re also highly danceable, so her set will surely get hips swiveling and heads nodding.

Sixties Guns: A relatively young band that’s been together a little more than a year, Sixties Guns know their way around a good groove. The band—made up of San Diegans and Tijuanenses—has a cool, dark sound that blends elements of new wave, trip-hop and rock, and it comes together beautifully in their synth-driven, post-punk anthems. 

Ibi Ego: Tijuana’s Ibi Ego have been performing together for 10 years, and in that time, they’ve built a glorious synth-pop sound that nods to both classic 4AD bands like Cocteau Twins and more cluboriented ’80s groups like New Order. Some of their material borders on chillwave, but the songs are good enough for that not to matter.

Letters from Readers: This is is just one guy—Mexicali’s Gerardo Montoya. And that one guy creates powerful post-rock soundscapes that make his music sound like the work of six people. His electronic creations have elements of dance music, but often aim for the hypnotic or hallucinatory.

Teenage Kicks: A festival isn’t complete without a great punk band, and this Tijuana outfit is just that. Raw, old-school and loud, Teenage Kicks—despite the name—are a lot more Black Flag than The Undertones.

Tijuana TEDx event "drenched with ideas"

 — How Tijuana fought drug violence. The latest trends in online education. The importance of books, of classical music, of citizen engagement. These were just some of the topics that took center stage Tuesday during Tijuana’s third TEDx event.

“This is like a storm on the high seas, we are drenched with ideas, with creativity,” said author Daniel Salinas Basave, one of 17 scheduled speakers at the event held on the campus of CETYS Universidad, a private university on a hill overlooking the city.
Among others taking the stage were a promoter of foreign investment, the director of an association for the deaf, and the head of a foundation that supports children with cancer.
TEDx is an independent forum staffed by volunteers that is patterned after TED talks, which feature presentations from three to 18 minutes about “ideas worth spreading.”
First held in 2011, TEDx Tijuana was organized by residents who wanted to spread word about the city’s positive side. “We needed to tell the world that Tijuana has nice things, interesting things, that we have technology, economic development, an interesting gastronomy, a champion sports team,” said Ariosto Manrique, organizer of this year’s event.
The speakers included Gaston Luken Garza, a former federal congressman from Baja California and former citizen-counselor for Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute, who argued for greater civic particiation.
“We have to participate, we have to become involved in public issues,” agreed Roberto Quijano, a Tijuana attorney, who told of the city’s fight to reduce the wave of murders, kidnappings, and extortions that crested in 2008.
Business groups were key to the effort, he said, as they demanded government accountability. Higher police pay, help from the military, a program that created youth orchestras in the city’s impoverished neighborhoods--all contributed to the effort.

History in the Heart of the City: The Tijuana Wax Museum

Downtown Tijuana offers many hidden gems, among which is the iconic and classic Tijuana Wax Museum. The museum opened its doors over 20 years ago, on February 5th 1993, and now features 86 figures classified by theme, and placed in rooms with names like Mexico’s Hall of History, National and International Artists, Great Leaders of the 20th Century), and the Hall of Terror.

When you are in the presence of these figures and you read the texts which tell of their life and work, you learn a little more about the history of Mexico, and the time in which its heroes lived. Visual aids like paintings and period scenery provide meaningful glimpses into the country’s past, but of course the most remarkable things are the figures themselves, which appear ready to spring to life at any moment.

There are only 3 wax museums in all of Mexico: one in Mexico City, another in Guadalajara, and of course Tijuana’s own, which at the time of its opening was the second of it’s kind in all of Latin America.

The Tijuana Wax Museum boasts ten halls filled with figures representing several major themes: Pre-Hispanic Mexico, themissionary period of Baja California, the history of Tijuana, and legends and stories about the heroes of Mexico and beyond. In these halls visitors may examine replicas of historical figures like Miguel Hidalgo, Moctezuma, and Emiliano Zapata, John F. 

Kennedy, Gandhi, and Pope John Paul II, as well as the show business idols Cantinflas, Marilyn Monroe, Pedro Infante, and Elvis Presley. And then of course there is the museum most hair-raising hall, the Hall of Terror, which appears as a poorly lit dungeon and features wax models of classic horror characters such as Dracula, Freddy Kruger, and the Werewolf.

The Tijuana Wax Museum is conveniently located in the downtown area, minutes away from the border, making it a preferred destination for those seeking easy and affordable family-friendly fun. The admission fee is only $1.75 dollars ($20 pesos) per person.


Mexico becoming Nissan's export hub for Americas: CEO

(Reuters) - Japan's Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) will be producing 1 million cars in Mexico by 2016, cementing Mexico's position as export hub for Nissan in the Americas, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn told Reuters on Tuesday as he inaugurated a $2 billion plant.

Most of the cars from the new plant in Aguascalientes in central Mexico will be sent by rail to destinations throughout the Americas.
A staff of 3,000 in the light, airy plant filled with rows of shiny yellow robots will produce one car every 38 seconds, in partnership with Nissan's other Aguascalientes plant.
"We like Mexico because it allows us to be competitive," Ghosn said in an interview at the plant. "It's not only about cost, it's also about quality and it's about responsiveness - capacity to respond to variation of the market very quickly."
"Mexico is becoming the export hub for the Americas - not only North America but also South America".
Nissan, 43.4 percent-owned by Renault SA (RENA.PA), of which Ghosn is also CEO, will produce about 175,000 units of its Sentra model at the new plant, which has room for expansion.
Germany's Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) and Nissan are expected to build small Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz luxury cars at the new plant in the future, but Ghosn said no decision has been made on plans to expand capacity.
Daimler is discussing "different strategies" for building the next-generation compacts in Mexico with partner Renault-Nissan, a top Daimler executive said late last month.
"It's capable of doing four different cars on four different platforms, so we have a lot of flexibility," said Ghosn, referring to the new plant which was built in a record 19 months.
The plant, which will assemble compact cars using engines built at Nissan's first Aguascalientes plant 5 miles down the road, is Nissan's third in Mexico.
The company is also making some "marginal investments" to its plant in Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City, to improve existing production there, Ghosn said.
Of the 1 million cars Nissan will produce in Mexico, about 300,000 will be for local sales, with the rest to be sent throughout North and South America, he said.
Nissan built around 5 million cars and trucks last year and 683,520 units in Mexico.
Japan's second-biggest carmaker has about one-quarter of all cars sales in Mexico where it is the largest producer.
The Brazilian-born CEO, 59, has set aggressive expansion targets for the automaker including goals for sales of electric cars, which he said are still a key focus for the company in spite of a recent revision to sales forecasts.
"We still have electric cars as a key focus, we think this technology is going to be a big part of the development of the industry in the mid- to long-term."
Nissan, the world's sixth-biggest automaker, has been ramping up spending as part of its expansion plan. This financial year, which ends in March, the company is investing in eight new plants in total, as well as expanding one existing plant.
Ghosn committed the company to boosting both global market share and its operating margin to 8 percent by end-March 2017.
But recent recalls and a sales slowdown in markets such as China and Russia have cast a shadow over that plan.
Nissan earlier this month slashed its net profit outlook for the year ending March 2014 by nearly 20 percent to 355 billion yen ($3.62 billion).
"If you have a lot of headwinds ... well, you're just going to have to be realistic and revise your ambition down, but this being said, we will continue to grow from 2014 onwards."
He said free cash flow was positive, and he did not see a cash crunch.
Ghosn, whose twin CEO contracts are up for renewal at Renault in 2014 and at Nissan the following year, said he is confident that Russia and Brazil will recover in 2014 and that sales in China are back on track after two difficult years.
Nissan is not the only carmaker spending big in Mexico.

BMW AG (BMWG.DE), Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz are expected to announce at least $2 billion worth of deals in the next year or two, according to suppliers and other industry sources. That is on top of nearly $6 billion in announced plants by Nissan, Honda Motor Co (7267.T), Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE).

Baja 1000 2013: Dates, Route, Course Map, Race Classes and Full Schedule

The SCORE Baja 1000 is the pinnacle of the desert racing calendar, and the 46th annual edition of the event is set to once again kick off this Thursday.
This year, it's a newly designed loop course that drivers and riders alike will be making their way around in what is a 900-mile journey, although not as one unit.
This is due to the fact that pro motorcycles will get their campaigns underway in the late hours of Thursday evening, whereas the trophy cars are set to head out the next morning.
SCORE has decided upon this format in a bid to space out the two mediums and lessen the risk of dangerous overtaking, crowning the first time that the Baja 1000 will use a night start in its history.
Read on for a breakdown of exactly when one can hope to catch the motorsportmayhem as well as a preview of what's to come.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Best Fish Tacos in Baja California, Mexico

ENSENADA, A QUIET sunny city tucked between the Pacific Ocean and Mexico’s Sierra de San Pedro Mártir mountains, is built on fishing. Every day, long-line vessels and fiberglass sport-fishing boats come into port to unload their catch: sea bass and yellowtail, sea urchin and lobsters, red and blue parrot fish, bright-orange vermilion rockfish and other colorful species.

On a mild day, I walked from the port into the sedate downtown where, in countless stands made from painted plywood and Coca-Cola signs, much of that seafood was being turned into an iconic local dish: fish tacos. Chunks of mako shark and handfuls of shrimp were dipped in beer-based batter and fried in pork fat, piled onto corn tortillas and topped with mayonnaise, salsas and shredded cabbage.
The dish has been adopted by chefs around the world, from beach stands in Southern California to trendy restaurants in Paris. But nowhere else are these tacos as delicious as in their birthplace, the Baja California peninsula. The mako used there is richer and more flavorful than most varieties of white fish, and the shrimp (a species only available in this part of the world) are remarkably plump. The batter is not only tasty from its ride in the pork fat and the addition of some seasoning, but also cooked so expertly that each bite is extremely crisp. Add a touch of salsa and a drizzle of mayonnaise, and you have a most delectable combination of crisp and tender, warm and cool, savory and spicy.
The history of the Baja fish taco is somewhat murky. It is served throughout the peninsula, a narrow, mostly arid spit of land that extends for almost 800 miles along Mexico’s northwestern coast (the state of Baja California occupies the peninsula’s upper half). But two spots in the northernmost part of the region—Ensenada and San Felipe, a speck of a town between the parched landscape of the Baja Desert and the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez—claim to have invented the dish. The supporting evidence is anecdotal at best.
In Ensenada, locals believe their seafood came in contact with Asian influences.
“In the 1920s, a lot of Japanese people immigrated to Ensenada,” said Diego Hernandez-Baquedano, chef of the farm-to-table restaurant Corazón de Tierra, situated just outside the city in Ensenada wine country. “The fish-taco batter is like a tempura, but done in a Mexican way. And the instrument that is used to fry it, the , is like a Mexicanization of a wok.”
San Felipe dwellers tell a different story. “In San Felipe, the hot weather is so bad you can’t survive without mustard [which doesn't require refrigeration] and beer,” Francisco Sosa, a resident who sells locally harvested salt to the town’s chefs, told me. “And the principal ingredients for the fish taco [batter] are beer and mustard.”
The San Felipe taco, which is served at large, open-air eateries that line the street across from the beach, is noticeably different from its Ensenada cousin. The fish is coated in a heavier batter and is fried in vegetable oil; the tortillas can be made of corn or flour and usually come rolled up into cylinders; and locals add guacamole and ketchup along with the usual salsas.
In recent years, other seafood-filled tacos have become popular in Baja. Chefs are using a wide range of ingredients, and the many migrants who have arrived from other parts of Mexico in the last few decades—particularly from the neighboring states of Sonora and Sinaloa—have brought their native variations to the table.
Most of these newer taco styles are found in Tijuana, served from street carts, food trucks and restaurants everywhere from Centro, the tourist-friendly downtown center, to the Zona Río, where many tech companies are headquartered, and out into the hilly suburban neighborhoods.
“For seafood tacos, this is the capital of Mexico,” claimed Bill Esparza, co-founder of the Baja-based Club Tengo Hambre, which runs food tours of the area. The city offers an astonishing array of taco fillings. Deep-red smoked marlin, prized for its dense, meaty quality, is paired with melted cheese in the marlin . Tender manta ray is stewed with vegetables or paired with equally soft, slightly gelatinous sliced tuna fins. Chunks of octopus are cooked with olives.
Some of these tacos are imports, like the gobernador, from Sinaloa, a coastal state just across the Gulf of California. But many of them were born here. The best example is the . This taco of plump shrimp enrobed in a red sauce of chile de arbol and piled in a lightly fried tortilla may have stemmed from Sinaloans’ expertise with seafood. But it is a Tijuana original that cannot be found elsewhere.
The most recent additions to the city’s taco menus emerged from the region’s newest food movement, an upscale, post-colonial cuisine started by chefs in Tijuana and Ensenada. The cooks draw inspiration from local ingredients and Baja’s long history of international influences, rather than from the Spanish flavors that inform food traditions in the rest of Mexico.
“I see [our new style] as a rebel kid who doesn’t take orders from anybody and is just very free, very creative. Nobody’s telling him what to do,” says Javier Plascencia, a chef who serves a wide variety of seafood tacos at his 6-year-old Tijuana restaurant, Erizo Fish Market. “Baja California’s very young. We’re not Oaxaca or Puebla, which have all this history.”
Among Mr. Plascencia’s taco offerings are a delicious swordfish , a fish-based take on the Yucatan’s popular dish of suckling pig marinated in citrus juice and annatto seed paste; an oyster tempura taco that marries Japanese and Mexican techniques; and even a traditional fried-fish version, an elegant homage to the taco that started it all.
1. The Classic: Tacos Fenix
Plastered with Coca-Cola logos, this stand may seem indistinguishable from the many others in Ensenada, but it’s the oldest in town. The mako shark used in the fish tacos is dense and flavorful, the shrimp are plump and toothsome and the batter turns out perfectly crisp. The fish is so good, in fact, that toppings are almost extraneous.
2. The Saucy Choice: Tacos La Floresta
This stand in downtown Ensenada serves excellent fish and shrimp tacos, accompanied by a wide array of salsas and toppings. These include pickled onions, chipotle mayonnaise, whole pickled jalapeños and long slivers of fresh cucumber. The sauces are made daily by the members of an extended family who take turns running the stand.
3. The Myth Maker: Taqueria y Mariscos Adriana
The oldest taco stand in San Felipe is painted turquoise and has been run by Maria Soledad Solorio since the mid-’80s. While no one knows which stand inspired the founder of the popular U.S. taco chain Rubio’s, many consider this the most likely contender. Ms. Solorio’s crisp fried fish—which customers enjoy at a long picnic table or a folding table covered with a colorful blanket—is perhaps the best in town.
4. The Non-Conformist: Tacos Marco Antonio
This informal eatery may be in the heart of Ensenada, but its offerings are far from local classics. Proprietor Marco Antonio serves his tacos filled with (stews) like , a mix of octopus, shrimp, clams, mussels and other seafood; tuna cooked in a cilantro-based sauce; and specialty items like fried fish skin. The tacos are sold from folding tables in a large courtyard in front of Mr. Antonio’s old cannery.
5. The Innovator: Mariscos El Mazateño
Although this enormous open-air restaurant in Tijuana’s Mesa Otay neighborhood is mainly a Sinaloan seafood spot, its most popular dish is Tijuanan: the , aka the “mazateña.” This taco of shrimp cooked in a chile de arbol sauce is so popular, it has been copied by cooks all over the city.
6. The Immigrant: Mariscos Ruben
Specializing in seafood dishes from the state of Sonora, this food truck has occupied the same downtown Tijuana corner for more than 20 years. Co-owner Mirta Rodriguez makes an exceptional manta ray taco, and a taquito of smoked marlin topped with chipotle cream and avocado sauce. Her homemade salsas are among the best in town.
7. The Eccentric: Tacos Kokopelli
Oso Campos, the chef behind this quirky food truck, creates inventive dishes that are like nothing else in Baja. The “kraken” contains grilled octopus covered in a Mexican five-herb pesto; the “gringo en vacaciones,” shrimp in a bright red chile sauce. The truck itself boasts bright orange walls, a thatched roof and a disco ball.
8. The Modern Master: Erizo Fish Market
A bright, airy seafood restaurant, with unadorned tables and a mosaic of salvaged wood decorating the walls, Erizo offers a long list of seafood-based tacos. They showcase chef Javier Plascencia’s unique use of flavors, cooking techniques and ideas from across the globe. There’s the “machaca de marlin,” made from smoked swordfish cooked in onions, tomatoes, chilies and cilantro; a taco filled with tender oysters in tempura batter; a taco of sea urchin sautéed with onion, Serrano chile and tomatoes; and many more.

Baja Fest’s New Topper Works to Bring Continent’s Three Film Industries Together

ast year, the inaugural Baja Intl. Film Festival offered glitzy parties, starry panels and the backdrop of Los Cabos’ spectacular coast.

But this year, pushing to bridge the Mexican, U.S. and Canadian entertainment industries, Baja’s new director, Alonso Aguilar, has added much-needed industry heft.

Just a two-hour hop from Los Angeles and running after AFM Nov. 13-16, the festival’s strategy to attract Hollywood and international sales agents is clear.

One of Aguilar’s most significant moves was tapping Alejandra Paulin and Maru Garzon, seasoned execs from the Guadalajara Fest and Imcine, Mexico’s national film org, to build Baja fest’s international presence and industry event roster.

The festival launches Work in Progress Mexico and Mexico First, for first and second movies; the Sales Agents Workshop; and Meet Your Neighbors: Mexico, USA & Canada Producers co-prod forum.

There are also prizes this year. The Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund comprises seven Mexican feature development grants, worth $5,000 each, while the Labodigital Prize for post-production, at $51,000 a pop, goes to two pics. Bengala Agency will announce screenplay grants.

“As a Mexican festival very close to Los Angeles, we recognize the unique potential Los Cabos can have as North and South America industry hub,” says XYZ Films’ Nate Bolotin.

Some see the festival as a recharge after the AFM. “People can get more creative after the commercial frenzy of AFM and real creative ideas, which the business is built on, can emerge,” says Cristian Conti of financing entity Dynamo Capital.

Only three Mexico First or Works in Progress directors are well-known: Sebastian Hiriart, whose magical-realist “A tiro de piedra” was picked up by HBO, world preems “Natural Philosophy of Love,” a four-part exploration of sexual instinct; Claudia Sainte-Luce’s “The Amazing Cat Fish,” a colorful, rambunctious one-parent family drama, sold in multipe territories already by Pyramide Intl.; and San Sebastian winner Bernardo Arellano (“Between Night and Day”), who unveils work-in-progress “The Beginning of Time,” about a ninetysomething couple peddling tamales.

For Aguilar, the Los Cabos Competition focuses on relevant independent voices. Two are breakout U.S. debuts: Destin Cretton’s SXSW winner, “Short Term 12,” and Daniel Patrick Carbone’s “Hide Your Smiling Faces.” Matthew Porterfield’s “I Used to Be Darker” will also screen.

Other contenders: “The Empty Hours,” from Mexico’s Aaron Fernandez; the Gael Garcia Bernal-fronted immigration docu “Who Is Dayani Cristal?”; and from Canada, “Alphee des etoiles” (pictured), which won a prize at Toronto Hot Docs.

Festival Highlights

Opening Kickoff

Juan Jose Campanella’s “Foosball” opens the festival. The animated film is a box office smash in its home turf of Argentina and a hit with critics.

Work in Progress Mexico

Buzz is good on Bernardo Arellano’s “Beginning,” Gustavo Gamou’s “El regreso del muerto,” Marcelo Tobar’s “Asteroide” and Max Zunino’s “Los Banistas,” which was a co-winner at 2013’s Guadalajara fest. Other entries include Elise DuRant’s fiction/docu hybrid “Eden” and Julio Fernandez Talamantes’ “Mexicanos de bronce.”

Participating in Mexico

Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media will present Latin American fund Participant PanAmerica, with producer members Pablo Cruz, Juan de Dios Larrain and Conti in attendance.

Industry Mentors

The Sales Agents Workshop tutors include Memento Films Intl.’s Nicholas Kaiser, the Match Factory’s Brigitte Suarez, Cristina Garza at IM Global/Canana’s Mundial, consultant Emi Norris, Rise and Shine’s Diana Karklin and Les Films du Losange’s Agathe Valentin. Voltage and XYZ will also also attend the fest.