We had the good fortune of connecting with Abril Echavarria and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Abril, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
A few years after arriving from Mexico to San Diego, I found it harder and harder to reconcile between the idea of Mexican Food in the USA and the food I grew up eating in Mexico. In my mind, there had to be a better way of bringing Authentic Mexican Food to the palates of thousands and thousands of confused Sandiegans and Californians, who in my opinion, had a misleading notion of Mexico and its food. I mean, the ingredients were there, accessible to anyone in most stores and markets, there was virtually nothing in the way between American people and good old Mexican flavors, so then, why was it so hard to find reliable places or foods here in theUnited States that symbolically represented what Mexico is really about? why every so-called Mexican place I visited had the same watery salsa, the extreme amounts of nacho cheese, and the crispy tacos? why every single dish was overflowing with cumin and some other ingredients not that common in Mexico? I soon realized the problem I was presented with was a cultural one, and so, I decided to bring a cultural solution to it, how? by enhancing the richness, colorful and marvelous nature of Mexican Cooking, Culture, and Destinations into the eyes of the American viewer, and that’s how my Cooking Blog was born in 2018. Little by little, after 2 years of trial and error, I find myself branching away from that first idea, with much more clarity about what the future withholds, welcoming my own Salsa Brand called Sabor A Baja and embarking in many new projects like my upcoming Memoir and Recipe Book.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is a reflection of my passion, a direct manifestation of my love for my culture, and my food. I think what sets me apart from others is the fact that I’m driven by an utterly unapologetic love and admiration for my heritage, which has somehow transcended into the pictures I take, the recipes I create, and most recently the Salsas I sell. It is a complete and beautiful creative cycle in which all elements, from culture to flavors to aesthetics, come together into a product you’ll love. The only two reasons I’m here today talking to you about it, the reasons that separate me from the person I was three years ago, are consistency and perseverance. I just haven’t stopped pushing forward. It hasn’t been easy to stand out and build a brand. First of all, the challenges have been personal, of course, self-doubt and regrets sometimes get in the way and taint your common sense and perspective. Being, first of all, a full-time mother, with a family to take care of, then in my late 30’s, trying to achieve at this age, at this point in time, what a lot of younger women already have built hasn’t been easy, and not because of acceptance of others, but my own self-consciousness and judgment. I have to stop sometimes and take a big breath, remind myself of the ultimate goal to stay in track and push myself forward. The biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way is to count your blessings, You’re not here to please everybody. There are people out there who will disappoint you, don’t expect nothing from anyone, You are the sole builder of your happiness.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My schedule would be based on the food of course. I would start by visiting Barrio Logan, shopping at Casa Xovi for the best Mexican Items in town, maybe have some beers from Border X Brewing, and some food from Las Cuatro Milpas. Then I would go to the Gaslamp Quarter and rejoice in its urban nightlife vibe. I would definitely visit Oldtown, to eat at Cafe Coyote and drink a margarita or two at Casa de Reyes, after walking around the museum, the square plaza. Not forgetting about long walks down University Avenue in Northpark, Taco Truck hunting in National City and Chula Vista and a mandatory visit to Tuetano Taqueria in San Ysidro.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Just before I started this journey, I remember having all these feelings about doing something but didn’t know what or how. Then, by absolute chance and a leap of faith, life dropped me in this intersection with a beautiful soul called Adesola Akindele. She was my first mentor, she helped me decipher what was it that I wanted to do and how to start building it. She coached me and encouraged me in times where I had doubts about how to proceed. She was the hand that I needed to hold on to while taking that first gigantic jump, and I will be forever thankful. Friends and family, like my parents, my mother in law and my husband, who have believed in me and supported me through and through also have a lot of credit in my success story and I recognize and appreciate them all.

Website: www.saborbaja.com
Instagram: @abrilechavarria_ @saborabaja
Linkedin: @saborabaja
Twitter: @saborabaja
Facebook: Sabor A Baja
Youtube: @saborabaja

Image Credits
Pictures are mine and the tittle one is from Amanda San Martin

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