What you’re getting: The “Gringo on Vacation”
Named for the indigenous flute-playing fertility god, this color-splashed taco joint serves killer grilled seafood tacos (get the “Gringo on Vacation,” a taco stuffed with grilled marinated shrimp and melted cheese, and the Fin del Mundo taco, with grilled panela cheese, black beans, and crunchy fried... crickets), plus aguachiles and the pre-Hispanic drink pulque (imagine a funky, viscous lemonade).
What you’re getting: The Caesar, duh
The origin story of the Caesar salad is disputed, but this historic, checkerboard-tiled Tijuana institution holds one of the best claims. It’s named after Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who opened this spot during Prohibition; one busy Fourth of July, he was running short on food and threw some romaine in a bowl with lemon and Parm -- thus, allegedly birthing the Caesar salad. Almost a century later, bow-tied waiters still make it tableside -- now with garlic, egg yolk, Worcestershire, and other ingredients -- for about $6.
Hit a food truck park
Telefonica: Centro; Food Garden: Zona Rio
What you’re getting: The taqueso from Food Garden (taco filling wrapped in a sarape of fried cheese, then tucked into a grilled tortilla)
TJ’s vacant lots are suddenly not so vacant since an army of food trucks and food collectives have set up shop in recent years. Some of the best are Telefonica Gastro Park, with trucks serving anything from bacon sausages to ramen, and Food Garden, where you can sip a local craft beer and play a game of cornhole or super-sized Jenga while you wait for your dinner.