No matter how good the wine is, it still tends to impair you if you drink enough of it.
Catch them while you can: a movement to ban bullfighting is catching some serious wind in Mexico.
The best rule of thumb when traveling abroad is: Don't be stupid. That's definitely Rule No. 1 in TJ.
1. BCB Tasting RoomAvenida Orizaba, Tijuana
2. Misión 19Misión San Javier 10643, Tijuana
3. La Querencia Baja Med Cocina, Tijuana
4. Caesar's Restaurant-Bar1059 Av Revolución, Tijuana
5. Las Ahumaderas Tacos El PaisaGuillermo Prieto 9770, Tijuana
6. Tacos FitosCalle Francisco Javier Mina , Tijuana
7. Tortas Wash MobileTrincheras, Hipodromo, Tijuana
8. Tortas El Turco, Tijuana
9. Telefónica Gastro ParkAv. Melchor Ocampo 2036, Tijuana
10. Mercado HidalgoBoulevard General Rodolfo Sánchez Taboada, Tijuana
11. LajaCarr. Ensenada-Tecate Km. 83, Valle de Guadalupe
12. Corazon De TierraRancho San Marcos, Toros Pintos s/n,
13. Deckman's en el MogorEnsenada-Tecate Highway Km. 85.5, Valle de Guadalupe, B.C.
The Baja Craft Beers Tasting Room offers an extensive selection of craft beers matched by a variety of bar snacks and bites. With 42 taps and over 300 bottles, you’ll find brews hailing from Baja to Belgium that meld deliciously with plates like buffalo pizza, mac and cheese, and garlic fries. Both locals and San Diegans comprise the crowd’s complexion at this romantic, cavernous spot that’s illuminated charmingly by keg-shaped chandeliers.
Misión 19 offers a very different sort of Mexican cuisine from that to which we are accustomed on this side of the border. It is refined, but also unmistakably Mexican and unquestionably Baja. Entradas include a scallop parfait with candied lemon, avocado meringue, and chiltepin chilies, roast beef marrow served with tortillas, and foie gras with caramelized black olive. Larger plates include poached quail risotto, pork belly with banana and sautéed chard, and seared tuna.
Tijuana’s La Querencia is restaurant that specializes in Baja Med cuisine -- a hybrid of Baja and Mediterranean cuisines. The term was coined by the restaurant’s owner, Miguel Angel Guerrero, who has a penchant for hunting and fishing, visible through the restaurant’s decor and menu. Adhering to the hunting and fishing motif, the walls are lined with taxidermy, and among the corn tortilla burritos, you’ll also find dishes like the Mediterranean-inflected tequila-flamed octopus, underutilized fish like Marlin carpaccio, and a smattering of hunted game like quail and venison. La Querencia is an adventurous, globally-inspired restaurant in the heart of Tijuana’s Zona Gastronomica; it’s a stop on restaurant row that’s not to be missed.
Here’s something you (probably) didn’t know: the Caesar salad was invented by a man named Caesar Cardini at his eponymous restaurant in Tijuana in 1920s. Since then -- save for a short stint in 2009 when the restaurant closed its doors for some time -- Caesar’s Restaurant-Bar in Zona Centro has been serving its now globally famous salad, among other traditional Mexican dishes, as well as dishes influenced by Italian and other international cuisines. Expect anything from roasted beef marrow to tacos, Oysters Rockefeller to burritos, and Beef Wellington to Spaghetti Bolognese. Caesar’s is one of TJ’s longest-running restaurants, and as such, as well as the founding restaurant of something as influential as the Caesar Salad, if you find yourself in Zona Centro territory, you’d be remiss to skip a meal at Caesar’s.
Tijuana’s world-class street food continues to gain notoriety, with street tacos leading the way. At the center of the taco revolution is the strip of six taquerias known as “Taco Alley” or “Las Ahumaderas.” The strip’s standouts are undoubtedly Tacos El Paisa’s Adobado tacos, which are akin to Mexican gyros.
Tacos Fitos offers two basic dishes: tacos de birria—beef braised in a rich broth spiked with cumin, cinnamon, clove and vinegar, yielding a thick, rich and utterly exhilarating stew—and tacos de tripa a la plancha, whose tripe is crispy and caramelized rather than rubbery. The tacquero flings the birria juice into a tortilla that patiently waits in his other hand, a show of culinary prowess that is worth the taco’s price. Be daring and get the birria-and-tripa combo tacos -- they’re addictive.
Adjacent to TJ’s first carwash, Tortas Wash Mobile derived its name from its location. The stand opened in 1964 and has maintained a loyal following ever since, churning out one item, and one item only: a carne asada torta. Tortas Wash Mobile has used its multiple decades of experience to perfect its recipe and grilling technique, settling on butterflied strips of brisket that have been marinated for 12 hours over a mix of charcoal and mesquite chips, chopped into small pieces, and grilled in a metal tub of beef juice before joining guacamole, tomatoes, pickled red onions, hot sauce, and mayo on a Mexico City-style pambaso roll.
Enjoy your bites from Tortas El Turco under a Coca Cola umbrella just outside of the canary yellow stucco taco stand. El Turco’s famed torta de lomo is a simple affair with complex flavors: a delicious, sloppy, tasty, tender beef sandwich, while the especial version adds ham and cheese, a nod toward a torta cubana.
Mercado Hidalgo, Tijuana’s permanent public market, is a bustling, energetic and extremely colorful working market with 80 open-air stalls arranged around a central courtyard-cum-parking-lot, and a Virgin of Guadalupe shrine. The Mercado’s stalls feature fresh produce, dried chiles, spices, fresh moles, tortillas, a wholesale meat vendor, and kitchen supplies, as well as a number of restaurant options, should hunger strike during your trip to the market.
Chef Jair Tellez brought modern Mexican cooking to the Valle de Guadalupe with Laja Restaurant and it remains one of the best in the region. Laja’s seasonal menus, many of which plate elements harvested directly from the restaurant’s own gardens, might change frequently, but the produce is always exquisitely prepared.
Chef Diego Hernández brings refined, beautifully presented and modern takes on traditional Mexican dishes to Corazón de Tierra. Take, for example, his corn tamal with suckling pig, parsnip and yellow mole. Sure, the presentation is dramatic – floating in a yellow mole is an egg-shaped tamal smothered with an oily sheen, from which a parsnip protrudes– but it’s the soulful flavoring of the dish that is really striking.
Located in the Valle de Guadalupe, a lush wine-growing region in Baja, El Mogor is a ranch, winery, and home to a number of restaurants, including Deckman’s. It’s run by Drew Deckman, a Michelin-starred restaurant alum, who was drawn to the Valle by its promise of plentiful, fresh ingredients. His menu highlights local products, with compositions that allow the ingredients to shine. Seafood comes from the Pacific coast nearby, meat is grilled on an open, brick hearth over firewood flame. You’ll sit outside at wooden picnic tables, under light-strung pine trees and the open Valle skies, as you enjoy the bounty the region has to offer.