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Burgers Part 1: Blogging in Reverse – Burgers & Beer Festival – 52 East is My Winner

September is burger month.

That’s because September is burger fest and I get to be the stage manager at a burger festival. I don’t really do much, my old roommate booked the bands. I just make sure they are there on time and that they get paid.

That’s about it.

So I have time to walk around and grab burgers and beers.

Here are a couple of the best shots of that festival:

This was the first burger I had… and it was my favorite.

It was from 52 East Neighborhood Eatery and it was solid perfection. I ate a lot of burgers this month and I was wowed by the quality of this one. AND IT WAS THE VERY FIRST ONE.

The second burger was by Hundred Proof and it was alright.

Third burger was from Pure Burger and it was better than Hundred Proof, but FUCK that first burger was so fucking great that it just made the rest of burgers not seem as good.

DO YOU SEE THE STAR IN THE PICTURE?!

Hah. That’s great huh? It’s not shopped. The burger was glistening under the sun and that happens at a very close f stop. STARS! Crazy cool.

And that was about it for me with the burgers…

The rest of the fest looked like this to me. Beers. Work. Photos. Beers. Work. Photos. Beer.

This was the stage I “managed.” That was the first band. The Fuzzy Ustins. They were fantastic folky music. Also, great guys. Hope they had fun.

Panca was there doing some live art.

More beer.

This other artist killed it. I met her as Michelle but forgot her artist name. Seriously fantastic art.

This bassist of New Me was fucking rocking it.

And more beer!

That was the best beer I had at the fest the Berliner by Wild Barrel. I went back for it but they were out, I tried their Double IPA and it was also very good.

The rest of the beers were also of great quality… But that Berliner is the only one I remember that it wowed me.


I’m doing everything in reverse.


The festival is Burgers & Beer. This is the second year in a row that I end up “managing” the bands because the dude that is supposed to do it can’t so I come in as a sub.

I ran around this year more than the previous year. So I didn’t get to write notes about beers or burgers.

I also got a lot of sun which gave me a headache and was getting me tired. I didn’t sleep much the previous night either.

It happens when I have something “important” the following day. I can’t sleep. I stay up all night worried that I’m not going to wake up on time.

And that’s what happened.


Burgers & Beer is a lot of fun. It’s all the burgers you can eat and all the beers you can drink for free (well, for an entrance fee). VIP tickets are recommended to try all burgers before lines get crazy. Then friends are recommended so you can collect several burgers. Then lines get crazy so just drink beer and enjoy the music.

That’s how I would do it.

But that’s not how it went down.


I ran around a lot.

And said hi to a lot of people.

And tried to be of general help.

It went alright.


Didn’t eat as many burgers as I hope. Just the ones mentioned. Then tried a vegan one and didn’t like it.

That vegan one ended up being the winner.

Vegan burger the winner of a burger fest. Only in California.


I would have voted tenfold for that first fucking burger. It was seriously burger perfection (at least for me). The bacon was super nice, it had chunky shrooms with cheese, topped with arugula (which I adore in burgers for some reason), and tiny pieces of red onion. And the meat pattie was juicy and TASTY!

Burger perfection if you ask me.

The Friendly is also the other burger perfection.

Oh.

And I had a lot more burgers before the festival.

And found another burger perfection. Probably my favorite burger in San Diego.

And again. I ate a lot of burgers.


That will be a post for some other day. Perhaps tomorrow. But I have a very busy day tomorrow.


What I did before burger fest… soon with Burgers Part 2.

And then you’ll know why I only had three burgers at burger fest…

It was a nightmare. What occurred was a total nightmare… Especially for a foodie like me.


 

 

Valle Part 2 – Las Hijas de la Tiznada and La Cocina de Doña Esthela

Valle Part 2:

First of all, I forgot to give special thanks to Joe Moon for taking me to Valle in the first place. Otherwise, I would have never gone.


You see, my brother forgot to tell me that his friends had arrived and that they were going to Valle already… he told me when they were already on the way and said “but join us later.”

Luckily, Joe was going to Ensenada the following morning. After having some bomb ass enchilados from Los Compadres, we made our way to Ensenada. Except, I didn’t know where I was going.

Joe was cool enough to drop me off at the actual awesome Airbnb.

Truly appreciate that.


For those who don’t know the ultimate enchilado, it has been my favorite spicy shrimp taco for a long time. Here’s a gallery:

https://imgur.com/gallery/NswFV


On the last post I talked about Península en el Valle on a Saturday afternoon. Really great food in a very lovely day.

Sunday morning wasn’t as pretty.


At around noon time, the gang headed to La Cocina de Doña Esthela, widely popular and known as the very cheap for amazing quality.

Before even getting there, I noticed it was PACKED as fuck. One large bus for at least 40 people was parked outside. At least 4 vans for 12-18 people each were parked inside. Another 30+ cars were parked in and outside the place. We parked outside and walked in… to see hundreds of people packed waiting to be served.

At least one or two hours… TO FUCKING REGISTER to wait.

Yeah. Fuck that.

Before even entering I told my brother “fuck this, if we are waiting, somehow I’m going somewhere else.” He got mad for not sticking to the plan… but after figuring out that the wait was going to be massive, we left.

Where?!

WHERE?!?!

That was the question.


I messaged our trusty chef from our previous night to suggest something.

He recommended Tizne, two friends of him opened the place and he said it was great.


It was a bit difficult to find. It’s also called Hijas de la Tiznada not only Tizne. Google Maps wasn’t accurate, it also said they opened at noon… they weren’t.


It’s inside Viña Emiliana, which was open but not really… it was weird and we were lost.

When we finally found a spot that seemed to be the place, they were unprepared and having a staff meeting. I asked if it was the right place, they said it was. I asked if they were open, and though they said they weren’t they promptly said but we will soon if you guys wait for a second.

So we did.


The scenery of Viña Emiliana was lovely, but it was also closed, so there was no wine to taste or anything to do but just sit for a while and enjoy the breeze in the hot day. After a while, they received us in the outside restaurant.

Tizne means smoke or charred (fire spots). I didn’t know that until now. Interesting.

I usually don’t like burnt food but I do enjoy smokey flavors.


For the menu, just like Península en el Valle, no drinks, but worse. They had no beer, no wine, just Pellegrino sodas and some stuff that got ignored.

And for the food menu, only a handful of options. I asked the chef… and from those handful of options, only 2 were actually available, and the other were meat cuts at a hefty price (regular price for Valle).

BUT IT WAS BREAKFAST or Brunch time. There were no really options for that. We all got the same thing that was on the special menu.

From the actual menu, there were no options except a ceviche. They didn’t have octopus (which is what I wanted) and they didn’t have much else…

So we all got the risottos, a couple of sopes (which were tiny), and a ceviche in the middle.

Table!

The black little spots is the Tizne. You can never go wrong with ceviche and add the tizne touch to make it extra good.

That was the risotto with braised beef ribs topped with tomatillos.

Marc’s risotto looked prettier than mine.

It was good, but not exactly what I desired for breakfast. I felt like I was forced to eat something I didn’t really want just because of the lack of options. It would have been a nice appetizer in a small plate and continue to something bigger.

The tiny tiny sopes with shrimp. Again, really good, but not exactly what I would want or order. The black sauce was delicious.

The best thing they brought us was the bread at the beginning with some tizne sauce they had. I didn’t take a picture of that because I didn’t know it was going to be the best thing… And they only brought us one bread and one sauce (despite officially being two tables). If we wanted more, it was going to cost us. I would have just eaten a bunch of that bread and sauce, get some cheeses, and sip on some wine…

BUT, those weren’t the choices.


Conclusion: We weren’t prepared for Tizne, Tizne was not at all prepared for us.

With so many restaurants to try, I probably won’t go back, but who knows! I really want to go to Valle more and I am confident that Tizne can be way better.

If Tizne is your thing, then by all means, hunt this place down and try it. If you are not fan of Tizne, then there are many more restaurants to try.


After that, we went to a local tiendita and bought everything to not leave the Airbnb. Beers, meatsies, frutsis, spices, snacks, tortillas, salsas, and more beers!


We didn’t leave the Airbnb that night or the day after.

That was my attempt at Astrophotography while chugging a beer. Problem is, the Airbnb had bright lights on either side of the house that ruined my attempts.

A winery nearby has an awesome statue that would make it DOPE as fuck to get some astro there. I want to get the same Airbnb and hit up the winery to let me in at midnight to take pictures (and then sell them the pictures!) Something like that…


Monday in Valle was all pool and beer drinking while grilling meatsies.


We left Tuesday morning and this time we did go to La Cocina de Doña Esthela.

It wasn’t packed anymore, but it was 3/4s full. The waiter acted as if it was packed though. He kept getting the orders wrong (after asking it several times) and kept rushing between tables looking nervous…

But anyway, there we all basically got the machaca de borrego.

The order comes with tortillas and beans, the waiter forgot them, then brought the tortillas and forgot the beans.

We asked for 5 coffees (2 regular, 3 de olla), a round of waters, and two diet cokes. He brought 4 coffees (all de olla), two waters, and an orange juice we didn’t ask for…

It took him almost until we were leaving to bring the beans and the regular coffee I had ask for. He also only brought one diet coke eventually, but oh well. The bill was all over the place….


As for the food, I wasn’t feeling very hungry, and again, not what I wanted for breakfast. The menu had a lot of breakfast items, but they all seem fair standard and the machaca de borrego seemed to be the strong plate. It was ok for me.

I got it in a box to go, threw in a tortilla, mixed all the machaca with the broth and some beans, and left it on my counter at home for a few hours.

I came back to it when I was hungry, AND IT WAS WAY BETTER!

The broth marinating the meat with a bunch of beans truly brought out the flavor… Or maybe I was feeling hungrier. I am not sure, I just know that it was WAY better that way than when I was having it at the restaurant.


 

Valle Adventure – Wineless Guadalupe but Amazing (and Cheap) Food at Península – Secret Airbnb

One of my brother’s best friend’s from college came to visit him. He is the godfather of my nephew so he comes once or twice a year. He usually brings his boyfriend with, a Russian artist living in NYC. This time, the other best friend of my brother in college also came with.

And it was a Valle adventure party.

Marc (the Filipino godfather) rented an amazing Airbnb for the family in the middle of Valle. That airbnb… well… I don’t want to share details because for the first time I feel like keeping a secret to myself so that fucker doesn’t get outrageously expensive quick.

The place has three bedrooms (sans doors), one large bathroom, one big living room/kitchen and no sink (weird). The inside is not the best, but it’s okay for what it is worth. The outside… well… the outside… is fucking fantastic!

A pool, grassy area, mini golf, BBQ area, nice hammock, and a volleyball sand court in a large property. Perfect for a family or for a nice party. The property fits 8 people and it’s only $120 a night…

So I’m not linking you fuckers to the Airbnb and you have to do the research yourself (it’s not that hard).

Here’s me jumping in the pool with my nephew on top of me.

Yes. I jumped in the pool with my iPhone X. Nothing happened except it acted flimsy while charging the first 12 hours or so. It has behaved like normal since then.

I jumped in the pool with it around 10 times. Risky move. Still good.


I didn’t have as much food in Valle as I wanted too.

In fact… I DIDNT HAVE ANY WINE.

Except for a sip of a white wine that was not memorable.

The whole trip was more about just relaxing in the Airbnb with family and friends and the pool.


But this is about food. So let’s talk about food.


We went to Península in Valle from a recommendation of a friend of my sister in law whose nephew is the main chef at the place.

You catch that?

Basically, we went to a place called Península.

Fairly common name. Several restaurants and bars have already used a similar name. So yep, you know I didn’t really like the name.

I also didn’t really like the wine or beer selection. It was basically non-existent. Two types of wines, one type of beer that was supposed to be an ordinary bitter beer, but tasted more like a wheaty lager. It was drinkable and good easy beer to go with the meal, but nothing impressive and I would have liked more options.

Wine options were Chardonnay and uhh I forgot the other one, but both were on the sweet side and not for me. Beer it was.

AND NOW FOR THE GOOD.

The good?!

THE GREAT!


I don’t like repeating places in Valle. I want to try something new every time I go. There are way too many places to try out… but Península… OH BOY!

Península is both the cheapest, one of the tastiest, and the plates are actually filling!

This is what I got:

I’m stupid. I forgot to take pictures of the menu to remember the name of the plate and prices. All I remember I was like HOLY SHIT THIS IS GREAT for the price.

I’m going to say it was around 230 pesos which is already a fair price in Valle to get a tiny ass plate. Nope. Not this. This plate was easily good for 2 to 4 people to share (and obviously get more food). I shared a lot of it (at least 1/4) and I still was happily full with all the sashimi.

Sashimi?

Ceviche?

Both really. With ponzu sauce. Octopus, tuna, (fish?), and scallops, plenty of all! Them little habaneros gave it a nice and surprising kick. No seeds you assume they won’t be very spicy, but you assume wrong (or at least I did). Cucumber, radishes, and pretty flowers are more than just decor (and it does give it a nice color scheme).

That was my plate. Incredibly surprised and happy with it.


Oh. And it had a dab of sea urchin in the middle. I’ve come to find out that I fucking love sea urchin. It’s like all the seafood in existence in one little salty bite. Taste the ocean in an orange buttery gross looking little thing.


Right across the table from me, Stu got the grilled tuna. It was so much food for the price. And not only was it plentiful it was quite astonishingly delicious. Two big tuna medallions mounted on a bed of grilled veggies with mashed up cauliflower paste and a pretty side salad.

The plates look different because they were different. The tuna was so good that Marc also got one. He got a bigger tuna slice instead of two chunky ones.

I picked some veggies and big bites of the tuna dipped in the mashed cauliflower. Again, delicious, and surprisingly great for the price. Other places in Valle would have cost double and the plate would have been 1/2 of that.

Península is a win.


I tried a bite of this green thing.

My sister-in-law got that. She was happy with it. I have no recollection of it but I remember approving of it.


Two other things I didn’t get to try. Marc didn’t share any of his three tacos but approved all three. There were “two big marlin burritos” floating around the table. It was hard to believe that the menu had “big burrito” and actually meant. It wasn’t huge, but it was again, sizeable for the price.

Pictures of food I didn’t eat it but also looked like great choices.

Big marlin burrito:

Three tacos that Marc didn’t give me a single BITE! Octopus, fish, and marlin. I wanted to try that octopus…

After that, we toured the facilities for a while. Península is situated in a place that does olive oil for different brands. It is also has a tower with great views, but if only the windows were clean to take a proper picture… It is also producing wine and they promised that soon they will have more beer options.


Península is the cheapest and most quality food place I have visited in Valle so far. I am missing another 100+ restaurants to cover… so yeah…

If they had a nice drink selection, then it would be my favorite place in Valle (I still don’t have one).


The factory has some art installation by students in Ensenada. The best one looked like this.

That’s me holding my nephew so he can see the art while my niece looks at us looking at art.

Another cool piece. Difficult to photograph.

Descending the tower.

And the happy foodie group with the chef of Península.


We ate out twice in Valle though we stayed for 4 nights. Two of those nights we grilled meatsies and drank Tecates. So yeah, not my ideal Valle, but HEY POOL!

Tecate, meatsies, and a nice pool = still the best of times.


Next post will feature the other two places we visited.


Special thanks to our host in Península, chef David Ojeda, for giving us an unexpected seafood feast in Valle!

 

 

The End of a Fucking Era – No More Fried Chicken – Bye to Voodoo Stu and Magic Mael’s Gumbo Shack

That was it.

That was the end…

That was the last fried chicken Friday.

And that was the last Sunday special (fried chicken again).


There was a line out the door for his last day. I told Stu to save me a chicken breast and I went back two hours later when it was relatively quieter.

I brought the fried chicken nazi a bottle of bourbon because it fits the theme of the Southerness, because I know he likes bourbon, because I fucking love bourbon, and because bourbon is fucking good.

Especially Buffalo Trace, which I’ve had plenty before but never bought a bottle.

I drank half the bottle…

So you can imagine the type of Sunday I had.


All that was after a crazy Saturday with four white amigos. So even after retiring from tours, I’m still doing tours.

We went to Teléfonica because that’s what they love, then fuimos al BEIS (though the original plan was Hong Kong), and then, street tacos. When they were dropping me off at home, the cops pulled us over.

Yadda yadda yadda.

Mordida.

And we were let go.

The full story maybe later.


Toros lost the match. But it was a fun game and my friends had fun. That’s what matters.


And oh boy is it hot out!


Oh hi.

If you are new, welcome to my rambling, I go in every direction. I call it word vomit. Some people don’t like it. They don’t like that I swear either…

But fuck that.

And because I swear here and there I’ve been called “Bukowskish.” I have never read him. Just his Wikipedia and snippets about him. He seems like a fun dude.

So make of this what you will. Just, please… PLEASE don’t fucking take me seriously.


Alright, back to it.

Fried chicken fried is no more. Stu retired the Voodoo Stu and Magic Mael Gumbo Shack. That’s the official name. It had a lot of funny little quirks. And if you weren’t a regular, you would probably be confused by the lack of menu (or the phony menu) or how the restaurant works. Or how it used to work…

And how it used to work… You bark your order towards Stu like Batman (that’s the restaurant’s old dog). Or be courteous and nice to Mael and asked her for food.

Just ask for food and drinks.

Enjoy. Not only the delicious fried chicken but the atmosphere. A pocket of Tijuana taken you far towards a swamp in Louisiana. Or more like a hipster place in Atlanta. Whatever you want it to be. It just didn’t feel like Tijuana. Though Tijuana never feels like anything but everything and not Tijuana.


Three years of that gumbo shack. I remember when it started. I was living with Chad. And him and Stu bonded immediately like brothers from another mother (both tracing their lineage to the south). And thus began the days of eating at Stu’s pretty much weekly.

Stu started mainly with gumbo. But that didn’t fly well with Tijuanenses who have never heard of the dish.

He used to also give it to you on paper plates to make it cheaper and not to deal with the hassle of cleaning.

Then came the fried chicken Fridays… and that became a staple.

So much, that Stu didn’t bother to open Wednesday through Sundays (like it was at first). But simply Friday chicken, Saturday blackened fish, and Sunday some sort of special. Pretty much whatever he felt like.

It was all more than good.

But some plates were beyond great that it was a joy to eat in Tijuana for so cheap.

And again. That is no longer a thing.

No more fried chicken Friday.


But fear not dear friends, Stu will be back in some sort of kitchen or food projects. In some sort of evolution, just like the Tijuana Adventure, he will get more exclusive and MORE EXPENSIVE!


I missed Saturday’s blackened fish. I was never a huge fan though a lot of people loved it. Peppery fish with a lemon twist. The veggies are what brought me on Saturdays. Stu prepared vegetables in ways that I’ve never had before, so I truly appreciated that shit.

#EatYourVeggies

You fucking hipster.


Nah. Saturday was Teléfonica like I said before. Got my usual tuna tostada and the boys got the Tomahawk steak and some flank steaks on the side.

This.

Looks great doesn’t it?

The Tomahawk is delicious, but not worth the price. The flank steaks are way better. Not sure what they do, but I feel like the meat gets a salt rub/massage and that’s why it’s so damn delicious and tender.

#MassageYourMeat

Ok. No. That hashtag probably means something else.


And Sunday was the bottle of Buffalo Trace. My buddy Bryan joined in. We drank… .we drank a lot. Until 2:00 a.m.

Keep in mind the bottle was drunk around 6 pm at Stu’s.

I forgot to pay him when we left. I messaged him on Instagram and his reply was “Fuck off. You’re good.”

And that’s how you say bye to one of Tijuana’s restaurants.

It will be terribly missed. My Fridays will not be the same anymore. Or my weekends in general. It was a must go to spot…


Oh. And the veggies for the last fried chicken was some sort of minty bean salad (that was my favorite), cold pasta, some chopped chile poblanos with grilled elotes, and a deviled egg!

Great Reception to the Change – Ok. Here We Go I Guess? – Tacos and Drinks at Cine Tonalá

Cool.

A lot of support right away after saying no more tours and now writing about food.

And… now it seems people are excited that I said I would be blogging more.


Crap.

What did I get myself into… again?


“You have a lot of enemies,” remarked someone yesterday while having beers.

I do and don’t. Or who knows.

Some people don’t like what I have to say. That’s for sure.

But in here I intend to be good. I’m not planning on shitting on restaurants or drinks. If I don’t have anything good to say, I simply won’t say it.

If you wanted brutal destruction of places, this is not about that.

Or perhaps some… just a tad.


With that in mind, I went to Cine Tonalá yesterday. This place has mixed reviews from everyone. Americans tend to love all of it. Mexicans tend to think it’s a great place but overpriced and bad.

So what is it?


Well… It has good things and bad things. The good can be very good and the bads can be like, oh shit, I can’t believe I paid that much for that.

Mistakes are made. Mistakes are hopefully corrected. If not by the place, then by oneself. And some things are not worth it.

Things that are worth it.

Santo Tlali. Ok. It’s 105 pesos for a small mezcal drink, but maracuya + piña, habanero bitters, and tajin rimmed glass is delicious and refreshing. Gin Saavedra is also good. I avoid the Old Fashioned until they have a proper ice cube (or ice ball) at proper temperatures and replace the idea of Wild Turkey for something nice like Angel’s Envy, Buffalo Trace, or Makers (at the very least).

But you are not just paying for a drink, you are paying for the atmosphere, the rooftop views, the music is generally good, there are constant events, and new people visiting. So yeah. You are paying for all that and the drink. So the drink better be as good as the views. Some are, some aren’t. There’s one made with Baileys that… well… don’t get it. And usually, you shouldn’t do that.


Look at me. Pretending to know what I’m talking about.

Don’t buy into my bullshit.


Food.

I like the burger a lot. It’s one of my favorites in town. But that’s because I’m a sucker for Persian cucumbers and garlic aioli. My exgf loved the salads (especially the beet with goat cheese) and the portobello burger. Vegetarians usually really like the salads and the portobello burger.

Now the TAY-KOHS.

It is tough to compete in taco town. There tacos. They are good. They would be even better if they were half the price (or at least 1/3 of the price) or if they were doubled in size. If you ignore that, don’t care, earn dollars so it doesn’t matter much, then they are great tacos… but… but…. taco town.

Tacos go for roughly $3 each which should get you a fine taco in many places in San Diego (sans the view and space). And it basically achieves the same thing (plus a view and space). I’ve learned that my favorite is the braised rib with black beans. Handmade tiny tortilla, somewhat greasy and slippery. It earns points for the use of Persian cucumbers, pickled radishes, and red onions.

Told you I was a sucker for Persian cucumbers.

The other two I had was the pesto octopus and the pork jowl. For both, I demand a bigger tortilla. The octopus was good, but slippery that it all fell out. Similar thing on the pork jowl, the tortilla was too small for the amount of meat. Double tortilla? Or perhaps they want me to use a knife and fork on my tacos? Who knows…

Pork jowl tasted similar to carnitas, so if you are craving that and other carnitas spots are closed, then go for it.

For me, if I get tacos there, it’s just going to be the braised rib.


I accompanied the tacos with a Juan Cordero by Insurgente at 85 pesos, that’s a fair deal. Most craft places are hovering between 60-100 pesos a beer. The addition of Insurgente was greatly needed.


All in all, I love Cine Tonalá and that they are in town and will continue to go. You just gotta learn what to avoid and what to go for. Bread and Dip as an appetizer and a couple of drinks if it’s early. Go heavy if it’s night.

It is a great place to easily wow visitors with the view and the creative space.


And this is what I wanted to avoid. To actually pretend to know how to review food…


Today and this weekend is Stu’s final week. I forgot to go buy a bottle of whisky. He deserves it.

I’m going to miss that place so much…


Oh.

And I spoke to Haydee and Bryan yesterday. They are both willing to be tour guides. Haydee will be your family-friendly day tour guide while Bryan will take responsibilities of crazy nights and bachelor parties.

Details, prices, and other things are still to discuss. But if you are looking for tours, there will be some through them.

It’s not all dead. It’s just not Tijuana Adventure with me.


 

 

 

No More Tours!!! – New Focus on the Website = Food+ and Beer+ Reviews

Why?!

Why would you stop the dream job?!

You get to go around and take people to restaurants, eat tasty food, drink tons of beer and other liquor, and at the end, you make a couple hundred bucks!!!

Sounds like the dream, right?

Well… to tell the truth, I’m just goddamn tired.

There’s been countless groups, bachelor parties, brewery heavy tours, a few all-nighters, crazy fucking stories with people from all over the world, copious amounts of delicious food and late night street tacos, appeared in a couple of TV shows, and other broadcasts (and a disastrous one), and a lot of other crazy things happened in my tours.

The stories I tell.

The crazy South Africans.

How incredibly cheap Tijuana can be for some people.

Vegas on steroids.

And a tour guide in Vegas is going to get tired… in Tijuana… I’m surprised I lasted this long.


Other tour guides hire other people to handle some tours… but without me… Tijuana Adventure wouldn’t be the same. Or so it feels like that.

My friend Haydee helped for a while and I am forever grateful. She did a couple of art tours and a wine valley tour.

My friend Bryan wants to be the new tour guide, and for people asking for a tour, besides recommending all the other tour guides, I’ll mention my friend Bryan.

He is a good kid. But he is a kid.


Another reason for quitting.

I got somewhat of a real job. It still not completely real, but good enough to not seek out the extra cash on tours.

Well… when I think about it… yeah… that extra cash is super nice still.


I’m just a bit tired man.

I said I was quitting on my last few tours and still kept going.

Give me a year or so. Perhaps less. Who knows. But give me some time and I’ll be back with something better. More exclusive.

AND MORE EXPENSIVE!

Sorry.

It’s just… trust me. It will be awesome.


No more strip clubs.

Can’t do those anymore.


Instead of tours, the website will be dedicated for me to write stupid shit about food and beer!

You see… I used to write my opinions a lot but suddenly stopped because of creative differences with the editor. That editor is now gone. But I still don’t want to jump through hoops of an editor to say whatever the fuck I want.

YAY!

I get to say the word fuck.

How edgy and cool of me.


So what can you expect?

Quality pictures and my stupid opinions!

Here’s an example of the latest.


Haven’t been to the enchilado gods in a while, I forgot what I was missing…
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My friend Danger Dave took me to Los Compadres for the first time a few years ago. He guaranteed that they had the best camarón enchilado taco (spicy shrimp), better than Tijuana favorite El Mazateño.
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I have since gone to Los Compadres almost every week for the past couple of years for that very same taco. If I upload a picture to social media, I get flooded with questions as to where to find this taco (and many jealous comments). Here’s the answer:
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You find Los Compadres next to Parque Teniente Guerrero at the corner of 4th street and Cinco de Mayo. Open 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily, except Sundays. They start running out of shrimp around 1 p.m., so you need to get there early. They also serve fish and shrimp tacos (with or without batter), caldo de cahuamanta (stingray broth), marlin tacos, and more.
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All of their tacos are big. The battered fish and shrimp tacos are nothing to rave about and sell for around $1 each. They deep fry longer than usual, making the batter dark and crunchy. I prefer that type of taco light and crisp, so for battered fish and shrimp tacos I go to a nearby food truck.

Their caldo de cahuamanta they recommend for hangovers, especially if you add a spoonful of their very spicy salsa. It will sweat your hangover away, and Los Compadres will turn a blind eye if want to drink a Tecate at their taco stand. Their marlin taco is decent and similar to what you would find at any other taco stand that sells marlin.

Definitely the MVP and the main reason to go is the camarón enchilado. I could write a love song about this taco. It’s gigantic, greasy, has lots of melted cheese that gets burnt around the crust of the tortilla, and is loaded with a lot of flash-fried shrimp that was dunked in buttery chili sauce. It is topped (all optional) with cream, cabbage, tomato, cilantro, and chipotle sauce. It’s a complex and messy item to pick up and eat.

It’s not just me that has been addicted to these shrimp tacos. My friend Erik Trejo, who worked at Blind Lady Ale House, would regularly cross the border early morning just to eat the taco and head back north to work. The painful wait of crossing the border wasn’t enough to dissuade him.

Another friend who teaches English in Saudi Arabia stayed in my apartment for a month last summer. He ate two tacos de camarón enchilado every morning for his entire stay. He still randomly messages me that he misses the taco.

And it’s not just my friends. I have also bumped into owner of Baja-Med restaurant La Justina, Javier Cair, at Los Compadres. A former neighbor of mine, a white guy that partied too much, would take hordes of Americans and Europeans for that taco and kept the party going while drinking Tecate on the street.

None of the ingredients are gourmet or fancy. It’s a dirty fish taco truck just like the Tijuana Gods intended, and they happen to serve the best camarón enchilado taco I have ever tasted. They have a tip jar in form of a Tecate bottle. Drop some coins in when you are done with your meal and shout “por la causa!” Which means “for the cause,” the cause being to buy more Tecate.


That was actually an old article I wrote here. But they will follow a similar pattern and around that many words.

Just a bit more word vomity.


Most pictures will be taken with the iPhone X which is superb and posts will be posted in the Tijuana Adventure Instagram and Facebook pages. Pick whatever social media poison suits you best.

Then the posts will be later posted here. If there was a way for WordPress to simply post directly, that would be great. Alas, there is not.


Other pictures will be taken with my actual camera (Canon 7D for now). That’s the other job I’ve been also doing a lot.

I never really wanted to be a tour guide. This city needed one. I fulfilled my duty.

I can go back to photography work. Writing work. And now more work.


Tijuana Adventure will remain a hobby of food and beer reviewing.

I’ll try to be as honest as one can be without much hyperbole. Re-reading what I wrote about the sushi place sounds a tad exaggerated, but I meant every word. That place is fantastic and can’t wait till I’ll be back.


Both, Instagram and Facebook, pages grow by themselves without my need to sponsor them. And it’s stupid, now that I don’t do tours, I feel like throwing a couple dollars over to Zuckerberg and the social media void. At the same time, the real challenge is to grow those fuckers organically.


Oh.

And Reddit karma.


I basically promote and defend the fuck out of this city for free. They should pay me for it.

And somehow they do. Tijuana rewards me.

Tijuana has been good to me.


I might also get back into booking math rock shows. Hopefully, playing music again.


You see, it’s always been in this order:

I am a musician, writer, photographer, videogamer, and tour guide.

That last one was an additional one. It’s fun to be one and I’m very good at it. But it’s not my passion. It was paying me.

Video games I fucking adore and they had paid me for it in a few occasions (game tester for a couple of Guitar Heroes as well as the Transformers game and other little shitty things here and there). That doesn’t pay me now, but I still love it more than being a tour guide.


Writer and photographer right now are competing for which one makes more money.

They are sort of equal.

Some weeks I make more money writing. Some weeks I make more money doing photography.


Music is what I’ve always loved but has been a forgotten lover lately. I’ve been playing more guitar and a bit more inspired. So I need more time for this.


It’s the end of an era!

Thanks to everyone that came on an adventure with me. It’s been real. I seriously loved every single one of them except two.


And you all know this…

If you ever back in Tijuana, and I’m available. Just buy me a beer and let’s hang out. I like talking about all the new shit that the city has been going through and new places where to eat and drink!

I made friends with most of you. And I’m sorry if I don’t remember all of you clearly… it’s been a lot of tours. And they all blur into one crazy huge mega tour.


Oh. And one more reason to do this silliness. Last year I wrote more than 1,000 words a day but it was all about my personal life. Well, now it will be just about this. Keep my personal life out of this for a while (though I give 0 fucks).

And also. Because there are a lot of shitty people that do this and are no good. I feel like I’m better. So what?

I’m doing it for fun. Not for you. More for like myself and Tijuana. If you don’t agree with me, that’s okay. I probably don’t agree with you!


Thanks for reading and hope y’all enjoy a silly blog of food and drinks in this marvelous city. Let’s see how long this project will last…

 

Tijuana Adventures Featured in TravelMag.com – Sorry, This Has Been Sort Of Abandoned – Tours are Still Active

Ahoy! To all of those who stumbled into this page of Tijuana tours and adventures.

The blog has pretty much been abandoned for more than a couple of months. Things that I said I would fill in later, I never did. And ideas that I have never materialized.

Despite the page being virtually abandoned, a writer from TravelMag.com found me. And he had something wonderful to say about the tours.

Here’s the link to the article, or click the screencap.


Thanks to writer Paul Joseph for the mention.


So… why so abandoned?

Your tour guide has been busy with photography and writing. I’ve been writing every day the whole year in my own personal blog that I dubbed word vomit because I pretty much write about everything and anything. I also started a new gig as a freelance photographer for the magazine that usually runs my articles. So I’ve been pretty busy with other things that aren’t my tours.


Despite this, I have had several tours since the latest post.


And also, paid for the yearly subscription of this webpage. It was done automatically. I’m not sure if I actually wanted to do it.


Shit.

My latest post was from February…


I had around eight tours since then. Very sporadic and random tours. The latest was a repeat customer with new friends. A guy from Vancouver (with Moroccan family) brought two friends from Kosovo (but that grew up in Vancouver).

It was really fun times since the last time the repeat customer visited was a couple of years ago and a lot of things changed.

And a lot of things have changed with Tijuana Adventure as well.


Though I had the fantasy to make this into a food and beer blog, I’ve been too busy to keep that going.

However, I did start becoming very active on Instagram posting a lot of food porn.

If there was a way to post everything on my Instagram directly to WordPress, this page wouldn’t be totally abandoned.


So if you enjoy pictures of the Tijuana/San Diego reader, better follow me! It’s been a steady climb of followers. Easier than my actual profile @Matingas_

Repsonse has been good with the food pics. And it’s given me an outlet to write about food.


I also did business cards for myself and for this business.

They look like this.

Yes.

Exclusive tours.

I don’t do private groups and most people that know me have heard of me somehow, so they know what to expect.

So I’m more exclusive now. You get a tour with a photographer, writer, and musician with SHIT TONS of stories to tell. And that’s really what makes the tours special. They are small. I get to talk to everyone. I get to tell stories. We get to know each other.

So again.

My tours aren’t like other tours.

Go to the other tours if you want a basic (yet very fun) tour.


And finally.

I’m still working with Haydee if I ever need a replacement, or if I’m not available, or if people want to go to Valle de Guadalupe. She’s more knowledgeable about the wine valley than me. And she could also drive people there.

Basically, Haydee is still IN doing tours as needed.

I wish I had more tours for her. I wished I had more tours for myself. But life gets busy with other things and then time flies.