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.


 

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…
.
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.
.
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:
.
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.
.
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.


 

Tours! TOURS! Tours! – Tijuana Adventure Activate! – Julie’s Bday Tour a Month Ago…

This webpage and blog has been somewhat abandoned.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been given tours.

Quite the contrary. I was busy with tours all of January. February is going slow, but March will already start with a tour.

The tour above was super fun and probably one where I walked the most. We walked and walked and walked. I offered Ubers or taxis. But they wanted to walk.

nsudmux

This is what a Tijuana Adventure usually looks like. A lot of food and beer and fun times.

And I’m sorry I rarely update the blog. I write in my life blog daily. Which is completely different.

Besides Julie’s bday tour, I also had a tour with a couple of crazy South Africans.

I have never partied in my life as much as I did with those South Africans. They showed me that I truly have no limits when it comes to my Tijuana tours. We spend so much money drinking, eating, … and more.


It is time to make my tours a bit more official. There needs to be an online payment method. There needs to be a public tour at least once a month. I have been doing my tours mostly as a side gig for fun. Not as a real business. But Tijuana Adventure has grown and it is time to take it a bit more seriously.

Even the US consul in Tijuana emailed me asking me about how to improve tourism.

More tours are coming.

More public events.

The page will get better.

The Tijuana Adventure Instagram will also be active…. if I remember the password.


A very good friend of mine named Brenda, aka Shappu, has also been doing tours. She is going her own way about it. Truly puts effort in giving people tours. Unlike me where I just wait for people to email me and tell me they want to book me. If I pushed my services. Get business cards. Do some posters… etc etc etc. Then it would truly be a tour service.


For now, I’m busy with writing stories, my new girlfriend, daily blog, and my cat. Tours are still available. Tours are still highly improvised. Tours are still hella fun.


I forgot where I was going with this. Point is. Tijuana Adventure will activate! More tours! Better tours! Online payments! Other tour guides! More beer! More food! MORE MORE MORE!

Want to visit Tijuana. Hit me up!

Reddit Meeting Tijuana Tour – Lack of Activity

Sorry. I haven’t posted anything in Tijuana Adventure in a long long time.

I have been doing tours. One or two a month. Mainly small private ones. Nothing much has changed.

The last tour I did was a free tour for /r/SanDiego redditors. A friend accompanied the tour, which was one of my larger tours (15 people) and took awesome pictures.

We obviously stopped by one of my favorite brewers exactly at the right time, sunset. Border colors looked great.

to9opyy

Here’s the rest of the album! Pretty great pics thanks to Andy!

I only have one upcoming tour this year in December. The rest of my time is free. And to be honest, I have thought about quitting the tours. I enjoy myself doing them, but I hate charging people and I’m not good as a businessman. I have been doing a lot of writing instead. Especially blogging everyday in my personal daily life blog, Matingas.com.

But TijuanaAdventure provides me with a bit of extra cash that is necessary in my life. I’m still doing private tours with a minimum charge of $100 + expenses. And I said it before, this is more private tours with me than a tour group like many others. There are a lot of other tour guides I can recommend. I like doing tours with people that are like-minded, that have been basically all of my clients!

So if you want craft beer, great food, improvised Tijuana Adventure tour, I’m still your best choice. But if you want to go with a group of strangers, get in a bus, travel as a party, then you better hit up one of the many other tour guides.

If you want a free tour, make sure you stay posted in /r/SanDiego or /r/Tijuana since I take a lot of redditors around. I’ll be doing free tours when I have a chance.

That is the TijuanaAdventure update for now! Want to join in a tour! Message me through the website!

 

New Tour Guide Joins the Team – A Lot of Tours – Sorry: Page was Neglected

So….

I got really fucking busy for the past couple of months.

Last thing I posted was about the beer fest over a month ago. And I said was going to post here weekly. Not only did I got a lot of work from the real job that is my bread and butter…. I also did a lot of tours! I mentioned a price hike forever ago, and a few people wanted to hit me up before I became more expensive…

It’s not like I am more expensive, I just have less time to go on wild Tijuana Adventures. Thus I’m more expensive. AHH FUCK IT! Yes. I value my time more (I mean… tours used to be free!). I still hate charging people though. I always have too much fun.

I had like 7 tours in the past 2 months. All sorts of tours as well. The latest was a bachelor party with 11 people. This is the last time I do a party this big. It was difficult to coordinate, however… IT WAS A LOT OF FUN.

We covered a lot of ground.

Went to ORYX Capital for a nice fancy dinner. Got the chicken. It was grand. Everything there is on point. A full on review will come out later and I’ll link. One of the best features of ORYX is that there’s a speakeasy in there somewhere. The “secret” might be ruin soon, so I’ll just say that it’s in there somewhere for now.

The pics are not from the tour, but from when I discovered ORYX and Nortico originally. The bachelor party loved the food and the speakeasy detail. There’s a pic of the 11 of them somewhere (and I might be able to use it here).

Then we went to Plaza Fiesta, the amazing beer plaza (read more about it here). A lot of craft beer, and a lot of classic bachelor party banter. The group was huge and had a lot of colorful individuals. A bunch living in California, some in Minneapolis, one from New York… the bachelor is a very popular guy.

From beer plaza we hit up downtown. Where more beers and mezcal shots ensued. And around midnight… the real bachelor party fun. That stays under wraps. But I must say… Tijuana is ten times better than Vegas for bachelor fun…

LETS MOVE TO HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!

Haydeé (aka HidHawk) Joins the Team

I haven’t posted anything not only because I’ve been busy as fuck… but because the other guys I invited to join ended up doing nothing (thanks guys!)

Talking to a good friend and Tijuana local, I mentioned the direction of Tijuana Adventure. She liked the idea and actually WROTE HER BIO and is excited to join in! To read more about her, CLICK HERE!
haydee
Haydeé traveled the world and when she came back, she discovered that Tijuana had changed a lot. Like me, she basically became an accidental tour guide. With the many projects and events she handles, she takes hoards of people from all over the world through the places she loves in Tijuana. She is in charge of Borderland Noise – music events both sides of the border.

Haydeé is on the right - Group of visitors at Public House tap room
Haydeé is on the right – Group of visitors at Public House tap room

Haydeé also has AirBnB available, for those who want to get a whole package of a place to stay that includes a tour guide… then… THAT’S A NEW AWESOME POSSIBLITY. I’m going to try to do this myself (currently looking for a house).

I’ve been kinda burnt on doing tours, that the bachelor party was the last tour I’ll be doing for a while. But now there’s Haydeé! A complete different approach to Tijuana Adventure. She has her own price, her own ideas, her own taste in music, drinks and food, her own limitations, her own tour, her own adventure.

Also, I believe she speaks fluent German (I might be wrong though… I’ll check soon and confirm).

I’m hoping the team will grow even more, and for visitors to have the option to choose what type of tour adventurer they would prefer. I know, I know, I’m using the word adventure too much that now it seems like a kids game… but seriously… you have no idea how many times I woke up in the morning and think to myself… holy shit… that was one crazy Tj adventure. No city that I know off can offer so much of everything in such a bizarre presentation that you would never know it existed unless you are a local.

Visiting Tijuana, don’t hesitate to contact either Haydeé (aka HidHawk) or myself (Matt aka Matingas).

Matingas

Tap Tuesday and Thursday Adventure – Beer Fests Are Not For Me – Tons of Pics!

Tap Tuesday was fantastic.

It easily is my favorite day of the week. And yes, I am obsessed with taking pictures of food, beer, and my adventures.

Major praises go to Peninsula’s sour beer (inside Fauna) and Border Psycho’s smoked wheat.

The sour is a standard sour, a bit flat, but flavorful. Praises to Peninsula for having the balls on creating a sour. Keep them coming. I’ll keep drinking them.

Smoked wheat (aka Grodziskie or Polish Champagne) is a really old and unique style of beer that was very well done by Border Psycho. Roberto Albarran says they smoked their own wheat, and also that some people have been hating it, others loving it. HIGH PRAISES from me. This beer tastes not like any other I’ve had in my life. No wonder they call it Polish Champagne, it’s super light, sparkly and tastes like… SMOKED MEAT.

This is your lunch beer, you can have this with a nice salad or something light like that. Vegans that miss the flavor of meat should drink this beer. In fact, if you are a vegan and you are reading this and want some meat tasting beer that has no animal product, GO DRINK THIS. Seriously. It’s fantastic. Alas, is not for everyone. My friend Willy got disgusted by it.

Full album for Tap Tuesday here:


Also!

Thursday!

I organized a redditor meeting, it didn’t go as well as I wished. I admit it, it was my own fuck up by confusing people on /r/Tijuana. Oh well. A few people showed up, and they encouraged me to keep doing. Next redditor meeting is June 30th.


The meeting was over at Border Psycho, so I ate there. Just looking at the pictures I made myself hungry again. Their chorizo Argentino with Chimichurri in a panini is just exalting. I mean.. They mixed my favorite things in one plate. 1 I love hot dogs. 2 I love chimichurri. 3 I love beer.

The hot dog is so fucking tasty. And surprise surprise, they can actually prepare good potatoes that go great with the oily chimichurri and the dijon mustard on the side. I ate like a savage man and it was goddamn glorious.



Insurgente had a keep a glass night, the first one of its kind in Tijuana (that I know of). Great success by them. I was #12 in line at 7:45, got there just in time. Minutes later, the line was long as fuck, as if they were giving away free beer. Went back to Border Psycho to avoid the crowd, check the redding meetup and drink a Sospesso IPA and their Simcoe De Mayo.

Score!



Chad was over at Fauna with our favorite southerner, Martin – (besides the voodoo man himself). Myself and the few redditors that showed up went over there. Fauna was packed.

We got a corner for ourselves when this ball of floof appeared to order a beer at the bar.


I couldn’t help myself and took tons of pictures and for some reason, this morning I gave floof a hipster as fuck personality when posting the pictures.

Full album of Thursday:



NOW BEER FEST

Yep. I am probably not going. Two very good reasons:

1. It’s the weekend and there’s too many people in this sort of stuff.

2. I AM BROKE AS FUCK.

I’m still waiting to get confirmed for a new job, but besides that, no money. And I have obviously been spending way too much on beer and food.

If I go to the beer fest, it would be on Saturday, too tired today and…  Someone needs to give me a free ticket. And brewers have to give me free beer in exchange of pictures. Because I have 190 pesos left in my wallet and I don’t get paid until Sunday (and it’s not very much 😦 )

Also, we already have a daily beer fest, it’s Plaza Fiesta and it’s great on Tuesdays!

I know… I know… there’s advantages to the beer fest.

1. It’s a fest, so there’s live music.

2. You get nice little memories and shingadilings.

3. Lots of people if you are into seeing lots of people.

4. All the brewers are there showcasing new brews.

There’s probably many other good reasons to go to the beer fest, but not when broke and tired. Also, several other events happening in Tijuana that are cheaper. So I might go to Comuna because they have a promising show and drink Baja Brew Labs because Pinche Paco in Comuna keeps just brewing Blonde Ales and BBL has young creative minds I like to support. Also! The Jazz and Blues fest on Sunday should be great!

Ok. I’m done for the day. Tune in next time when I’ll explain why I hate Tropic’s so much (… maybe). Also… other writers keep saying “soon, soon soon! SOON! SOON!” So maybe we’ll have other content that is not just mine.

—Matingas

Beers, Tours, and More Beers – Mamut Redemption

I am typing this at Fauna in Plaza Fiesta waiting for an anniversary burger, drinking a Lycan Lupus. There is a lot in my mind. It is all work related.

My birthday was chill. I am now 30. My brother and his wife gave me a beer guide of Mexican craft beer. There is a lot to read and learn. I also got tons of fancy spices from my cousin in Seattle who works at World Spice. More to try. Excited to try all.


Like every week, I drank a lot of beer. The surprise of the week happened on Sunday.

I had a mini Tj Adventure with friend/co-worker Andy. He came down with his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s boss and husband. We started at Cevicheria Nais, then Nelson and finally Plaza Fiesta. We drank IPAs at Paralelo 28 and then Andy wanted pizza from Mamut.

I wasn’t excited about Mamut and suggested against it, but we ended up there. Surprise surprise! Mamut was pretty damn good.

I got an American pale ale, it was decent. Definitely better than many Mamuts I’ve been having. I also tried their hoppy wheat. It had more of an IPA taste than a wheat. Also surprisingly good.

Pizzas were also way better. We got the Oaxaqueña and the Tijuaneada.

xuLNHtf
(Pic by Andy Boyd)

Oh shit! My burger arrived. Time to take pics.
fauna
(cellphone potato pic)
Burger was a meaty tasty disaster, but way too salty. I ate 82% of it and gave the rest to Lex, the beertender in Tigre that recommended it.


Fries were alright. Nothing special. Ketchup vessels.

I am now drinking my second American IPA from Ludica called Pinball.

It’s funny that it’s an American Indian Pale Ale. IPAs deserve a better name, but I guess it works.

I’ll finish this later, Chad and Bobby just got here.

——————————- I wrote that on May 17th. I should have published it the very next day. Instead I waited and now I want to type more.

Andy is an amazing photographer and every time he comes to Tijuana he works magic. Here’s the full album of his Sunday. I joined halfway through this:

The Pinball IPA at Ludica is great and my favorite in Tigre right now. I loved their Seven Seas brew, but they are not doing it anymore. I asked about the hops in the Pinball and I believe Cascade and Mosaic (and another). But I might be wrong. Bare with me while I venture to learn more about hops and try to recognize them by blind taste.

Like I mentioned before, I also had a lot of other beers after my last post. I went to Madueño and Silenus and took pics of the beers. My mistake is I didn’t take notes.
madue
I had this, which I think was a pale ale. I remember it was good but on the sweet side. I went with my friend Justin and he got a Porter on Nitro (I believe). It seemed like the nitro wasn’t connected. Had no foam or bubbles or anything. Taste was there, the nitro… wasn’t.

Oh… and I put the Indio in there as a joke. I made fun of people who go to craft beer tap rooms and ask for what they can get in a normal dive bar. I mean.. it’s cool. I was at Chips yesterday (my favorite dive bar) drinking Indios. I like Indios… but WHY would you go to a tap room and not get their beer?! I don’t understand this logic. Is like going to a restaurant and asked them if they can bring you some Sabritas. silenus
Silenus as always did not fail. Both beers were delicious. If I remember correclty, Black IPA and Xanthos IPA. Strong brews, with a bit of syrupy taste, but excellent nonetheless.

I kicked Justin’s ass in MarioKart. He cried. He stopped playing. I want to play more. It’s Tap Tuesday today, might as well go to Silenus and play SNES. Street Fighter challengers, step right up.

I also went to BCB with some friends on a Friday. The place was PACKED. I didn’t even know they expanded. And WHOA the prices. Seriously?! No pictures here because I didn’t think I would be writing about it. Got Lupulosas. Took the stereotypical selfie everyone gets in this place.
selfie
(Lol)
The girls I was with ordered seasoned fries (they were bleh fries). We had to keep asking for more ketchup because they give you a tiny container with a buttload of fries. They also got some mushrooms that were ok. Nothing special.

We were sharing one of those large tables with strangers. There were lesbians on a date (one with a very distracting cleavage). They were getting all sorts of food. THEY DIDNT EVEN FINISH IT. They got the whole meat and cheese plate and some chicken wings. None of them looked extraordinary special, but there’s no way you can fuck up a plate of cold cuts and cheese. THE GIRLS LEFT MORE THAN 25% UNTOUCHED!

I also went to In-Ko-Pah 3 on Saturday. Justin grabbed a shit load of Ballast Points. I didn’t know this, his brother works there. So… SCORE! We also stopped by an Albertson’s before camping.. and holy selection!!! I ended up grabbing a 6-pack of randoms for $10. Justin still has like 4 of them.. which reminds me… I should go to his place soon.

Here’s the full In-Ko-Pah album:

For more info on that… I posted on my personal blog what went down.

Finally.. I went to MAMUT again yesterday. And I feel like talking about Mamut.

Yes. Last time I talked a bit of shit about the place because sometimes their brews are horrible. But Mamut has done A LOT for the beer scene in this city. I remember when it first appeared, beers were going for free, then 10 pesos, then 20… So yeah.. it kinda feels like I’m getting robbed paying 60 pesos for it in Plaza or the actual place, yet I can pay 40 for the original location. Which I guess it’s cool.

I know Juan José since he started. I always believed in Mamut and craft beer in Tijuana. He has always been an awesome guy with me. Many times offering his newest batches for free. I have seen Mamut grow from a baby to what it is now. It has expanded insanely quick to include mezcal, wine and food. For a time, Mamut hosted other restaurants and brewers.

Kitchens, cooks, brewers, beertenders, waiters, everyone has come and gone. Staff doesn’t recognize me anymore because they are all new. They only one that stays there is Chapo, the loyal sidekick with a great attitude and a passion for beer. So yes… Mamut can be shit sometimes, but it can also be great. And overall, it’s a fantastic place and I know that Juan Jose has Mamut because he loves beer (yes, more than money).

Like I said. Mamut is a rollercoaster. It has its ups and downs. Sunday, the new pizza convinced me that the kitchen is doing quality now (it was never bad, it was basic and cheap). Their beers were also damn good. So I went again yesterday to the one upstairs.

I wanted Lupulosa, but they ran out. I got the hoppy instead, with the 50/50 burger. I also wanted to try the hot dogs, probably soon. Hoppy Wheat is their best beer right now (not pictured). It tastes like a nice and light pale ale, with not much wheatiness to it, probably single hop. 2016-05-23 19.08.37
AHH you can’t even see the meat in the picture WTF?! The burger is small for it’s price and when I took my first bite, the meat was pinkish and seemed raw. I’m not going to lie… IT WAS GREAT! Not the best burger in town, but damn good. I guess the pinkish comes because the bacon is mixed into the beef. It had baby spinach and I believe arugula as well. But my favorite part is… YOU CAN TASTE THE CHEESE. So many burgers make it so meaty that they forget the cheese is a very important add-on. I forgot to read the description, but I’m guessing it was Mozzarella…

Fries were also good. Chipotle mayo nice and unexpectedly spicy.

After that, I went to the downstairs original Mamut for cheaper beers. Fuck damn… they didn’t have the hoppy wheat 😦

ok… I’ll try the the barley wine. Yep.. yep.. drinkable. Not bad at all.

Ok… Let me try the Doble Red and the Amber Ale.

UNDRINKABLE. Or at least for me. They tasted like cough syrup mixed with tonic water (in a horrible fashion). Both of them tasted bad, with a slight difference of bad. I mean… I usually don’t make assumptions based on a little tiny sampler. I like to drink the whole pint, make sure I get to know the whole beer (not only how it tastes, but how it makes me feel). But yeah… There was no way I was going to waste my money with those beers.

I got the Barley Wine. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. It was straight up decent. Friend got the Imperial Stout. It was good, not much to say about it.

Funny story: while drinking them beers in Pasaje Rodriguez, a cholillo walked by and said “Hey man! Do you play Magic!?!”

HAH! Holy fuck! I do! I mean… I haven’t in forever. But I used too. So he takes out two packages from his bag-pack and says he will sell them to me for 100 pesos. Yes. The cards are most likely stolen from Plaza de la Tecnologia. Fuck it. I’ll buy the three booster packs for kicks. Here they are:
2016-05-24 12.35.39
If you have a store in that Plaza, you have some merchandise stolen, and you happen to read this. You can have them cards back. I know … I know. I already opened them. But hey. It’s better than never seeing them again (there’s two that are valued over a dollar).

After that, Norte Brewing Company for some of that delicious Penthouse. Bumped into more friends and some people visiting from Mexico City. And … we continued the night to Chips.

And now here I am. Typing all this crap. I said I would do it more often and then waited a long ass time to do it. Now this post is ridiculously long. No one reads this much. But fuck it. I wanted to start writing more and more.

ITS TAP TUESDAY! So I’ll go drink beer and write some place else that is not my apartment.

— Matingas