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 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!

 

 

Sorry mom, but XXX sales…

I must admit it, the idea of Tijuana Adventure is to show you the art, music, locals, etc. What I called the real Tijuana. But obviously, sex sales. My family told me I shouldn’t be doing it, but the main interest for many travelers is Tijuana’s Zona Norte (Red Light District). I had my first solo client for the XXX tour. He came all the way from New York, read much about Tijuana and really wanted to go to Zona Norte. The tour started way earlier than I would ever expect to do a nighttime tour, because it started at noon. The client needed to be back to America before 6 p.m. We started with the usual downtown tour, so he got a taste of the real Tijuana, then we ventured down to where he wanted to go, the famous Zona Norte. There’s a lot of brothels/strip clubs/whore houses there, call it what you want, you get the idea. There’s some that are the best and famous worldwide, there’s others that are virtually unknown and have little to no customers as of yet. My client read about a few of them, but due to the hour, the only good choices were the top 2 in all of Tijuana. I had a complete blast with the New Yorker that I felt bad for charging any money for my tours. But he was so grateful that he gave me a $$$ tip that I did not expect at all.

He made me realize the potential that XXX tours have, especially for daytime hours and on the weekdays. So I expect to start giving way more tours like that, though the main goal is for people to know that Tijuana is more than just that. It’s a great growing city with magnificent art, music and culture. All the beauty hidden behind a horrible façade of scary tourist traps, poverty stricken areas and sense of danger that does not exist if you are on tour with me.