Worth Revisiting: Pastas at Riochia 7 – Fancy Eats at Oryx Capital – Trying Out Army Food Truck –

Sorry. Sometimes I forget I have a blog and that I said I would be writing more about food. This doesn’t pay me… so that doesn’t inspire me to write much. However, maybe by next year, it will turn a profit?

Not sure how that will work, but I’ll try.


I, however, have posted on the ole’ IG. Not much. Just a handful of things after Tuetano Taquería.

This pasta by Bruno Lazcano in Riochia 7.

I wrote with the post:

I was out of town for a week, and when I came back the chaos of the city dissuaded me. Then I had amazing craft beer and ate this delicious pasta at @riochia7and remembered why I love this city so much…


Wow. Didn’t say much. I will later since Riochia 7 is worth revisiting to get more food, especially more pasta!


My other post was of La Cevicheria Nais, place that I go often. They have a new thing on their menu that I keep ordering every time I go.

I wrote: Arabian shrimp taco.
It’s pricey. It’s worth it. Only at @lacorrientenais

Short and simple. It worked. Got over 100 likes.


Also, posted some random street tacos. I had just bought a new lens and I wanted to play with it.

Another short and simple post, I wrote: 2 de adobada y 2 de suadero con todo in one of the countless downtown taquerias. Only $3 for all. Quality. Meh. But filling!

There are so many similar downtown taquerias it’s tough to choose the right one. For the most part, they are all decent and cheap.


Then… for the first time in more than a year, I went to Oryx Capital. It was delightful. I went with a girl who I started to date and quickly dissipated into nothing (but for my personal shit, I have my other blog).

I wrote: I haven’t gone to Oryx in a long long time (over a year). I am glad I visited them. The bone marrow is as good as Plascencia’s in Finca Altozano, Yellowtail aguachile with squid ink and serrano is superb, and the roasted cauliflower with cheese+bacon be a tasty tasty thing.

It was seriously really fucking good. Obviously on the pricey side. Worth it.


And finally… I visited Army Food Truck Sandwiches.

That’s what I ordered.

BOLD MOVE.

Ordering a Philly Cheesesteak in Tijuana. Or actually ordering any type of sandwich in Tijuana. I don’t think this city can do tortas very well and there are not that many sandwich options around.

I got two halves for 190 pesos, one Philly cheesesteak regular, the other had chipotle (and no cheese). The regular cheesesteak was better, but it was nowhere a true Philly. It’s not like I’m an expert on cheesesteaks, but it wasn’t as cheesy or beefy as I would like. Green peppers and onions were great. The other thing that was damn great was the bread. It was nice, soft, and warm, with some fluffiness to it, and well seasoned. Bread was fucking killer.

I couldn’t finish them in that sitting. Left them home and they retained the taste (or perhaps improved) while I wolfed it all down when I got back home from the bars.

And this place offers a HUGE VARIETY of sandwiches and others on their menu. Chicken sandwiches, cold cuts, vegan, wraps, salads, and massive carne asada fries. Usually, when a place has too much in a menu, not all of it’s good. The Philly cheesesteak was more than decent, but nothing something I will go back for.

I am curious about other sandwiches though.

Oh. But I will probably order it to go. They took a while to prepare the sandwich and while we waited they blasted horrible pop music that made it difficult for me to stay there.

I went with a friend and that’s what he ordered. Eww. Avocado.

I tried pieces of chicken and bacon. Bacon was better than your usual shitty supermarket bacon, so that was nice. The chicken was just your shitty pieces of chicken, grilled with little to no flavor.

My friend said he probably won’t go back or maybe in more than a year. He wasn’t disappointed but also not impressed.

North of the Border – Back to Tacos and Beer – Tuétano Taquería and Latchkey Brewing

It is rare to cross north of the border for tacos. Much more to cross just to San Ysidro for tacos…

But south of San Diego has been having a slow revival. Breweries and restaurants opening up where there was nothing but chain crap and abandoned businesses.

I crossed the border for work. No pictures of burgers this time. It was pictures of other stories. My job is not always as great as just take pictures of burgers and get to eat them.

Nah.

I had to drive far.

It was still fun. Had to take pictures at a concert. But that’s another story and another job.


Before I did the drive, I stopped by Tuétano Taquería, the new taco place in San Ysidro.

It’s a far walk from the border, but I was craving this place since I first heard of it at the beginning of the year…

I met Priscilla, the owner, earlier in the year in a private dinner at Toshi Toshi with a group of foodies. I’ve been following her on Instagram before but I have no idea how it started. Oh wow. She has 21k followers. Follow her HERE @VainillaMXNA

Priscilla is an accomplished chef with the dream of opening a taquería in San Ysidro. After years and years of planning and working to make it happen, she finally opened the doors to Tuétano Taquería a couple weeks ago.


TUETANO is BONE MARROW for those who that didn’t know.


And some of you don’t even know what bone marrow is…

If you never had it… think of it as steak flavored butter. It’s the goopy inside part of the bone which is all fat and nutritious. It’s not for everyone, but I enjoy it.


The first taco I ordered was the one I saw trending online… birria taco with bone marrow on top.

You grab the bone marrow.

And poke the delicious goop meat.

Through the hole.

BAM!

Delicious.

But the taste of the birria overpowered it that I felt like I rather have just marrow…


Great greasy taco. Small. Better than some birria in Tijuana. Great tortilla. Wish it was double.

$2.50 for the taco $2.50 goes for the extra bone marrow.


The menu is a mix and match whatever you want.

There’s birria, arrachera, quesadillas, cochinita, rajas, and several others. You can top it all with a bone marrow.

The place is a small location in San Ysidro and as of now, it feels sort of empty. It needs to be lived in a bit more. The kitchen is tuck away in the corner and you see all Mexican señoras working the comal and making tortillas and the rest.

Next thing I got.

And… that’s a no for me.

Much better.

If you don’t get it. You don’t know me.


Delicious arrachera. Delicious spicy salsa. Ok cheese.

One more.

Dirty cochinita!

Let’s add some limon to that.

Again, small and delicious.

I thought I was ready to eat 7 more. But I oddly fell satisfied. Both the cochinita and the birria are greasy disasters. Add to that more fat with the bone marrow. And you have deceiving tiny tacos.

Cochinita could use more of that acidic cochinita kick. My neighbor’s mom used to make cochinita and memories might betray me, but that was some really great cochinita. And the flavor lingers in your mouth forever.

This one did. But softly. I tasted the taco later while I was working at the concert.

All in all, some of the best simple tacos you’ll find north of the border at a more than decent price. It hurts when you are used to Tijuana prices, but for San Diego it should be considered cheap.


My suggestion for myself for next time. Get two tortillas ($1) and two bone marrows (for $5) and ask for a cup of frijoles puercos that SHOULD BE IN THE MENU.

Priscilla told me how she makes the beans with marrow and they sound so fatty and delicious…

So that’s my idea.

Make two beans and marrow tacos. Sprinkle some salt. Go to town.

Arrachera, pibil, or birria also great choices.

And I’m sure the vegetarian choices are great as well.


I’M SO HUNGRY NOW!


Another not so exciting photography gig took me to Mission Hills a few days later. I took the trolley.

Near the Washington Trolley Station is the old Mission Brewery, San Diego’s oldest brewery.

Except it is not.

After doing the gig, I walked back to the trolley and decided to check it out.


The old brewery changed to other brands a few times and since April (I think) of this year, it has become Latchkey Brewery.

The main brewer is old Ballast Point brewer, which is fucking PROMISING AS FUCK!

Oh.

And Latchkey delivers.

Oh boy! Do they deliver!

First.

All pints are $6

Just that. $6.

And a flight of four?

$6

I got me a pint of their “It’s My Jam” Berliner Weisse with raspberries and black currants. Fucking fresh red pinkish sour with a 6%

Refreshing and deceiving.

They had around 8 IPA or IPA similar tasting beers (NEIPA APA ETCIPA). I had a flight of four.

I didn’t take notes because I’m lazy. So I’ll tell you what I remember.

They all had a unique taste. I think it was the hops used that I never had before. Cashmere and Ella. Especially Cashmere. It has a funky unique taste to it. They were all tasty but not like other IPAs. Couldn’t quite figure out why.


I got a crowler of the Berliner Weisse and went to catch the trolley.

Except I missed it so I decided to kill 10 more minutes at the brewery.

Ordered two more samples of I forgot which ones and same uniqueness to it. Chugged them and went back to the trolley happy with my crowler.


I opened the crowler three days later. I might have been a day too late. It wasn’t as fresh and lively as poured directly from the tap.

Still delicious. But it gave it a more soda-like quality.


And now I head out to a Tijuana Saturday.

The city is changing A FUCKING LOT that it is TOO MUCH TO FUCKING KEEP UP!

Norte is celebrating their third anniversary. They are opening a kitchen and two new beers.

I’m going to go try that right now before the city gets all wild.

Also.

Because I’m hungry right now.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Burgers Part 4: Best San Diego (IMHO) Burger Revealed – Cali O Burgers, Craft House, Tom Ham’s Lighthouse – Enjoying? Let Me Know!

I waited another week to continue my burger mission. I was feeling much better, but the idea of burgers was still not the most appetizing.


I ended up in Cali O Burgers, famous for their bison burger. Buy some burgers. Or bison burger? Buy some burgers!

Buy some bison burgers!

The first bison burger I remember was in Taylors Falls in Minnesota. OH YEAH! WTF?! Minnesota in a Tijuana/San Diego food blog!?

Well fuck. I was over there with some friends. This was around a decade ago. Time goes fast.

And I just googled the place. My memory doesn’t lie. It looks exactly the same. Check it out.

That place had bison burgers. And we bought some burgers. And we kept repeating bison burgers, buy some burgers, buy some bison burgers!

And that’s my stupid story about bison burgers!


I didn’t get a bison burger. So my story was pointless.

I got the beef burger.

A simple delicious beef burger.

Downed with Elysian’s Space Dust IPA.

I really like that beer. I know Elysian sold out. But that Space Dust is delicious.


The burger was good. I wish I got the bison, might have been more special. If I go back, it would be for that.

My appetite was back. I was glad for that. Not that much appetite for two burgers, but at least to eat a whole one and feel normal after that. I finished the burger and went to the next place.


Next place was Craft House inside Rip Current. It was a bit weird because there was a bit of miscommunication with the owner. I thought he was expecting me, but he wasn’t expecting me, but at the end, it all worked out.

I didn’t eat the burger, but I did have a couple of great beers. 

And of course, the photoshoot.

MLEM!

Even more MLEM!

The chef insisted I take it home. So I did.


I was going to have it for breakfast or give it to someone (Hola Marifer!) but I’m glad I didn’t. But while editing the pictures I got really hungry and there wasn’t much to eat at home.

Two burgers in one day after being sick with burgers. Yeah. I wasn’t craving it. I didn’t want a burger.

But I decided to have a couple of bites to calm my hunger and to continue editing. I ate 1/5 of it and it was tasty as fuck.

Went back to editing pics… and suddenly I craved it again.

Gave it a few more bites and left half of it. For the morning or just for later.


After I finished editing, I put Netflix on to go to bed. That’s how I sleep. With Netflix as background noise.

But while watching The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes… I craved the burger again.

Something about the bacon… and the sauce. And the meat patty. So well balanced. Such a perfect creation.

I gobbled it all down like a madman. Fulfilling all my taste buds.

My love for burgers came back, albeit, it has to be high-quality burgers. Yep. I became more of a princess. But seriously, Craft House delivers a mean fucking delicious burger. So good, that even after some hours of sitting on the delivery bag, and for a dude who got food poisoning on burgers and never really wanted burgers again… Craft House made me believe.


Craft House is definitely a place I will go back for burgers and beer. North Park is an area that I actually do wander in sometimes. And I was sick of the same places. This is a nifty corner tucked away a few blocks from the main corners where the hipster tourist mania has been occurring.


After that, I still had at least one more place to go to fulfill my mission. And my appetite was back. I took a break for a day and went back for the last burger.

I made it across very early so I had more than an hour to kill before heading to Tom Ham’s Lighthouse.


The trolley dropped me off at Santa Fe Depot. I decided to be a tourist and walked around Seaport Village. Caught me some Magikarp that I was missing and made my walk to Tom Ham’s.

It’s a very long walk.

A very very long walk…

I decided that halfway there I’ll just grab a scooter since I have the Bird app and I saw dozens before.

Nope.

Once I hit the halfway point, I didn’t see any more scooters of that brand.

I was a mile away and I was about to be late. And I was FUCKING tired. I seriously thought I walked more than that my iPhone told me. So I gave up and called a Lyft for the final stretch.

What an old man.


They were expecting me at Tom Ham’s. Lunch was half full so I had one section of the restaurant to do the photoshoot. They offered me a beer. I obliged and got a Batch 6 strawberry apricot sour by Belching Beaver.

It was murky and great. While waiting for the burger, I had an idea for the photo.

Great view huh?

Well… this is what happened when the burger arrived.

This is what happened when the burger arrived.

It was one of my favorite photoshoots.

I sort of want to print it out and frame it…

Even without the view, the burger pics look amazing.

All angles. Just super photogenic burger and place.

And one of my favorites because I like catching myself in the reflection.


So how was the burger?!

I ate half of it at the restaurant. It was great. A bit of a difficult to bite since it is a tower. But give it a big squeeze, put one tomato on a side, and that tower turned a bit smaller. Still a huge fulfilling burger. And a great burger that is. It’s no Craft House, but the views make up for it.

And a place with such views you would expect the prices to be outrageous. Nah. they were reasonable.

Also, they served me the first beer, but they also brought me different beers to go with the burger.

The story requested a brown ale and an IPA. So I got three beers…

At least I wasn’t driving. But I had to deliver the pics to the office.

Got a box to go for half my burger, then headed to the office, then to meet a friend because I was spent the night in San Diego so I wouldn’t be late to the burger fest the following morning.


At that friend’s house, I got hungry at midnight. I wolfed down the other half of the burger over the sink.

It might be that some burgers taste better if they’ve been sitting for a while. It might be that might appetite is weird. It might be that I get more enjoyment eating like a god damn pig that civilized in a restaurant. But that burger tasted better like that (I also remove some of the caramelized onions as I found they were too many).


The following day was the burger fest!

And I already wrote about that.

Because I blog in reverse.

Go read it here.


Craft House gets my award (the official Tijuana Adventure award!) of San Diego’s best burger. And since San Diego is Tijuana and Tijuana is San Diego, Craft House is the best burger of the region.

My other love, The Friendly burger. I just had it this weekend and it wasn’t as good as I remembered it. But it was still the delicious cheap greaseball that I love. And I loved it again.

Until September of next year… if I still have the same gig. Or if I have a gig similar to this gig. Or if people actually start paying me for writing shit.


It’s Monday. Time to work.

Enjoying this stupid blog and the pictures?

Let me know in the comments!

Seriously. Let me know.

Burgers Part 3: The Not So Really Burgers – Ramen Burger and the Loco Moco – Common Theory and Trade Winds Tavern

A week passed and I was still pretty disgusted with burgers…


I kept it easy and slow. Avoided burgers at all costs. Then crossed the border to get two in a row.

And because I am a dumbass without a car, I had to take public transit. Hit two places that were near to each other. All the way to Kearny Mesa.


First stop, Common Theory.

The burger here… A ramen burger.

Not only a ramen burger.

One with kimchi, scallion cream cheese, gravy, and a sunny side up egg.

This is what that monstrosity looks like.

Close up.

And cutting into the egg!

That is the owner poking the egg with the fork.

He hovered near me for some of the shoot, which many times I actually dislike, but Cris turned out to be an awesome dude. That is his name. Cris Liang.

Yes. He is Chinese. And we got talking about Tijuana… and wait a minute. This dude spoke perfect Spanish. He was actually born in Rosarito!

So I guess he is Chinese/Mexican/American serving a burger influenced by South Korea and South USA?

Anyway.

The burger.

The burger is not really a burger. And it is one monstrous thing. Despite that a week went by… burgers were still a bit eek to me.

This one you obviously can’t pick up. It’s a knife and fork endeavor. The meat patty was delicious, the kimchi could have been more kimchish (stronger), gravy combo with scallions was great, and an egg is always welcome. Ramen as hamburger buns… meh. Not really. I wasn’t loving it.

Clever idea, but I don’t think I can call this thing a burger (even though I just did 20 times). The same thing could have been accomplished if it didn’t have a burger form. It’s very creative and awesome to look at. Doubt that hamburger buns would work, so I guess no option but ramen. It’s pretty out there. It’s pretty damn good.

The place had a GIANT menu and I saw other food going by. Some chubby dude next to me was going at some fried chicken that smelled delicious. The beer/bar menu is also gigantic. A couple on a date were drinking wine to the left of me (though this place didn’t seem like a wine place). If I ever go back, I don’t think I would get the burger since there were many other options.

If… I ever go back. It’s really out of the way for me.

The bar is ALSO great. The place, in general, had a great vibe. Though it’s in a strip mall, it doesn’t feel like it. Definitely some of the best in the area. Because… well… that area doesn’t have much.

Oh.

And that ramen burger would be a hit in Tijuana. This city loves its gimmicks. The whole place would be very welcome here.


I didn’t finish the burger. I ate most of it. That’s very unlike me. But again, my appetite was still low. Which totally sucked, because I had another burger to photograph.


I walked to my next destination. Trying to walk off the burger and get hungry again.

I didn’t.


The other place was Trade Winds Tavern. Again, in a strip mall. Kearny Mesa is an odd place.

The writer got the Loco Moco. It looked like this.

I’ve never heard of a Loco Moco. Apparently, it’s a Hawaiian thing. I’m not very fond of Hawaiian food. This looks delicious… but at the time, with absolutely no appetite, it wasn’t looking great.

Also, it isn’t a burger.

Yes. There is a burger patty in there… but come on!

Then spam, gravy, bacon, and an egg (on a bed of fried rice). Sounds like a delicious hefty breakfast to me. Not late dinner with a beer.

Also.

IT ISN’T A BURGER!

I was confused, especially because my assignment was to take pictures of burgers.

I took a bunch of pictures of the Loco Moco.

Then went back to the bar and asked if they had it in burger form. They didn’t. I asked if they could make it and the chef said yes. He came up with an awesome burger. Looked even better than the real Loco Moco plate. I suggest they add it to their menu.


BUT AGAIN!

I wasn’t hungry…

Chad came to the rescue and though he said he wasn’t hungry, as soon as I was done taking pictures, he wolfed it all down as if he was starving.

And honestly, I would have too… If it was normal me. Look at how good this burger looks. I made it look good, but I trust that it was also very good.

That looks like a damn proper burger.

Fries with parmesan also looked great.

I tried to add some scenery. The editors like scenery.

The burger glistening under the sun.

I asked for some help from the bartender to do the holding the burger shot. The egg dripped immediately.

Drip.

That was one of my favorite pictures.

I also developed a mini-crush on the bartender. She was adorable.

Then Chad crushed the burger.

Sorry if a bit gross of a picture.


After that, we probably went to Bitter Brothers. That’s a great brewery. But writing about it will be for another time.


It’s Saturday and I just had two mini Tijuana Adventures in a row. Chad came down on Thursday and I was out until 2 a.m.

Then my friend Joey came down late last night.

I was up until 2 a.m.

Both times, though I retire from tour guiding, I still do it. But it’s with friends. It’s different. I enjoy it like that. I actually enjoyed it with strangers as well. I’m just lazy and needed a break.


My favorite burger that rescued my appetite and gave me the confidence that I will eat burgers again comes tomorrow.

I really loved that burger…

Burgers part 4 and maybe final part tomorrow!

 

 

Burgers Part 2: A Food Bloggers Nightmare – No Tj Burgers, San Diego Only – MishMash and The Royale Reviewed

Burgers explained.


I was supposed to work on a text about the best burgers in Tijuana. That was going to be my third year doing a write-up.

The problem is, Tijuana doesn’t have that many great burgers, and I cannot repeat a place.

Everyone recommended Slow Burger… but here’s the thing. I don’t like it. They are not good burgers. It’s not a good restaurant in general. I am thinking of giving it YET another chance, but it’s been like 5 chances already.

But again, people love Carls Jr. So there’s that.


I chose a few places to write about and one in San Diego. The Friendly.

The Friendly was going to be my intro and say that there is not a burger in Tijuana that is as good and solid as The Friendly, which is the shittiest best burger one can ever have. It’s dirty. It’s cheap. It’s a greaseball. And you cannot modify it.

It’s Randy BoBandy’s ideal of a burger. Junk perfection. Go get one.


Then I was going to mention that there are some burger places in Tijuana that are worth it.

So I started my investigation.

And…

The first burger got me really sick.

LIKE REALLY SICK.

Warning. You might wanna skip between the next lines.


SKIP.


I’m not going to disclose the place because I believe it was a stupid mistake. I’ve eaten there before and I was fine. Not this time. This time… it was horrible.

I had the burger. It tasted fine. It was going to be a positive write-up. It was a normal evening. Went home and felt like always felt (in a deep pit of depression… I’m kidding).

At 4 a.m…. my stomach started bothering me. Like a sharp pain in the gut. Knives. Knives perforating under the skin.

Got up. Went to the toilet. Exploded. Painfully.

Felt gross. Thought it was over. Went back to bed.

Less than an hour later, the pain was back. I tried to ignore it and tried to go back to sleep. Nope. Decided to get up for an Alka-Seltzer, and as soon as I got up… I felt it. The pain was worse than before.

Ran to the sink. And barfed. Barfed. Barfed. Barfed like a mother fucker. Just kept barfing until I almost filled it up with barf.

It hurt so much I was crying. It felt so fucking gross.

I showered. And cried. While barfing in the shower.

My stomach was empty. The knives were still there. And I kept barfing.


CONTINUE.


After that, I told the editor and the gang of writers that I was out. I couldn’t even eat or smell a burger. The idea of it sounded disgusting…

But of course, a few days later I had to be in charge of the photography.

I was sick for a couple of weeks. Anything I ate, my stomach wasn’t happy. I tried to eat healthier and calmer. It helped, but it was still bad. My burger and food craving, in general, was at its lowest.

GREAT!

Nightmare: A food blogger with absolutely no appetite.


Still. Work calls me. And my gig is sweet. I had a list of fourteen burger places to visit. I wanted to hit them all up. Then I saw how difficult that was as a task ahead and ended up going to eight. Not bad.

Pictures are GREAT!

Some of my favorites.

And I get to try some of the best burgers in San Diego. And I have a favorite one for sure. The one that revived my appetite and made me not lose all hope that burgers disgust me from now on. I’m just… really fucking picky.


The first burger I had was at MishMash in Barrio Logan.

Highlights: The mother fucking cheese is DELICIOUS!

Here’s the owner handing me the burger:

When I got there… I was still a bit disgusted by burgers. And this is a monster burger. It started fine, then I noticed that it was very spicy. I thought it was the sauce, but noped. More bites. Ok. There’s habanero in there somewhere.

I mentioned the spicy to the chef. Oh yeah.

They make their own cheese. And the one I got was infused with habanero. REALLY nice kick.

I couldn’t wolf it all down like my prefer eating method because… again… my appetite was low. But I finished the burger. And when I was done… I didn’t feel good.

NOT THE BURGER’S FAULT. My stomach was just not cooperating.


No need to skip.

It wasn’t horrible as the last time.


After that, a stranger joined me for the second burger. That stranger, Marta!


I had the idea of creating like some sort of food club. That way we can all go to one place, get a lot from the same menu, and have conversations about food.

Also, I can take tons of pics.

I’m busy, so I haven’t been able to form this club. But many people seemed interested.

Marta was one of them.

So she joined me for my burger quest.


Second on the list was The Royale in Mission Beach. Marta picked me up and we drove there.

This burger looked REALLY good. I actually wanted to eat it. It is smaller and it just looked jampacked with flavor. It looked more like the burger I needed with my weak stomach instead of the monstrosity at MishMash. But as much as I wanted for my beast of an appetite to be there… it wasn’t.

Told you it looked good.

I tried the onion rings. They were good damn onion rings.

And the restaurant is beautiful in general. Super nice aesthetic. So nice, that while we were there, a large group of people with cameras arrived. A meetup group called @BeersandCameras. They were all shooting film. There are some behind the scenes of me taking pictures of the burgers on my personal Instagram here.


Yes. Marta enjoyed the burger. And I enjoyed the company.

My old roommate, the Chadmaster joined us.


And turns out. He is good friends with the owners of this place.

And it turns out… they previously crashed in my apartment.

And it turns out… that he got the same burger.

Look at that beauty.


Despite not fucking trying it… I rank it as one of the best burgers out there.

Seriously.

Just from the smell, the pictures, and the groans of satisfaction of Marta and Chad (hahaha I made it sound gross). It’s also cute. I like those type of pickles. Mustard seeds look amazing. Bacon, onions, and cheese. Fuck.

I know I’ll have to try it.

Again. My appetite was non-existent.


One burger revived it and made me believe in burgers again. That one burger… on the next post.


To read what other writers wrote about the burgers, click here!

 

 

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.


 

 

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.