Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 22 — Conclusion. 

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Chapter 22. Conclusion. 

I just turned 32-years-old. Facebook posts from friends and people I haven’t talked to in years are posting congratulations on my wall.

I usually hate my birthday. People give too much importance to it. Which puts pressure on having a good time. But it’s just a day. Worse. It’s a Wednesday. And I have some work to do. Work that I don’t want to do. 


Last birthday, I got drunk as fuck early during the day and passed out in the early afternoon. I don’t know why birthdays depress me. 

 

This year, I’m just trying to let it be. I don’t feel as depressed as other birthdays past. 

 

I don’t understand people that like their birthdays.

 

What is to like about getting older? 

 

Count it.

 

I’ve lived for 11, 680 days.

 

Toddler years don’t really count. 

 

I’ve lived for 9855 days.


It seems like a waste.


 

What’s next? 

 

Nothing is next. The same as always. Beer and tacos. Beer and tacos. Beer and tacos.


 

I read all I wrote for the past months. I repeat myself a lot.

 

I repeat myself a lot.

 

I repeat myself a lot.


 

Many stories are missing. Many bachelor parties blend into one. I got three emails about bachelor parties this week. That’s not a common occurrence. 


I just rejected one. They wanted a tour for this Friday. Replied that I’m booked. I’m not really booked. I just didn’t like the way he emailed me. Also, he wanted a bachelor party and strip clubs, no mention of craft beers or fancy food. 

 

I feel like I am retiring from those.

 

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my tours.

 

I’m not sure what I’m doing with all this crap I’m writing.

 

I do have to work Saturday morning. So fuck doing a bachelor tour Friday night…


 

Next tour is in a week. Old couples. Much more my speed. Craft beer, street tacos, fancy eats, Tijuana views, and perhaps a dive bar. 

No more craziness. 


Ted’s Story.

 

One last crazy bachelor story. 


 

We had to carry Ted across the border. This was probably my favorite bachelor party. I was hired by the best man, who had a Chinese name. I was nervous that it was going to be a Chinese tour.

 

Nah. Of course, they were Chinese Americans. And not all of them. It was around 8 guys, half of them were white boys. 


 

Fuck. My bachelor tours blend so much, that I don’t remember if one of the white boys was a reformed yoga teacher. I’m thinking that’s from a different tour, but for the sake of this fucking story, he was a part of that group.

The yoga white boy had long greyish beard and hair, wore sandals, and other hippie bullshit. Apparently, he was recently married and he had all been doing his yoga persona for a couple of years. Before that, he was a businessman that was always clean-shaven and it was all about the money.


 

Yoga white boy was quiet for most of the tour. Barely drinking. Being a hippy. Peacefully observing the bachelor party mess.


 

It wasn’t much of a mess. It was the classics. Tacos, beers, cocktails, tequila shots for the bachelor, party, party, party.

And then! 

To the strip clubs.


We got to Hong Kong and I grab a table for the whole group. Then took a couple of the guys and the bachelor, Ted, to get him a couple of girls.

 

That’s what I usually do at bachelor parties. Grab the best man or a couple of the guys in the party, find hot girls for the bachelor, sit him down, and have the first lap dance.

 

From there on, the party always splits and they do their own debauchery.


 

With Ted… we walked to the back. He sat down where they were doing the show de espuma. Imma gunna repeat myself once more. Show de espuma is two or more naked chicks covered in shaving cream that you can finger for a dollar. It’s fucking nasty. 


It’s really fucking nasty. I went with a good friend from my hometown when he came for a short visit years ago. It was Monday, so not much was open and I always have to show people that are new to Tijuana to Hong Kong. The first girl we saw had the most beautiful pussy I’ve seen… no panties. Just pussy. I remember my friend’s face lit up like he just saw the face of god and it only cost him one dollar to see it.

 

Later that same night, I remember watching the show de espuma, but not watching the girls… just watching the audience. The wolf hungry audience. 25-30 horny men salivating at two naked young girls. Throwing money. 

 

I am sure the girls in there are in drugs. This shit is a bit extreme. $5 and you can grab a dildo and go to town with them. Guys sometimes delve in and lick the pussy that is covered in shaving cream while the girls slide around the stage for another guy to do the same. So many dirty fingers being shoved in exchanged for money, and then they lick that…

That’s the show de espuma.

 

You can understand why I want to retire from this shit.


Another story that went missing was with some Canadians. Just three guys. Not a bachelor party. Just a Tijuana Adventure that ended in Hong Kong. Many tours ended up there and not necessarily were they bachelor parties. 

One of the three Canadians was an extremely good looking dude. We were drinking beers at Plaza Fiesta, because back then, Plaza Fiesta was actually good. Two cute short Mexican girls approached him (and his friend) while I was talking to the Moroccan-Canadian dude. The girls were really cute, and the dude blew them off. And after asked me, “those were hookers, right?”

 

NO DUDE! They fucking weren’t! They were two cute girls that wanted you…

 

That night… we did end up in Hong Kong with hookers… The Moroccan-Canadian dude was so happy spending $5 to grab a dildo and go to town with the girls in the show de espuma. He thought it was two pumps and done. NOPE! You can really go to fucking town with them. 

 

The Moroccan-Canadian dude came back. My tours blend so much and I’ve done plenty that I didn’t even notice him. It was halfway through the tour that he was like, “yo, remember me? We toured together before!” And I came to the realization of who he was. He was with a different group that time… 


 

Fucking tours.


 

Well…

Ted sat in front of the show de espuma. I told his friends to give him money so I can give it to Ted so he can go to town. I yelled at the girls on the show de espuma that it was his bachelor party and show them a $20. They didn’t fucking hesitate. They knew there was more money to be thrown. One of them instantly climbed on Ted covering the poor guy on shaving cream and the other said: “let’s grab him and put him on stage.”

 

So I helped Ted go on stage and told his friends near me that this is going to get out of control.

 

They stripped Ted down to his underwear. Ted was wasted. He was loving the stage and did a little dance with the girls. Then they laid him down on his back, one climbed on his face, and the other climbed on his cock (with boxers still on). And they started grinding and performing other things… 

 

When this shit started to happen, I ran to the table (that was at the other far end of the strip club) to tell all of Ted’s friends what was going on. 

 

They all went to check it out, leaving behind sunglasses, jackets, and other shit on the table. So I stayed behind with the best man. We discuss what will happen in the next few hours for the bachelor party and while figuring shit out… We saw him.

 

Ted was fucking running around the strip club down to his underwear covered in fucking shaving cream, literally fucking running like a little kid, screaming “I AM GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW WOOOO I AM GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW!!!!” 

 

It was a hilarious view. 

 

The bachelor party kept going. Ted kept getting wasted. At some point, we thought we had lost him. And that’s when we saw him with a girl that was trying to take him up to the room though he was WASTED beyond capabilities of deciding what to do. Luckily, we found him and stopped him. The girl was pissed, but Ted gave her some money anyway. 


 

Not even midnight and it was time to go back. We had to carry Ted to the border. Poor guy couldn’t walk. 


What happened with the white yoga hippy dude? Well… that was a different tour. But the point of that hippy dude was that I ended up losing him on that tour.

 

He was supposedly the calmest most chill dude. But when we arrived in Hong Kong, he fucking disappeared. I didn’t hear from him that night. I had to split the party in two. Part of the party stayed in Hong Kong while I took the rest to the border.

 

I was told that they found him hours later. Apparently, he went up to the rooms with a couple of girls. And repeated. And repeated. 

 

Hippy dude had a thing for threesomes. 


 

And that’s barely a tip on the iceberg of what Tijuana can provide. 


 

Libertarian hedonism stuck in fake progress. 

 

So much change, so little change, the dollar still rules supreme. 

 

Anarchy. Drugs. Sex. Sleepless City. Murder. Drugs. Drugs. Sex. Sex. 

 

Craft Beer. Fancy Baja-Med cuisine. Amazing street tacos. 


 

I just got an email asking about barbershops. There are so many barbers in this city. It’s fucking wild how many barbers there. A tour client that later became a friend comes from Los Angeles to get a haircut and his beard shaven. The fucker can’t even grow a beard! 

 

But he still comes for the weekend with that excuse. Then he just enjoys the city.


 

And enjoy the city I will. It’s my birthday, which doesn’t really mean crap. I want to play tennis again. I’ve been playing tennis with my buddy. Yes. I won the first game… and the last two… We tied!

 

We had a tie-breaker on the one before last, and I think I won… But it was more of a tie.

 

And this last game, it was just a straight-up tie. One set each. Third set and the score was 6-6. Instead of playing the tiebreaker… we just left it at that. It was also getting dark that we could barely see the ball.


Then we had beers, more beers, saw a couple friend, told them it was my birthday, more drinks, a couple of joints, and then home. With el Pinche Kevin. I barely beat him on tennis, but I own him on Super Smash Bros. I fucking beat him with Jigglypuff against Cloud. He beat me right after that… but HAH! 

 

Jigglypuff!


 

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Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 19. An Actual Guide Part 1: Tacos + Beer. Nevermind… Cocktails.

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Chapter 19. An Actual Guide Part 1: Tacos + Beer. Nevermind… Cocktails.

 

I’m almost done with my text for the taco issue. I went to food porn places that some dude on Instagram name @Baja_Cali_Food posted. His food porn always made me salivate… so I went to check out the places. One of them (El Nuevo Tecolote) is one of the best tacos I’ve had. The rest were more than okay… but I still prefer my neighborhood tacos.

Up next, going to San Diego to take pictures of tacos by other writers and the cover photo. 

I have a sweet gig going. 


 

This is my third year doing the taco issue. And it will be my second taco cover…. Tacover… 

 

Dumb.

 

The first tacover was at my friend’s taco/torta truck named Corazón de Torta. I didn’t choose the location, someone in the office did. Turns out they are cousins.

 

A sneaky way to make the cover.

 

And my hand was on the cover.


 

Corazón de Torta was barely opening and it wasn’t that great… but I’ve been back recently and holy shit… I can easily say they have the best tongue taco in the region, better than most of Tijuana, and only beaten by Birrieria Guadalajara in Ensenada.

 

Guadalajara has the best tacos de lengua I have ever tried. 


But this is not about Guadalajara or San Diego. This is mostly about Tijuana and just a bit of Ensenada. I do declare sir! Tijuana has the best tacos in the mother fucking world.

 

Just hands down.

 

Best fucking tacos in the world. 

 

And I’m going to take it a step further… 

 

We even have the best fucking beer in the world.

 

An outrageous fucking claim… but that’s the reason I live here.

 

And it is all insanely cheap! Especially if you earn dollars.

 

Fuck do I love this city.


 

And most people only come to fuck prostitutes and leave.

 

Not knowing the food and beer paradise behind the dirty streets.

 

It’s fucking crazy how much food and drinking there is.


 

Tijuana’s cocktail game is not to par with other places in the world. I can only name less than a handful that prepares great cocktails and just a dozen places that can perhaps make a cocktail.

 

Let’s get that shit out of the way.

 

Nortico, the speakeasy behind Oryx Capital probably has the best cocktails… but they pricey!

 

It’s a great experience to take people to Oryx… then lead them to the bathroom… and to the secret green wall. Every once in a while I meet people that know about Oryx and still don’t know about the speakeasy. Drinks here are going to cost $10+ each. That’s fucking dollars. So yeah. Pricey but worth it.

 

Tras / Horizonte follows closely. They had a bartender from San Francisco that ended up being an alcoholic and fell in love with a girl that I dated briefly… now they live somewhere else.

 

Fucking Tijuana.

 

Anyway. Their cocktails are flashy, very inspired, and good… but lack the alcohol taste. I’ve probably drank a couple and felt nothing. Also. Pricey. Drinks are actually better priced than the food… Maybe because Tras / Horizonte used to be Kokopelli, which used to be so fucking good and cheap. And now it hurts to pay almost triple for their tacos… when a few years back were better and way cheaper…

 

By the way.

 

Everything might have changed by the time you read this. Everything might change fucking tomorrow.

 

This city changes way too fast.


 

What I try to do in my tours… is download the map of the city that my brain has… into other people’s brains.

 

But that’s impossible.

 

We’re not machines… not just yet.

 

But I do have a map similar to Metroid Prime’s Gamecube style of mapping. The 3D map. If you played the game you know the joys of navigating that map. In fact… they did everything in that game. It should be played more. I should play more Metroids…


 

Continuing with the cocktail list… let’s keep it simple. The other two were not in downtown Tijuana… and downtown is my stomping grounds.

 

Bar Nelson. Find me there on a regular basis… though less and less each day since there is no oxygen in the bar, only cigarette smoke. I’m going to die of lung cancer before any of those fucking smokers. 

 

Bar Nelson is fucking cheap. Cocktail experts… not really. It’s a divey bar and the main bartender and owner knows what they are doing. They can whip up a cocktail. Erica makes a great fucking margarita. And everyone goes for the “especiales” which used to be called “mamadas” years before. 

 

They’ve had the same especial for decades. Old people go to Nelson. Young people go to Nelson. It’s a spectacle.

 

And I’m that asshole that plays jazz in the jukebox. 

 

It happened yesterday.

 

The bartender, Liz, lost the toin coss, so she said “go play jazz.” She hates jazz. Almost everyone hates jazz. I don’t get it.

 

I enjoy it. A lot. But who knows… 

 

Yesterday though… I took it too far. Four jazz songs in a row is too much for bar attendees. I heard what I presume was a gay patron shout out “who is playing this crappy music?” I can tell he was gay because of the way he said and the way he looked. Yes. My gaydar is semi-accurate. I can also tell because the whole table seemed to be gay. His shirt was on too tight. And he had GREEN fucking hair in a stylish fashion.

 

Nelson. Boom. Roasted.


 

La Justina and Cine Tonalá both are newish have fancy cocktails and they are doing a decent job (but a bit pricey). La Justina is much better at it, but their food got stupid small and expensive. It’s more enjoyable to just get a couple of drinks and munch on their free popcorn with ash and salt. 

 

Don’t try the old fashioned at Cine Tonalá. I told the owner this and she told me they made it better. It’s still not good. I’ve had better old fashioned at dive bars in the US than this fancy cocktail place. I got to tell her again… but I’m not buying it. She’ll serve me one, once she comes back from Europe.

The rest of the cocktail menu is pretty good. They have mezcal and some gin drinks that are refreshing. Their beer menu is a fucking mess. The food is hit or miss. Some of it is delicious and well priced, some of it is way overpriced for how tiny it can be.

Try this one, the Santa Tlali (maracuya mezcal):

My ex used to love the beet and spinach salad with goat cheese. I enjoy their burger… dare to say one of the best in town. But that’s not saying much. Tacos are what’s best here… burgers… not so much.

I mean… I’ll probably take In N’ Out over almost any burger in TJ. I just tried a burger in San Diego at a place called “The Friendly.” They don’t give you options, they just serve you this dirty greasy fucking double cheeseburger that would make Randy from Trailer Park Boys proud. Dirty greasy bomb perfection for $5. I could munch on those fuckers forever and then die of diarrhea.


 

That’s pretty much it for cocktails! All dive bars carry the standards, but not every bartender knows what the fuck they are doing besides opening beers and pouring tequila shots.


 

Oh shit!

 

Almost forgot… 

 

El Tinieblo inside La Cevichería Nais… That place has a smokey old fashioned made with mezcal that is fucking killer.

 

They also have “mezcalitas” margaritas made with mezcal and they are all fucking tasty as fuck. There’s the “pulp friction” which is a chamoy based margarita (again… with mezcal, called mezcalitas). La cuchi cuchi which is like the classic mezcalita, a mango one, a spearmint one that is perfect to cleanse the palate for whatever the fuck you are gonna do next. 

 

And the food is fucking amazing. The ambiance is great too. The service is a bit too much, they take your napkin away as soon as you barely wrinkle it. Dudes. Relax. I don’t need my barely dirty napkin taken away immediately.

 

The cocktail list is extensive and it has never disappointed.

 

So yeah.

 

For the best cocktails in downtown… El Tinieblo (which is getting remodeled right now) inside La Cevicheria Nais (which is your only option right now due to the aforementioned remodeling).


 

Honorary mention. Caesar’s Restaurant. 

 

I actually don’t think I’ve ever had a cocktail here. I just know I trust that they can actually do good work. Caesar’s is a Tijuana staple. The place where caesar salad was invented. Though it has changed. It was acquired by the Plascencias in 2011 (I believe) and remodeled. It’s a bustling success. They have great live music on some nights. Their menu is extensive and most of it is delicious (avoid the salmon fingers… DO FUCKING go for the tuetano aka bone marrow or for their oysters Rockefeller). The best thing about Caesar’s… It’s not that expensive. 

 

It wasn’t that long ago that I was sitting with the publisher/editor of one of the only surviving real surf magazines out there, The Surfer’s Journal. 

 

He read my articles before and wanted to chat with me. I ended up hanging out with the guy at Caesar’s for a couple hours drinking and snacking. We had a couple beers each, a couple shots of mezcal, Rockefeller oysters, and something else… I forgot. But the check was $28 or something like that. He was happy.

 

We then went to Valle de Guadalupe the following day to Finca Altozano for his interview with Javier Plascencia, Tijuana’s most coveted chef.

 

That’s the second time I’m in his presence, but the first time I actually sit with him at a table. He is a fucking chill guy living the best life you can possibly imagine. Busy as fuck. But who wouldn’t want to be him…? The “inventor” of Baja-Med. The trendy tasty cuisine of this region. Octopus is his strength. 

 

Octopus is the strength here. And seafood in general. And tacos.

 

Fucking tacos. That’s what I was going to write about and look how fucking deviated I got.


 

Other honorary mention, the classic of classics, Dandy Del Sur.

 

I started going there lately in exchange of Nelson. The main reason is… NO SMOKING ALLOWED at Dandy’s. I can breathe.

 

It’s a classic. Almost legendary. People come from far to drink at Dandy’s. 

Dandy’s: where the legendary Anthony Bourdain set foot to have a drink with la Señora Aida whose birthday is one day before mine. They have their picture framed in the bar.

 

And I got a VIP card.

 

I didn’t do anything to deserve it but pay 250 pesos (around $14 at the time I bought it). It guarantees a 2 x 1 in any first (national) drink every day. The card pays for itself in 7-10 visits. It has other perks, but the best is the 2 x 1.

 

They suck at cocktails. They are strong and not well mixed. They also have their own “especial” but I haven’t bothered to try it. 

 

I know about their cocktails because they have specials depending on the day. 3 whiskeys for 90 pesos ($5). Straight up shitty whisky. 

 

Palomas 2 x 1. Fucking shitty as palomas.

 

Cuba libres. Shitty. 

 

I’m not sure if they can actually prepare actual drinks. I guess I’ll have to venture into cocktails there… but I rather just get a couple of beers 2 x 1 and get out.

 

That’s what I did yesterday.

 

After visiting the new Mamut taproom on Calle Sexta. What used to be Praga 2. What before was the shitty strip club that I mentioned with Hudson and Penner.

 

Right across from Dandy del Sur. Near La Cevichería Nais.

 

All this shit is nearby. And there’s still dozens of bars and restaurants that I haven’t ventured. 

 

And that’s just fucking downtown Tijuana… when I go to other regions of the city it feels like I went to another fucking city.


 

I have a sexy photo shoot in an hour and I haven’t had breakfast. This turned out to be about cocktails. Next will be about tacos. Or perhaps beer. 

 

Beer is going to be extensive… should save that shit for last.


 

About the sexy photoshoot… this is newgrounds for me. I had a friend model for me a couple times and she is sexy as hell, but it was more urban wear that looked like an American Apparel ad or something. Not really because AA likes to use exotic and really young looking chicks. This girl has a rocking body, but a tomboy feel. The point is… it was sexy, but not as sexy as the next.

 

I did a different sexy shoot with a different friend. She got semi-naked… the only problem is she isn’t that hot. It was still a fun shoot and turned out some great frames that she liked. So that she is happy means I’m happy.

 

And today… in an hour or so… yep… An hour. 

 

Another friend designs lingerie for “suicide type” looking chicks. You know… like goth lingerie. So I’m meeting two models who I have no idea who they are and taking pictures at a laundromat for a lingerie brand.

 

I’m sort of nervous… sort of excited… 

 

Let’s see how it goes. 

 

I’m not getting paid… so I should actually do some real work after (and I have two paid gigs lined up this weekend…I’m set).


 

Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 6 — LA Friends Visit, Classical Guitar and First Tours.  

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Chapter 6. LA Friends Visit. Classical Guitar and First Tours.  

 

Waking up doesn’t matter. When you are a freelance writer, time is only a factor when you have a deadline. And I have none.

 

I set one for myself. I have to finish that morgue article by early tomorrow.

 

It’s going. It’s not my favorite. But it’s going. I should finish it after this. After some breakfast.


Before moving to Tijuana in 2012, I left all my shit at my brother’s house and flew to Querétaro to visit my parents who still lived in my hometown. I also went to check out if moving back there was a possibility and to see old friends.

Fuck no.

It wasn’t a possibility. 

I haven’t been back since then. It’s been over 6 years. My parents moved over to Tijuana shortly after I decided I wasn’t moving back.

There was nothing there for me. All the jobs sucked. Most my friends were married with kids.

Absolutely fucking nothing. 

Boring town.

Also, Xolos de Tijuana played Gallos Blancos de Querétaro the weekend I was there, and my hometown lost. That just reaffirmed what I already knew. I’m staying in Tijuana.

Not to mention that I was still used to America and I didn’t want to move that far from the US.

 


 

Thus my days of Tijuana began.


 

I did nothing for months. I had the fantasy of living with my classical guitar degree. I practiced daily. I set up lessons at Café Diógenes. I was a cheap fucking bastard charging 50 pesos per half an hour. That quickly increased to 100 pesos when I realized that I was actually good at giving lessons. I had five students that I saw every week. The youngest was 7 and he was learning nothing. The oldest was 50+ and was loving every lesson. There were a couple of younger guys that were also liking the lessons.

 

It never went anywhere. I stopped giving lessons after a few months.

 


 

I also started going to fine dining restaurants asking if I could play there. Most shut me down.

 

It was the Marriott Hotel that offered me to play in the lobby for $40 + tips for 4 hours. I took it. 

 

I never made much money with my guitar. So that was great.


 

I did a couple of gigs in San Diego for a similar price. I also tried getting classical guitar gigs in fine dining places in the US. With no car or gear, it was impossible. Not to mention that the competition is pretty stiff.


 

The first day that I got to the Marriott, no one told them that a guitarist will be playing in the lobby.

 

It was a mess.


I played there for a month. It was always a mess. But I fared well enough. I would get a free meal and play my set three or four times. Basically, just practiced.

 

Old people were lovely. An older woman sat with her husband and listened to me for more than 20 minutes. They gave me $20 dollar tip and told me I was wonderful.

 

That was probably the best that came from playing at the Marriott.


After a month, they didn’t want to pay me anymore. So I left.

 

Back to nothing.


 

I spent my days counting the rest of my savings from the car I sold. Avoiding work or getting a job. Sort of like I’m doing now. Living with the bare minimum. Depressed. Lonely. Doing absolutely nothing but waiting till I ran out of money.


 

The only joy came when friends from LA visited. And that was very limited.


It was the brothers, Hudson and Penner, who were my first somewhat customers. Hudson was going through a divorce while Penner was going through marriage problems since his wife decided to be a heavy girl pornstar and have an open relationship.

 

Yep.

 

Both going through weird shit.


 

Hudson and Penner were my best friends in Los Angeles. Hudson and I worked together for over a year doing paparazzi business. Penner worked for TMZ and we would also work together often enough. 


 

Hudson had quit his paparazzo job by then and got a job in tech writing code. Penner still worked for TMZ (but doesn’t anymore).


They visited me a few times. They both already had experience in Tijuana decades before. Everything was different for them. Everything was still pretty new to me. 

 

I had no idea what I was doing.

 

But they liked how I would take them through Tijuana streets, bars, food, and strip clubs.


 

We ended up in a really shitty strip club on Calle Sexta (that club lasted less than four months before it shut down). There was no one there but ghetto looking waiters and four half-naked girls… and of course us.

 

They gave us tequila shots and beers for cheap. Girls danced in the vicinity and though they were gross, we were having a fun time. I was hanging out with my best friends in a shithole in Tijuana. And they were paying for everything. 


 

We moved to different bars, a punk show, and to other strip clubs.


 

Back in early 2012 there wasn’t much in the city but that. Especially downtown Tijuana. The city was still trying to define itself. It was mostly abandoned except for cheap clubs and shitty dive bars. It’s not what it is now.

 

So much changed in a few years.

 

There are so many craft breweries now. And I barely, almost never, go to strip clubs.


 

Hudson and Penner wouldn’t recognize this Tijuana anymore. They haven’t visited since then. I visited Hudson in Los Angeles a couple years ago, and we still talk. I should visit him in LA soon again.

 

Hudson got remarried again, this time to an Australian woman who cooks amazing. They seem happy. There excuse for not coming down is that they were waiting for the marriage papers to confirm the Aussie so she can travel out of the US. 

 

I’m not sure what is their excuse now. But I am for sure due to a trip to Los Angeles. It’s been over a year since I’ve visited.

 

I hate LA. But it’s always good just for a visit.

 

Especially to hang out with Hudson.


That night, while having a cigarette outside a bar, this cute girl with freckles all over her face and really curly black hair came up to me drunkenly and said, “ay tink choo are the lov of ma laif.”

 

SCORE!

If you can’t read that. She said, “I think you are the love of my life.” 

 

She was cute. Very cute. And she hugged me right away. 

 

She was also very drunk.

 

I played the dumb Gringo card and pretended I didn’t speak Spanish. She talked to her friends in Spanish about how she wanted to fuck me. This went on for a while until I started laughing… 

 

Then I told her in Spanish that I heard everything. She blushed and went back to her friends. Hudson told me I should take her home. 

 

But no. We moved on.

 

And yes. I did get her Facebook. 

 


 

The next morning, after partying all night… They were the ones that told me. Hudson and Penner.

 

“You should do tours,” and they insisted on giving me $100 just for having them over. 

 

I never saw myself as a tour guide. But they convinced me. And I was running out of money and didn’t have a job.

 


 

They told me they had one of the best nights they had in a long time and told me they will be back soon. They came twice more. They told a lot of people in LA about Tijuana and other friends from LA ventured down. I started giving tours to my friends free of charge but they would insist on giving me money.


I started laying the foundations for a tour guide website and learning more about the city and where to take people. 

 

Then I realized there other tour guides in the city. I asked for a job with one of them. They basically told me to fuck off and I received threats from friends of the other tour guides. 

 

This also inspired to create my own touring website.


 

All I needed is a name. The rest was basically set.


 

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!