Chapter 23: CPT Canadian Progressive Tour – Digital Book is LIVE! – Print Version Soon

This is a REPOST from my original blog over at Matingas.com


It’s Monday after a crazy week and weekend that absorbed me and spat me out destroyed and more of an alcoholic than when I started…

It’s Monday. I’m doing laundry and setting up my week. I only have one photo job this Wednesday. I have a writing gig that I need to deliver in a couple of weeks. I have time to work on other things and other things are what I intend to do. Starting with the word vomit that I have no idea where it’s going anymore, like my life…


Chapter 23. Not really a chapter of the book.

The book?

The book is live on Amazon!

Here’s a link.

This is what the cover looks like for digital. Click on it for the same link as above if you prefer clicking on pictures.

This is what it will look like for print.

People have been asking for it in print. And by people, I mean like five people.

I haven’t sold as many as I want or as I expected. Reviews have been really good so far. I’m afraid that those who haven’t said anything is because they disliked it. Amazon doesn’t let it review yet, not sure if it needs to meet a certain threshold for it to be reviewed.

Only 40 copies sold so far.

Less.

1 of those was me. That doesn’t count. Another one was Chad who edited it. That doesn’t count either. And two were bought in Mexico, I get less commission, so it doesn’t feel like it counts either.

36 digital copies sold so far. Enough to pay the cover model.


I don’t have much money. An accounting error from the office made them realized I got overpaid the previous week, which meant that all the work I did was for free since I already got paid. I was expecting double pay. I didn’t get it.


And my Tijuana Adventures continue. This city is killing me and I’m letting it kill me.


My fantasies don’t play out the way I want them too, except my Football Fantasy team that won (I’m still gloating about it). The fantasy of winning a parlay bet never came to fruition. The fantasy I had with this girl that I saw on Monday and then Friday didn’t happen. She is mentioned in the book, I haven’t seen her in forever. She is as pretty as ever. But she still just says we are just friends.

The fantasy of this book selling a lot hasn’t come to fruition. A lot of people congratulating me, no one is buying it. I’m still happy it’s done and I can move on. But I wanted money. I want money…

It’s only been a week. A bit over a week.

The day it got published, I had a Tijuana Adventure.


Chapter 23:

The day I hit “publish” on my book, I went out with a girl that I met at HK Club. I thought she was not working there anymore. She still is. Out of nowhere she just hit me up about having craft beers because she said she was into beer. YAY! My favorite.

I realized almost immediately she was more into coke than beer… I noticed it since the first brewery. No one takes that long in the bathroom.

At some point, she told me to kiss her.

I didn’t.

We went from beer place to beer place and she took forever in the bathroom in each one. And suddenly, she wanted to go to her friend’s place to party. Her friend’s place was near my own apartment, so I didn’t mind. If it was in another part of town, I was going to call it a night.

I don’t regret going. I regret doing cocaine. Fuck is it a dumb drug.

And at some point, she just left me with her friend. Her friend is cool though, and basically my neighbor, and INSANELY hugely ripped. As she has won awards for being insanely muscular. She wants pictures. I told her I would trade her photo sessions for gym training sessions. Let’s see if that happens.


Chapter 23:

CPT.

Canadian Progressive Tours.

This was this Saturday.

James hit me up since the beginning of the year, he wanted a bachelor party and he himself is the bachelor. Twist. Women were coming to the bachelor party. Another twist, one of those was his sister. And yet another, his sister is the best man.

From his email address and name I knew he was Canadian and most likely Asian. James and his sister were the only Asians, the rest were white people, all from Canada except one Zonie (from Arizona, living in SD).

I liked them all, even the guy wearing a Patriots hat. I don’t remember everyone’s names like always (except James, his sister, and a chick that is named after a US State… oh and Bradley for some reason). Then there was a chubby guy who looked like a baby who was my favorite and the most Canadian. The guy with the Patriots hat was the quietest the whole time but took the whole bachelor party like a champ. US State girl was the wildest of them all (BY FAR). Bradley was ripped (not sure why his name stuck). One girl had a really weird name that I didn’t even try. She was cool. And Zonie, I called her Zonie. And there was Keanu because he was 1/4 Japanese, never learned his name either.

James was quiet, and from his emails, he said: “I just want my friends to have fun.” And I hope that’s what we did.

What an adventure.

It started as a messy adventure… By me running late to the border because they were actually responsible and were on the meeting spot at 1:00 pm precisely. Except they were on the other side of the border. I usually meet them on that side, but I thought we agreed on the Mexican side.

It took a good 30 minutes to finally see each other. My original plan of hitting Nelson first didn’t materialize. We hit up Estación Federal and Cereus Bar first. They were barely opening and though they have pretty cocktails, it takes them like 15 minutes to make one…

It wasn’t the best first stop.

Nelson would have been better.

The second stop was La Cevicheria Nais and things picked up immediately here.


I forgot to mention that Friday also had a Tijuana Adventure. Nico, the bass player from King Llama, came to town. I haven’t seen him in years.

He doesn’t play with them anymore. I thought he was in town to fly to Argentina (he Argentinean). NOPE! Turns out that when we brought King Llama to Tijuana he met a friend. That friend… I haven’t talked to her in years either. I briefly dated her roommate and I briefly fell in love. I would still fall in love with that girl.

I fall in love too easily sometimes.

Nico fell in love… with that girl… in that show!

I’m a matchmaker as well… Mattchmaker.

And now they are getting married!

INSANE!

So I drank with Nico and then he went to see his fiancé. I stayed back drinking despite not eating much. The girl that I liked hit me up even though she made it clear we are just friends. I drank with her for a while and I’m glad she rejected me. I still want her. But I’m glad she knows it’s not a good thing.

Also… apparently my mouth stank. She just told me that.


Back to Chapter 23.

I didn’t sleep well that Friday. I had the tour to worry about. I woke up at dawn and went to bed when my alarm started to ring at 11:00 a.m.

My sleep schedule is all sorts of fucked up.

I don’t feel depressed, but I know I am. It’s like a subconscious depression.

That’s why I was late to meet them. My sleep is all fucky and my Friday disappeared into weird oblivion. February is disappearing into weird oblivion. Sunday disappeared into weird oblivion.

After La Cevicheria Nais, which like always, was on spot excellent, we went to Norte Brewing Co. Here we enjoyed views and brews. Perfect timing for sunset though it wasn’t a great one. The full moon looked spectacular though. The party was getting better. I talked about politics with James’ sister. And we talked about some Reddit. And you know… typical TJ Adventures where I tell a lot of stories of things that have happened in my tours and stories about Tijuana in general. The stories that are in my book.

The best stories are in there, but some are missing.

Andy asked me if he was in my book. He is not. But Dirk’s bachelor party could have been a chapter or part of one. Or in general, some of the adventures I’ve had with Andy and the gang, looking for Kenya, and going to shit strip clubs.

Zona Norte be Zona Norte.

And I haven’t been in a long time. Until this Chapter 23.

From emailing with James, it seemed like he didn’t really want the strip clubs, but being a bachelor party, we still did. We had too.

After Norte, we went to Dandy’s del Sur because I mentioned Bourdain and we had to go there. Then La Mezcalera for crickets. They all ate some like champs, no one made an eww face like on many tours. And after that… it was time for Zona Norte.

Adelita’s was great… but goddamn there are so many beautiful women that I just want to go back right now.

I grabbed the most Canadian of them all and asked him what type of woman James likes. He said: “he is getting married to one, that type!”

THAT DIDN’T HELP EH!

So I just walked around and found who I thought was the prettiest. And oh my she was. I still think she is the prettiest I saw all night.

Her name was Melanie, she was tall, slender, cinnamon skin, only wearing white lingerie, and she smelled like Lucky Charms (my favorite cereal). She also had one kid (according to her).

That’s who I brought to James. And he enjoyed it for a slight moment before just have her sit next to him. And this is when I talked to her…

Because she was gorgeous.

But unlike some chapters of the book, I accomplished nothing but fall in love once again. And once again.

I almost fought with the waiter of Adelita’s because he was bringing more drinks that we didn’t request. I asserted my leadership. That was… uhh… well… it felt like it was going to get complicated but it didn’t.

And after just a couple drinks in Adelitas… it was Hong Kong time. A waiter hooked up with a table for the party near the show de espuma. I gave him $5 tip for the table and he got mad: “for all of you you give me this?”

Fuck him.

Fuck that place in general… but when in Tijuana…

So many beautiful women everywhere. And the show de espuma was… well your classic show de espuma. US State being the party girl… she was loving all of it. She wanted to order so many drinks. Pats hat was watching UFC and ignoring all the action. I hit up the girl I went out the previous week… she was sleeping and not in the club.

James insisted on getting Bradley some action and got him a perfect girl. The whole time we were there, he was with her. She looked Asian. She was super hot.

I was just trying to keep the party together and ignoring all the naked women surrounding me.

Like always, I saw old men with very young girls and their lust wolf faces.

And this is where the “Canadian Progressive Tour” term came to mind. Talking to James. And though, as progressives, we still had to check out this wormhole because after all, it is a bachelor party.

We left after almost an hour of HKing. US State still wanted to party hard. Took them to the gay strip club, Hawaii (yes… this strip club is also in my book).

MUSIC IS SO FUCKING LOUD IN THERE.

If they turned it down a few decibels it would be a better place.

I saw a Whitney Houston drag. I’ve never seen a black drag or a Whitney. I got excited and gave him a dollar.

US State loved it since we got there. She got a bottle of Jagger and some red bulls. A ripped male stripper was dancing when we got there. She immediately went to give him money. She was happy in HK. She seemed happier here.

We finished that bottle FAST and left Hawaii.

It was time to go back to the border… or so I thought.

One more stop. One more club.

Mezcalera again.

Club club club club club.

And Uber back to the border.

Hugged everyone.

Everyone was awesome.

And thanks for Tijuana Adventuring chapter #23 that it isn’t my book but it is a blog that I am using to promote my book or something like that.


I put posters up about my book in town. I hope they have awakened curiosities, but I am sure it has translated to 0 sales.

I had two sales today.

I wonder who they were.


While on the tour, from La Mezcalera to the strip clubs, a tiny girl with blonde hair walked right past me. I recognized her as a girl that follows me on Instagram.

I sent her a message that she walked by me… she was at Tropics, I was with the tour. When the tour ended I messaged her to see where she was at.

She was at that new stupid secret bar.

That new stupid secret bar?

It’s a new stupid secret bar. Not even secret because they have giant signs outside announcing it. It just has a “secret” door. Inside opens to a huge space that… you guessed it right… USED TO BE A STRIP CLUB.

Paradise Club to be precise.

That place has fragmented into several different options. One of them is that dumb secret bar.

I met that girl that follows me on Instagram there. She was with a gay friend (I presume). I needed the last beer to calm down and go back home. Also, she’s pretty and I wanted to meet her. Also, I wanted to check out that stupid secret bar.

That stupid secret bar is no bueno.

It won’t last.

They had almost more staff than people in it. And the place is too big. And doing a secret bar that is not secret doesn’t work… it’s just… dumb.


I sort of wanted to go back to Zona Norte… People have been telling me about Chicago and Tropicoso getting better.

Instead, I peeked into Dandy del Sur. It was too packed. I bought street burritos and took an Uber home.


I slept until almost 3 pm on Sunday.

I wanted breakfast at that time. I felt like shit. And I still wanted to go to Zona Norte.

Fuck… I still want to go to Zona Norte.

I have the money I have from the tour. But no. that’s to pay the model on my book and to pay my rent.

Sunday disappeared. I grabbed a breakfast torta from tortas Cubanas 24/7 and took it to Nelson Bar to have a breakfast caguama with my breakfast torta at 5:12 pm while watching Gallos Blancos lose against America.

I got the shakes. I realized how much alcohol I consumed the previous night. Mezcal, tequila, jagger, beers, beers, beers… And there I was. At Nelson bar. Tijuana still consuming me slowly. Killing me slowly one caguama at a time. Killing me rapidly, when I have a tour and I get destroyed. Or when I decide to go out with a girl and cocaine is involved.

Tijuana will be Tijuana.

Like Heidegger says, the world worlds.

Tijuana Tijuanas.

And I Tijuana way too much. Canadians Tijuanad for a while.

Yes.

To Tijuana is a verb now.

I Tijuana.

You Tijuana.

Nosotros Tijuaneamos.

Ustedes Tijuanean.

Todos Tijuaneamos.


Monday.

My laundry is in the washer.

It’s rainy outside.

Time to keep doing errands. Set up a dentist appointment, not only because this hot girl told me my mouth stinks and I need a cleaning, but also because I’ve been meaning too!

Same as I’ve been meaning to go to the gym. And live a healthier life and what not…

But Tijuana.


I should do more work, but I’ll probably just play BotW all day.

I want to go bowling.

And I need to do more writing work.

I was going to write about Cervecería Insurgente and their constant fight with the government. Some other writer already sent it to my office. It was published today. My article was going to be way better… but I don’t write it, I eat shit.


My cat was in the Magazine though! Well… my mom’s cat. La Princess Chimba Brokentail.

I did write for the special issue!

And took pictures!

Ahí esta la preciosisisima Chimba. I love her so much.

And my fat cat Bisho.

They sleep with me forever.

 

 

 

 

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 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!

 

 

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

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

And it was a Valle adventure party.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

In fact… I DIDNT HAVE ANY WINE.

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

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


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


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

You catch that?

Basically, we went to a place called Península.

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

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

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

AND NOW FOR THE GOOD.

The good?!

THE GREAT!


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

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

This is what I got:

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

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

Sashimi?

Ceviche?

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

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


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


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

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

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

Península is a win.


I tried a bite of this green thing.

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


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

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

Big marlin burrito:

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

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


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

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


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

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

Another cool piece. Difficult to photograph.

Descending the tower.

And the happy foodie group with the chef of Península.


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

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


Next post will feature the other two places we visited.


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

 

 

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…