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.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Valle Part 2 – Las Hijas de la Tiznada and La Cocina de Doña Esthela

Valle Part 2:

First of all, I forgot to give special thanks to Joe Moon for taking me to Valle in the first place. Otherwise, I would have never gone.


You see, my brother forgot to tell me that his friends had arrived and that they were going to Valle already… he told me when they were already on the way and said “but join us later.”

Luckily, Joe was going to Ensenada the following morning. After having some bomb ass enchilados from Los Compadres, we made our way to Ensenada. Except, I didn’t know where I was going.

Joe was cool enough to drop me off at the actual awesome Airbnb.

Truly appreciate that.


For those who don’t know the ultimate enchilado, it has been my favorite spicy shrimp taco for a long time. Here’s a gallery:

https://imgur.com/gallery/NswFV


On the last post I talked about Península en el Valle on a Saturday afternoon. Really great food in a very lovely day.

Sunday morning wasn’t as pretty.


At around noon time, the gang headed to La Cocina de Doña Esthela, widely popular and known as the very cheap for amazing quality.

Before even getting there, I noticed it was PACKED as fuck. One large bus for at least 40 people was parked outside. At least 4 vans for 12-18 people each were parked inside. Another 30+ cars were parked in and outside the place. We parked outside and walked in… to see hundreds of people packed waiting to be served.

At least one or two hours… TO FUCKING REGISTER to wait.

Yeah. Fuck that.

Before even entering I told my brother “fuck this, if we are waiting, somehow I’m going somewhere else.” He got mad for not sticking to the plan… but after figuring out that the wait was going to be massive, we left.

Where?!

WHERE?!?!

That was the question.


I messaged our trusty chef from our previous night to suggest something.

He recommended Tizne, two friends of him opened the place and he said it was great.


It was a bit difficult to find. It’s also called Hijas de la Tiznada not only Tizne. Google Maps wasn’t accurate, it also said they opened at noon… they weren’t.


It’s inside Viña Emiliana, which was open but not really… it was weird and we were lost.

When we finally found a spot that seemed to be the place, they were unprepared and having a staff meeting. I asked if it was the right place, they said it was. I asked if they were open, and though they said they weren’t they promptly said but we will soon if you guys wait for a second.

So we did.


The scenery of Viña Emiliana was lovely, but it was also closed, so there was no wine to taste or anything to do but just sit for a while and enjoy the breeze in the hot day. After a while, they received us in the outside restaurant.

Tizne means smoke or charred (fire spots). I didn’t know that until now. Interesting.

I usually don’t like burnt food but I do enjoy smokey flavors.


For the menu, just like Península en el Valle, no drinks, but worse. They had no beer, no wine, just Pellegrino sodas and some stuff that got ignored.

And for the food menu, only a handful of options. I asked the chef… and from those handful of options, only 2 were actually available, and the other were meat cuts at a hefty price (regular price for Valle).

BUT IT WAS BREAKFAST or Brunch time. There were no really options for that. We all got the same thing that was on the special menu.

From the actual menu, there were no options except a ceviche. They didn’t have octopus (which is what I wanted) and they didn’t have much else…

So we all got the risottos, a couple of sopes (which were tiny), and a ceviche in the middle.

Table!

The black little spots is the Tizne. You can never go wrong with ceviche and add the tizne touch to make it extra good.

That was the risotto with braised beef ribs topped with tomatillos.

Marc’s risotto looked prettier than mine.

It was good, but not exactly what I desired for breakfast. I felt like I was forced to eat something I didn’t really want just because of the lack of options. It would have been a nice appetizer in a small plate and continue to something bigger.

The tiny tiny sopes with shrimp. Again, really good, but not exactly what I would want or order. The black sauce was delicious.

The best thing they brought us was the bread at the beginning with some tizne sauce they had. I didn’t take a picture of that because I didn’t know it was going to be the best thing… And they only brought us one bread and one sauce (despite officially being two tables). If we wanted more, it was going to cost us. I would have just eaten a bunch of that bread and sauce, get some cheeses, and sip on some wine…

BUT, those weren’t the choices.


Conclusion: We weren’t prepared for Tizne, Tizne was not at all prepared for us.

With so many restaurants to try, I probably won’t go back, but who knows! I really want to go to Valle more and I am confident that Tizne can be way better.

If Tizne is your thing, then by all means, hunt this place down and try it. If you are not fan of Tizne, then there are many more restaurants to try.


After that, we went to a local tiendita and bought everything to not leave the Airbnb. Beers, meatsies, frutsis, spices, snacks, tortillas, salsas, and more beers!


We didn’t leave the Airbnb that night or the day after.

That was my attempt at Astrophotography while chugging a beer. Problem is, the Airbnb had bright lights on either side of the house that ruined my attempts.

A winery nearby has an awesome statue that would make it DOPE as fuck to get some astro there. I want to get the same Airbnb and hit up the winery to let me in at midnight to take pictures (and then sell them the pictures!) Something like that…


Monday in Valle was all pool and beer drinking while grilling meatsies.


We left Tuesday morning and this time we did go to La Cocina de Doña Esthela.

It wasn’t packed anymore, but it was 3/4s full. The waiter acted as if it was packed though. He kept getting the orders wrong (after asking it several times) and kept rushing between tables looking nervous…

But anyway, there we all basically got the machaca de borrego.

The order comes with tortillas and beans, the waiter forgot them, then brought the tortillas and forgot the beans.

We asked for 5 coffees (2 regular, 3 de olla), a round of waters, and two diet cokes. He brought 4 coffees (all de olla), two waters, and an orange juice we didn’t ask for…

It took him almost until we were leaving to bring the beans and the regular coffee I had ask for. He also only brought one diet coke eventually, but oh well. The bill was all over the place….


As for the food, I wasn’t feeling very hungry, and again, not what I wanted for breakfast. The menu had a lot of breakfast items, but they all seem fair standard and the machaca de borrego seemed to be the strong plate. It was ok for me.

I got it in a box to go, threw in a tortilla, mixed all the machaca with the broth and some beans, and left it on my counter at home for a few hours.

I came back to it when I was hungry, AND IT WAS WAY BETTER!

The broth marinating the meat with a bunch of beans truly brought out the flavor… Or maybe I was feeling hungrier. I am not sure, I just know that it was WAY better that way than when I was having it at the restaurant.


 

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…
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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.
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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:
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You find Los Compadres next to Parque Teniente Guerrero at the corner of 4th street and Cinco de Mayo. Open 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily, except Sundays. They start running out of shrimp around 1 p.m., so you need to get there early. They also serve fish and shrimp tacos (with or without batter), caldo de cahuamanta (stingray broth), marlin tacos, and more.
.
All of their tacos are big. The battered fish and shrimp tacos are nothing to rave about and sell for around $1 each. They deep fry longer than usual, making the batter dark and crunchy. I prefer that type of taco light and crisp, so for battered fish and shrimp tacos I go to a nearby food truck.

Their caldo de cahuamanta they recommend for hangovers, especially if you add a spoonful of their very spicy salsa. It will sweat your hangover away, and Los Compadres will turn a blind eye if want to drink a Tecate at their taco stand. Their marlin taco is decent and similar to what you would find at any other taco stand that sells marlin.

Definitely the MVP and the main reason to go is the camarón enchilado. I could write a love song about this taco. It’s gigantic, greasy, has lots of melted cheese that gets burnt around the crust of the tortilla, and is loaded with a lot of flash-fried shrimp that was dunked in buttery chili sauce. It is topped (all optional) with cream, cabbage, tomato, cilantro, and chipotle sauce. It’s a complex and messy item to pick up and eat.

It’s not just me that has been addicted to these shrimp tacos. My friend Erik Trejo, who worked at Blind Lady Ale House, would regularly cross the border early morning just to eat the taco and head back north to work. The painful wait of crossing the border wasn’t enough to dissuade him.

Another friend who teaches English in Saudi Arabia stayed in my apartment for a month last summer. He ate two tacos de camarón enchilado every morning for his entire stay. He still randomly messages me that he misses the taco.

And it’s not just my friends. I have also bumped into owner of Baja-Med restaurant La Justina, Javier Cair, at Los Compadres. A former neighbor of mine, a white guy that partied too much, would take hordes of Americans and Europeans for that taco and kept the party going while drinking Tecate on the street.

None of the ingredients are gourmet or fancy. It’s a dirty fish taco truck just like the Tijuana Gods intended, and they happen to serve the best camarón enchilado taco I have ever tasted. They have a tip jar in form of a Tecate bottle. Drop some coins in when you are done with your meal and shout “por la causa!” Which means “for the cause,” the cause being to buy more Tecate.


That was actually an old article I wrote here. But they will follow a similar pattern and around that many words.

Just a bit more word vomity.


Most pictures will be taken with the iPhone X which is superb and posts will be posted in the Tijuana Adventure Instagram and Facebook pages. Pick whatever social media poison suits you best.

Then the posts will be later posted here. If there was a way for WordPress to simply post directly, that would be great. Alas, there is not.


Other pictures will be taken with my actual camera (Canon 7D for now). That’s the other job I’ve been also doing a lot.

I never really wanted to be a tour guide. This city needed one. I fulfilled my duty.

I can go back to photography work. Writing work. And now more work.


Tijuana Adventure will remain a hobby of food and beer reviewing.

I’ll try to be as honest as one can be without much hyperbole. Re-reading what I wrote about the sushi place sounds a tad exaggerated, but I meant every word. That place is fantastic and can’t wait till I’ll be back.


Both, Instagram and Facebook, pages grow by themselves without my need to sponsor them. And it’s stupid, now that I don’t do tours, I feel like throwing a couple dollars over to Zuckerberg and the social media void. At the same time, the real challenge is to grow those fuckers organically.


Oh.

And Reddit karma.


I basically promote and defend the fuck out of this city for free. They should pay me for it.

And somehow they do. Tijuana rewards me.

Tijuana has been good to me.


I might also get back into booking math rock shows. Hopefully, playing music again.


You see, it’s always been in this order:

I am a musician, writer, photographer, videogamer, and tour guide.

That last one was an additional one. It’s fun to be one and I’m very good at it. But it’s not my passion. It was paying me.

Video games I fucking adore and they had paid me for it in a few occasions (game tester for a couple of Guitar Heroes as well as the Transformers game and other little shitty things here and there). That doesn’t pay me now, but I still love it more than being a tour guide.


Writer and photographer right now are competing for which one makes more money.

They are sort of equal.

Some weeks I make more money writing. Some weeks I make more money doing photography.


Music is what I’ve always loved but has been a forgotten lover lately. I’ve been playing more guitar and a bit more inspired. So I need more time for this.


It’s the end of an era!

Thanks to everyone that came on an adventure with me. It’s been real. I seriously loved every single one of them except two.


And you all know this…

If you ever back in Tijuana, and I’m available. Just buy me a beer and let’s hang out. I like talking about all the new shit that the city has been going through and new places where to eat and drink!

I made friends with most of you. And I’m sorry if I don’t remember all of you clearly… it’s been a lot of tours. And they all blur into one crazy huge mega tour.


Oh. And one more reason to do this silliness. Last year I wrote more than 1,000 words a day but it was all about my personal life. Well, now it will be just about this. Keep my personal life out of this for a while (though I give 0 fucks).

And also. Because there are a lot of shitty people that do this and are no good. I feel like I’m better. So what?

I’m doing it for fun. Not for you. More for like myself and Tijuana. If you don’t agree with me, that’s okay. I probably don’t agree with you!


Thanks for reading and hope y’all enjoy a silly blog of food and drinks in this marvelous city. Let’s see how long this project will last…

 

Tijuana Adventures Featured in TravelMag.com – Sorry, This Has Been Sort Of Abandoned – Tours are Still Active

Ahoy! To all of those who stumbled into this page of Tijuana tours and adventures.

The blog has pretty much been abandoned for more than a couple of months. Things that I said I would fill in later, I never did. And ideas that I have never materialized.

Despite the page being virtually abandoned, a writer from TravelMag.com found me. And he had something wonderful to say about the tours.

Here’s the link to the article, or click the screencap.


Thanks to writer Paul Joseph for the mention.


So… why so abandoned?

Your tour guide has been busy with photography and writing. I’ve been writing every day the whole year in my own personal blog that I dubbed word vomit because I pretty much write about everything and anything. I also started a new gig as a freelance photographer for the magazine that usually runs my articles. So I’ve been pretty busy with other things that aren’t my tours.


Despite this, I have had several tours since the latest post.


And also, paid for the yearly subscription of this webpage. It was done automatically. I’m not sure if I actually wanted to do it.


Shit.

My latest post was from February…


I had around eight tours since then. Very sporadic and random tours. The latest was a repeat customer with new friends. A guy from Vancouver (with Moroccan family) brought two friends from Kosovo (but that grew up in Vancouver).

It was really fun times since the last time the repeat customer visited was a couple of years ago and a lot of things changed.

And a lot of things have changed with Tijuana Adventure as well.


Though I had the fantasy to make this into a food and beer blog, I’ve been too busy to keep that going.

However, I did start becoming very active on Instagram posting a lot of food porn.

If there was a way to post everything on my Instagram directly to WordPress, this page wouldn’t be totally abandoned.


So if you enjoy pictures of the Tijuana/San Diego reader, better follow me! It’s been a steady climb of followers. Easier than my actual profile @Matingas_

Repsonse has been good with the food pics. And it’s given me an outlet to write about food.


I also did business cards for myself and for this business.

They look like this.

Yes.

Exclusive tours.

I don’t do private groups and most people that know me have heard of me somehow, so they know what to expect.

So I’m more exclusive now. You get a tour with a photographer, writer, and musician with SHIT TONS of stories to tell. And that’s really what makes the tours special. They are small. I get to talk to everyone. I get to tell stories. We get to know each other.

So again.

My tours aren’t like other tours.

Go to the other tours if you want a basic (yet very fun) tour.


And finally.

I’m still working with Haydee if I ever need a replacement, or if I’m not available, or if people want to go to Valle de Guadalupe. She’s more knowledgeable about the wine valley than me. And she could also drive people there.

Basically, Haydee is still IN doing tours as needed.

I wish I had more tours for her. I wished I had more tours for myself. But life gets busy with other things and then time flies.


 

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

This webpage and blog has been somewhat abandoned.

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

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

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

nsudmux

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

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

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

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


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

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

More tours are coming.

More public events.

The page will get better.

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


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


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


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

Want to visit Tijuana. Hit me up!

A New Tijuana Adventure Year – What’s 2017 for TJ Adventure

Ahhhh!!

The beginning of 2016 I wanted to take Tijuana Adventure into a whole new direction. I wanted it to be an open source for Tijuanenses write about their favorite place and stuff like that and for them to give their own tours. You know. Get more people involved, make the website grow, and for them to make money as well.

It went nowhere.

Well… Except Haydee. She did a couple of tours last year. I did a bunch of others.

In fact, I had two great tours on December. A couple of Aussies, and a medium/psychic from Oregon.

There is nothing new for this year. I write daily on my blog. But that’s about my life, not really about Tijuana.

I thought about quitting Tijuana Adventure many times. But people keep contacting me for a tour, and I keep having a fun time with strangers. The extra cash is always welcome.

So Tijuana Adventure will remain improvised private tours by yours truly (and sometimes Haydee). I know if I actually posted anything on Instagram. Or if I posted more in here. Or if I truly tried to organize monthly beer tours. I know I would go somewhere. But that I have had the option to do that and have done nothing is pretty obvious that I am not meant to keep a tour guide business going. I do a lot of other things on a daily basis. The tours are just an extra thing I do for fun, that I also do for extra cash, but I mainly due for the love of this city.

Improvisation is the name of the game. My game.

This website still continues to have way more hits than my actual blog and it has next to 0 activity. Sorry about that. If you are reading this and want to know more about me, there’s my other blog. If you want to have a tour with me because it seems like we will get along, then please contact me.

Otherwise. There are tons of other tour guides for you.

Tijuana Adventure basically means tours with Matingas (or Haydee).

Happy new year Tijuana!

Let’s hope for many , but not too many tours!

Reddit Meeting Tijuana Tour – Lack of Activity

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

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

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

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

to9opyy

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

So….

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

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

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

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

We covered a lot of ground.

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

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

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

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

LETS MOVE TO HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!

Haydeé (aka HidHawk) Joins the Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matingas