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.


 

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!

 

 

3 Day TJ Adventure and Valle de Guadalupe (new Instagram!)

I got an email on June 9th from Jillian, a student at SDSU and redditor who saw a post of mine, saved it and decided to contact me. For weeks we emailed back and forth planning a Tijuana Adventure and a Valle de Guadalupe winery tour for her, her boyfriend and other friends. The group ended up being the most diverse I’ve tour around and also the longest tour I’ve done.
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We met up on Friday afternoon for a classic TJ adventure that ended up before midnight. We walked a lot and did some light eating and drinking, saving our energy for Saturday morning. I dropped my group at a quaint and old hotel in the downtown area where they got two double rooms for cheap.
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By 8:30 am on Saturday morning we were all eating a quick breakfast of tacos varios in one of the best Mexican restaurants (especially for breakfast) in downtown. We met our tour guide, who I nicknamed Hectour, from Baja Viajes right outside the restaurant who had a nice van waiting for us. I previously have spent days trying to get my own van and driver, but I did not succeed and had to succumb to another travel agency. I didn’t have to join them in this tour, but felt like learning more about the wineries myself that I spent half of what they originally paid me to go on a tour with them. It was a wondrous tour going through 4 different wineries with samplers included (I’ve been to one of them before).
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The ride back to Tijuana was quiet that some of us took a quick nap. Though the plan was to spend all night of Saturday partying, everyone was too tired so we decided to eat in an Argentinean restaurant and call it a night.

We met up on Sunday to close the tour where we had breakfast at the same place. Then we went to Mercado Hidalgo to experience a classic picturesque Mexican market. From there we did a quick visit through the museum near the border, CECUT (Centro Cultural Tijuana). And finally back to the border, where a painful 2.5 hours awaited to go back to America.

Tijuana is the only place where you go on a ride and then have to wait in line.

– Your tour guide in Tijuana, Matt (Matingas)

Tijuana Adventure gets an Instagram! Follow here:
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