So it was that in , he decided to buy a piece of land by the sea in which he would make his dream come true. He may have faced all kinds of criticism from family and friends, "Gringo Loco", some called him, but that did not deviate him from his project. Despite the opposition, there was one person who was at his side the whole time and gave him the support needed to move forward, a woman. A local lady appeared and started to administer the new business with talent and wisdom, making it, in some way, her own dream.
The construction of Hotel La Mision was finished in and has since been in the same place with the same name and under the same management. Neither high-end nor precisely street food, these colectivos are permanent locations where food trucks and stalls offer restaurant-quality food in informal outdoor settings with tables and other amenities.
Don't miss the outstanding seafood at Otto's Grill where chef Otto Spahn won't deny he's the real inventor of "Baja Med" cuisine. He might even be right. A foodie trip to Tijuana taken to its logical extreme must include the Mercado Hidalgo, Tijuana's permanent public market. It is a bustling, energetic, and extremely colorful working market consisting of 80 open-air stalls arranged around a central courtyard-cum-parking lot and a Virgin of Guadalupe shrine.
The Mercado's stalls feature unbelievably fresh produce, dried chiles, spices, fresh moles, tortillas, a wholesale meat vendor, and kitchen supplies along with wonderful little restaurant options. But Tijuana is a lot more than food and drink. Trips to Tijuana -- and the mythology of trips to Tijuana -- revolved around Avenida Revolucion and the seedier side of life. The strip clubs, drugs, and prostitution are still on full display in Tijuana's Zona Norte.
It's not a good idea to go there alone and probably best to go with someone who knows the place and the rules written and unwritten or to avoid it entirely. Avenida Revolucion is also still there, and while you can feel that it's changed over time, you can still buy trinkets from vendors who say "Laaaady" or "You've found it! Since , the area around Avenida Revolucion has begun to sprout artistic roots and flowers.
Artists and community organizers have redeveloped and retrofitted a number of arcades running off the avenue -- Pasaje Rodriguez and Pasaje Gomez in particular -- to cater to the arts, coffee shops, poetry readings, and similar events and institutions. If your taste runs a bit more competitive, Tijuana's Estadio Caliente, right near the Caliente casino and racetrack, is the home to Club Tijuana the Xolos , one of the top teams in Mexico's top soccer league, the Liga MX.
For the culturally minded the atmosphere alone is worth the ticket. Take a competitive sporting event and cross it with dance, culture, and a hint of Passion Play, and you get a bullfight. The venue for Tijuana's bullfights recently changed from the once-glorious Plaza Monumental in the Playas de Tijuana district to a new, if temporary, bullring near Estadio Caliente. Catch them while you can: A movement to ban bullfighting is catching some serious wind in Mexico. Some will celebrate that.
I'm not one of those people.
South of Tijuana proper is the rest of Baja California, the spindly peninsula that's nearly as long as actual California. You only need to drive an hour and change down the coast to reach the Valle de Guadalupe, one the world's hottest emerging wine regions and food destinations, and an unappreciated jewel. The winery's premium bottling, the Gran Ricardo a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and petit verdot , is as excellent as the view. The other fantastic local white is the non-oaked chardonnay from Lechuza Vineyard at the east of San Antonio de las Minas at the Valle's southwestern end.
I'm not the only one who likes it: Chef Thomas Keller recently put it on the wine list at his flagship restaurant, The French Laundry , in Napa Valley. No tricks, no wood, no deception, it is a pure expression of the earth and the grape. To taste that you have to buy the top-level premium tasting, but it's well worth it. The Nebbiolo is a deeply concentrated wine with pronounced fruity flavors, especially red berries, and an earthiness and terroir that suggests this is exactly the wine that should be grown just where it is.
As great as the Valle's wine has become, its food scene may be better.
Using The Cross Border Xpress | One Mile at a Time
Rated higher still is the nearby Corazon de Tierra. Chef Diego Hernandez's food is contemporary, but deeply grounded in Mexican soul, Old World technique, and -- crucially -- the gardens surrounding almost engulfing the dining room. Tijuana is less than a half-hour drive south of San Diego down Interstate 5 or , less in good traffic. There are two primary reasons not to drive there: Tijuana traffic and the border wait on the way back.
They both suck. Tijuana traffic is heavy and Tijuana drivers do have a tendency to view lanes as mere suggestions.
Once Upon a Time in Tijuana #1 - Charles Glaubitz's Portfolio
But once you get outside of Tijuana it's pretty much smooth sailing. The border wait on a Sunday afternoon can be brutal. Check that: The border wait on a Sunday afternoon is brutal. Don't get pulled over by the cops.
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Driving is not the only way to get south of the border. Or drive to the border and park near the crossing. From there, walk across and grab a taxi easy, cheap or an Uber. Another option is a tour. They range from the near-luxurious to the rudimentary. One of the more established and conventional tour operators is Club Tengo Hambre , run by a group of food bloggers who pioneered coverage of the burgeoning Baja food scene.
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Options for getting to the Valle de Guadalupe are more limited. Driving is a very good option. It would be a truly great option if you weren't pretty much going there to drink wine. No matter how good the wine is, it still tends to impair you if you drink enough of it. Hiring an Uber driver for part of the day works. But tours are probably the best way to do the Valle for the first time. Tijuana native and journalist Julio Cesar Marruffo also runs some excellent Baja tours.
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On my last trip south of the border with Paco neither of us had a passport. That, however, wasn't dumb: We didn't need one. That was then. Now you need your passport. If you try to get back on your driver's license, birth certificate, or pretty smile, the best you can legitimately hope for is a long, dull wait in Secondary Inspection. If you have any intention of using your smartphone in Mexico, be sure that you call your carrier before you go, turn on your international data roaming, and be positive you can afford to do so.
If you're a T-Mobile customer, you're in luck at least in Mexico.
edutoursport.com/libraries/2020-10-10/3984.php Mexico is immune to your American auto insurance policy. If you're driving, grab Mexican insurance as you near the border. It's cheap and definitely worth it. Or plan ahead and get it online. One thing you may expect you have to do is change your dollars to pesos.