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The Only Pulqueria in Town: Zenzontle Bar in Tijuana

The Only Pulqueria in Town: Zenzontle Bar in Tijuana

by Jorge Guevara and Daniel Aguilar. Reprinted with permission of San Diego Red.

Zenzontle Bar in Tijuana

Before I tell you about this magical hideaway in Tijuana, let me ask you a question: Have you ever had pulque? Or better yet, do you even know what pulque is? Pulque is an alcoholic beverage with a thick consistency that has been brewed since pre-Hispanic times. Pulque, like tequila, comes from agave and maguey, but it does not look like any other beverage you have ever tasted before.

Zenzontle Bar in Tijuana

I had some doubts when I first heard of Zenzontle because in my experience pulque is something very characteristic of southern Mexico. There is nothing like it in the north, which is why I was really surprised when I visited Plaza Fiesta with the intention of enjoying a local home brew festival and found this pulqueria. A few years ago I was lucky enough to live in Mexico City, and I would often spend my afternoons in pulquerias. So I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to drink pulque again without having to travel.

Now normally when someone imagines a pulqueria, the first thing that comes to mind is a scene from a Mexican film made in the 1920s: a wooden cantina with a mariachi band playing in a room lit by gas lamps. Zenzontle Bar reinvents this concept completely. It evinces the essence of an authentically Mexican pulqueria, while also showcasing a contemporary sensibility that encompasses the decor, the drinks, and the music. According to one of the owners of Zenzontle, Gerardo Valenzuela, his version of the traditional drink is more commercial, at least in the sense that it’s enjoyable for those with inexperienced pulque palates.

Zenzontle Bar in Tijuana

Another characteristic of the pulque they sell at Zenzontle is that it’s “cured,” meaning it’s pulque with fruits (or vegetables in some cases) added to create specific flavors. The process of making pulque is a craft, which is why it is highly recommended that you exhibit an adventurous spirit and try something you will not be able to find anywhere else in Baja.

Zenzontle Bar is located at Plaza Fiesta in the Zona Rio area of Tijuana. It’s only a five minute drive from the border, so you owe it to yourselves to try this excellent authentic Mexican beverage. Odds are, you won’t regret it.

Zenzontle Bar in Tijuana

 

SanDiegoRed.com is designed as the first portal in Spanish that provides information, entertainment and news in San Diego and the Tijuana/Baja California region. Our main objective is that you find all the information that you need in San Diego Red and we become your preferred portal. We are committed to working tirelessly to meet your expectations and deliver the best website in Spanish. Contact SanDiegoRed.com or call (858) 454-511.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels, vacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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History in the Heart of the City: The Tijuana Wax Museum

by Jorge Guevara and Daniel Aguilar. Reprinted with permission of San Diego Red.

Tijuana Wax Museum

Downtown Tijuana offers many hidden gems, among which is the iconic and classic Tijuana Wax Museum. The museum opened its doors over 20 years ago, on February 5th 1993, and now features 86 figures classified by theme, and placed in rooms with names like Mexico’s Hall of History, National and International Artists, Great Leaders of the 20th Century), and the Hall of Terror.

Tijuana Wax Museum

When you are in the presence of these figures and you read the texts which tell of their life and work, you learn a little more about the history of Mexico, and the time in which its heroes lived. Visual aids like paintings and period scenery provide meaningful glimpses into the country’s past, but of course the most remarkable things are the figures themselves, which appear ready to spring to life at any moment.

There are only 3 wax museums in all of Mexico: one in Mexico City, another in Guadalajara, and of course Tijuana’s own, which at the time of its opening was the second of it’s kind in all of Latin America.

Tijuana Wax Museum

The Tijuana Wax Museum boasts ten halls filled with figures representing several major themes: Pre-Hispanic Mexico, the missionary period of Baja California, the history of Tijuana, and legends and stories about the heroes of Mexico and beyond. In these halls visitors may examine replicas of historical figures like Miguel Hidalgo, Moctezuma, and Emiliano Zapata, John F. Kennedy, Gandhi, and Pope John Paul II, as well as the show business idols Cantinflas, Marilyn Monroe, Pedro Infante, and Elvis Presley. And then of course there is the museum most hair-raising hall, the Hall of Terror, which appears as a poorly lit dungeon and features wax models of classic horror characters such as Dracula, Freddy Kruger, and the Werewolf.

Tijuana Wax Museum

The Tijuana Wax Museum is conveniently located in the downtown area, minutes away from the border, making it a preferred destination for those seeking easy and affordable family-friendly fun. The admission fee is only $1.75 dollars ($20 pesos) per person.

 

SanDiegoRed.com is designed as the first portal in Spanish that provides information, entertainment and news in San Diego and the Tijuana/Baja California region. Our main objective is that you find all the information that you need in San Diego Red and we become your preferred portal. We are committed to working tirelessly to meet your expectations and deliver the best website in Spanish. Contact SanDiegoRed.com or call (858) 454-511.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels, vacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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¡Salud! Tijuana Shows Off Mexico’s Liquid Treasures at Annual Tequila Expo

¡Salud! Tijuana Shows Off Mexico’s Liquid Treasures at Annual Tequila Expo

by Jorge Guevara. Reprinted with permission of San Diego Red.

Tijuana’s annual Tequila Expo has become a major event, drawing the best exhibitors and tequila producers in all of Mexico to Avenida Revolucion for tastings and other festivities. The much anticipated event, to be held October 9-13, will also serve as a showcase for delicious dishes from across the country, including regional specialties from the best restaurants in Baja California.

Tijuana to Host 13th Annual Tequila Expo

The country’s best tequila production houses will be on hand to share their wares, and attendees will be able to vote for their favorite producers. It’s anticipated that the event will be an ideal platform for distributors and producers, as well as the general public, who’ll have an opportunity to taste many of the best examples of Mexico’s most famous export.

Tijuana to Host Annual Tequila Expo

The Tijuana Tequila Expo is a showcase for Mexico’s liquid treasures.

Tijuana’s Tequila Expo will be open 1-11 p.m., October  9-13, on Avenida Revolucion, between 7th and 8th Streets. Admission is $6 U.S.

 

SanDiegoRed.com is designed as the first portal in Spanish that provides information, entertainment and news in San Diego and the Tijuana / Baja California region. Our main objective is that you find all the information that you need in San Diego Red and we become your preferred portal. We are committed to working tirelessly to meet your expectations and deliver the best website in Spanish. Contact SanDiegoRed.com or call (858) 454-511.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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The new trend in Baja’s gastronomy: Seafood tacos off the grill

The new trend in Baja’s gastronomy: Seafood tacos off the grill

Images courtesy of Life&Food Blog, Tacos Kokopelli and Erizo Tacos Baja Fish House and Market.

Surely you have seen the great boom of the Baja California kitchen in certain sources of media like The New York Times, KPBS, and even on Antony Bourdain’s television program, right? Well this trend distinguishes itself by mixing different seasonings from its residents, many of them whom migrated from different parts of the country and who use local natural resources in this mix.

The misconception of this might be that these delicious delights might be for those with a higher budget, but the gastronomy of BajaMed has surprised us once again by creating a kitchen that is also pocket friendly: Grilled Seafood Tacos.

Based on personal experience, Tijuana distinguishes itself by the number of small restaurants and street corner taco stands that offer great food.  If you ask anyone from Tijuana for a good place to eat, they will recommend to you either tacos, tortas (meat sandwich), or anything else that will make your mouth water.

Today we would like to recommend to you two new places that are innovating this trend:  Tacos Kokopelli and Erizo Baja Fish House and Market, both of which have set sail on a mission to delight everyone with these new and unusual tacos.

Erizo is related to other well-known restaurants like Mission 19, Caesars, and Casa Plascencia, which many of these places are distinguished in their seasoning and flavor by the chef Javier Plascencia and his family along with other stars from the kitchen of BajaMed.

The new trend in Baja’s gastronomy: Seafood tacos off the grill

For about $2.25 (USD) those who visit this place can try out one of the many seafood tacos on the menu, although there are many other options as well that will wake up your appetite.

In the list of many options, you can find shrimp tacos and octopus tacos that are accompanied by homemade hot sauces that are made with high quality ingredients — but keep in mind that most Mexicans like the hot peppers and peanuts.

In some international events, like the LA Street Food Fest, Baja California made it.  Many were  presence known with only these small food carts.  Many were wildly successful, and the most popular one with many awards was “La Guerrense”, which is a small food cart stand in Ensenada; this authentic and yet trendy cart captivated the attention of the judges and that of the public.

Kokopelli were the special guests at the event who got special recognition for their participation, and whom also caught the attention of a well know “blogger” Bill Esparza who spoke about the importance of this new innovation.

Chronologically speaking, Tacos Kokopelli was the first ones to offer this type of option in the city of Tijuana.

Video: BajaMed kitchen at the LA Street Food Fest

 

Although their ingredients might be similar, each kitchen has their own special seal of approval and even though Kokopelli is still a very young business, it has a lot to offer.

Video : A day in the life of Tacos Kokopelli

 

Recently they had a grand opening of their new location in Playas de Tijuana, which now we all have two great locations to go and enjoy great food at.

Playas location:

Downtown location:

The tacos at Kokopelli have a price of around $1.60 (USD), and if you ever want something different, their menu is always being enhanced with other options depending of what season of the year it is when you visit them.

This past November to celebrate “El Dia de Muertos” (Day of the Dead), they had a taco that was accompanied with pomegranate and flower petals of cempaxuchitl, and recently they also announced a special broth that will be made according to season or the festivities that are being celebrated in the region — or could it be that they are mentioning this as for the resurrection?

To be able to enjoy yourself in Tijuana or in Baja California, you don’t need a large amount of money and thanks to the efforts of its residents you can enjoy a good time in a safe and fun environment: visit Tacos Kokopelli and Erizo Baja Fish House and Market, both of which should definitely be on your to-do list!

Want to know more about these two places and how to find them? You can visit them on their website or on their Facebook page.

Erizo Baja Fish House and Market in Facebook. Map.

Tacos Kokopelli in Facebook, Map, Playas Location, Map, Downtown Location .

Brenda.Colon@sandiegored.com

Translation : Omar.Martinez@sandiegored.com

Sandiegored.com is designed as the first portal in Spanish that provides information/entertainment and news in SanDiego and the Tijuana / Baja California region. Our main objective is that you find all the information that you need in SanDiegoRed and BECOME  your preferred portal. We are committed to working tirelessly to meet your expectations and deliver the best website in Spanish. Contact SanDiegoRed.com or call (858) 454-511.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about localrestaurants,hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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Taking the Tijuana Taco Tour

by Derrik Chinn

Tacos al pastor

Be it birria, lengua, asada, cachete, carnitas, costilla, ojo, pescado or pastor, nothing compares to the international culinary icon that is the almighty taco. Greasy hands down, it is without a doubt Mexico’s gastronomic superstar.

That said, the taco and its grade of deliciousness — much like one’s Kinsey score or underwear preference — is a highly privy matter that varies greatly from person to person. Deciding upon an absolute favorite involves several factors: preparation of whatever type of grilled flesh that fills the tortilla, the masa used to make the tortilla, the presence of a neighboring tire or body shop, which for whatever reason often denotes heightened quality. Even the woman rolling and flattening said masa (and she’s always a woman) into said soon-to-be tortilla plays an essential role; her skill and know-how are of utmost importance to assembling a taco worthy of a ribbon as blue as her eye shadow.

If only this were all as straight-forward as some Einstein formula in which flavor times aesthetic divided by number of bodies crowded around the pastor tower squared equals overall deliciousness. Countless candidates exist, so much that in a city like Tijuana one could easily dine at a different taqueria every day for years and still not exhaust every option. On par with the hunt for the holy grail, the quest would bring about acute diabetes or a series of strokes long before swallowing enough research to crown one lone taco the title of Tijuana’s best.

But that doesn’t stop one from searching anyway.

A few Saturdays ago Turista Libre — along with Life & Food bloggers and Baja poster foodies Kristin and Antonio Diaz de Sandi as cohosts — loaded its trusty bus with 30 or so hungry gabachos from San Diego and Los Angeles for a trek to the four corners of Tijuana in search of the city’s most authentic, incomparable tacos. By no means was this progressive meal an attempt to trick wide-eyed, wider-stomached gringos into thinking they were woofing down the city’s answer to the best tacos, but rather an opportunity to for them to sink their teeth into an array of variations in parts of town they wouldn’t necessarily wander into on their own.

On the menu: quesabirria tacos at Tacos Aaron’s truck outside a Calimax grocery store in El Soler, New York strip and shrimp tacos at Mariscos Tito’s less than a mile from where the border wall trails into the Pacific Ocean in Playas de Tijuana, and pastor and asada at Taqueria La Gloria in La Gloria, a dusty southern offshoot from the free road to Rosarito.

Tepoznieves ice-cream in the Zona Rio

The day wound down with delicious but bizarre ice cream at Tepoznieves in Zona Rio — home of more than 120 flavors that span the tried and true (mango, blackberry, caramel) to the strange and unusual (spicy carrot, lettuce, avocado, rose petal) — followed by a local craft brew sampling at the new Baja Craft Beers Tasting Room off Boulevard Agua Caliente alongside the ruins of Tijuana’s first bullring, where the tap lineup includes more than 30 beers from both Southern California and Northern Baja.
Who’s to say whether our mouths did or did not happen upon Tijuana’s ultimate taco over the course of the day. One thing’s for sure though. We’re all a tad closer to acute diabetes.

Planning on taking the taco tour of Tijuana?  Let us know which taco was your favorite! 

Derrik Chinn- From unassuming reporter to freedom-loving Turista Libre (free tourist), Derrik Chinn’s reputation as underground concierge to the traveler has grown. Chinn, who has been spidering about in Tijuana with groups of tourists looking for a different kind of Mexico experience, is now sharing some of his insights and perspectives on Baja.com.  You can visit him on Facebook.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about localrestaurants,hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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