Brasas Tacos, a must for all taco lovers looking for the perfect taco in Tijuana.
Freshly made empanadas served with chimichurri and chipotle sauce.
Living in Southern California I am part of a community filled with immigrants. But not once did I think about the place where immigration really happens or have a knowledge of what crossing a border is like. Since I have U.S citizenship it is easy for me to cross the border but, on the trolley ride over I could sense all the different feeling of the other passengers about to cross the border.
Across the aisle, a woman is holding her cross necklace and whispering a prayer. Two middle-aged men are catching up, both speaking Spanish. My one year of Spanish means I can't understand a word of it. You can sense all the different feelings about crossing the border. When you get to the border you first show your passport and then you cross over a small line on the ground and you are in Mexico. Such a small line has such an effect on many people's lives. Part of that has to do with the fact that there are also soldiers there holding rifles. Not everyone can cross the border so easily. Once my dad and I crossed into Tijuana, we looked around and were so excited. Across the way was a gigantic Mexican flag that you could see from miles away. The roads were filled with vendors selling street food and souvenirs. Our first stop on the trip was a small restaurant called Casa Cacao or Chocolate House. The shop was run by a husband and wife team who used all the English they knew to help us figure out what to order. We ended up with two cups of the 70% dark hot chocolate. The hot chocolate had notes of cinnamon and was foamy and smooth. It was also served with a bread that you were supposed to dip in the hot chocolate. We thought it was bland but the owner explained it was a good source of protein because of all of the eggs in it. Not everyone eats just for flavor. The husband running Casa Cacao came walking around to each table showing off the fresh cacao beans and prints of the Aztecs with chocolate. He was an unofficial teacher showing customers the worth of cacao and its origin. Along with cacao beans he also brought out crickets in lime and chile for us to taste showing us how the Aztecs would get protein.
Next, we stopped at a market filled with fresh produce, cheese, spices, and moles. The cotija cheese at the market was so fresh and salty and the locals all seemed to be going for the same añejo cotija. There was even a whole enclosed area filled floor to ceiling with different kinds of spices. We left with mole a and bag of dried chiles.
All throughout the streets of Tijuana, there is art of all sorts. One of our favorites was a mural with a hashtag "Todos Somos Migrantes."
Our final stop before heading home was a food court called Colectivo Nueve. The selection of food was very diverse including two Japanese restaurants, tacos, an empanada place, and Italian food. Though, the first item on the Italian restaurants' menu was a quesadilla! First, we had tacos from Brasa Taqueria, some of the best tacos I've ever had! I ordered a chorizo taco topped with beans, onions, cilantro, and guacamole. For such a simple taco it had incredible flavor. Behind the cashier I also noticed an older woman making fresh tortillas to order (both corn and flour). We additionally ordered empanadas from a brother-sister owned shop called 19/87, standing for the brothers birth year. We ate the fresh and golden empanadas with a variety of fillings. We shared a smoked fish empanada, chorizo and jalapeno empanada, ham and cheese empanada, and a poblano con elote empanada (our favorite). Seeing all the variety within the food court was so amazing and unexpected. Not all the food in Mexico has to be Mexican.
If you get the chance to go to Tijuana I urge you to study the people around you, obsereve the feelings of people, talk to people, and try the foods that they are eating. If you want to know the sever's favorite thing at a restaurant simply ask, "Cual es tu favorita?"
Thank you for reading and make sure to come back next week for a post on fried chicken restaurant, The Crack Shack. Have a tasteful day!