Quick Cross-Border Foray (for food and wine)
During Spring Break, my son requested a day in Tijuana to visit a few of our favorite restaurants.
My wife, son and I stated out with breakfast at La Espadaña. Serious coffee purists may cringe at one of two pots the waiters offer; café canela, a slightly sweetened brew with cinnamon bark. It’s a great way to start a meal. The breakfast menu isn’t exceptionally adventurous but has some nice selections, particularly the huevos rancheros con mole. The long-time chef supposedly incorporates over 20 spices, three chilies and other traditional ingredients in his mole. It may transport you, at least for a moment, to Oaxaca as it is far from ordinary. For fans of nopales, there are liquados, omelets (mine was great) and juices (naranja con nopales). The service was gracious and efficient. The setting is quite nice, with deeply colored, red-orange walls full of Talavera pottery and an open kitchen where you can watch the busy chefs. The restaurant was busy as well, hosting a full crowd of hungry patrons on a Saturday morning. Breakfast for three, including tip, was just under $30. Sánchez Taboada Blvd. 10813, Colonia Aviación (Taboada @ Escuadrón 201).
After breakfast we took a 20 minute walk to the Centro Cultural complex. I won’t dwell on the details because it isn’t food-related but the new section, El Cubo (The Cube), is a beautiful museum space, well worth the $3(!) admission. The older sections of the museum, IMAX, garden, boys town and exhibit space always have something of interest as well.
We headed back to the Gastronomic District in search of wine. Normally we go to L.A.Cetto for wine tasting and to purchase a few bottles to take home. We wanted to buy wines from other producers without having to travel all the way to Valle de Guadalupe. We had heard of the wine store named after its proprietor, Gilberto Salinas. We found the store but missed the wine tasting time. We did meet a young winemaker from San Antonia de Minas and on his recommendation (what else would he say?) got a bottle of his wine, Cruz X 2007. We also picked up a bottle from one of my favorites winemakers, J.C. Bravo (Carignan 2006), which we had been introduced to at Laja in Valle de Guadalupe.
Blvd. Salinas #10650-7, Colonia Aviación
Finally, we headed to La Diferencia. A small bowl of tortilla chips was accompanied by refried black beans and a smoky, moderately spicy salsa rojo. Warm, freshly baked rolls were paired with herbed cream cheese (which was wrapped in corn husks, presented like tiny tamales). We started with sopa de flor de calabeza, sopa de tortilla frita (similar to some sopa Azteca I have had in D.F.) and an exceptionally fresh, field greens salad with a mildly sweet, herbed dressing. Notable entres included medallions of beef with different sauces (goat cheese/walnut, spinach/mushroom and a perfectly seasoned red chile), chicken huitlacoche with salsa verde. A few glasses of L,A, Cetto nebbiollo wine with the meal, followed by dessert (tres leches and flan- not wildly adventurous but quite good, nonetheless) and we were ready to head home. Attentive staff, the sound of a large fountain in the courtyard-like dining room. Meals with wine, dessert and tip for three people, $85. Blvd. Sánchez Taboada 10611, Colonia Avacion.
The two restaurants we visited have been mentioned and recommended previously on this board but I don't recall any prior detailed information on the wine shop, Gilberto Salinas.