Mexico: Tacos El Poblano

By the time we got back to Tijuana from our second wine tasting in Valle de Guadalupe, it was late in the evening.  The girls weren't interested in dinner and although we were still full from our late lunch, it was our last night in Mexico and my sister and I did not want to leave without squeezing in one more taco.

We ventured out into the night on our own.  Given that it was still Holy Weekend, a lot of the restaurants we encountered along the way were closed.  The one brightly-lit exception was Tacos El Poblano:

As two little Asian girls in this local joint, we stood out like sore thumbs:

The menu was in Spanish, the staff only spoke Spanish, and we spoke next to none.  Unsure how the restaurant worked, we walked up to the counter and awkwardly placed our order in broken Spanish.

Celebrating prematurely for a job well done, we were taken aback when the guy taking our order suddenly asked us a question.  We stared silently at him for a second before shrugging apologetically.  When he turned around as if to get something to show us, a light bulb went off in my head and I realized that he'd said something about "maize."  It wasn't too difficult to connect the dots and conclude that he was asking what kind of tortillas we wanted.

I may have exclaimed "maize!" a bit too loudly in my triumph.

As we sat at a table waiting for our food, we noticed it seemed that only people ordering to-go went up to the counter.  Everyone else sat at a table and waited for a staff person to come to them.  Lacking the language ability to correct our error, we just waited to see what would happen.  Sure enough, our food came packaged to-go.

Not a big deal.  We just ripped into everything there.

There was something called a mula (80 pesos, slightly under $4.50) on the menu.  We had no clue what it was, so of course we had to order it:

It turned out to be something similar to a quesadilla, but with guacamole and onions.  We got ours with carne asada:

Still dreaming about the adobada taco we had the day before, we ordered one of those (20 pesos or around $1) as well as a quesataco (30 pesos or slightly over $1.50) with cabeza:

Did I mention that we weren't hungry at all?

Even so, we finished it all.  I'm glad we finished our Mexico taco tour with Tacos El Poblano.  Those were exactly the kind of tacos I imagined when we first started planning the trip.  No gourmet froufrou stuff, just good basic tacos.

The next day, we said goodbye to Mexico.  The Tijuana side of the U.S./Mexico border was essentially a marketplace.  We spent our 50 minutes waiting to cross watching as people threaded their way through the lanes of cars trying to peddle baskets and aguas frescas and marijuana leaf blankets.  You could even get meals made fresh to order.  We kept our windows rolled up, but ultimately capitulated and bought a bag of churros from a passing lady:

The experience made us think about our clients and how nerve-racking it must be for them to cross the border, either legally or illegally.  We were barely asked anything by the officer at the checkpoint though and we went on our merry way north, stopping by Brodard and Porto's on our way home.

While I had a great time in Tijuana, I probably would not go back again.  There's something depressing about the city, an air of defeat and also a sense of people just making do, just biding their time.  I would, however, love to visit other parts of Mexico, such as Mexico City.

Taco Tour Part Deux, anyone?

Tacos El Poblano
Paseo Playas de Tijuana 2570, Col. Costa Hermosa
22506 Tijuana, B.C., Mexico


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