TIJUANA.- Months ago Anthony Bourdain visited various points in the state of Baja California to show the world the real truth: the boom of Baja-Med cuisine, and the wave of violence, a nightmare of which Baja has woken up.
The expectation by the people of the frontier was high ¿would Bourdain achieve the task? Time for the truth in the chapter issued this past Monday evening May 28.
"I write, I travel, I eat and I want more" is the phrase that encompasses the concept of the show "No Reservations". This time, the chapter begins when Bourdain crosses from San Diego to Tijuana by the San Ysidro border, the bridge, known by thousands of people who no longer live in Tijuana and San Diego, have made a single city out of both. In the background and with some pictures, there´s a talk about a few years back when Mexico's war on drugs caused clashes between armed groups on the city streets, and Tourism almost became extinct in Baja California.
We´re talking about events that happened almost 6 years ago and now they´re only memories, making citizens forge a new present and future.
Bourdain´s first stop was at a torta stand near the borderline, "Torta de Lomo please" he said in Spanish. He enjoyed up to the last bite and said "That's a good torta”.
As the show progressed, Anthony Bourdain clarifies that he knows little or nothing of Tijuana, for someone who does not reside in the area, it is expected that all you've heard are bad news, yet we came across a man who has traveled every corner of the world and now wears a flag that says "Tijuana is safe, Baja California is amazing and everyone should come to know it.¨
Bourdain went on his journey to "Mision 19", a restaurant owned by Chef Javier Plascencia from Baja California. While enjoying a sausage roast tongue, radishes and other products of the region, Anthony asked Plascencia about his gastronomical proposal.
Javier Plascencia talked about turning Baja-Med cuisine into a gastronomical destination by creating something new with traditional recipes of the Mexican food and using the best products in the region.
"No Reservations" continued showing the city of Tijuana, and it was time for nightlife: Sixth Street and one of the most beloved bars, El Dandy del Sur. Accompanied by Tony T, Bourdain enjoyed a beer while listening about how that place had been in good and bad times Tourism wise in the city. For local and foreign visitors nightlife was not dead.
Tony T said that Tijuana was gradually learning that the ¨$10 all you can drink and bad food¨ was not working anymore, so they started reinventing themselves. Tourism was not for what the city of Tijuana was seeing as the "typical gringo" tourism was for the citizens themselves who sought to enjoy a drink with friends and have a good time.
Tony T and Bourdain crossed the street to enjoy a Mezcal in "La Mezcalera". Bourdain put aside the weird feeling of being among so many youngsters to relish the mezcales and chapulines.
Boarding a pink limousine that would not start at the beginning, Tony T invited Bourdain to Taco Alley, or what locals call "Las Ahumaderas".
Tony T said that Tijuana has the best tacos in the country, and Bourdain would witness this. “Campechanos” and “Adobada” (marinated pork) tacos were Bourdain´s doom, and while eating, he said "I Like Taco Alley".
Anthony Bourdain's tour continued the next day with an interview with filmmaker Ivan Diaz and from the Nortec Collective's band, Pepe Mogt. They talked about the mixture of northern and electronic music. "No Reservations" shows the identity of a place, it doesn’t focus on just one aspect.
Ivan and Pepe explained to Bourdain that the best cure for a hangover was a Michelada beer and seafood, which was a tradition that came from Sinaloa, like northern music and seafood at seaside.
That evening´s drinking needed a remedy, Ivan and Anthony took Bourdain to "Kentucky Fried Buches." Fried chicken necks in a tortilla and fresh salsa, a delight for Bourdain.