Friday, August 31, 2018

Tijuana Speakeasies



When it comes to nightlife, Tijuana is probably most famous for it’s spraying multi-story clubs, its breweries, and dives. This is a beer-drinking culture which Tecate is served in buckets.

But for a cocktail drinker like me, there a a few lovely speakeasy’s that are just up my ally.

Nortico
Nortico is a secret bar located in Oryx Capital. It is recommended that you make reservation to go since seating is limited. Inside, it feels like a James Bond movie. The cocktails were all incredibly strong. The Love Bug and Drunk Punch I ordered each had about 6 different hard liquors in them, including lots of Mezcal, Campari, and Aperol, which I love. I enjoyed the vibe and atmosphere.












El Tinieblo 
El Tinieblo is also a secret bar located in the back of Cevicheria La Mas Nais, a popular seafood restaurant. I loved this place because it was divvy and weird. With animal heads on the walls, a jukebox, and dark red curtains it felt like the kind of place that you could walk into and never leave the same. Their accessible menu and cheap cocktails will also keep me coming back for more.












Monday, August 27, 2018

Puff Ball Dress at a Bjork-Themed Party


Years ago I came across this photo of Nicki Minaj at New York Fashion week in 2011 and I knew I had to have this dress for myself. Back then I had a lot more time on my hands and it seemed fitting to spend an entire afternoon hand-sewing individual puff balls to one of my Qi Pao dresses for the effect.

The only problem was...I had no where to wear such a garment.

The dress stayed in the closet for years, where I lovingly stroked it and dreamt that one day it would make a debut in the world.

That day finally came when I attended a Bjork-themed dance party at an exclusive speakeasy in Portland. I knew that this would be the dress I would wear, and I would put my own gothic twist on it. In my mind, this is totally the type of dress that would belong in such a dance party and if Bjork were there, she herself might even appreciate it.

Undoubtably, I got a lot of attention and complements, mostly from strangers who asked if they could "pet me." There was quite a lot of stroking that night. Most people asked how the balls were attached - by hand - and how long it too me - 5 hours.















Lastly, there was a big non-scandal where Minaj was accused of plagiarizing a similar design from a virtually unknown designer.  It was later revealed that this garment came from Japanese fashion brand DOG, and was in fact, not a knock-off at all. Read the full story here.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Fine Dining in Tijuana


When most people think of Tijuana, “fine dining”  is not what they have in mind. Many people in the U.S. don’t associate Mexican cuisine with the likes of French or Spanish  and don’t imagine having a 6-course chef’s tasting menu in a border town in Baja.

Thankfully, the stereotype is changing. Mexican food is no longer being thought of as a monolith of cheap street tacos. Dining at all price points can be found in Tijuana and I wanted to sample some of the city’s best restaurants.

Mision 19
Mision 19 is the absolute best restaurant in Tijuana. For a cost of about $60 USD, I enjoyed a 6-course meal with a cocktail – much cheaper than it would have been in the U.S.



The location itself feels rather exclusive. Far from the chaos of Revolucion and tucked away inside a nondescript corporate tower, this place has an almost nightclub vibe.
When we went on a Friday night at 8:00pm, the restaurant was about half full. It was impossible to tell where everyone was from or how they knew each other. The groups of other diners fascinated me with their mystique. The interior is simple, not overly decorated or adorned – all the design is reserved for the plating.

My dining companion, Albert William, and I each started out by ordering a cocktail. Mine, I'm sure, had Mescal in it. It was perfectly balanced, not too strong or too sweet.



We were then offered a sample of experimental breads from the kitchen. Four tiny, savory pastries that had unique blends of Mexican and French tastes.




The first course was a tuna ceviche, a raw fish with citrus flavors, seaweed, and trout caviar.



The second course was a sea urchin cream served in the shell of the sea urchin. By far the best way I have ever eaten sea urchin outside of Japan.




The third course was my favorite – a lobster served with Cotija and parmesan foam in a buttery sauce. It was the most divine flavor I ever tasted.



The fourth course was a taco, which was served a top of bed of hot coals. 
The presentation was outstanding and I found the taco tasty as well.



The fifth and final savory course was a braised beef short rib in a sweet corn pudding. Amazing.



The sixth course, dessert, was a delightful ice cream dish with a short bread and rose petals.



Honestly, this is one of the best meals I have ever had in my life and I can’t wait to return.


Oryx Capital
The first night I was in Tijauna, I visited Oryx capital. After a quick stay in their speakeasy Nortico, I had a late dinner around 10:00pm.



The first free treat they offered us was a strawberry in balsamic reduction.



I ordered an appetizer which was a corn soup and one of the best I’ve had.



My friend got a Taco de Negra, with fish,  squid ink,  beet, avocado, purple cabbage and cheese.


I ordered a tagliatelle with tongue and parmesan. Very filling.



I enjoyed my meal at Oryx, but it did not blow me away like Mision 19. It may be unfair to compare the two, because they each offer unique culinary experiences. 



Coming 2019*** 52 Kool

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Cafes of the Cacho, Tijuana

The Cacho was the first neighborhood I stayed in Tijuana and I was so impressed with the overwhelming number of great cafes they have on literally every corner. Many of these my friend already knew about and recommended to me, but others I discovered on my own by merely walking around and looking. 


La Stazione 
This was the first place I went in all of Tijuana. My friend’s favorite drink is not even a coffee beverage – it's the Sosticio – a jasmine tea with hand-pressed grapefruit juice. I love this café because of the open atmosphere and abundant seating both indoors and outdoors.


Das Cortez 
Das Cortez is a chain in Tijuana and I instantly fell in love with their lavender latte the first time I tried it. So far, I have been to three branches of this café in Tijuana and I would like to attend them all. This is exactly what I think of when I think of a quintessential café for a nomad. 




El Pan Nuestro 
This sweet and stylish place makes the most amazing cakes. I had the mango vanilla cake both times I visited.



Varon 
This tiny shop made a great iced vanilla latte to go one hot afternoon. I really like the vibe here and hope to be back.





Baristi 
Baristi is another local chain where I visited two branches. I don’t like it has much a Das Cortez because they don’t have lavendar and their interios feels more corporate and generic, but I enjoyed my vanilla latte.


Jacu 
This small shop is shares a space with a syrup producer so you have to be buzzed in the front door. I ordered a lavender latte and found it very similar to Das Cortex which I enjoyed.  


Errant 
Another tiny road-side establishment services espresso drinks and donuts. I enjoyed my latte from a narrow bar counter overlooking a parking lot.


Photo Diary: a day in Pingxi

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