|Enrique Pelayo Torres, Municipal President of Ensenada (PRI)|
We've reached a tipping point in Baja tourism; people have finally started to discover that Baja is there, it's safe, and it's chock full of things to do. Unfortunately, this means that the lines to cross back are longer than ever. People over at Baja Nomad have reported four-, five- and even six-hour crossing times as CBP works feverishly to add more capacity to the world's busiest border checkpoint and as the U.S. issues heightened security directives due to people who want to blow us up.
It will get better, and soon; the ongoing project, which also involved moving the Mexico-bound checkpoint a third of a mile to the west, will result in a maximum capacity of 64 cars at a time at San Ysidro when they're done, but unfortunately during construction, the lines just keep getting longer and longer. It's the sort of thing that could cause even the hardiest Baja traveler to stay NOB (that's North of the Border).
This week, Tijuana Sí! is going to take a break from food and drink coverage and talk about how to get across the border in the most expeditious way possible. This information was correct and current as of the date of publication, but there's construction everywhere and they have switched which side the Ready Lanes are on more than once. That is to say, your mileage--or kilometrage--may vary.More »
Two years ago, Javier Plascencia started the BC Culinary Fest in Tijuana to celebrate the renaissance of Baja's culinary scene, and as a one-stop shop to introduce curious people to the wonders being created just south of the border. Curious Mexicans and norteamericanos wandered through the windswept patio of El Trompo, the Tijuana children's museum, eating everything from paella to border dogs, from just-made requesón to aged wine.
This year's festival, the third, is from October 24-27, based at CECUT, the golf ball-shaped cultural center in Tijuana. Previous years had events from Mexicali to Bahía de los Ángeles; this year, chefs from all over the state as well as from Guadalajara and Mexico City will come to Tijuana.More »
How is it possible that we haven't written about La Guerrerense in these pages? Sabina Bandera runs arguably the most famous street stand in the world. Andrew Zimmern was struck (momentarily) speechless; Anthony Bourdain called her seafood Michelin quality; she was invited to Singapore, where she set that famously picky city's food writers on (figurative) fire; at this year's Muestra del Vino in Ensenada, her table ran out of food in fifteen minutes flat as people stampeded to it.
Bill Esparza Sabina Bandera and Mariana Oviedo in Singapore
Doña Sabina is not exactly a stranger up on this side of the border, either; she was at the Los Angeles Street Food Fest multiple years in a row, she did a stint at John Sedlar's Playa restaurant before it turned into Petty Cash Taquería, and she had one of the longest lines at this year's Tacolandia.
Still, there is nothing like the original stand, where Sabina and her daughter Mariana Oviedo preside over a cart loaded down with the finest seafood in Baja California. Ceviche comes from a platform on one side, and Mariana presides over cocktails and conchas (seafood on the half shell) on the other. In the middle is Sabina, taking orders from behind a huge stack of Ball jars filled with homemade salsas, most made with produce from her own prodigious garden.More »