Tijuana’s so-called “tolerance zone” has been canonized as a post-topian hive of lechers, dope fiends, harlots, swindlers, and godforsaken gringos — and all for good reason.
The infamous red light district is Biff Tannen’s alternate 1985 turned up to 11 and translated poorly into a pastiche of alleyway hisses, flashing lights, and crude Spanglish entreats.
“What you want, man? Girls? Coke? Farmacia?”
Whatever your vice, you’re going to want to eat, eventually, and – as the ambient stink of rancid fryer oil opines – you won’t want to eat just anywhere.
Stumbling distance from the backdoor of the renowned Hong Kong Gentleman’s Club lies a 24-hour taco cart that is so much a fixture of the street that it doesn’t even have a name, though the taquero says you can call it Tacos Coahuila, if you want, because Calle Coahuila is right there.
It is here that you will find the pinnacle of TJ sidewalk ‘bada. A generous cut of pineapple is dwarfed by a comically over-sized trompo, which is restacked every Thursday or Friday in anticipation of the weekend. The house adobo relies more on garlic and cumin than achiote and paprika, as evinced by dark brown shavings of pork shoulder that pack more smoke than bite.
Be sure to ask for some piña with your piggy. Warmed on the plancha and chopped with a putty knife, it brings an organic, BBQ’d sweetness to the adobada. It also contains enzymes that will aid in digestion, and you won’t often find it offered elsewhere.
Now squeeze some lime on there and sauce ‘er up!
At 14 pesos (just over a buck) each, you can have your fill and still have enough cash to get you back to the real 1985, chicken.