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Stories by Chad Deal

Doombia

“I think everybody kind of left cumbia, but we’re still doing it in this weird way,” says Marco Polo Gutierrez aka Siete Catorce, a Mexicali producer who fell in with Tijuana’s ruidosón crew after performing ...

Feels like home

Moustache brings a shot of North Park to Tijuana.

Moustache has always struck me as a Tijuana twist on North Park’s Bar Pink. Both are surefire spots to run into familiar faces most nights of the week and catch (often) free live music from ...

Crossborder holiday guide

Let nature provide Hills, valleys, and seaside Let the seasonal bouquet of East County and coastal chaparral inspire homespun holiday treats. A pungent whiff of Cleveland sage on Sycuan Peak or Sycamore Canyon might inspire ...

Illuminated, evolving medium

Visual projection artists respond to open call and BYOB Tijuana takes on the local vibe.

Bring Your Own Beamer is a project launched by Berlin artist Rafaël Rozendaal in 2010 that gives an open-call to visual projection artists of every inclination. In a DIY showcase of the developing frontier of ...

World-class throwback

Albie's is the ideal spot to canoodle with those who have improved with age.

It doesn’t look like much, the windowless portico brooding in the glow of a Hotel Circle Travelodge. However, behind a red door next to the lobby lies a world-class throwback that shows little indication of ...

Veggiejuana: healthy trumps hip

Zona Rio health food store and bakery serves meatless lunch meals.

On the far end of the spectrum from modern grub-hubs such as Food Garden and Colective 9 lies Flor de la Vida — a classic Tijuana veggie kitchen, bakery, and health food store that stocks ...

Massive brain crowbar

Octagrape, Trumans Water, and Permanent Makeup tour up the coast on no wave compilation cassette

No-wave garage-rock quartet Octagrape are embarking on an eight-stop West Coast tour with Portland-via-SD experimental band Trumans Water and Florida like-mindeds Permanent Makeup. The trio of acts will be travelling on a 17-track compilation cassette, ...

María y José on violence and love

Tijuana ruidosón prophet María y José shakes up San Diego

More of an attitude than a proper genre, a close-knit collective of Tijuana musicians put a significant blip on the international music radar starting in 2009 under the umbrella tag ruidosón. The sound takes hints ...

Veggiejuana: Chalita's new twist on an old dish

Classic Mexican cuisine for a modern generation

Fixed gastrocourts and quasi-permanent food truck circles have been redefining the culinary streetscape of Tijuana neighborhoods such as Centro, Cacho, Gabilondo, and Distrito Gastronómico for the past couple of years. Newest on the scene is ...

BLVD Market reinvents ECB with fresh eats

San Diego's first prepared-foods-only popup market comes to the Boulevard

Once infamous for its streetwalkers and illegal street car races, El Cajon Boulevard is further reinventing itself by debuting San Diego’s first popup outdoor prepared foods market. The BLVD Market will be held every third ...

Pull that tap wide open

Draw-it-yourself at Pacific Beach's Barrel Republic, a unique suds arcade.

Suds lovers, rejoice! It’s your turn to draw that draft, thanks to Barrel Republic’s pour-it-yourself tap room, which opened last November. “A lot of people compare it to Yogurtland,” says barmaid Nikki, one of the ...

We don’t want to work for the maquiladoras

Tapping the power to change things in Tijuana.

Miguel Buenrostro sits on the second floor of the old Mexicoach station, half a block from the nocturnal nexus of Sexta and Revolución. We are in a vacant, black-walled room that will soon be converted ...

Veggiejuana: Raíces bicycle burrito service

Vegan collective brings fresh vegan 'ritos to your doorstep.

Far removed from high-end buffets and trendy concept eateries lays Raíces Cocina Vegana, one of at least three veggie-centric bicycle delivery services in Tijuana. Active for about 4 months, Raíces prepares vegan burritos at the ...

Be smart, take risks

Moon Block Party returns to Pomona with international bill

It’s been three years since the Moon Block Party collective threw their first free event at the Downtown Pomona Arts Colony with over 50 acts including notables such as Strangers Family Band, Allah-Las, Halloween Swim ...

Veggiejuana: Veggie Smalls at Food Garden

Well-dubbed veg hub dishes out fusion grub.

Veggie Smalls gets a sterling rating right off the bat based on their name alone, but the instinctive kudos is backed up in full by their menu of veg-friendly burgers, dogs, and tacos. For the ...

The curious walking reeds of the Tijuana River

Have we got a green card for you.

Art on the hoof, in the river, but not quite across the border.

Cozy café with a dark side

Human skulls dangled from the ceiling in birdcages.

La Cupula is everything I’d hoped a vampire bar in Tijuana would be. At first I’d pictured an all-out monster mash: freaks sipping gore-toned cocktails and stomping around to industrial remixes of 45 Grave. It ...

Veggiejuana: an introduction to vegetarian TJ

It's no longer just elotes and frijoles for Tijuana vegetarians.

The thought of eating vegetarian in Tijuana may seem strange. After all, when considering the cuisine of our neighbor to the south, one generally pictures the carne asada, chorizo, adobada, and braided tripa tacos that ...

Pork rinds now, shawarma later at Bakbuk

When it comes to nightlife, Tijuana’s Sexta has something for everyone — time-honored cantinas, craft-beer cinema bars, kitschy mezcalerías, jazz joints, after-hour dance clubs, ’til-dawn punk dives, and old-timey cumbia halls. Now, Bakbuk is bringing ...

La Esquina has a Parasite

Barrio Logan architects explore parasitic structures and permit evasion

You may have seen it on a Barrio Logan hilltop just west of I-5: an electric-green trapezoid in an otherwise vacant lot, a triangular opening on one end and a larger square portal on the ...

Fine international fusion at beach bum cost

Turquoise Cellars is home to masters and obsessives.

You wouldn’t guess it from their island-style coffee-shop façade, but beyond the organic drip java and veggie wraps lies a top-notch wine and beer bar with selections meant to be paired with their eclectic, globally ...

Moments of Clarity with Whales Whailing

San Diego soul quester returns to hometown with spiritual folk outfit

Peter Ryan has played percussion in a number of projects from his hometown of San Diego, on to Seattle with Kusikia (whose record was put out by fellow San Diegan-gone-Northwesterner Alex Miranda on his vinyl ...

Nunu's sees the light

Hillcrest mainstay tweaks the vibe but not the essentials.

Anyone who’s had the pleasure of tossing back a few cocktails at this 50-some-year-old Fifth Avenue landmark knows that a large part of the appeal comes from its shadowy interior lined with red Naugahyde booths. ...

Because cyborgs

Chad's account of his time as a soldier in the battle against chair loss.

Cyborg party at the Xoo brings in a few lawn chairs.

Left speechless

Divine intervention may be at play when Chad visits Little Bonanza.

In an era when any jerk with a Wi-Fi connection can condemn every small business on Earth for no good reason, it speaks volumes to find a bar with zero Yelp reviews. No off-topic whiners. ...

Con gusto

Be it a liter of gut-wrenching booze-cophony from a TJ punk cave or a martini glass of tamarind/mezcal slush, borderland cocktails unite us, con gusto. Chiquita’s Mexican Food This Fairmount Park villa is the epitome ...

El Dorado rebrand

“There are a lot of really crazy rumors going around town about El Dorado,” says Ryan Kuntz, manager of the East Village cocktail lounge. “‘I heard it was going out of business.’ ‘I heard it ...

Cross-cultural interactive art in the park with Figment

2nd annual, free, all-ages day festival returns to Chicano Park.

Aiming to bridge the gap between art creators and art appreciators by removing expression from the confines of a gallery, FIGMENT made its San Diego debut last year, drawing over 1000 participants for the day-long ...

Things to do

What do you mean you’re bored?! An anti-ho-hum compendium.

Jetpack America Want to feel like Superman? After a training video and in-office instruction, strap on a jetpack and take to the air. During the 15- to 60-minute ride, the water-jetting pack can go as ...

Baja music fest grows chefs

All My Friends music festival started as a house party in Tijuana five years ago and has been broadening its scope and attendance annually ever since. This year, they’re shifting from an autumn to a ...

Lunar pilgrimage

Chad floats in a sea of fisherman hats, ponchos, and high-waisted mom shorts

On January 1, a wizard-bearded Norman Feller emerged from his Canadian bunker for the first time since he’d locked himself away from the impending anticlimax of Y2K. Actually, he didn’t. The CBC Radio broadcast turned ...

Engage with Edgeland Futurism

Alterity, liminality explored by students at Space 4 Art

Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” It was under this premise that Ash Eliza Smith has spent the last several months teaching an experimental course at ...

Hillbilly-tinged steampunk

So many missed opportunities, so many sweet-ass zingers lost to the space-time continuum

The Bucking Delorian is the kind of place you want to fall in love with. I mean, it’s a freaking Back to the Future–themed bar in downtown Lakeside! But, not unlike the broken promises of ...

Lions out of cage

It’s been less than a year since Soft Lions started playing together, but they are releasing an EP titled Earth Energy, on June 7 at Soda Bar. The self-described “moody post–riot grrl jams” feature members ...

Distance and disappearing with Wages

L.A.'s honey-glazed retro-rockers play with Manuok at Whistle Stop Friday night!

The last time Nick Campbell came to San Diego, he set up an innovative sound-art installment at Space 4 Art as part of the fourth annual San Diego Experimental Guitar Show. The installation, called PERSONO, ...

Are you ready to rumble?

A few months back, my roommate Matt came to me with an idea. His buddy David — a mixed-martial-arts student at Chakal Mx gym in Tijuana — wanted to throw a festival. The gym would ...

Beer Town, MX

Ask any Santa Ana breeze and she’ll tell you, Mexicali’s known for sweltering hot summers, a relaxed, rural demeanor, Chinese food and an abandoned underground Chinatown, carne asada, outlandish music, and beautiful women (some attribute ...

Everything is for the locals

Seth and Alexis Sullivan don’t look like they belong in Mexico. A gringo by blood — his parents relocated to Tijuana from North Carolina and Kansas nearly four decades ago — Seth is known among ...

Tropical wave strikes 30th at Chris' Ono Grinds

Island-style cuisine just like mom used to make it

Over the past few years, the food and drink corridor of 30th Street has grown beyond its University Avenue origins to extend past El Cajon Boulevard and clear through BeHe up to Adams. Locales such ...

Only beginning to express its potential

Teorema takes its place in the burgeoning Baja beer scene.

Behind a nondescript door next to the new TJINCHINA gallery and down a long hallway, the first batches of Tijuana’s greenest microbrewery are bubbling up in small, stainless steel tanks. “When I started at Beer ...

There was no scene here

Mexico City has always been a magnet. Post-Toltec Nahua tribes gravitated there to live along the shores of the now-drained Lake Texcoco. The Aztecs then claimed it as their promised land and the center of ...

Eat like a caveman

Local butchers, chefs, and sommelier stir up a spring Paleo popup

On Sunday, April 27th, local Paleolithic diet advocates will host a dinner at Turquoise Cellars (5026 Cass Street, Pacific Beach) to demystify the so-called “Caveman Diet.” The dinner includes keynote speeches from local whole-animal butchers ...

Diazepam dandelions

The first thing you notice is the whistling: this sprightly ditty that feels familiar at first, but you can’t put your finger on it. Then he rounds the corner, a willowy, relaxed figure with a ...

Adventures in Adobada: Taquería Los Albañiles

Well-constructed tacos on a dismanlted Segunda

Having finally come to terms with the jeering orange pile of disillusionment that is being marketed as the original taco al pastor in Mexico City, I returned to an old Tijuana favorite to reaffirm the ...

Taste and vibe

When a collective of Pomona musicians and artists known as Moon Block Party got invited to host a show in Desert Hot Springs concurrent with the 2012 Coachella festival, they had no idea that they ...

Adventures in Adobada: Melancholy in Mexico City

Losing faith at al pastor Mecca.

El Tizoncito invented the taco al pastor in 1966 by exchanging the lamb shawarma brought by Lebanese immigrants for marinated pork shoulder on a tortilla. Blame the half century since its inception, but these tacos regrettably don't hold a candle to Baja's succulent adobada tacos served on fresh masa tortillas.

Five elements of fun

Despite the never-ending sunshine, San Diego is rarely thought of as a “green” city. While it ranks 14th in a 2012 study by Corporate Knights (a publication that promotes “clean capitalism”), the city failed to ...

Salty Frog

Like most sterling life decisions, the Salty Frog was born out of little more than camaraderie and a sturdy dollop of beer-addled whimsy. Jason Hasty, his wife Alisha, and Kanai (pronounced “Can-I”) — a buddy ...

Music’s mad scientists

“The San Diego Experimental Guitar Show started out as an event that included all of my noise-artist friends,” says host Sam Lopez in anticipation of the event’s fifth annual incarnation at the Soda Bar on ...

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