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Stories by Matthew Suárez

Whatever you do, stay south of Calle Primera

Buda Burgers, in the bad part of town

The first time I tried a Buda Burger was two years ago. My roommate had left a half-eaten burger in the fridge, and I was hungry. He later gave me directions on how to find ...

Bland food, fantastic view

Tijuana’s Cafe Aquamarino

Waves crashing, rooftop dogs barking, seagulls squawking, the banter between people (mostly in English), music playing in the background, improvised couches, random pillows and cushions, a long wooden table, a bookshelf with a sign that ...

Zonked out

Love for the Tijuana zebra from both sides

The zonkey business seems to be dying of natural causes, not because of animal rights activism.

Kitty and tea

An hour at Tijuana's cat café

“The Persian one, that’s Zed,” says Elizabeth Barajas, the founder of Bastet Cat Café, pointing at a napping kitty. “Zed is the house cat. He is always here and welcomes all the newcomers. More than ...

Peso falls at the same time as Chapo

The Chinese box method

“We need to find another news story for people to get distracted; we call it la caja China (Chinese box).” That’s a translated line from a Mexican movie that came out in 2014 named La ...

Bread's got Baby Jesus

No "baby kisses" in roscas de reyes — sweetened dried fruit and other stuff

My parents woke me and my brothers up in the middle of the night when I was six years old in my hometown of Querétaro (1992). Three men dressed in robes, crowns, and white gloves ...

Stuck in 1975

...at Observatory North Park

Droning sounds start to build before The 1975 came onstage at 9 p.m. Shrieks from fans filled my ears as the frontman, Matthew Healy, came out with his bandmates. It felt as if I was ...

In praise of a seafood Tijuana favorite

Go for the red snapper tostada and stay for the Pulp Friction

The first time I went to La Corriente Cevicheria Nais was around five years ago, one of the first restaurants I visited in Tijuana. Back then, the sign that says how many red snapper tostadas ...

A Christmas Facebook story

"Give me a like or I will beat your ass," he yelled at the homeless man.

A 17-year-old identified as Adal Mundo Rodríguez was videoed abusing a homeless man, making him repeat different humiliating phrases in the Otay region of Tijuana, on December 20th. The teenager holds what seems to be ...

McDonald's commercial fooled me

I am not lovin' it.

The last time I went to McD's was in 2010 at LAX, one of the worst airports at which to eat. That day, I strayed from the burgers and got nuggets and a McFlurry. I ...

Not enough bacon for a place with bacon in the title

TJ's Sweet Bacon not quite ready to attract Millennial crowd

A tad late with the trend of cooking everything with bacon, Sweet Bacon opened its doors a couple of months ago in downtown Tijuana. They are located on the main road (Revolución) between 6th and ...

Tijuana brewer's van swiped

"I had to bring three kegs in my car. It looked like I was doing wheelies."

Last week, the van that Border Psycho brewery uses to transport kegs to their tap room and other bars was stolen with beer inside. The reward offered by the brewery for information that leads to ...

Tijuana loves delivery

But how did a Hornero pizza get in my house?

Tijuana is a city that loves its delivery food. Hundreds of motorcycles with all sorts of food zoom down the streets day and night. One morning I woke up to find out my roommate had ...

Comic-Con it every dang day

Tijuana's Friki Zone, where nerds can say they're nervous

“Whoa, they have the Link Amiibo. I can’t find them anywhere in L.A. I’m getting one for my lil’ brother.” I was touring my friend Gabe through Tijuana when he got excited and we stopped ...

El Tigre leaves the punks behind

Provocative meats from Sinful Eats

One year ago, El Tigre had punk shows on a regular basis. They served cheap beer on tap, caguama (bottled beer), and mixed drinks intended to get you drunk for the least amount of money. ...

Baby delivered at border

Woman goes into labor while waiting to cross in San Ysidro

Of the many ways to find out what is happening on the San Ysidro or Otay border lines, the best source of current information (and misinformation) is the Facebook group “Como esta la Línea.” The ...

An easy gathering spot in downtown Tijuana

Praga does not offer much more

“Why don’t you try Praga? They have really good chai.” My friend Claudia suggested this after I told her that I did not feel like eating vegan at her Happy Vegan locale. I was looking ...

¡Rape Trump!

Border mural depicts presidential contender with ball gag

A mile west of the Tijuana airport, where the road ends and dirt road begins, a mural that reads “¡Rape Trump!” has been painted on the old border wall. The presidential candidate's face is depicted ...

Halloween in Tijuana

Celebrations don't match those on Día de los Muertos

Thousands of locals and tourists flocked to Avenida Revolución to party and celebrate Halloween, also known in Mexico as “Día de las Brujas.” I arrived at the scene around 9 p.m. and police had already ...

Tijuana facelift

Replaced pavement and gentrification alter city's appearance

Last year, Calle Segunda in downtown Tijuana was destroyed in order to be redesigned. For a couple of months, it looked like the end of the world. Businesses and residents suffered difficult access and water ...

Which part of the pig do you prefer?

Hipster carnitas in Telefónica

The carnivore paradise that is the Telefónica food-truck park had one stall that served vegan food when I last visited in July. That place is gone and has been replaced with a food truck named ...

Fate of Tijuana dive bar hits rumor circuit

Bar Zacazonapan, where anything goes, might be going away soon

“Si güey, el Zacas va a cerrar” (“Yeah man, Zacas is closing”), a musician named Osvaldo “el Teme” said, confirming the rumor. “Someone told me it will happen before the end of the year. We ...

A fairy tale land of beer

Plaza Fiesta’s Fauna Tap Room and Suculenta

Follow the stairs with the gnomes painted on the side to the second floor of one of the many locales that is the maze of Plaza Fiesta and you will find a kitchen with a ...

An awkward ménage à trois

Sage lemonade, pasta, and panini at Aether

When I first met Oliver Castañeda a couple years ago, he was running a small coffee shop named El Gnomo (The Gnome) in downtown Tijuana in the alley known as Pasaje Gomez. When Pasaje Gomez ...

Loving and loathing the peso in Tijuana

Depends on where you make your taco money

“The dollar keeps getting more expensive! Isn't it awesome?” Jimmy told me excitedly one payday a couple months ago. At age 20, Jimmy was my youngest coworker while I was working in retail. He had ...

Searching for marlin in Tijuana

Going out of the way for Tacos de Marlin

Every Saturday morning I play a pick-up game of soccer with friends from San Diego and Tijuana. The field we play on varies each week, but it is always south of the border. When we ...

An overwhelming array of toppings south of the border

On the boardwalk at Horno 320°

My mom loves this pizzeria situated almost at the end of the boardwalk on Playas de Tijuana (half a mile south from the border wall). We went there as a family for Mother’s day and ...

Tijuana taxis take on Uber

City soon to decide whether "ride share" service will be allowed

On September 11, Tijuana city leaders held a meeting at the chamber of commerce (CANACO) with citizens, representatives of public transit, and other authorities to discuss conflict between taxis and Uber. The meeting started an ...

Latest Panca mural in Tijuana defaced

Neighbor in Colonial Federal takes action

"There's a generational gap," explains David Peña, who moved south of the border about a year ago with his brother after graduating with a B.A. in art from CalState Long Beach. David teamed up with ...

Greasy indie burgers and fries inside Colectivo 9

It’s as if the meat is sandwiched between two clouds

The Gastrocourt Colectivo 9 opened on September of last year and has grown in popularity and volume. What was once an empty hallway leading to the semi-hidden food court is now a bustling row of ...

Humo’s hot dogs

Revisiting the undeniable paradise for carnivores

Humo Avenida Ocampo between Boulevard Agua Caliente and Calle 11, Tijuana In his vegetarian days, Reader reviewer Chad Deal visited the Telefónica Gastro Park, didn’t try any meat, and still called the location an undeniable ...

Businessmen, public defender, and college professor humiliate a homeless man

Las Ladies y Gentlemen of Ensenada

The image of a businessman holding a cord tied around a homeless man's neck outside a bar in Ensenada's tourist district while his friends laugh was published on Wednesday, July 22. A clear abuse of ...

Chun kun!

Popular Tijuana spring roll vendor stops for an interview

“Chun kun!... Chun kun!” A Chinese woman yells as she pushes a stroller that holds a greasy cardboard box through the streets of downtown Tijuana. She stops as soon as someone shows interest and says ...

Argentinean empanadas, straight from Tucumán

When you’re short on cash and tired of tacos

Since my brother married a Tijuana local, most of the recommendations I receive on where to eat in Tijuana have come from the two of them. When I was short on cash and tired of ...

Pet-, anarchist-, and women-friendly

Tijuana publication fair hits all the notes of DIY

As the 33rd annual book fair in Tijuana was coming to an end, a completely different book fair was starting up. The first fair of independent publications hosted by Raices Infoshop, Food Not Bombs, Publicaciones ...

Borderland Noise

Keeping Tijuana weird

The second installment of Borderland Noisefest landed at La Caja Fuerte, a newer venue in the art and culture passageway of Pasaje Rodriguez, Tijuana. Featuring bands and projects from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Tijuana, ...

Mexicali's Hotel of the Deported Migrant closes

Baja governor blamed for lack of financial support

Since January of 2010, El Hotel del Migrante Deportado (Hotel of the Deported Migrant) in downtown Mexicali gave free shelter, food, access to showers, clean clothes, and general support to over 300,000 deported people and ...

La Brownie Girl partners with Munchin Donuts

From bike delivery to her own shop

Maria Fernanda (MaFer) Treviño, also known as La Brownie Girl, biked around Tijuana delivering brownies to customers and coffee shops that sponsored her products. Her popularity grew as she made appearances at music festivals and ...

Welcome to Mexico. $22.50, please

Indications of reinstatement of tourist visa fee

Entering Tijuana through the San Ysidro pedestrian border crossing is nothing like going to the United States. Instead of waiting in line for hours on a crooked sidewalk while beggars and salesmen of all types ...

Tijuana’s Bresca

“We have to ship the BBQ sauce for the brisket from Texas”

The corner of 6th and Constitución is near the epicenter of Tijuana’s active nightlife. Eight years ago this corner hosted La Chupiteria, an after-hours bar frequented by foreigners and extreme partiers. The bar got shut ...

Tijuana doesn’t want another 2008

Recent arrests could help quell recent surge in violence

On May 1, at around 1 a.m., a friend of mine, Danger Dave, got stabbed four times in the torso on Calle Sexta. He was rushed in an ambulance to Tijuana’s Hospital General almost an ...

Flavors that had never appeared in a folded tortilla

Tacos El Rey Calle Segunda (2nd) and Avenida 5 de Mayo, Centro, Tijuana Like many taco stands in Tijuana, Tacos El Rey has no menu anywhere. Except this is not a taco stand but a ...

La Gringa Jodida

My mother was born Jody Ann Teschner in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on July 9, 1957, and raised in the suburbs. I don’t know much about my grandparents, except that my grandfather fought as a lieutenant colonel ...

Get the TJ street dog that includes bacon

Memes and music follow closure of Chinese restaurant

The news of dog meat in a Chinese restaurant spread like wildfire. I overheard people in every corner of Tijuana talking about it — while eating street tacos or just walking around. Social media was ...

Adventurous eats near the puente negro?

Not-frog tacos and a day's worth of tostadas by Sinaloans for las paisas

A food truck near the Iris Avenue trolley station has caught my attention every time I go by. It has a painting of the same food truck crossing a black bridge and reads “Mariscos El ...

Where have all the squatters gone?

Tijuana government eliminates river channel encampments

I nicknamed the pedestrian bridge, the one near the vehicle bridge as soon as you come into Tijuana through San Ysidro (Puente el Chaparral) "The Bridge of Doom." Because if you found yourself underneath it, ...

You don't get the tacos, you get the meal

Even the Border Patrol knows the legend of Don Pepe

I have resisted the smell of Pollos Don Pepe for about 6 months. I work in the small soccer store next door from the taco shop in the strip mall next to Northgate Market in ...

Borderlanding

Tijuana’s nightlife is becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Baja and San Diego have a long history of partying together. These days, the atmosphere is less belligerence and more participants. Promoters from both sides work together to throw underground shows at new and inventive ...

Flat screen nation

Tijuana landmark gets monumentally sized TV set

El Arco Monumental de Tijuana is a similar structure to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, but a quarter of its size and with a hanging clock. Its official name is “El Arco del Milenio” ...

A virtually wall-less border crossing

San Ysidro's Sentri lane changes at least one life

“I am immortal. I got my Sentri card,” posted Erick Mark Cavadas on his Facebook feed in early December. “Don't get too excited, the sentri lane has been sucking,” replied a girl that I did ...

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