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Was talking to Nathalie the other night. She’s one of the waitresses at this li’l ol’ place – the oldest eatery in Old Town, they claim, and I can believe it - La Piñata (2836 Juan Street, Old Town, 619-297-1631). Started up in the 1920s, and really got going in, like, 1932. That’s – hey – 80 years old this year.

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Their food is totally standard Mex as SD has become used to it. Which is OK, but not exactly groundbreaking.

But no, what I come for is the patio, the colors, the crowds – always seems to be when I’ve come – and yes, the piñatas. Great if you’re actually having a boithday.

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Always crowded

Plus, half the regulars, and they have them, are Old San Diego.

I’ve met fliers, Pacific adventurers, guys who knew Baja when you needed a four-wheel drive, and a bunch of folk who got turned off when Old Town Plaza itself veered into the whole fanatical Anglo-sacrifice-the-life-of-the-place-for-historical-accuracy-let’s–be-run-by-a-company-from-Buffalo-New-York thing a few years back.

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Nathalie

So yeah, Nathalie: “Come here for the chile rellenos, tamales and shrimp quesadillas,” she says. “Those are my favorites.”

But today, now, Monday, I think I’m gonna try their lonche special: two enchiladas with rice, beans, sour cream ($8.95). Totally standard. But so is the patio. Standard Mexican. Read, totally colorful, leaving most others in the dust.

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The outer patio

And hey, not bought out by Buffalo, New York. Not yet.

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