9 a.m., July 23
SD's Best Coffee? In a Barrio Tattoo Shop. Plus Great Surf ’n Turf Nearby.
Andrew “The Kid” Farnsley’s buzzing a portrait of Nicholai’s wife into his left flank.
And I’m sipping the best coffee I’ve tasted in San Diego.
The guys in here talk about how tattooing’s popularity has opened up the floodgates to a whole lot of amateurs who don’t have the skills for the ancient art.
But Andrew, says Nicholai, is one of the masters. “There are maybe 175 tattoo shops in San Diego,” says Nicholai. “I’d go to four of them, max. This is one.”
We’re at Two Roses Tattoo, 2181 Logan Avenue, 619-702-4822 in Barrio Logan.
I jes’ kinda drifted in here after checking out the renewed Chicano Park murals. Spectacular!
Two Roses is a way-traditional barber shop/tattoo parlor, but also has a coffee place.
The inside's filled with interesting stuff, from Harleys to the mounted heads of actual wildebeest...
...and antelope that Gino Galofaro, the guy who created everything here, shot in South Africa.
Kansas is singing “Carry on, my son,” over the system.
It turns out Andrew is a big name in the tattoo world who inks bi-ig stars in Hollywood. “Andrew has done work on Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Lindsay, Megan Fox,” says Gino.
“Angelina? She’s a beautiful person,” says Andrew. But he won’t say more. The stars trust him not to blab.
Gino says my cawfee ($2.37) comes from Portioli, an Italian company. It’s rich, warm-flavored.
Problem is I’m hungry, and they don’t do food here.
“Best place in the barrio,” says Nicholai from his bed of suffering, “is Rolando’s, couple of blocks away, down on National Boulevard.”
So Rolando’s Taco Shop (2303 National Avenue, 619-239-0007, the first of four they have) is where I end up. Bright orange place shining in the dark.
Laura Martinez at the counter...
...points to the sign. “Surf & Turf burrito, with carne asada, shrimp, chipotle sauce, cheese and rice, plus a can of soda, all for $6.55.”
“Our most popular right now,” she says.
I order it, and I swear, in the barrio you get twice as much of everything. This is huge. Heck that’s probably what’s kept this place going 34 years.
I gouge into it. Dee-lish. The chipotle and the cheese sex up the shrimp-carne asada combo. I'm nearly through it when I realize: I haven't taken a picture of it. Dang.
Whatever, by the time I'm halfway through it's nearly ten.
Still got to get some work done tonight. But this burrito will keep me going all night long.