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Tijuana’s Bresca

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

Mac and cheese with bacon and porchetta for $6 — the best thing on the menu
Mac and cheese with bacon and porchetta for $6 — the best thing on the menu
Place

Bresca Café Bistro

643 Avenida Constitución, Zona Centro, Tijuana, BC

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 down by the government in 2012, leaving the building abandoned. Early this year the building came to life again as “café bistro” Bresca.

Outside view of the café-bistro
Natural light comes in through the hexagonal windows
The upstairs is small but cozy

“You came to La Chupiteria? Oh, man! I was the bartender back then.” I sat down with chef Victor “Brown” Rangel as I ordered a Grand Slam breakfast. “In fact the owner, the architect, the designers — we all had a part to play in La Chupiteria. It’s like the spirit of that place still lives today.”

As soon as you walk in, it doesn’t feel like a place in downtown Tijuana. It feels like walking into a coffee shop in North Park. On this April Monday before noon, it was empty except for one table with four people who appeared to be American.

The building looks nothing like its past. Everything was destroyed, including the psychedelic paintings by Tijuana artist Panca. Now the outside is of solid concrete, with large metal doors and windows with a black hexagon pattern. A wood sign with the logo of the restaurant is on the corner, where the door to the old bar used to be.

The concrete, wood, and hexagon pattern theme repeats inside. A painting of geese flying over a full-moon landscape is overhead behind the concrete counter. The barstools, tables, and lampshades seem from an Ikea catalog but are designed and made by Built Around Me furniture and designer store.

“We have to ship the BBQ sauce for the brisket from Texas,” says Victor. “The manager’s aunt sends us a crate every month. I use a whole bottle of that sauce for the brisket and mix it with other spices. Have you tried the brisket?” I have gone to Bresca several times since they opened on the first day of this year, but I hadn’t tried the brisket. “Not that many Mexicans know what brisket is. I tell them it’s like a birria gringa,” he adds.

Grand Slam breakfast and coffee for $8

As for the breakfast, the waffles topped with strawberries were light and fluffy. The sunny-side-up egg and potatoes were standard fare. The bacon and porchetta were by far my favorite part of the meal.

“I cure the bacon with brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee for a week, then it’s smoked for six hours and aired out overnight” explains Victor. “We only use the fat skin end of the porchetta, not the skin. That’s why it’s crispy. It is cooked slow to obtain the chicharrón-like skin.”

The main reason I keep going back is for the mac and cheese topped with bacon and that porchetta. When my veggie friends visited, they said the vegan mac was one of the best they have ever had.

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Mac and cheese with bacon and porchetta for $6 — the best thing on the menu
Mac and cheese with bacon and porchetta for $6 — the best thing on the menu
Place

Bresca Café Bistro

643 Avenida Constitución, Zona Centro, Tijuana, BC

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 down by the government in 2012, leaving the building abandoned. Early this year the building came to life again as “café bistro” Bresca.

Outside view of the café-bistro
Natural light comes in through the hexagonal windows
The upstairs is small but cozy

“You came to La Chupiteria? Oh, man! I was the bartender back then.” I sat down with chef Victor “Brown” Rangel as I ordered a Grand Slam breakfast. “In fact the owner, the architect, the designers — we all had a part to play in La Chupiteria. It’s like the spirit of that place still lives today.”

As soon as you walk in, it doesn’t feel like a place in downtown Tijuana. It feels like walking into a coffee shop in North Park. On this April Monday before noon, it was empty except for one table with four people who appeared to be American.

The building looks nothing like its past. Everything was destroyed, including the psychedelic paintings by Tijuana artist Panca. Now the outside is of solid concrete, with large metal doors and windows with a black hexagon pattern. A wood sign with the logo of the restaurant is on the corner, where the door to the old bar used to be.

The concrete, wood, and hexagon pattern theme repeats inside. A painting of geese flying over a full-moon landscape is overhead behind the concrete counter. The barstools, tables, and lampshades seem from an Ikea catalog but are designed and made by Built Around Me furniture and designer store.

“We have to ship the BBQ sauce for the brisket from Texas,” says Victor. “The manager’s aunt sends us a crate every month. I use a whole bottle of that sauce for the brisket and mix it with other spices. Have you tried the brisket?” I have gone to Bresca several times since they opened on the first day of this year, but I hadn’t tried the brisket. “Not that many Mexicans know what brisket is. I tell them it’s like a birria gringa,” he adds.

Grand Slam breakfast and coffee for $8

As for the breakfast, the waffles topped with strawberries were light and fluffy. The sunny-side-up egg and potatoes were standard fare. The bacon and porchetta were by far my favorite part of the meal.

“I cure the bacon with brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee for a week, then it’s smoked for six hours and aired out overnight” explains Victor. “We only use the fat skin end of the porchetta, not the skin. That’s why it’s crispy. It is cooked slow to obtain the chicharrón-like skin.”

The main reason I keep going back is for the mac and cheese topped with bacon and that porchetta. When my veggie friends visited, they said the vegan mac was one of the best they have ever had.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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