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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.


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.


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.



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.


The outer patio

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

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