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I was wandering down Tijuana's Puente Mexico, aka First Street, ten at night. Near the wax museum. Only sign of life: a little low-lit balcony loaded with people. They were drinking wine and chatting quietly away.

This is La Faraona (“The Lady Pharoah,” Avenida Puente México #8250, Colonia Zona Centro, aka Calle Primera, First Street, between Revolución and Madero Avenues, downtown Tijuana, 011.52.664.685-4878). Inside, the cutest, artsiest wine bar, complete with really original urban murals...


...a coffee bar, a micro beer bar, and – believe this – a micro-theater upstairs where live actors put on fifteen minute plays.

When I stopped in, guys were still test-cooking, setting things up. Because the Grand Opening’s Saturday (July 27th) at around five in the evening. Everybody's welcome. But the deal is these guys David, Oscar, Jorge, and their sister Danielle...

...have started this place so they can sell wines and cheeses and breads and chorizos that their auntie Lupita makes and sends up from her ranch in the Guadalupe Valley east of Ensenada. Her wines are called "Sol de Media Noche." "Midnight Sun."

“She makes it all, including the wine,” says David, who’s the one guy not related to Lupita. “Two years ago, she left journalism in Tijuana to try this down there. Now she’s doing great business, and we’re her Tijuana outlet.”

I get to eat their cheese plate ($5), and a glass of their “Midnight Sun” red wine ($3). It’s 70 percent cab, 30 percent tempranillo grapes. Sweet, friendly wine. The cheeses are really interesting, specially A La Leña, which is covered in the ash of olive wood.


Then there’s the whole theater thing going on. Danielle says wine-bar theaters are the rage in Spain.

Man. Got to come back.

More in a Tin Fork after that.

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