The only food city hotter than Portland at the moment?
It might just be Tijuana, Mexico.
The border town just south of San Diego is best-known for cheap margaritas, kids selling chicle, lawless strip clubs, donkeys painted to look like like zebras and other things involving donkeys that we can't discuss in an alternative newspaper. It's also a hotbed for artists and entrepreneurs that has developed a unique culture borne of its location on the gritty side of a huge metropolitan area that serves as a gateway to the U.S. Like Portland, the city's food and culture scene has had nice coverage from the New York Times, Anthony Bourdain and Food & Wine.
The state of Baja, like the Willamette Valley, has local wine and fancy food to go with it. But while Tijuana proper has always hung its hat on taco vendors and inventing the Caesar salad, Tijuana street food is now going slightly more upscale thanks to Foodgarden Tijuana, a pod that collects some of the better former street carts onto one patio with seating.
It's a great idea, and it apparently came from Portland.
"My inspiration was the food truck lots in Portland," Richardo Navarez told Beer Advocate magazine (subscription required) for a feature in this month's issue. "There, everyone eats local and fresh, so we wanted to do the same thing here. We were trying to tell people to eat local."
Hey, that's us!