Valentine's Day in Tijuana
The Border Report
Tijuana just keeps getting tastier and more romantic. A new place to take your valentine? Verde y Crema is the latest venture from star chef Jair Tellez of Laja and MeroToro fame. It’s his first effort in the border city (the others are in Valle de Guadalupe), and a collaboration with his brother and sister-in-law Vladimir and Gabriela. Situated in Colonia Neidhart, on the grounds of the old green-and-cream public bus line’s maintenance yard—hence the name—the concept is organic, local Baja food.
The menu goes way beyond the fish taco: roasted beet and quinoa salad, tiradito de jurel with red onion and tomato cherries, vegetarian barbacoa that doesn’t disappoint, birria sandwiches paired with Valle de Guadalupe cheese and fries. You’ll find local takes on the burger, meatballs, and homemade sausages, too. Bottles of water infused with basil and rosemary come complimentary with every meal. Filling the wine list is Ulloa, a vineyard located on the northern edge of the Valle de Guadalupe wine route near Tecate. The local craft brew lineup features Cerveceria Tijuana, Agua Mala, Green Flash, and next-door neighbor Baja Craft Beers. Wash it all down with a dose of Papadiablo mezcal, but save room for dessert: almond bizcocho with flamed plantains.
The majority of the main dining room is an open-air planked deck, topped with rafters and draped with live greenery. But most impressive is the expansive wraparound mural on the walls of the parking area, a collaboration by several Tijuana street artists. Apps and entrees, 80–130 pesos ($7–$10). 011-52-664-681-2366. verdeycrema.com
IF YOU GO:
Hail a cab to Calle Orizaba 3034 in Colonia Neidhart, or hop on a green-and-cream bus downtown on Avenida Constitucíon between Fifth and Sixth streets.