Ever since I was 18, making the occasional trip to Mexico to do tequila shots with friends, I’ve thought of Tijuana as holding an untold story. A border town in Mexico’s Baja California, it wasn’t a safe place back in the 1990s. Yet, it held a certain magic that repeatedly lured us along the 30-minute drive from San Diego.
Recently, I’d heard the city had blossomed, and when my friends and I arrived late last year, we were met with a stylish, vibrant food scene fueled by hip, hungry Mexicans. Restaurants in some seedier parts of town still crank out the deep-fried chicken necks beloved by locals, but food truck parks, serving everything from craft beer to local cheese, combined with sprawling open-air markets and elegant new restaurants, are telling the tale of Tijuana—one beyond just tequila shots.