26 October 2010
Being in San Diego presents the delicious opportunity of crossing the border into Tijuana, Mexico. Crossing over into Tijuana is quite easy, simply drive down to the border, park your car in one of many parking lots ($7 for the day), and trot across on foot. No one asks to see your papers, no one asks you your intentions, you simply wander past a bunch of serious looking guys with large automatic weapons, and next thing you know, you're in Mexico. Dozens of cabs, street food and a sports-betting facility await nearby. If you're an American, it'll cost you $30 to take a cab from there to downtown Tijuana. If you're travelling with a local who speaks Spanish, it's about $3 to hire a cab.
On this occasion, we were headed to the annual Tequila Expo. About 30 tequila vendors and a few street food vendors. For $6, you can have a taste (or two) of any of the many tequilas being poured. We were careful. While the tastings were small, there were a lot of tequilas, and we quickly could have been under the table. We split up the tastings between the four of us on hand, and only re-tasted the recommended tequilas (and indeed, we skipped over the offerings that we recognized as being available in the U.S.).
One of the novel discoveries of this trip was tequila-based cream liqueurs. While most of these were pretty poor-quality, we did find one that we really enjoyed:
Hacienda Milán and Kama Sutra are chocolate and vanilla-flavoured liqueurs (respectively). The distinctive tequila flavour blends really nicely with the chocolate and vanilla flavours. And while I don't expect to find myself quaffing these sweet drinks on a lazy Saturday, I immediately found myself thinking "Dessert Topping".
The return trip is more complicated, involving standing in line for about an hour, and talking to a surly immigration officer who wants to know how many bottles of tequila you're carrying. Make sure you have your passport, and remember, each person is allowed only 1L of liquor duty-free. However, it's generally not worth it for them to do the duty paperwork if you're carrying only a tiny bit more than the allowable amount, so I've managed to go over on numerous trips across the border without ever paying duty, even though I've *always* declared everything that I'm carrying.
And when we returned home? How about some chocolate-tequila-cream topping on a nice vanilla ice cream? Simple to prepare, complex flavours that meld well together. What a delightful, unique dessert.
Tequila Expo 2010 was Oct 13-17
Av. Revolución and 7th St.
Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
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