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The Reverse Coyote: Bill Esparza on Smuggling Food Tourists into Tijuana

Bill Esparza in downtown L.A.
Bill Esparza in downtown L.A.
Anne Fishbein

Even if you're not one of Bill Esparza's Street Gourmet LA readers (who are legion), many of whom have accompanied the musician-as-food-blogger on his famous border-crossing culinary pilgrimages, you might want to check out today's feature food story. Of course, you may want to read the story -- again, carefully -- if you have been on one of Esparza's trips, since you might have been too far gone on tequila to remember it properly. (Manta ray tacos! Gabachos borrachos!) Occupational hazards being what they are.

At one point I took a dining group of mostly middle-aged women from L.A. to tour Tijuana. These were the kind who might be attending a tea service or visiting a honey farm, yet here they were in Tijuana crowding around a vendor on Avenida Revolución for street churros. They couldn't believe how amazing the street food was, and many had never experienced Mexican fine dining. Then we ran into some trouble: There was practically a mutiny because I hadn't included a coffee stop before the long ride to the first eats of the day. To this day, one woman from that trip won't even look at me.

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