2:20 p.m. While Berkeley has the Gourmet Ghetto, Tijuana has the Zona Gastronomica—a collection of the city’s finest eateries located within steps of one another. Our culinary blitz through Tijuana included several meals in and around the zona, the first of which was at Cheripan.
Opened in 2002, Cheripan serves some of the best Argentinian food in Tijuana. Think: Juicy steaks, flaky empanadas, and gooey dulce de leche. The restaurant is housed in a thoroughly modern space with an abundance of natural light, modern furniture, and clean lines. Cheripan achieves a classy ambiance without a bit of stuffiness, which makes it an ideal place for a power lunch or a hot date.
Cheripan is famous around these here parts for their martini de tamarindo (tamarind martini). This seemingly innocent sweet and sour concoction was chock full of smooth booze. To say it was potent would be a vast understatement.
Most likely unaware that our party was whoring out our gullets at a dozen or so places, Cheripan prepared an extensive feast. The appetizer spread included (clockwise from top, left) sausages, ensalada de palmitos (hearts of palm salad), empanadas, and fried sweet breads.
Although I knew I would regret it later, I ate two whole empanadas—one filled with meat and another with spinach and cheese. The puffy golden parcels were just too appealing to resist.
Our main course was Mexican entrana (skirt steak) with pickled onions. The steak was roaringly rare and tender to the tooth.
To cap off our stellar Argentinian meal, we were served a luscious flan topped with milk candy and accented with Chantilly cream…
And adorable bite-sized Napoleons layered with dulce de leche and slivered almonds. I love being spoiled.
Escuadron 201, No. 3151 Colonia Aviacion
Zona Gastronomica, Tijuana
Phone: 619-308-7656 (U.S.)