Jumping the border!

Monday, August 16, 2021

When it is mentioned that someone is jumping the border the first image that comes to mind is somebody trying to cross from Mexico to the US, but not in this case, it is the opposite. 

I lived in San Diego for almost a decade, and I loved every moment of it. But life changes and I had to go back to Mexico… luckily I didn't have to go far. I simply crossed the border and I am now in Tijuana. 

Although I am not new to the region, I don't know much in Tijuana, even when I lived that close for years. But something I know for a fact is that Tijuana is the city where you can find the best food in all of Mexico. The mission now is to find it ;).

The Place

I'm starting with a recommendation. It arrived to me through TikTok and a co-worker mentioned the place. I saw part of the menu and it got me intrigued. 

This place is called "El Rooster - Tijuana Food Joint" and as you'd expect they serve mainly chicken. Well, dishes with chicken as the main ingredient… but I'll go into that in a sec. 

It is located in a new plaza next to the airport in the Otay area. There is plenty of parking, so no problem there, but the place per se is small. 
It has 4 small tables on the inside, and one large shared table on the outside. 
Upon arriving they'll ask you if you want to wait for an indoor table, and they'll give you a call as soon as one is available, or if you prefer the outdoor bar. This time, we were sat at the outdoor table. 

The Menu

As I mentioned a couple lines above, the main ingredient is chicken. You can find wings, chicken strips, nuggets, boneless, and three kinds of burgers: regular breaded chicken, spicy, and cordon bleu. 
There is also a waffle sandwich, which is a chicken breast with cheese, an egg and bacon in the middle of two waffles. 
If you want something else other than chicken you can find a pulled pork BQQ sandwich, or the classic beef burger, single or double. 

Obviously, they have fries. Cheese fries or BBQ fries. 
No place is complete without fries <3.

The menu also offers a burger box, which is a box with one burger of each available in the menu. And a sampler box which includes a bit of everything. 

As complements, they have mac and cheese with bacon, and flaming balls, which are mac and cheese balls, but breaded with flaming hot Cheetos… yeah, I'm coming to this. 

And to drink, you can order a soda or the special pink lemonade they prepare there. 
I strongly suggest you get the lemonade. Personally, I loved it. 

What I ordered

I love spicy food, and I love Cheetos. I don't think anyone is surprised to know I ordered a spicy chicken burger and the flaming balls. 

The burger, oh yeah it's spicy, the chicken is tender and juicy, comes with pickles, cheese and cabbage salad. And if it wasn't spicy enough, it also includes spicy sauce. Be warned, this burger while delicious, is very spicy 🔥🔥.

Coming back to the flaming balls, again, as I mentioned they are fried mac and cheese balls. If you haven't tried them or seen them, it's literally a fried ball, and when you bite it's all mac and cheese. It's a simple dish. 
What makes them different is the fried outside which is done with Cheetos flaming hot. Not much to explain here, better if you take a look:

Warning, they're also spicy, but as spicy as the Cheetos are. And, as you can see they're served with Cheetos.
The order has 5 balls which make it perfect to share with at least two people. 

My girl ordered the cordon bleu burger which is not complex either, it's a cordon bleu chicken breast between bread, pickles and cabbage salad. 
A nice touch we didn't expect is that they throw two chicken wings as sides.

And finally the lemonade, pink lemonade. I can't express enough how much I loved it. We both loved it. It has the perfect combination of sweetness and sourness. It's made in the restaurant ensuring it is not a regular Minute Maid beverage, and it's always fresh. 
I'm seriously thinking of going back with my half-gallon bottle to get it filled with lemonade before I head to work 🤔.


The food was great and fresh. It's vast and well-served, with great quality overall. But I also need to mention the service. 
You go to the bar to order and pay, and go back to your table, but the waiters around the place are incredible. 
As you'd expect they're asking if you need something else if the food is tasty and ready to help if you require it, but the difference is felt with their attitude, and little details when talking to you or bringing your order, how they make you feel. They even threw an order of mac and cheese with bacon as a courtesy.

A curious thing is that they do not accept tips, they tell you it's their job to make you feel welcome and comfortable, and instead, encourage you to drop a like in their Facebook Page or a follow in their Instagram account. 
That's why I make this distinction, great food, great service. What else can you ask for?

Oh, and one more thing to take into account: I don't know if that's how they work regularly or their machine wasn't working, but take cash with you! They don't accept cards… or at least this weekend I went they weren't accepting cards.

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