Las Ahumaderas, also known as Taco Alley, is a side-by-side collection of all-night Tijuana taco shacks. They aren’t the best tacos in town, but they are among the most famous, and the tacos here has come to define the Tijuana style. These offer a mix of flame-grilled steak and organ meats like you might find at a South American Churrasco, alongside vertical spits of pork adobada. In addition to tacos, these stands all offer the classic twists. Vampiros are achieved by drying out fresh corn tortillas, until they have a texture like dried pasta, and then grilling this crispy corn cracker until it is charred around the edges. They are something like a smoky twist on the tostada. We still prefer tacos. Vampiros, mulitas, and many other taco alternatives often add lots of gooey cheese to the meat. It’s a popular Northern Mexican combo, but one that we find excessive.
When you walk down the alley, taqueros will tout their wares, each trying to get a little more business than their neighbor. It may feel nice to be wanted, or annoying to be barked at, either way, the tacos are good and cheap. It’s easy enough to try a few challengers. Although the food is similar at all six places, several stands have exceptional qualities.
The first taco stand you’ll pass is known as Paisa. It features the most seating and the most comfortable dining area. The stand next door offers some innovative twists, such as the fool-hardy Kamikaze Taco, which inserts two chopped-up, grilled habanero chiles between the two tortillas of the taco. It might sound adventurous, but few reading this will seriously want to eat two habaneros in three bites.
If you’re only going to eat at one of the stands here, it should be the one at the end (best for last): Taqueria las Tres Salsas. This is the busiest one, which means the adobada spit stays hot and freshly-carved. It is named for the three different salsas scooped onto different types of tacos. You might wind up with the milder one on your asada, or the spicier one on your adobada, and the green salsa goes with some of the organ meats. The adobada is recognizably better than the neighbors and the grilled meats are better still. The asdada is especially good. Tres Salsas also offers fresher corn tortillas than its neighbors. However, the tacos here, like all on the street, suffered from dry adobada and a punishingly bland guacamole on top. We recommend using plenty of lime and extra salsa to remedy these shortcomings.
|Sunday||9am - 5am|
|Monday||9am - 5am|
|Tuesday||9am - 5am|
|Wednesday||9am - 5am|
|Thursday||9am - 5am|
|Friday||9am - 5am|
|Saturday||9am - 5am|