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Late Night in Tijuana Means Marinara Empanadas and Wok Noodles

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"Open Road" heads south of the border to Colectivo 9 for a midnight meal

Fernando and Bricia Lopez — brother and sister duo, culinary legacies (their family owns Guelaguetza in Los Angeles), and road tripping experts — continue on their trek from Southern California and through northern Mexico on this week’s episode of Open Road. The pair stop for a late meal at Colectivo 9, a slightly hidden enclave of nine counter-service spots with ample communal seating in the center.

Colectivo 9 is the brainchild of a group of culinary school friends who wanted to house their varied cooking influences and styles under one roof. Offerings range from meaty burgers (think beef, pork, bacon, and chicharrón all on the same bun) to hand-pressed empanadas to ramen and wok-fried noodles — an array that makes Colectivo a popular spot for late-night eating.

The refrain chefs and restaurant owners keep repeating during the Lopezes’ time in Tijuana is that the city is undergoing a major resurgence, culinarily and otherwise. While the early 2000s fears emerge about the safety of the city, much of those worries have abated, and Tijuana and Baja California as a whole is back to being a Mexican tourism hub. Colectivo 9 is a testament to this literal revolution on Avenida Revolución, a lively thoroughfare that runs straight south from the Mexico and United States border.

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