I love dive bars. Dive bars are my birthright as an American. I love walking into a dim, dank room, bellying up to a worn old bar of no pedigree whatsoever, ordering a beer and maybe a shot, and talking to the random characters sitting in there.
What dive bars are not is a place for gourmet food. Very few people eat in dive bars, and the food is usually limited to bags of chips, mini-pretzels, peanuts or maybe, if you're very adventurous, a frozen pizza heated up in a household oven in the back.
El Dandy del Sur is an archetypal American dive bar, except that it happens to be located on 6th Street in Tijuana, a cross street of Revolución that's lined with nighttime entertainment: dance clubs, transvestite shows and bars both seedy and trendy. El Dandy del Sur is the seedy type, legendary, with a long bar, occasional live music from bands looking to get their start, and a menu that's long on beer, tequila and Irish whiskey and not much else.
It's also the home of the very best bar snack I've ever had in my life. They call it “carne seca” and charge 30 pesos (about $2.50) for it; Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet LA and Cathy Chaplin of Gastronomy Blog and I decided it needed a better name, so we named it Murky Jerky. It's addicting; it's an obsession in the making; it's the easiest damn recipe since Ellie Krieger's “Dark Chocolate as a Snack” appeared on the Food Network site.
The jerky they use is so dry you could reduce it to powder by banging it hard on the bar; go for the driest, burliest, gnarliest pieces you can find. Don't be exact with this recipe; don't bust out the measuring spoons. Just wing it. You'll need:
2-3 oz. beef jerky, preferably without added flavor
2 Tbsp. salsa inglesa (Worcestershire sauce)
2 Tbsp. hot sauce (Gringo Bandito works great here; sriracha/rooster sauce, not so much)
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1. Toss the jerky in a microwave-safe bowl and throw the other three ingredients on top.
2. Microwave for 44 seconds (“Why 44 seconds and not 45?” “It takes less time to enter.”).
3. Toss with your fingers and eat with your favorite beer.