Traditional Mexican Food In the Heart of Old Town San Diego


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My Vacation!

What a vacation!!! August and September was work, work, and work when it came down to tequila events and Mexican holidays.  In August I participated as a judge in the 7TH annual Spirits of Mexico tasting competition. Trying almost 200 agave spirit entrees is always a challenge. Two weeks after I flew down to Guadalajara, Jalisco to educate myself even deeper on the art of tasting tequila. I took a four-day course with one of the most recognized tequila masters in the world, Francisco Hajnal Alfraro. Mr. Hajnal is one of the master distillers that created Jose Cuervo’s famous Reserva De La Familia “Extra Añejo” Tequila. Two days of theory and two days visiting 6 distilleries. I now obtain expert certifications on tequila from both, La Academia Mexicana de Tequila A.C. and La Academia Mexicana De Catadores de Tequila Vino y Mezcal, A.C.

September, was a month long celebration. On September 15th we hosted the first annual Sangrita Cocktail competition finals. Finalist from tequila and Mezcal brands created a signature cocktail made with traditional sangrita ingredients. The party continued when I reenacted Miguel Hidalgo’s cry of independence, “el grito”.  Long live and all the heroes that that fought for Mexico’s independence! Reenacting a two hundred year tradition was an honor for me to share with all my friends, customers and family that joined me for this historic event.


Who can forget the fiesta de flavors in the Old Town’s main park and the grand tasting at the Cosmopolitan Hotel?  After my seminar on the Evolution of Tequila I enjoyed the rest of the night talking to tequila celebrities and enjoying the rest of the night sipping on quality tequilas, mescals and sotol.

September ended with a two-week vacation down to Guanajato and Jalisco, México.

For the last 12 years I travel with my family to these two states to visit family and for the past 8 years to discover tequila and its myths. I had never taken my family with me to explore tequila country until this last trip. It is really not about the drinking. It is about the magic of this place called, Tequila. The people, food and the landscape are what lure me to visit this place so often. Finally my family understands why the land where tequila is produced is so important to me.

Tequila and Mexico is a symbol of my identity, my roots and the place that I come from. Sharing the wealth of knowledge I acquire from every trip I take to Mexico helps me educate our guest at Café Coyote to make their experience at this great restaurant more fulfilling and rich.

More Photos From my Trip!

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Spirits of Mexico Festival

Cafe Coyote Hosts the Sangrita Challenge

Mario Sangrita ChallengeWe are less than a week away from the first annual Spirits of Mexico Cocktail Competition Finals that will take place at Café Coyote September 15th.  Tickets are available through our website, click below the Spirits of Mexico sombrero icon for detailed information. Immediatly after the competition I will reenact Miguel Hidalgo’s cry of independance (el grito).


This historic event will begin at 8:30 p.m. We will celebrate with a live television viewing of the annual cry of Independance to be given by Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderon. The viewing will begin at 9:00 p.m. El GRITO and Mexico’s 200th year Independance celebration is a free event to watch so come and join us with your friends and familiy.

Begining Wednesday, September 15TH Through Saturday the 18th Cafe Coyote and all of Old Town will be full of fun activities. Click on the following link for a schedule of great and cultural events that you cannot miss out on.


Mario Marquez

Tequila Amdassador

Cafe Coyote

Cafe Coyote Gears Up for Mexican Independence!

Speaking to the gathered crowd in Dolores, Guanajuato, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the famed “father” of Mexico, expressed his beliefs in a people’s revolt for Mexican Independence. His war cry or “El Grito de Dolores / El Grito de la Independencia” marks the anniversary of Mexican Independence and evokes national pride.

Not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), September 16th marks the celebration of Mexico’s War of Independence. Every year at midnight on September 15, Mexicans join together in solidarity and led by the President of Mexico, shout the El Grito.


Nestled in the heart of San Diego’s historic old town, also known as “The Birthplace of California”, Café Coyote, a traditional Mexican cantina and café, is one of only two Academia Del Tequila certified Tequila houses in the United States.  At its home within walking distance of Old Town attractions such as the Whaley House, the “Little Adobe Chapel,” the Old Town Cemetery “El Campo Santo,” and The Old Town State Park (California’s most visited State Park), Café Coyote has become a landmark in and of itself being Voted Best Mexican Restaurant in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

In honor of Mexico’s robust culinary history and to help mark the 200th Anniversary of the Mexico’s Independence, the Spirits of Mexico Festival presented by The Polished Palate will be returning to Historic Old Town the week of September 16th. The oldest and most comprehensive agave spirits Festival in the United States, will coincide with Café Coyote’s Independence celebrations, culminating on the night of September 15th, where Café Coyote will host an El Grito reenactment by Mario Marquez, our famed Tequila Ambassador.

Coinciding with the Independence Celebration, Café Coyote will host the Finals of the Sangrita Challenge presented by Living Liquid Magazine on Wednesday September 15 to mark the opening of the festival ($25 per person in advance; $30 cash only at the door, 21+).  Guests will be able to taste all 5 finalist entry cocktails as well as enjoy Café Coyote’s famous Mexican fair. The esteemed judging table will be headed by Judges Ryan Kelley of the National Tequila Examiner and Café Coyote’s own, Kenny Kaufmann.

July, We Celebrate At Cafe Coyote!

Cafe Coyote is having a fantastic July! We started out the month celebrating our win as Best Mexican from San Diego Magazine Readers Poll!

We have loved all that the World Cup has had to offer this month, and anticipate a great showing this Sunday for the World Cup Final (07/11–11:30 a.m.) , where the Netherlands will take on Spain! Make sure you get in early and join us for $3 beer refills and keep the glass!

We are also celebrating American Independence throughout the entire month of July —  Make sure you drop by for a Red, White, and Blue Margarita!

This month is Tabasco Month! No, not the hot sauce from Lousiana–we are talking about the Region of Tabasco in Mexico. Nestled along the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Tabasco, with 145 miles of Coastline, is a state of impressive Heritage and bountiful Natural Resources. The refined cooking of the Mayans, use of Chiles and Herbs, coupled with Fresh Seafood, Makes Tabasco’s Traditional dishes truly delicious. Try some of our Great Regional Specials and Taste what Tabasco has to offer for yourselves!The taste that

matters in old town san diego restaurants.

Hasta Pronto!

World Cup 2010

We at Café Coyote are all howling for joy now that the World Cup has begun. There is no sporting event like the World Cup, as an estimated  40 billion viewers world-wide are sharing their cheers, holding their breath, and  even screaming  at their television sets in unison.

The World Cup, now in its 19th year (the first World Cup was hosted in 1930), is an expression of the world coming together.  Here at Café Coyote, we know all about people coming together: we see it every day. We see families, we see couples, and we see long-time friends gathering around our tables, enjoying our famous Mexican fair, listening to our live Mariachi music, and yes, having a few cocktails while enjoying sports on our numerous televisions screens.

We are getting into the World Cup spirit– opening early in the morning for the games — and we hope that you will come visit us as we come together to celebrate the world’s most popular tournament. This coming Thursday, 6/17, Team Mexico will be playing the 2006 tournament finalists and 9th ranked team in the world, France, for a group-deciding match!

You won’t want to miss the action as these two top teams go head-to-head.  As we have already seen in the tournament, namely from an upset-for-the-ages game between Spain and Switzerland, anything is possible on the world stage! Come join us for the game: we are looking forward to celebrating our Futbol fever with you!

Hasta Pronto!