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Meet Denisse Jacobo of Foodie from Tj in Tijuana, B.C. and San Diego

Today we’d like to introduce you to Denisse Jacobo

Denisse, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always loved food since I can remember, I get very excited! I mean you need to eat to live right? but I’ve always associated food with being happy and connecting with others, exploring new flavors whether they are comfortable, exotic or just straight up weird, I’ve always been curious and just been adventurous when trying out new things. I enjoy it immensely from how the food is made, the history and passion behind it, the why? to how it tastes and makes me feel, I love it!and if I enjoy it I feel the need to share my experience with others. Eating for me is an experience, food always puts a smile on everyone’s face!

Being Mexican and a native from Tijuana, B.C. I’ve always embraced my culture, I love where I come from and I’m so proud of my heritage, as well as being from a border city making Tijuana very Bi-cultural. From a very young age I learned English by just watching Sesame Street (which people still don’t believe me hahaha) and other American TV shows as well as music.

Growing up I remember feeling weird and strange because I didn’t feel I fit in with friends because I think I knew more aboutAmerican culture than my culture at a certain point. And then I got introduce into Call Centers and that changed my life! I finally felt I can relate because a lot of people were like me! born in Mexico but knew about American culture, that’s why I have so much love for the US especially San Diego, CA .

I went through a path in my life where career wise I wasn’t really enjoying my job, I took a break and started doing hiking (mind you I had never hiked in my lifebefore) but when I did that first hike it unlocked something in me that had been hidden for a long time (passion, purpose) even just talking about it makes me emotional… Every time I finished a hike and got to the peak and saw those different views, landscapes, nature, felt the air and how empowering it made me feel, theirs just something about it that kept making me feel “I can do anything I want to pursue” and at the time the idea of starting a food blog sounded so silly but for some reason it would just put a very huge smile on my face, I kept hearing in my head “Just do it don’t be scared”, but I really didn’t know where to start.

One day I found myself noticing how friends from Tijuana and San Diego would ask me where they could go eat and at the time I had only shared my foodie experiences on my personal and private social media until one of my friends told me “why don’t youjust start sharing this with everyone?”, “Why aren’t you using your English more for that?”, and then I thought “YEAH I should be using that skill more why not?” and so I did! I had always had it in my mind however thoughts like “nobody would be interested in my opinion”, “people won’t even care”, “I’m gonna waste my time” made me hold back but thank God I didn’t pay mind to that because I wouldn’t be where I am now, I need it that push, that motivation and I’m so happy it happened at just the right time.

As I started sharing my experiences, I notice more people from other countries, especially California, where visiting more and more Tijuana because the Gastronomy was becoming very popular, the city was growing so fast, a lot of local chefs where getting more recognized, of course getting some tacos were always a must! as well as new types of cuisines, fusions, classics and trendy spots, a lot of people where visiting Tijuana more to try out the food but I also notice people being afraid to cross the border, whether it was things they heard from the news, friends, social media, etc., I won’t lie that always makes me sad and of course I can’t blame them when they are hearing so many negative things from my city, I would feel the same way if it was me, however, violence exist everywhere and with everything that’s happening in the world a lot of bizarre and just crazy stuff out there food always seems to bring people together, the bond and sharing of food would always make people forget all the bad things or problems in their life and smile and enjoy the experience even if it was just for a moment. It would always be very satisfying to me watching and hear people from out of town, other countries actually enjoying their stay in Tijuana and saying“Is not as bad as I thought”, “It’s nothing like I was told it would be” and exceed it their expectations, that always made my day because if you take the negativity away Tijuana is the most amazing place you can be in, such a rich bi cultural place to be, the most visited, but most of all and specially the people, always welcoming and catering to others because they want you to feel at home, to make you feel happy, to show you how just loving and caring we are, have you had the experience of going to a taco stand and felt the Taquero was straight up your cousin because they made you feel at home? hahaha, that’s how nice the people in Tijuana are excited to show you all the amazing things the city has to offer.

I also notice people visiting the same old spots in Tijuana as well as locals visiting San Diego, not that they are bad, but theirs so many more places to explore! I’ve lived in Tijuana all my life and I’ve visited as a tourist San Diego a lot and I still haven’t visited all!!! i still feel like a tourist in my city and in San Diego and I love it! I think it was mostly because people didn’t know where to go, others were afraid of getting lost or not trusting others and that’s why I started working more and going hard with my food blog, to provide recommendations and suggestions to others on what food spots to visit but also doing it in a fun way, making people feel comfortable with the content I provide. I like exploring and the experience that follows. Seeing others that are not from the city and seeing their reaction when they try a taco for the first time is honestly priceless, satisfying but I bet that they will come back for more and that’s all that matters to me.

I do this because of the passion I have for this project, I believe in my self, I believe and love my city, I love San Diego but most of all getting to connect with people, engaging, has been the most beautiful way to feel that I am putting in action one of my purposes in life…

Has it been a smooth road?
I won’t lie it’s been kind of hard to get used to this pace in the beginning, especially to get the word out of why I do what I DO, because I’m so passionate about it, to be consistent with content I put out and it has become my 2nd job, a job that I love and treasure so dearly in my heart, the long hours I put into it, on new ideas and the content I create, the stories I make are always showing who I really am, I guess it’s been more hard for me mentally overthinking, overcoming struggles and doubting myself in the beginning and sometimes I still do but I gotten better at it, I was more afraid of people maybe not liking my content, the real me, where I come from and what I have to offer, because that’s the only way I know who to be, ME, and when I put myself out their and notice other accepting who I am and really engaging with me and liking my content, it really let down that wall I was putting up and started feeling more comfortable in my skin and loving and caring more for myself, I never wanted to create a fake persona, I just wanted to be ME.

After all, that fear left things started to go more smoothly and doors started to open for me that I wasn’t expecting at all, even the smallest things make me feel excited and blessed. For me It’s never been justabout number, followers, likes, how much I have, although is nice to feel the love, to see if people are really liking my content because at the end of they those numbers are going to help better the message you want to give out to the world but I don’t obsessed with them anymore, because when you do yo drive yourself nuts and crazy, comparing yourself with others, bigger creators that’s never good thing, you get discouraged, you doubt and question yourself and even to a point where you just wanna give up, but then you realize you have other things to offer, you are different, you have special skills and abilities and although some creator may share and bond with the same concept that is Food a lot of us do it for different reasons and that’s when I realized that It’s ok to have those emotions is normal is what makes you human but everyone is different in their special way, theirs room for everyone to shine! Life starts opening doors when you least expect it. It’s been a very humble and exciting experience, I don’t take it for granted I celebrate even my small accomplishments because a lot of them are new in my life so I embrace them, because theirs a reason I’m still here, life is always working for you not against you.

Please tell us about your work.
My background career wise has been in Human Resources for over 10 years mostly in the Manufacturing area and Call Centers. I’ve always loved HR because I like connecting, interacting, socializing with others but most of all helping, impacting and making a difference in others lives.

During my career I went through a lot, when you’re young you and fresh out of schoolyou want to change the world quickly and you have so many high expectations and honestly, you feel like Superman! You are going to make a difference and change lives but I soon realized that what I had in mind and how I visualized my area wasn’t the same story applied at my jobs. I wasn’t feeling that I was growing, that I was really helping others and some leaders that I looked up to didn’t really encourage me in my career, among other things my job was more of a routine and I hated it, long hours at work, always stressed, being away from my family, feeling like “why am I even here? I’m not making a difference!. I know crazy uh? At the time I felt defeated and always stayed positive and had high hopes because I still liked my career. I had to just take a year off to think about if I still wanted to continue working in the area, I wanted to try something new like Human Developing or Marketing but even in my year off, I kept getting offers to go back to HR until I decided to give it another try. But when I did I went through a little bump in the road until I finally became a part of a company where all of those things I thought from the very begging, all those high expectations and high hopes finally came true. I feel happy going to work, I appreciate the company, I feel encouraged, the culture is the best, my boss is just Wonderful and I have a team where I know, trust and motivate each other to be the best.

Now I realized that during those bad years there was actually a lot of good things that came out of it, that made me the strong person that I am now, l learn so many things during that time that now I truly appreciate, If it wasn’t for that really rough path and struggles and feeling so drained emotionally I wouldn’t be where I am today! Hopefully, I grow and can develop more in my area in the future something related to Human Development and/or Marketing (as a side job, hobby or growing in the company) will come my way.

My career has helped me a lot with my Blog “Foodie from Tj” being in HR has made it so easy to navigate and growing my brand, I already love connecting with others so it’s very easy for me to engage and share personal experiences with people. I have so many goals I want to accomplish with this project as a Bilingual (Spanish/English) and Bi-cultural (Mexico/US) person I feel life has put me in a unique spot where I know I can provide and cater something really special to people, that there is an audience for what I do. I want to be able to make others forget their problems even if it’s just for a little bit, to show the beauty and experience of food and travel, to make you smile and forget all your worries and bring you a little bit of light and joy when we start talking about food.

If you want to start a new project, blog, career, whatever you have in mind always follow your PASSION! and I know this is going to sound very cliche but really “follow your dreams” do what you want to do! It doesn’t matter how simple, crazy, hard, big, extreme, unreachable just do it! trust yourself, trust your gut, follow your heart, don’t do something because you want to make others happy, or because of the money, DON’T LISTEN to that voice in your head that’s telling you that YOU CAN’T because YOU CAN! Don’t be so hard on yourself sometimes give yourself a break! You don’t want to go through life feeling like your life doesn’t have a purpose and it’s because you are not doing what you want to do, remember is your life you decide how to live it!!! don’t you rather go to work feeling like it’s not a job but because you’re so passionate about whatever you decide to pursue? It is like the best feeling ever! Don’t waste your life doing something that you don’t want to do! Live your life with no regrets, risk and don’t be afraid. I know it’s easier said than doneand I also know that you have to have a job to pay your bills but I’m only talking from experience and although I’m not perfect nobody is! I’m only saying these things from experience and love! If you’re starting a blog, a youtube channel or whatever you decide to do don’t make excuse like I did in the past, don’t prolong the wait, you don’t have to have the best and most expensive camera to start, or the lighting or whatever technology or equipment to start something, If your passionate about what you want to do JUST DO IT and put yourself out there! you’ll find a way to be resourceful. It’s ok to be vulnerable, to failand what if you do fail? well if that fire is still in your heart you are going to get yourself up and try again until you do it, you don’t need fancy stuff to start all you need is you and what you have to offer, SHARE IT!. This journey has thought me to be very patient, I know it’s hard but in the end the reward is Amazing! Always be you, you’re own authentic self, ignore the haters cause they are always low key fans hahaha. enjoy your journey to the fullest and remember to just be true to yourself.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
San Diego is so dear and close to my heart, it has the best weather all year around, I love how theirs so many people from different cultures so much diversity, people are always so nice and warm, you won’t get bored in the city because theirs always different types of events going on as well as so many places to dine and just have fun! I love their beaches and hiking trails. At night I love having fun at Gaslamp in Down Town San Diego, if you are looking to network or just meet new people while dancing and having some good cocktails this is the place to be. One of my favorite places to go is to Altitude Sky Lounge and order a cocktail and look at the view of the city at night while warming up in front of the fire pit and enjoying good conversation with others. I’m always discovering something new in the city and I love that! but most of all as a foodie I love exploring and doing my favorite thing of all, trying out food!

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Image Credit:
Denisse J. “Foodie from Tj”

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