Originally posted by Rick&Danni
I was on vacation in Tucson, AZ and we went to dinner at El Charro Cafe. The food was great,I had their Taco de El Carro Carne Seca, Enchilada de Carne Seca plate, they have great tacos with shredded beef and I enjoyed the thinly sliced radishes in the taco. The beef was seasoned and tasted great. I found out that they have two locations, one downtown and one on the eastside of Tucson. Must be good they been around since 1930. Has anyone else eaten here?
First, as to carne seca. The words mean, of course, "dried meat" and I think it's a Sonoran specialty. Anyway, an awful lot of the Mexican food in southern AZ and the adjacent Mexican state of Sonora makes use of it and some restuarants make their own (from fresh meat). Once it's dried, you pretty much have to stew it or cook it with a lot of spices to make it edible I think--anyway, everyone seems to do that.
Another poster to this thread asks about other places to eat in Tucson. I have a winter home near there (Green Valley, AZ) and eat out a lot. Frankly, food is not the reason I go to Tucson (winter weather is) and I've had a lot of mediocre food there, but about the best Mexican I've found in Tucson itself is Mi Nidito (VERY popular, always a line). Mi Nidito is on S. 4th Ave. which is actually lined with Mexican places, most of which are pretty good but Mi Nidito is the best.
The truth is, the best Mexican food I've found in this area was not in Tucson. The BEST was in Nogales, Sonora (you can drive down I-19, park in a lot on the US side of the border, and walk across to many restuarants). Elvira's is my favorite because they make Chiles Rellenos the way I like them (this dish is really good if made well but can be awful if made badly IMHO). I swear the free shot of tequilla they give you with lunch has nothing to do with my liking the place.
A close second is a place called Wisdom's in Tumacacori, also down I-19 but not all the way to the border (and, thus, closer to Tucson). It is family owned/managed and very popular with locals. I found it because a friend of mine asked his Mexican-American handyman where he went for Mexican food--and this was the place he said he periodically took his wife.