Hot!Raising Arizona

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buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 07:08:01 (permalink)
Of course we needed some driving around food, just in case the distance between restaurants was 15 minutes or more!  So the next stop became Le Cave's,

a bakery that has been around since 1935.  What I find particularly interesting is that the doughnuts here are made without animal fat or dairy.  Which makes me wonder how they could taste as good as they do?  And, have they been vegan friendly since 1935 or is that something they just started recently?  And why does a bakery need a building that takes up an entire city block?  So many questions, so many donuts, so little time.
 
The inside isn't nearly as big,

but still has lots of glass cases to look through.  Only on this day, most of the cases were empty or sparsely filled.  You can see the cookies were especially picked over. 

The pleasant young lady who waited on us informed that they were out of lots of ingredients and were waiting for a delivery.  Still, there were plenty of donuts and empanadas,

the items we were most interested in.  Johnny picked out two flavors of each, as did I.
 
Le Cave's
1219 S. 6th Street
Tucson, AZ
520-624-2561
 
We dropped the box of goodies in the car and took a few minutes to explore the lovely Santa Cruz Catholic Church

across the street.  
 
Getting back to the car, the cravings for a Sonoran hot dog were just too powerful, so El Guero Canelo became the next destination.  In my previous trips to Tucson, El Guero Canelo was consistently my favorite hot dog joint in town.  With Johnny being with me, we had plans to hit quite a few places for Sonoran hot dogs, so I was curious if it would come out on top this time, too.
 
Pulling up, EGC looked different.  They used to have open walls or plastic on the sides of the dining area, but it is now completely glass encased. 

As you can see, all the seating is at picnic tables, painted the color of the Mexican flag.
 
They do have a fairly large menu,


but I have never strayed from the Sonoran dogs.  Maybe someday I will explore a little more, but if I was going to eat something extra here, it would just be another hot dog!  Here is Johnny 

placing the order at the window.  When your food is ready, they call out your number and you go pick it up.
 
We both went with Sammy dogs,
 

which is what they call having two wieners inside one bun.  Because the bun is extra thick and surrounds the wiener on all four sides, plus the abundance of toppings, it takes two wieners to balance out the meat to everything else ratio.  The wieners are wrapped in bacon and topped with mustard, mayo, finely chopped tomatoes and grilled onions, pinto beans and a jalapeno sauce.  Under normal circumstances, I would consider that too busy a hot dog, but something about this combination is magical.  The bun, enclosed at both ends is another highlight.  It was thick in size, but light in your mouth, although we both thought that these might be wheat buns.  Still, an excellent hot dog!  This may be Johnny's first ever Sonoran dog, but by this look, I think he approves! 

BTW, the peppers that accompany the hot dogs are grilled and while at times can be very hot, the one they give you here is rather mild.  There is also a bar in the middle of the dining room

where you can add other sauces, salsas and vegetables to your tortas and tacos.  Johnny did grab a few cucumbers. 
 
To drink, horchatas! 

This might be the sweetest horchata I know of, which is normally a bad thing, but it also has just the right amount of flavor and spice.  Not for everyone, but on my list of best horchatas.
 
Johnny is a fan of flan,

so we ordered one of those for dessert.  It actually looks more like bread pudding.  I only had a bite or two, but it was soft and spongy in a rich caramel sauce.  Very enjoyable!
 
One more note from El Guero Canelo, Johnny was given two different one dollar coins in change.

 
El Guero Canelo
5201 S. 12th Street
Tucson, AZ
520-295-9005
 
Just a short distance away from El Guero Canelo, we spotted a business with a jam packed parking lot.  Looking at the sign, we saw that it was another bakery.  We vowed to make a stop here a priority later in the trip.  
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/03/03 07:52:20
#61
wanderingjew
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 07:50:36 (permalink)
Loved El Guero Canelo's Sonoran Dogs
Hated the Horchata- I thought I was going to go into a diabetic coma.

I want to see if you went to my other favorite place in Tucson
#62
ScreamingChicken
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 09:36:00 (permalink)
buffetbuster

What I find particularly interesting is that the doughnuts here are made without animal fat or dairy.  Which makes me wonder how they could taste as good as they do?
Soylent green?
 
What all's in El Guero Canelo's "carmelo"?  And is it overrated and overpriced?
#63
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 13:25:24 (permalink)
Now being somewhat full, we drove to the University of Arizona, so I could pick up a couple of t-shirts and a hat.  This is a very attractive campus,

but any campus with palm trees and cacti is going to look good.
 
While driving in the area, we passed the university softball stadium

and it looked some teams were playing.  We decided to stop in watch some of the action.  Admission was free and I had hopes of seeing the Lady Wildcats in action, since they have long been a national power in softball.  Instead, it was a tournament and the teams playing were Tennessee State University Tigers vs Grand Canyon University Antelopes.  Most of the people in the crowd were sitting high in the stands in the shade, but we were content to be lower out in the sun.  A couple action shots,


including the Tigers manager arguing a call.  We had fun watching for about five innings, but this more about just being glad to be outside in warm weather than anything else.
 
Lunch time was fast approaching and we wanted to hit our next eating destination before it got too crowded, so we hit the road, arriving at Tucson Tamale Company

just before noon.  We did indeed beat the crowd and after ordering and grabbing a seat, the line soon extended almost to the front door. 

The Roadfood gods do seem to smile on us that way!
 
Unbeknownst to me, Johnny is a big tamale guy.  Having been here before with JRPfeff (whose shirt did not survive the visit), I was perfectly content for him to order for us both.  And he picked a couple of beauties.  They arrive at your table wrapped in corn husks

and unwrapping them, while getting your hands messy is part of the fun.  First up was the Arizona,

with big chunks of tender chipotle beef, tomatoes and chiles.  Even better was the Sonoran,

with roasted chicken in a fantastic green chile sauce.  In both cases, the tamales were wonderfully moist and flavorful, which led Johnny to say these were the best tamales he has had.  And he got no argument from me.  
 
Tucson Tamale Company
2545 E. Broadway Blvd.
Tucson, AZ
520-305-4760
 
At this point, we have had three meals so far in Tucson, none of them being any less than excellent.  And our best meal of the day was still to come.....  
#64
JRPfeff
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 13:37:26 (permalink)
Cliff,

You're making miss Arizona, but not enough to want to move back.

Thank you for the fine report.

Jim
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 13:54:18 (permalink)
AAAARRRGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#66
ChiTownDiner
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 14:15:25 (permalink)
Those tamales look fantastic!  How many choices were there?
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ChiTownDiner
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 14:16:32 (permalink)
lleechef

Bring on more ugly!  I love your trip reports. 
Did CTD say there was a "pie threat" brewing for Cincy?  It's going to be a PIE THROWDOWN!  I already know Pie Diva will win, but that's OK.

 
I am putting in a call for UNNNNDERDOG! 

#68
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 14:25:19 (permalink)
CTD-
Since Johnny did the ordering, I did not see the menu.  But, you can find it available here.
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Sundancer7
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 15:14:15 (permalink)
BB:  I had two business's in Arizona and I have been there many times plus we raced in Phoenix with NHRA once a year.  I never missed a trip that I did not get tamales at least twice.  Knoxville is a tamale desert and the only place close is the Mississippi Delta but the tamales in Arizona and west Texas are far superior.  I would put New Mexico in that category also.  It appeared that you made some outstanding choices.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
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Foodbme
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 16:02:22 (permalink)
Sundancer7
BB:  I had two business's in Arizona and I have been there many times plus we raced in Phoenix with NHRA once a year.  I never missed a trip that I did not get tamales at least twice.  Knoxville is a tamale desert and the only place close is the Mississippi Delta but the tamales in Arizona and west Texas are far superior.  I would put New Mexico in that category also.  It appeared that you made some outstanding choices.
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

The Tucson Tamale Co. will ship to all 50 states!
http://tucsontamale.com/store/
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lleechef
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 16:17:37 (permalink)
ChiTownDiner

lleechef

Bring on more ugly!  I love your trip reports. 
Did CTD say there was a "pie threat" brewing for Cincy?  It's going to be a PIE THROWDOWN!  I already know Pie Diva will win, but that's OK.


I am putting in a call for UNNNNDERDOG! 

Thanks for your support! 
I was just thinking, I've never, ever had a tamale!  They sure do look wonderful.
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Foodbme
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 19:30:18 (permalink)
BB,
Those are the BEST pictures of Sonoran Dogs I've ever seen!
When people ask what a Sonoran Dog is just hold up those pictures!
Your Pictures of Sonoran Dogs are worth a thousand words!" />
Look up Sonoran Dogs in the Dictionary, and those pictures should be there!
Good Job!
(The Tamale pictures are pretty sharp too!)
#73
Foodbme
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 19:32:33 (permalink)
lleechef

ChiTownDiner

lleechef

Bring on more ugly!  I love your trip reports. 
Did CTD say there was a "pie threat" brewing for Cincy?  It's going to be a PIE THROWDOWN!  I already know Pie Diva will win, but that's OK.


I am putting in a call for UNNNNDERDOG! 

Thanks for your support! 
I was just thinking, I've never, ever had a tamale!  They sure do look wonderful.

The Tucson Tamale Co. will ship to all 50 states!
http://tucsontamale.com/store/
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buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 20:39:46 (permalink)
Foodbme
(The Tamale pictures are pretty sharp too!)

Thanks for saying that.  It is much appreciated.  There are definitely better photographers on here, but I am persistent.  I will sit there for 15 minutes if I have to just to get a good shot.  Or pick up the food and take it to a different location with better light to get the photo.  As for the tamales, I was thinking that I have never gotten a good tamale photo.  It is one of those foods that just doesn't photograph well.  Those turned out much better than expected.
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TJ Jackson
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 20:49:10 (permalink)
I want to hear that you dragged Foodbme into Biancos, kicking and screaming
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/fb.ashx?m=713643
 
(err....that'd be BB and Johnny providing the dragging and FBM providing the hissy fit)
post edited by TJ Jackson - 2014/03/03 20:51:35
#76
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 22:42:56 (permalink)
Having picked up on this from our Roadfood inspiration, ChiTownDiner, we like to keep cold drinks in the car as we drive around.  And it is much cheaper to buy a case of water than to buy them one at a time at the convenience store.  After leaving Tucson Tamale Company, we looked for a nearby grocery store and found a Safeway just down the street.  While Johnny went in to pick up a few supplies, I stayed in the car, giving me a chance to photograph and start sampling the goodies

we bought from Le Cave's.
 
The empanada flavors

were mango, cherry, pineapple and the unusual banana cream.  They were smooth textured, flaky, but unfortunately disintegrated as soon as you tore them apart.  Maybe you could partially blame this on sitting in the car for several hours, but they weren't really that good.  BTW, that is some chocolate icing stuck to the empanada in the photo.
 
The donuts were much better.  The apple fritter 

was not as heavy as it looks and had a serious sugar glaze around it.  Plenty of apple, no doubt this would have been much better hot from the oven, but was still satisfying.  The light and airy whipped cream Bismarck

was also a winner.
 
Sitting in the parking lot of a grocery store eating donuts doesn't sound all that interesting, but there was entertainment going on all around me.  With this store being so close to the university, there were multiple packs of co-eds walking by in various states of undress, including several in tiny bikinis.  This is something you just don't see at home.  
 
Also, the car next to us apparently put a scratch on the front bumper of the car directly across from it.  There were three young guys in the car that got scratched and they did not look happy.  You could see them discussing it and taking turns photographing the scratch with their phones.  It was obvious they were waiting for the other driver to emerge from the store.  I had sympathy for them, because we have all had that happen to us.  But, that sympathy disappeared when the youngest guy placed their shopping cart in a nearby precious parking spot.  Sure other people do this too, but with them being in the nearest spot to the front door, the kid actually had to walk further to place it in this empty spot, than he did if he returned it to the store.  A  few seconds later, a car tried to pull into the spot with the shopping cart, forcing one elderly lady to get out and move it so the driver could park.  And the punk was laughing about it with his friend.  Jerk!  Yeah, I know this isn't right, but now I am glad their car got hit.  
 
Eventually, a woman by herself emerged as the other driver and the kids handled it in a pleasant way, which I was glad to see.  After exchanges of insurance info, both parties left.
 
Johnny was having his own adventures inside the store.  Unable to find a small, cheap styrofoam cooler, he asked one of the employees.  The person replied they don't put those out during Winter and it wasn't hot enough.  Meanwhile, it was 86 degrees out and people are walking around in their bathing suits!  It really is a different world out here.  At least he got the case of water.
 
We found the cooler at a dollar store and ice at a convenience store and we were soon all set.
 
Coming up next, our favorite meal of the day and one of the best of the trip.             
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/03/03 22:45:16
#77
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 22:51:07 (permalink)
Those powdered pastries look a lot like Paczkis.  Do they have a big Polish population there in Arizona?
 
Buddy
#78
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 22:56:14 (permalink)
It is that time of year, isn't it Buddy? If there is a significant Polish population in Arizona, I sure didn't see it.
#79
EdSails
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/03 22:58:54 (permalink)
Yep, 86 degrees is still chilly there. Glad Johnny got the cooler at least. Looking forward to the next dinner report!
post edited by EdSails - 2014/03/04 01:46:46
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Foodbme
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/04 01:09:41 (permalink)
TJ Jackson
I want to hear that you dragged Foodbme into Biancos, kicking and screaming
http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/fb.ashx?m=713643
(err....that'd be BB and Johnny providing the dragging and FBM providing the hissy fit)

Now why would you say something like that?
Let's just let the report take its course and see what happens.
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Foodbme
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/04 01:52:05 (permalink)
BuddyRoadhouse
Those powdered pastries look a lot like Paczkis.  Do they have a big Polish population there in Arizona?
Buddy

We have a Migratory Polish Population in Phoenix from November to April 1st.
They're called Polish Snow Birds and Cubs Fans.!
We get quite a few people from NB, IA, SD, ND, MN, IL, MO, MT, WY, ID, KS, WI and quite a few from Canada.
The Snow bird population from the Midwest tends to congregate in the Mesa AZ area.
This time of year, a license plate count in Mesa is about 50% Snowbird States and 50% local AZ plates.
The Cactus League Teams draw quite a few Midwesterners in the month of March for the Cubbies, White Sox, Royals, Reds, Indians and Brewers, as well as Dodgers, Padres, Angels, Texans, Giants, Mariners, Rockies, A's and our beloved Diamondbacks. 15 teams total in beautiful ballparks!
http://www.cactusleague.com/
Many of our Midwestern visitors end up retiring out here as well.
So the Polish influence is slowly increasing out here and there are a few Polish and Middle European restaurants out here as well. 
Urbanspoon lists 63 restaurants as either European, Eastern European or German along with 983 Mexican restaurants!!!
There are also some Middle European markets and Meat shops.
http://www.stanleys-sausage.com/
http://schreinerssausage.com/
http://midwestern-meats.myshopify.com/
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buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/04 06:45:01 (permalink)
Wanting to change things up a little bit, we decided on Mariscos Chihuahua for dinner.  They are a small chain, with seven Tucson locations and one right across the border in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.  They make it obvious from the outside signage


and the wall long interior mural

that this is a seafood restaurant.
 
I ate here three years ago and had a great experience, so I was really looking to eating here again.  As luck would have it, we had the same waitress as three years ago.  As near as we could tell, we were the only customers speaking English.  The menu is quite large, with all kinds of different fish and sea creatures, but since we both ordered shrimp dishes, here is that portion of the menu.

 
We liked the fact that they bring you limes

with the chips and salsa.  To drink, I had yet another horchata,

while Johnny went with what we thought was lemonade, but was clearly an excellent limeade.  While waiting for the food, the waitress dropped off some condiments at the table. 

Ketchup and tartar sauce sure, but mayo?  We had no idea what was coming that we could possibly put mayo on.
 
I had a really tough time deciding what to order, because so much of it looked good.  Eventually, I could not resist the Cameron Relleno,


which was shrimp wrapped in bacon and stuffed with a white cheese.  No idea how authentically Mexican this dish was, but it was incredibly good.  The bacon was perfectly crispy, the combination of the three ingredients extraordinary!  I could easily eaten 20 of these, but I was smart enough to share with Johnny because his dish was even better.
 
The Cameron Abanil

was sautéed shrimp in a milky white cream sauce, with mushrooms, onions and jalapenos.  Oddly enough, the menu did not mention mushrooms, it was just a nice bonus, since we both love mushrooms.  The sauce had a distinct jalapeno flavor, yet wasn't what I would call hot.  Johnny especially liked getting all four items (shrimp, pepper, mushroom and onion) in one bite and raved about how well they work together in this dish.  He had me try it that way and he was 100% right.  This sauce was so good, I used it to dip my crispy fries, the bacon wrapped shrimp and even poured it over the rice.  Just amazingly good!
 
We both agreed this was the best meal of the day, on a day full of really good food.
 
Mariscos Chihuahua
2902 E. 22nd Street
Tucson, AZ
520-326-1529
 
As full as we were at this point, we both needed some dessert to top things off.  A raspados place called Juice N Fruit used to be not far away on S. 12th Avenue, but closed up a few years back.  On a previous trip, I went into the hair salon that was next to it and asked if they closed or had moved.  The lady told me they did close, but were expecting to open elsewhere in the city.  Well, it took a few years, but they did reopen,

now at the end of a shiny new strip mall on S. 6th Avenue.
 
Once again, we were the only customers speaking English, which I really like, since that means it is almost definitely where the locals eat.  They do have all kinds of different desserts available, but we were committed to a raspados.  All of the flavors listed on the board

were in Spanish, so we put our brains together to try and figure them out.  The ones we didn't know, Johnny googled on his phone.  Eventually, I asked the well dressed young man in line behind us and helped fill in the blanks.
 
The young girl right in front of us ended up getting some kind of dessert in a bag, like a frito pie, but it involved ice cream and had little balls on top, almost like Captain Crunch crunch berries.  I would love to know what that was.  We had only heard the woman taking orders speaking Spanish so far, so we wondered if there would be a problem, but as usual, she spoke perfect English.
 
Raspados is a layered dessert, with the fruit of your choice, ice cream if you want it (and you do!), ice, more fruit, all topped off with a cream.  Johnny went with his favorite fruit, mango,

while I went plum. 

Growing up in Maryland, where sno-balls are very common, Johnny took to this quickly and it was gone in no time.  I would have preferred less ice and more ice cream, but that is a minor quibble.  We both loved our choices and we swore to eat plenty more raspados on the trip.
 
Juice N Fruit
3502 S. 6th Avenue
Tucson, AZ
520-295-5188
 
It had been a long day, so we checked into the hotel and took long naps.  This gave us time to build up our appetites to go out for a late night meal.....       
#83
eruby
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/04 08:04:42 (permalink)
bb, I greatly appreciate your reports for the excellent pictures and terrific writing.
 
I feel I've been to many of the place you go after digesting (pun intended) your write-ups.  You and Cousin Johnny make me jealous.
 
 
Thank you and I look forward to more!
 
#84
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/04 08:39:48 (permalink)
I'm not overly concerned as to the Mexican authenticity of the bacon wrapped shrimp with white cheese. I know I would just eat the heck out of it and order more. I sure do look forward to these posts. 
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wanderingjew
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/04 09:07:08 (permalink)
Glad to see Juice n Fruit is back in business. They were closed when I  visited two years ago- I think they  were changing locations. Too bad I didn't get the opportunity to go
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TJ Jackson
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/04 09:09:54 (permalink)
Foodbme

TJ Jackson
I want to hear that you dragged Foodbme into Biancos, kicking and screaming
http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/fb.ashx?m=713643
(err....that'd be BB and Johnny providing the dragging and FBM providing the hissy fit)

Now why would you say something like that?
Let's just let the report take its course and see what happens.

Click on the link, and you'll note I re-used you own terminology *grin*
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/04 10:46:38 (permalink)
buffetbuster

After leaving Tucson Tamale Company, we looked for a nearby grocery store and found a Safeway just down the street. While Johnny went in to pick up a few supplies, I stayed in the car, giving me a chance to photograph and start sampling the goodies.
Gee, it sure is funny how things worked out that way!
brisketboy

I'm not overly concerned as to the Mexican authenticity of the bacon wrapped shrimp with white cheese.
Nor should you be.  Yellow cheese, however, would be an abomination!!
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/04 11:15:25 (permalink)
bb - With the organized menu panels...would have been easier to just order then entire panel and host a shrimp extravaganza! 
The shakes look pretty interesting also!
 
#89
EdSails
Filet Mignon
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/04 11:24:58 (permalink)
I am glad of two things-----that you had a great mariscos dinner----theose shrimp do look way past awesome!
I am also happy you stopped at Juice'n'Fruit so Dale could at least enjoy the pictures!
 
BTW, no ostiones (oysters) at Mariscos? I was looking forward to watching you know back a dozen or three!
#90
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