Hot!Raising Arizona

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wanderingjew
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 08:09:39 (permalink)
buffetbuster
 
Pico De Gallo  is my other favorite place in Tucson. I had the Carne Asada tacos, only because the photos on the Stern's review were enticing.  Of course I couldn't have the fish tacos since they aren't regionally appropriate
My only disappointment was that they didn't have the corn coctail. I recall that they told me they would have it the next day but I had to head back to Phoenix the next morning.
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 08:15:31 (permalink)
This was my fourth trip to Tucson in five years, so I had already hit most of the big tourist destinations in town.  Fortunately, one I have missed is the Reid Park Zoo

and since Johnny is a big fan of zoos, that's where we headed next.
 
This isn't a particularly big zoo, but the few animals they do have seem to have fairly large areas to roam.  Since it was just a few days after Valentine's Day, it looked like all the animals had recently received presents in pretty pink boxes. 

If you look in the back of that photo, you can see a tiger.  The giraffes

seemed to especially enjoy some kind of lollipop on a long stick.
 
Usually on a warm day like this, most animals would be hiding in the shade, but these animals were out enjoying the sun.  And not only sunbathing, these were happy to walk right over and pose. 


Hey thanks!  In all, we probably spent about two hours at the zoo.
 
The walking around had, of course, given us our appetites back.  We decided that El Torero,

a small place set back off from a quiet side street, would be our lunch destination.  Two years ago, my girlfriend and I ate here and had a memorable experience.  The waitress in particular, was a real charmer.  When we got up to leave, she gave Mariton and I both big hugs and handed us her card, which said her name was Shorty.  I was hoping we would get the same waitress, but even though she was there, we got a different one.
 
With a name like El Torero, obviously bulls and bull fighting would be a big part of the decorating. 


The inside is bigger than the outside leads you to believe, with a dining room


and bar area.  Good chips and salsa 

are placed in front of you as soon as you sit down. 
 
One of the entrees that the Sterns recommend in their review is the Shrimp Veracruz and for the second straight visit, they were out of it.  This led to us to being a little hesitant on deciding what to order and under these circumstances, I usually listen to the recommendations from the waitress.  But, she came across as being a little dismissive with us and it seemed she was suggesting things for our "gringo" tastes.  Who knows, maybe I misread the situation.  At one point, Johnny pointed to an item called casuela listed under the soups and asked about it.  Her answer, "It's a soup."  It was at this point I was really wishing we had the other waitress.
 
I started off with the albondigas soup,

also known as Mexican meatball soup.  When asked if I wanted rice in it, the answer was yes.  Temperature wise, it was insanely hot and it took a good while for it to cool down.  So much so, I was already eating my entrée before I could touch it.  Johnny did go with the casuela soup,

which featured beef, potatoes, onion and cilantro.  We both liked our soups very much.  While I was taking pictures of the soups, the bartender laughlingly asked what we were doing.
 
As an appetizer, we had also ordered a cheese crisp.  Our entrees showed up and still no cheese crisp.  Johnny's lunch was the chile verde con carne,

with a mild, yet flavorful sauce and very tender chunks of beef.  My dish of the turkey mole

was truly fantastic.  The turkey is off the bone and perfectly moist.  The dark reddish brown mole sauce was easily the best thing on the table, with a deep, complex flavor.  
 
Eventually, the cheese crisp showed up.  We ordered it with the green chile

and it looked like it was slapped together haphazardly.  The crisp part was thicker than it looks and slightly burnt in spots, which can give it more flavor.  When you bit into those burnt parts, the brittleness made the crisp shatter, but the rest of the crisp was slightly chewy.  With the abundance of melted cheese and the mild green chiles, we both really enjoyed it and polished it off easily.  To the credit of the restaurant, they did take it off the bill, even though we hadn't complained.
 
El Torero
231 E. 6th Street
Tucson, AZ
520-622-9534
 
When I suggested going back to Juice N Fruit for another round of raspados, Johnny didn't put up to much of a fuss.  This time, Johnny chose strawberry, while I went with peach. 

Obviously, the peaches were canned at this time of year, so I should have known better, but his strawberries were fresh and delicious.  Being fans of agua frescas, we also got one each to go. 

Once again, strawberry for him, while I got the wonderful watermelon.  Very refreshing on a warm day!
 
It was back to the hotel for our afternoon siesta! 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/03/13 08:27:53
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 08:36:18 (permalink)
bb - was the cheese crisp available with topping choices similar to a pizze restaurant?  Johnny's lunch looks GREAT...I would have hesitated at the turkey choice but it also looks good. 
ScreamingChicken
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 08:59:50 (permalink)
Even if the service wasn't quite top-notch it still looks like El Torero's a very worthwhile stop...great report so far, BB!
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 10:37:40 (permalink)
CTD-
That's a really good question.  Luckily, I took a photo,

showing there is a fairly big variety of crisps available.
 
SC-
El Torero is absolutely a worthwhile stop, although next time I will ask for my favorite waitress.  Can you see me walking and saying, "Get Shorty!" 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/03/13 10:40:07
Sundancer7
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 10:58:35 (permalink)
BB:  I have visited the Sonoran zoo many times and it triple outstanding.  It overlooks the Sonoran desert.  One of the times I was there it came a enormous rain and flooding what appeared to me hundreds of acres of the lower desert which the zoo overlooks.  It is very natural and listed as one of the outstanding zoo's in the world.  Another time I was there, there was a wild rattlesnake in the open aviary exhibit.  It was really disturbing the specimens there.  I alerted a zoo official and he dispatched one of their snake experts.  He went in the aviary and promptly  humanely caught the snake, put it in a bag and took it out in the desert and released it.  
 
https://www.desertmuseum.org/
 
I have always enjoyed Tucson and have been there many times.  Some very hot and some very cold with lotsa snow on Md. Lemon.
 
Paul E. Smith
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 11:27:44 (permalink)
buffetbuster

CTD-
That's a really good question.  Luckily, I took a photo,

showing there is a fairly big variety of crisps available.

SC-
El Torero is absolutely a worthwhile stop, although next time I will ask for my favorite waitress.  Can you see me walking and saying, "Get Shorty!" 

Was yours the large or small and any idea what the Crazy Crisp (Loca) is?
 
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 12:50:04 (permalink)
CTD-
Our crisp is a small.  Did not ask about the crazy crisp, but I am guessing that it probably has a combination of the above toppings.
 
 
love2bake
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 13:37:56 (permalink)
Oooooh, that cheese crisp looks so good!!  Would go well with Johnny's soup.
 
Another great find in Tucson.
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 17:21:49 (permalink)
After a nice long nap, we went out for a late dinner at Casa Molina

I liked the attractive sun logo, which they also used several times inside the building.  They also have a bull fighting scene 

in the parking lot.
 
The chips were too fragile, as they broke apart too easily,

but we liked the salsa, although it was borderline too hot for both of us.  No agua frescas here, so we both drank iced teas.
 
They had sopaipillas on the menu, so I tried to order them as an appetizer.  The waitress looked at me weird and said, "That's a dessert"!  I explained to her we love to eat in New Mexico, where sopaipillas with honey is a perfectly acceptable appetizer.  She seemed satisfied with the answer and acquiesced. 

These were very large, misshapen, doughier than we are used to and they were more than a little greasy.  But topped off with honey, they still went down fine!
 
We decided to split a green corn tamale,

which must have just come out of a boiling pot, because the outside husk was very hot.  It did have nice sweet corn flavor, but Johnny pointed out it wasn't cooked all the way through, with the ends actually being overdone.  This was the worst tamale of the trip.
 
Johnny's entrée was the monstrously long chimichanga.  

It has a very crispy shell, was filled to bbq beef and sideded with lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, guacamole and sour cream.  As usual, Johnny ordered well!
 
My topopo salad was less successful. 

These salads are a Tucson specialty and since topopo means volcano, it is supposed be in the shape of a mountain.  The fact that the meat for this topopo was chile con carne did not help it's design.  And it wasn't much better flavor-wise.  Luckily, Johnny was generous, sharing much of his chimi with me.
 
We passed on dessert and went straight back to the hotel, since we planned on getting an early start the next morning.
 
Casa Molina
6225 E. Speedway Boulevard
Tucson, AZ
520-886-5468    
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/03/13 17:24:15
Poverty Pete
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 17:56:04 (permalink)
I would be very disappointed if anyone ever served me a topopo salad that looked like that.  No visuals, no topopo.
Sundancer7
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 17:59:07 (permalink)
BB:  Obviously not one of your better stops.  Better luck next time.  However the pics were super and Johnny's chimi did not look too bad.  I am glad he shared it with you.
 
Paul E. Smith
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/13 20:29:03 (permalink)
Another great Roadfood trip with BB and CJ (cousin Johnny)! I don't know where you guys put it all? You seem to average 5.5 meals a day! Whatever, good reporting and fine photos! Thank you so much! So when does the video hit YouTube? ;o)
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/18 06:16:01 (permalink)
Monday February 17, 2014
 
Earlier, I mentioned that we had passed a bakery with a jam packed parking lot.  That was La Estrella Bakery

and since we had a long drive on this morning, we made that our first stop of the day.
 
The inside is big,

with way too many great looking items in the cases than we could try on one visit.  In doing some research about the place, we read that this is where El Guero Canelo and BK Carne Asada and Hot Dogs gets their wonderful buns, which makes sense, since both are such a short distance away.  The tortillas

here are also supposed to be especially good, including the spinach tortillas, but we concentrated on what we wanted to eat in the car that morning.  And of course, we bought way too much.....
 
Here are our two boxes full of goodies. 


Everything together cost only $12.00!
 
The donuts were excellent!  The long john was dense, with a crispy outside and was still warm.  The glazed was heavier than most of its kind, but still tasted light in your mouth.  The very helpful woman who waited on us went into the back to get what we thought would be a Boston cream, but was filled  with an incredibly fresh white cream instead.  The moist chocolate covered might have been the best.  This one

reminded Johnny of a zinger, only it was filled with apple instead.  I found that one to be a little dry.  Two other favorites were gingerbread piggy cookies and the flaky empanadas,

which were as good as I have ever had anywhere.
 
These pastries made the 1 1/2 drive down to Bisbee go by that much faster!
 
La Estrella Bakery
5266 S. 12th Avenue
Tucson, AZ
520-505-5198     
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/03/18 06:18:37
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/18 07:10:59 (permalink)
Bravo!  A two-boxer...I am envious!  Was the churro plain or filled?
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 06:04:53 (permalink)
CTD-
We probably polished off a full box of the goodies on the way to Bisbee.  The churro was not filled.
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 06:50:26 (permalink)
Once arriving in Bisbee, we made the Roadfood reviewed Bisbee Breakfast Club

our first stop.  As soon as I got out of the car, two friendly stray dogs were waiting to welcome me to town.  The restaurant is surprisingly big,

with two separate dining rooms with high ceilings.  We were fortunate that even though the place was crowded, there was no wait to be seated and we snagged a table right next to the window.  That table next to us, (where the man is checking his phone) was a father-daughter taking a cross country motorcycle trip.  Very cool!
 
Looking over the specials board,

Johnny chose the Tombstone scramble

with tomatoes, onions, chopped bacon, mushrooms and swiss cheese.  He liked it very much, although he thought it might have been too heavy on the cheese.  The hashbrowns, other than that top layer, could have been a little crispier.  We never asked for sure, but we think they make their own bread and Johnny loved his sourdough toast.

 
I went for the excellent chicken fried steak,

which was tender enough to be cut with a fork and provided big flavor.  The sausage gravy on top was also a hit, thick and heavy on the pepper.  We do know for sure the biscuit

was made in house and it was as big a biscuit as I have ever seen.  This was a problem, because we also ordered a side of the biscuits and gravy,

which took up an entire dinner plate.  As good as that gravy was, just the amount on my CFS was enough to fill me up, so no way I could eat my half of the biscuits and gravy and still walk out of this place.  Johnny, of course, downed his with no problem.
 
To drink, we both got orange juices.  We had seen a sign that said the orange juice was squeezed locally, although not grown locally.  There was no pulp in it, but it did taste very fresh.  
 
Although I had no room for that biscuit and gravy, somehow I found the room for pie.  Imagine that!  The coconut cream

was a substantial slice, with a dense custard filling loaded with slivers of coconut and a wonderful buttery crust.  The chocolate cream

was not quite as good, with the cream topping to chocolate filling ratio leaning too far to the former.
 
Overall, this was still an excellent breakfast and this place comes highly recommended.  There are currently three locations of Bisbee Breakfast Club and Foodbme recently wrote about his recent visit to the newly opened Mesa location.
 
Bisbee Breakfast Club
75A Erie Street
Bisbee, AZ
520-432-5885
 
Right next to the street where the restaurant is located is a huge open copper mining pit. 


The photos don't do justice to just how immense this thing is.  It's name is the Lavender Pit and is 900 feet deep!  Bisbee does have a long history as a mining town.  It is completely fenced off, but they provide small holes in the fence

so people can still take their photos.         
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/03/19 09:02:19
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 07:24:01 (permalink)
Omelet or scramble  and pie...there's a match made in heaven!
Sundancer7
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 07:28:19 (permalink)
Out of total curiosity, what took you to Bisbee?  I visited there once about ten years ago.  I was just driving around.  I recall the Lavender mining pits.  A giant hole in the earth that nearly ate Lowell, AZ.  I was birding southern AZ.
 
Paul E. Smith
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 09:05:32 (permalink)
I have yet to do the BBC.   I did like Dot's Diner in Bisbee on my last visit.
 
(I go to Bisbee because it's a cool arts town, and since I have a free place to stay there: an old boss of mine retired there)
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 09:07:53 (permalink)
CTD-
Every breakfast should end with a slice of pie!  And this is a little late, but congrats on recently becoming a Filer Mignon!
 
Paul-
I have been reading about Bisbee for years and wanted to see it for myself.  The fact that there is a couple of Roadfood places in town and it's proximity to Tombstone also made driving down here and easy decision.
 
And I am always amazed at the extend of your travels!
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 10:01:15 (permalink)
kaszeta-
I'm glad you brought up Dot's Diner
 
I knew ahead of time that they had closed in the last few years, but I still wanted to see the place. 

It is behind a tall fence, so I had to take a few shots blindly while holding the camera over the fence.  It's too bad that they closed, because I heard the owner (or maybe it was the previous owner) was a real character.  I believe she used to dress as Marilyn Monroe for town parades.  Maybe someone out there knows more.
 
It is connected to The Shady Dell, which has restored vintage trailers and it looks like a really cool place to spend the night.  This area was also fenced in, so this is the best photo I could get of the place.

post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/03/19 10:14:36
ScreamingChicken
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 10:32:05 (permalink)
buffetbuster

It is connected to The Shady Dell, which has restored vintage trailers and it looks like a really cool place to spend the night.
Most definitely...one of the trailers is actually a 38' Chris Craft!
 
And judging by the rates the guests get the "trailer" without the "trash"!
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 11:17:17 (permalink)
Whenever I go to Bisbee, I love to stay at the Grand Hotel.  It's a treat.
 
http://bisbeegrandhotel.com/
post edited by Poverty Pete - 2014/03/19 11:18:39
Michael Hoffman
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 11:48:12 (permalink)
BB
I wish you'd finish this report. You're really making me hurt with all the dishes I need to taste. The pain has to end. And come on. Did you really have to post the shot of the chicken fried steak?
kaszeta
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 13:12:03 (permalink)
buffetbuster
kaszeta-
I'm glad you brought up Dot's Diner

Somehow, I missed the news they had closed.  My last visit there was in 2011.  :(
 
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 13:44:27 (permalink)
One of the times I was in Bisbee, I stopped at Dot's  Great food and service was very good.  Sorta a entertaining town with lotsa art and shops and nothing else around it.  Very good birding.
 
Paul E. Smith
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 15:07:11 (permalink)
Poverty Pete

Whenever I go to Bisbee, I love to stay at the Grand Hotel.  It's a treat.

http://bisbeegrandhotel.com/


And what room persuasion does Poverty Pete enjoy?
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 17:42:48 (permalink)
Breakfast and pie:  pretty much my perfect meal!! 
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/19 18:02:03 (permalink)
love2bake

Breakfast and pie:  pretty much my perfect meal!! 

 
Love 2 Bake's
Famous Breakfast & Pie Shop
 
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