Hot!Raising Arizona

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lleechef
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/22 20:01:42 (permalink)
The grilled roll looks delicious......almost English muffin-like.  Is it?  Or a true roll? 
love2bake
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/22 22:09:49 (permalink)
It's really a roll--the top is round.  Great breakfast sandwich!
 
I hear you ChiTown.
 
post edited by love2bake - 2014/03/22 22:11:31
love2bake
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/22 22:15:14 (permalink)
buffetbuster

Thanks to love2bake for posting the photo and describing the breakfast sandwich.  Here is one I enjoyed in 2010. 

The ingredients combine well, but the highlight is definitely the grilled roll.

Looks like you got a lot of crunch on your potatoes. 
 
Gus's is another wonderful breakfast and pie stop!!
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/25 18:45:50 (permalink)
Little Café Poca Cosa has not appeared in one of Jane & Michael Stern's books since the 1999 edition of Eat Your Way Across the U.S.A.  During my visit to Tucson in 2002, I ate breakfast here and it was one of the highlights of the trip.  This is where Johnny and I decided to have lunch.
 
Little Café Poca Cosa 

is located in the heart of downtown, so we ended up having to park in a garage.  This location was new to me as they moved sometime around 2005.  The old place was tiny and colorful and they had a photo of it's interior 

on the wall.  One of the things I remember most about the old place was just how loud they played the music.  This tradition is apparently still being practiced, since they say on their website "The music isn't loud, it's crazy loud".  And in online reviews of the place, there are people complaining about that.  But, when we walked in, it wasn't really that loud at all.  In fact, it was barely louder than a typical restaurant. 
 
We were greeted warmly and taken to the seat all the way in the back against the wall. 

My apologies to the young lady in the photo, whom I caught in mid-wipe!  No menus were brought to us, but I noticed there was some hanging on nearby hooks,

so I grabbed a couple.
 
Some really interesting juices are available,

with both of us ordering the mango peach. 

It was very sweet, with mango being the dominant flavor.  Johnny said that if he wasn't told otherwise, he would have guessed it was mango orange.  The chips and salsa brought to our table was outstanding. 

The salsa was chunky style, with plenty of cilantro and tasted very fresh.  It was so good that even after we were full from our big lunch, Johnny went back to it and finished off the salsa.
 
There are so many choices we wanted to try, the obvious thing to do was to order a combination dish.  Johnny went with what is called the lunch combo plate. 

The chile relleno was vegetarian, lightly battered and in a rich tomato sauce rather than a chili sauce.  Good start.  Johnny called the green corn tamale the best of the trip, which he described as perfectly moist and only slightly sweet, with mild green chile.  Still, the best item was the conchito en crema de chipotle,

which came on a separate plate.  When the waitress sat it down, she told us that it would be our favorite dish.  Looking at it, I was skeptical, but one bite and I was hooked.  The pork was tender and was in a luxuriously, creamy chipotle sauce with some serious kick to it.  This was the spiciest thing on either of our plates.  Luckily, Johnny was willing to share as I could not get enough of this dish.  
 
I ordered the Plato Poca Cosa, a.k.a. the surprise plate. 

This is where you get small portions of three of the chef's favorite.  The one in the back that looks like spinach is the carne en chile verde.  The beef was tender, but the green chile and poblano sauce was not really to my liking.  Much better was the conchinito en chile Colorado (on the left side of the plate), in which the flavor of the red chiles really infused into pork.  Being a fan of moles, I was happy to see that one of them ended up on my plate.  That is the pollo en mole negro.  The flavor was deep, dark and complex.  This was the best of all of the moles on the trip and I was happy to share this with Johnny in exchange for more of his crema de chipotle.
 
Coming on the side of my entrée was the churro beans. 

Johnny said it reminded him of the soup beans our grandmother used to make and he put these on top of the provided flour tortillas.  I thought they were spicy, but he said he didn't notice.
 
Our waitress was actually one of the owners, Marcela Davila, who owns it along with he sister Sandra.  A third sister, Suzana, owns the upscale and more famous Café Poca Cosa just a short distance away.  When she came over to collect our plates, instead of taking them away, she grabbed the bottle of herb vinaigrette dressing and put it next to our plates, saying "The salad isn't just a garnish boys".   And then walked away!  Under normal circumstances, I would just ignore her, but she did it in a funny way, plus Marcela comes across as someone you don't want to tangle with.  Besides, the salads turned out to be really good.  While I was in the bathroom, she came back and commended us for finishing everything.  Johnny laughed and said he thinks she scared me a little.  As she was walking away, she said, "I make grown men cry!"  We really enjoyed having her wait on us.
 
Unfortunately, we were all done and sat there for a good fifteen minutes waiting for the check.  And she was busy with other tables.  This drives me crazy, waiting for the check.  Eventually, Johnny picked up a piece of paper off the table and the check

had been sitting there the whole time.  He hadn't seen her set it down and I had been in the men's room at the time.  Ugh!  For the quantity and especially the quality of the food, what a bargain!  Both of us agreed that this was clearly the best meal of the trip.
 
Up by the register, they have a jar for donations,

which isn't all that unusual.  What I really liked is that they also tell you exactly where the money is going to. 

This is a place with a big heart. 

We didn't get hugs on the way out, which was fine with us, but we saw many others on the receiving end of hugs from Marcela.
 
Little Café Poca Cosa gets our highest possible recommendation.  If you are going, it is only open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday and is cash only.  Also, no telephone!
 
Little Café Poca Cosa
151 N. Stone Avenue
Tucson, AZ
 
We enjoyed it so much, I called and made reservations for Café Poca Cosa as our late night dinner.        
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/03/25 18:57:38
Michael Hoffman
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/25 19:15:04 (permalink)
I love it.
Foodbme
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/25 20:17:22 (permalink)
Strange Web Site!!!???
http://littlepocacosa.com/
Next trip to Tucson I'll stop in and get slapped around!
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/25 20:25:53 (permalink)
Foodbme-
A nice guy like you?  You will definitely get a hug!
ChiTownDiner
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/25 21:53:19 (permalink)
Johnny went back to it and finished off the salsa....atta boy!!!
I love the look and feel of this place....bring it to Cinci!
wanderingjew
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/25 22:05:27 (permalink)
Little Cafe Poca Cosa seems extra special, now my only regret about my visit to Tucson two years ago is that I didn't spend enough time there.
Foodbme
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/26 02:37:42 (permalink)
buffetbuster
Foodbme- A nice guy like you?  You will definitely get a hug!

Even some nice guys like to get slapped around every once in a while, if you catch my drift!
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 12:56:30 (permalink)
ChiTownDiner

Johnny went back to it and finished off the salsa....atta boy!!!
Love this comment!  Like there was any doubt that Johnny would finish his mission! 

buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 13:40:28 (permalink)
At this point we were very full, so decided to spend some time at the Pima Air & Space Museum.  I had visited here previously with JRPfeff and knew it to be a terrific place to visit.  During our time here, we were told that it is the third largest air museum in the US, behind only the Smithsonian National Air Museum in Virginia and the National Museum of the Air Force near Dayton.
 
One of the best things about the museum is the number of retirees who served in the military and work as volunteers.  We spoke to several of them and they are eager to answer questions.  Unfortunately, I started having some difficulties with my camera and almost all of the photos ended up being out of focus.  These


are about the only two that are usable.
 
We ended up spending about three well spent, enjoyable hours here.
 
There was no way we could spend our last day in Tucson and not get some more Sonoran dogs.  This time, we tried someplace new.  It is called Aqui Con El Nene

and sits in a parking lot next to bar called Rusty Nail in a neighborhood northwest of the city I had never visited before.  As you can see, it is another food truck and has a separate covered dining area

Next to the ordering windows is the long menu board

and some brackets

for a national hot dog tournament.  I was surprised to see Aqui Con El Nene get all the way to the finals against Gene and Jude's and was impressed.  That is, until I got home and found out it was from the Rachel Ray Show.
 
We started off with one Sonoran dog each. 

Since they offer two different kinds, we cut them in half and split them.  The one in the foreground is the regular Sonoran dog.  Even though the bun was not grilled, it was still surrounded by a high quality bun.  This also seemed to be heavier on the mayo than others we had eaten earlier, but we still thoroughly enjoyed it.  The other dog is the Sonoran Chipocan,

which did have a grilled bun and a layer of gooey white cheese.  Excellent!
 
We each also ordered a taco. 

Johnny went with the taco de cabeza, which means beef head.  We thought this most likely meant cheek meat, but weren't 100% sure.  Anyway, the meat was nicely tender and with a spritz on lime

and some salsa from the excellent toppings bar,

made an excellent taco.  The meat on my taco dorado de carne asada was fattier and came on a hard crispy shell, along with lettuce and cheese.  Interestingly, it came with an onion, which was marinated and then grilled. 

No idea why Johnny decided to play it like a harmonica.  Beverage service is help yourself, with me picking out a Jarritos strawberry fresa and Johnny going with the bottles Sangria, which was awful and the horchata.
 
 
We really enjoyed Aqui Con El Nene and highly recommend the place.
 
Aqui Con El Nene
4415 N. Flowing Wells Road
Tucson, AZ
520-312-1666
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/03/28 13:48:35
ScreamingChicken
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 14:33:25 (permalink)
Since there was a Captain Beefheart I suppose you can have a Cousin Beefhead!
ChiTownDiner
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 14:44:25 (permalink)
I have never had a Sonoran hot dog and after ytour 10,000th picture, I am checking all over CHicagoland to find me some!  Thanks!
harriet1954
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 15:00:13 (permalink)
I'm a picky eater/drinker, but would love to try horchata. I've had Jarritos pineapple before - it's good. Horchata can't be too hard to find around here...
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 16:42:51 (permalink)
CTD-
Surely a city the size of Chicago has some places to get Sonoran dogs.  I have no doubt you will love them!
ChiTownDiner
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 18:20:47 (permalink)
My fingers are bleeding from all the googling I am doing....
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 20:50:46 (permalink)
Needing dessert, we quickly found Michoacán Taqueria Raspados

right down the street.  But, instead of raspados, we were here looking for paletas.  The case which held the paletas didn't look too promising.  When I asked for the watermelon, the young girl told me they weren't very good.  Well, I appreciated her honesty asked which ones she recommended.  That's how I ended up with the plum, Johnny with the pecan. 

My plum took away to peel out of it's plastic wrapper, was very slow to melt and really tasted of fruit.  Johnny also liked his pecan, filled with little bits of chopped up nuts.  
 
As we were eating our desserts, we took time to look over the wall menu,

with photos of all the other available desserts.  Believe it or not, that was only about half of the menu.  Being a big mango lover, Johnny decided he wanted to try the mangoyada. 

Strangely, this came with two straws and a spoon and was one of the most dangerous looking foods I have ever seen.  Those round things were fruit rollups and as you can see, it was covered in chili powder.  While there was a small amount of fruit, this was basically a chili powder snowball.  It was just plain nasty and most of it got thrown away.
 
Michoacán Taqueria Raspados
3235 N. Flowing Wells Road
Tucson, AZ
520-888-0421
 
We went back to the hotel to relax for a few hours before heading out for our late night dinner.  Our lunch at Little Café Poca Cosa was so good, we decided to make a reservation for it's sister (literally) restaurant, Café Poca Cosa.  I previously ate here in 2002 with my mother when it was still located in the Clarion Hotel.  We ate outside on a moonless night and it was so dark, we had to use the candles on the table just to read the menu, which was written down on a board.  Like Little Café Poca Cosa, they also moved into a larger space.
 
Neither one of use took any kind of dress clothes and when we walked in and saw many men in suits, I was a little concerned.  But, the hostess told us we were dressed fine and led us through the darkly lit, attractive dining room to a table near the back.  With this being a more upscale restaurant and so dark, I made the decision to not take any photos, as not to disturb the people eating around us.  To drink, Johnny went with the mango passionfruit unsweet tea, which he called very weak.  My tamarindo was very sweet and much better.
 
You don't get a written menu here, as the available dishes change throughout the day.  Instead, our waiter read off what was available and read it very, very fast.  Even asking questions, we still had a hard time following him.  I eventually got up and took a photo of a menu board

across the dining room, just so we would have something to look at to help us decide.  Eventually though, we both chose to get the Plato Poca Cosa, which is where we both get smaller portions of three different dishes.  Our waiter assured us there would be no duplicates, as we wanted to try as many dishes as possible.
 
Okay, this is a little embarrassing, but we have no idea what we ate.  When the waiter set down the plates, we asked him to tell us what everything was.   Twice.  With how quickly he spoke, he could have told us fifty times and we still couldn't have followed him.  Anyway, the people on one side of us got up and left and the people on the other side were taking photos themselves, so I decided to take a few.  My plate

and Johnny's plate.

 
The best thing on either of our plates was the tamale pie, which was listed on the menu as pastel de elote, which is a vegetarian dish.  Just my bad luck, that same dish that looked liked spinach at Little Café Poca Cosa showed up on my plate.  And I didn't like it here, either.  We also enjoyed the tender beef in the Machaca En Guero.  After that, it was all a blur.  There is no doubt that the food here is outstanding and creative, but the more upscale atmosphere and not knowing more about our dishes detracted from our enjoyment.  And I think we were just tired.  If you are in Tucson, we still do highly recommend this restaurant.
 
Café Poca Cosa
110 E. Pennington Street
Tucson, AZ
520-622-6400
 
This was the end of our four days in Tucson.  As much as we enjoyed the city and as great as the food was, we both agreed it was time to move on.           
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/03/28 20:52:12
TJ Jackson
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 20:54:12 (permalink)
To Phoenix?
buffetbuster
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 20:54:44 (permalink)
Nope!
Michael Hoffman
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 21:09:56 (permalink)
Aha! The plot thickens.
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 22:33:03 (permalink)
ChiTownDiner I have never had a Sonoran hot dog and after ytour 10,000th picture, I am checking all over CHicagoland to find me some!  Thanks!
CTD, I'm surprised you haven't had one of these yet since Deliceas Mexicana, located directly across the street from Troha's, one of your favorite fried shrimp houses, serves them.
 
To be honest, you're not missing much.  The version they serve was underwhelming to say the least.  Some of the local Taco Burrito House locations have recently added the SHD to their menu, but I haven't tried one yet.  I'll let you know if I have the opportunity to pick one up.  Maybe I'll bring one down to you in Cincinnati next month.
 
Buddy
 
Deliceas Mexicanas Restaurant
4148 W. 26th St.
Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 522-5009
 
Taco & Burrito House
(Multiple locations)
3145 W. Addison
Chicago, IL
(773) 279-9111

Foodbme
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 23:34:14 (permalink)
harriet1954
I'm a picky eater/drinker, but would love to try horchata. I've had Jarritos pineapple before - it's good. Horchata can't be too hard to find around here...

The quality of Horchata's cover a wide swath. Some are excellent, some are chalk water. Most are made in large glass jugs that resemble barrels.
You can also make it at home. Here's a recipe:
Ingredients
1 cup long-grain rice
4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
ice
Directions
  1. Place the rice in a bowl with enough hot water to cover.
  2. Let the rice sit overnight.
  3. Next day, remove the water.
  4. Place 1/2 cup of rice, and 2 cups milk in a blender.
  5. Blend until rice is all ground up.
  6. Mix in 1/4 cup sugar,.
  7. 1/2 teaspoons vanilla,.
  8. 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon.
  9. Do the same with the other half of the ingredients.
  10. Strain through cheesecloth (or whatever).
  11. Serve over ice.

Foodbme
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/28 23:50:55 (permalink)
My guess is that the Sonoran dogs in Chicago won't taste the same as the ones down here because unless the person making the Wieners is from down here and has a good Sonoran dog recipe, the dogs themselves won't be authentic. The dogs are much smaller than the Hot Dog Sizes we normally associate as hot dogs. Generally not machine made. and the buns need to be authentic Bolillo Rolls. Slit on the sides with closed ends to help hold in the toppings.

Hope  you find a Dislocated AZ native with connections down here that ships him the dogs. 
 
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/29 02:51:24 (permalink)
Given our rather large Mexican population, the Bolillo Rolls are actually pretty common up here.  I don't pretend to know what kind of Hot Dogs are being served in Arizona, but I expect they're probably different on a number of levels, including taste, texture, and primary meat content.  The only time you'll find a non-beef dog in Chicago is in the grocery store's refrigerated case.  If you get a Hot Dog from a restaurant, it's almost an absolute guarantee it'll be 100% Beef, and most likely a Vienna product.
 
Buddy
Foodbme
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/29 03:11:35 (permalink)
BuddyRoadhouse
Given our rather large Mexican population, the Bolillo Rolls are actually pretty common up here.  I don't pretend to know what kind of Hot Dogs are being served in Arizona, but I expect they're probably different on a number of levels, including taste, texture, and primary meat content.  The only time you'll find a non-beef dog in Chicago is in the grocery store's refrigerated case.  If you get a Hot Dog from a restaurant, it's almost an absolute guarantee it'll be 100% Beef, and most likely a Vienna product.
Buddy

I've never seen the actual hot dog that's used to make Sonoran Dogs for sale in the Gringo markets here, but I've not checked the Mom & Pop Carnicería's or the Mexican Supermarkets here either. 
I'm gonna go to a Mexican Restaurant near our house that sells Sonoran dogs and see if I can find out where they get them. Probably a Hispanic Foods Distributor in the Valley.
All I can tell you is that they're different than regular USA Dogs.
ChiTownDiner
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/29 08:39:32 (permalink)
Buddy -
Ahhhh....Troha's, been a long, cold winter....I need me some!
Perhaps Top Notch and Troha's for a duet tonight! 
Looking forward to seeing you guys in Cinci!
CTD
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/29 14:07:38 (permalink)
ChiTownDinerPerhaps Top Notch and Troha's for a duet tonight! 
Mmm...Surf & Turf.  Nice.
 
Buddy
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/30 15:54:24 (permalink)
Believe it or not, I have never tried a Sonoran dog, but you've made me want to search one out here and try it, BB. At least you were gone from Tucson before the ASU Riots yesterday!
Foodbme
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Re:Raising Arizona 2014/03/30 18:55:55 (permalink)
EdSails

Believe it or not, I have never tried a Sonoran dog, but you've made me want to search one out here and try it, BB. At least you were gone from Tucson before the ASU Riots yesterday!

There were no "Riots". Just some fun loving kids expressing themselves. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcK35ZZyVAA
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