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 Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights

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wanderingjew

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Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Sun, 05/6/12 7:24 PM (permalink)
I've been back for a week and have finally found some time to post a trip report.
 
There will actually be two trip reports representing the two states I visited.  Unlike Buffetbuster's trip report there will be a dearth of pie.
 
Friday April 20
 
Leaving TF Green in Providence very early, I arrived in Phoenix at just after 10 AM their time- (thank you Arizona for not going with daylight savings time) Unfortunately the humongous lines that wrapped around the rental car vendors caused some delay. In all my years of traveling I've never seen anything quite like this anywhere.
 
It's been 6 years since I last visited Phoenix and was looking forward to visiting a couple of old favorites and exploring some new ones.
 
Speaking of new favorites, after finally picking up my rental I hadn't  hadn't had any sustenance in 10 hours (remember the three hour time difference)  so it was now time for lunch.
 

 
 
The Fry Bread House


Reviewed by Ayersian I arrived to a packed parking lot at the height of lunch hour. You review the menu at the counter and then relay your order. I decided to go with the "ultimate"  Taco which is stuffed with  a choice of red or green chili (I chose red) beef, lettuce, onions refried beans cheese and sour cream.
 
 
 
The fry bread itself was soft, warm and doughy but not overbearingly so. The filling itself was a pleasant reminder that I am truly back in the desert southwest. 
 
I subsequently checked into my motel - walking distance from Chase Field- and free parking to boot. Luckily it was only going to be 96 degrees today, so walking around was do-able. I didn't do much during the afternoon, however I did manage to check out Phoenix's downtown library- so I can print my baseball tickets off of stubhub.
 
I'm glad I didn't eat too much at lunch. I was returning to an old favorite for dinner. 
 

 
 
Tacos De Juarez.
 
Just over a mile walk from my motel. 
 
I admired the interesting murals on the restaurant's exterior.
 
 
 
Although the place could look "intimidating" from the outside. The inside is pretty cool
 

As I  entered the restaurant, who is there to  greet me? None other than Roadfood's own Foodbme
I sat down to some chips and salsa
 

 
red and green of course.
 
As Foodbme and I were getting acquainted, I perused the menu.
 
There were so many potentially great items on the menu , I  finally decided on a few a'la carte dishes.
 

 
 
 
I decided to go with a shredded beef hard taco, a lengua (tongue) soft taco,  gordita and refried beans. I wish I could recall what kind of gordita I had but my memory fails me, and it's not because it wasn't good because it was, in fact it's no surprise why Taco's De Juarez always ends up as a favorite in the local readers polls.
 
After dinner, Foodbme joined me for an evening at 
 
 

 
 

 
 
Chase Field
 
Home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

I was really looking forward to this game. On my last visit 6 years ago, it was 108 degrees, therefore the roof remained closed the entire game.
 
When we  arrived the roof was in fact closed and that's because the AC is running.
 

 
 
However about 10 minutes before the game begins, the roof begins to open up.
 

 
 
It actually takes less than 5 minutes for the roof to completely open.
 

 
 

 
The Diamondbacks were hosting the Braves this evening. Although the Diamondbacks were on a hot streak, it ended here. The Braves really know the Diamondbacks number and unfortunately it wasn't even an exciting game. 
 
 
 
 
 
However this guy did seem to make the game a little more exciting
 
 

 
(no this is not Foodbme)
 
Unfortunately the Diamondbacks fell to the Braves 9 - 1 . At least the game wasn't a complete wash out.
 
After the game I walked back to my motel and called it a night. I was exhausted and I had been up for almost 22 hours. 
 
Much more to come......
 
#1
    JRPfeff

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    Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Sun, 05/6/12 8:32 PM (permalink)
    I'm sorry I missed you Dale.  I'm glad you had a good time.
     
    #2
      mar52

      • Total Posts: 7598
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      • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
      Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Sun, 05/6/12 8:55 PM (permalink)
      You sure that's not Foodbme?
       
      How great that you two could meet.
       
      Question...  do you buy tickets at the gate for all the games you go to?  Here everything is sold out.  Well it used to be.
       
      Great pictures, places and food!
       
      Your stuffed fry bread looks like the stuffed soppapilla I had at The Ranch Kitchen in Gallop.
       
      #3
        Foodbme

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        Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Sun, 05/6/12 11:15 PM (permalink)
        It was  pleasure to finally get to meet the World Famous WJ!
        And no, The Ol' Prospector wasn't me.
        That's the AZ Lottery Mascot!
        I'm not sure but I don't think WJ hit the lottery while he was here.
        He and I get together one more time later in his report.
        HEY WJ---Those pictures are more clear and vivid than the subjects were in Real Life!! That Camera's amazing! 
        <message edited by Foodbme on Mon, 05/7/12 8:10 PM>
         
        #4
          Foodbme

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          Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Sun, 05/6/12 11:29 PM (permalink)
          mar52

          You sure that's not Foodbme?
          How great that you two could meet.
          Question...  do you buy tickets at the gate for all the games you go to?  Here everything is sold out.  Well it used to be.
          Great pictures, places and food!
          Your stuffed fry bread looks like the stuffed soppapilla I had at The Ranch Kitchen in Gallop.

          The Fry Bread at The FBH is very similiar to a soppapilla. For Dessert, you can get the fry bread with Chocolate (Secret Recipe) & Butter - Cinnamon & Sugar - Golden Honey - Powdered Sugar - Butter & Powdered Sugar - Honey & Sugar - Butter & Jam or Butter, Cinnamon & Sugar!!!! All will put you in a coma!
           
          #5
            mar52

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            Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Mon, 05/7/12 12:45 AM (permalink)
            Sounds just like something I'd like.  :)
             
            #6
              joerogo

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              Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Mon, 05/7/12 6:45 AM (permalink)
              I wish I could "not travel much" like Wanderingjew
               
              #7
                wanderingjew

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                Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Mon, 05/7/12 9:19 AM (permalink)
                Jim
                 
                You were missed, but I'm certain you were there in spirit. I probably will be back in Milwaukee way before I ever make it back to Phoenix
                 
                Mar
                 
                I've had sopapillas with honey but don't recall having a stuffed sopapilla, yes, they are very similar (as are Utah Scones, Rhode Island Doughboys and even New Orleans Beignets)
                 
                Lately I've been getting my tickets on stub hub- since they're actually cheaper than getting them at the ballpark
                 
                Joe
                 
                Compared to Buffetbuster and TTM, I never go anywhere.
                 
                #8
                  ScreamingChicken

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                  Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Mon, 05/7/12 9:38 AM (permalink)
                  Now I'm thinking I want Mexican food for dinner tonight!
                   
                  Did the beans at Tacos De Juarez have the quality level of the tacos?  Too often I've eaten at Mexican restaurants where the main item on the plate is pretty good but the beans fall short.
                   
                   
                  #9
                    buffetbuster

                    Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Mon, 05/7/12 10:13 AM (permalink)
                    WJ-
                    Great start to the report.  I plan on visiting the Indian Fry House the next time through.  With the big lunch rush, did you have a long wait?  Do they have waitress service or do you order at a counter?
                     
                    BTW, this place recently won a James Beard Award.
                     
                    #10
                      Michael Hoffman

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                      Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Mon, 05/7/12 11:18 AM (permalink)
                      Nice report Dale. I'm looking forward to more. But I take issue with your shout-out to Arizona for not being on Daylight time. That three hour (instead of two) difference messes things up for my twice-weekly phone calls with my daughter in Scottsdale.
                       
                      #11
                        wanderingjew

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                        Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Mon, 05/7/12 1:22 PM (permalink)
                        Brad
                         
                        Everything was superb, even the beans- this is Arizona- they take their refried beans seriously-  
                         
                        Buffetbuster
                         
                        There wasn't a line at the Fry Bread house- but it's a small place and the parking lot fills up FAST- I think there was one or two tables left when I arrived.
                        You go up to the counter- there are actual menus at the counter and you relay your order there and they give you a number that you take to your table- no waitress service, however your meal is delivered to yorur table when ready.
                         
                        Don't discount any of the other places I went to in Phoenix- there wasn't a bad place in the lot
                         
                        MH- I'm glad it gave me some extra time considering my rent a car debacle.
                         
                         
                        #12
                          wanderingjew

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                          Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Mon, 05/7/12 7:47 PM (permalink)
                          forgot to mention previously
                           
                          Foodbme- it was a pleasure meeting you too-
                          Thanks for the compliment on the new camera- I'm still working out the kinks- 
                          Luckily- I only had one food photo on the entire trip where I had to use flash- that will be coming up in the next excerpt.
                           
                          #13
                            tcrouzer

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                            Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Mon, 05/7/12 10:28 PM (permalink)
                            Yay! I kinda guessed from the title that we were going to have another great roadfood trip report from the WanderingJew!
                             
                            #14
                              wanderingjew

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                              Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Tue, 05/8/12 9:44 AM (permalink)
                              tcrouzer
                                
                              Thanks for the compliment
                               
                              I'll continue with part 2 this evening.
                               
                              #15
                                wanderingjew

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                                Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Tue, 05/8/12 9:11 PM (permalink)
                                Saturday April 21
                                 
                                Getting an early start I was leaving Phoenix today...well...just for the weekend at least. I'll have one more full day in the Valley of the Sun on Monday. I'm heading to a city I've never been to before-  The Old Pueblo aka Tucson.
                                Temps are only going to get hotter- as usual I have a knack for hitting heat waves out west.
                                 
                                I was going to go with a full Mexican breakfast today, but at the last minute I decided not to and you'll see why. I started out with a lackluster cup of coffee at Joe Bot in downtown Phoenix. I'm not certain why they were rated so highly. I decided out of curiousity's sake to return to Xtreme Bean in Tempe before heading out of town. Although it's been 6 years since I've last visited, either my taste buds for coffee have improved or they have gone down hill. It wasn't terrible, but the coffee completely lacked body. The coffee actually reminded me of Blue States coffee here in Rhode Island. They will be removed from my coffee list when I update it.
                                 
                                I arrived in Tucson at just before 11 AM in time for my first stop
                                 

                                 
                                Mi Nidito
                                 
                                and I was greeted with a long line of folks (mostly Anglo) waiting for the restaurant to open it's doors. I was making small talk with a couple in front of me from the Boston area who noticed my Paw Sox shirt- they stopped talking to me when I told them I was a Yankees fan.
                                 
                                Finally the doors open and lucky me I was the last person to find a table that wasn't occupied. 
                                Chips and an addicting Salsa headed towards my table.... Eventually my lunch arrived and this is why I'm glad I did not have a full breakfast.
                                 

                                 
                                This delicious cheese crisp was the size of a small pizza. Not as thick or as dense however I could only dig into half of it to may room for my next course
                                 

                                 
                                Topopo Salad.
                                 
                                A salad? yes, healthy? I doubt it but I'd like to think so. Loaded with chicken lettuce, peas, tomatos, lettuce  cheese and avocado it sits on a tortilla. This is no light weight meal. I barely finished half of it before I cried uncle.  I was stuffed. Now to get out and start walking, walking and walking in the near 100 degree dry heat.
                                (BTW the Topopo salad photo is the only  photo on the entire trip where I had to use a flash)
                                 
                                I ventured on after my huge lunch and stopped at a very interesting historical building.
                                 

                                 
                                San Xavier Mission

                                Can anyone tell me what's so unusual about this building and why it was built this way?
                                 
                                Located about 10 minutes outside of Tucson this was a Spanish mission built in the late 1700's for the Native Folks who lived in the area. 
                                 

                                 
                                 

                                 
                                 

                                 
                                 

                                 
                                 
                                The interior architecture is just spectacular. T
                                There was a guided tour going on as well,  attended part of it.
                                 
                                 
                                 
                                 

                                 
                                 

                                 
                                 
                                Outside there is a picturesque garden of local flora and fauna
                                 

                                 
                                 
                                There's also a small plaza where various artisans are selling there wears and right near the parking lot there is a covered tent where native americans are selling Indian Tacos, and bottled water. 
                                 
                                Adjacent to the mission on the hill (which I climbed) there is some type of shrine, but its note affiliated with the mission
                                 

                                 

                                 
                                 

                                 
                                 

                                 
                                After my semi-religious experience I ventured back to Tucson and headed downtown. 
                                 
                                My first stop was Placita Village. An adobie Indian style shopping district consisting of a few cool stores and restaurants. I enjoyed a local brew crafted by barrio brewing.

                                I then continued my walk further into town.
                                 

                                 
                                And admired the majestic state capitol building
                                 

                                 

                                 
                                I'm not sure who these folks are but I'm sure they must be famous.
                                 
                                 
                                I will conclude Saturday's adventures tomorrow.
                                 
                                #16
                                  ann peeples

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                                  Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Tue, 05/8/12 9:20 PM (permalink)
                                  Excellent stuff, so far WJ! The last photo of the man on the horse kinda looks like Teddy Roosevelt.
                                   
                                  #17
                                    JRPfeff

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                                    Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Tue, 05/8/12 10:39 PM (permalink)
                                    That was a helluva walk. The AZ capitol is in Phoenix.
                                     
                                    What was the unusual feature of the mission, besides its odd looks?
                                     
                                    #18
                                      Foodbme

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                                      Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Wed, 05/9/12 2:49 AM (permalink)
                                      ann peeples

                                      Excellent stuff, so far WJ! The last photo of the man on the horse kinda looks like Teddy Roosevelt.

                                      You are Correct Madam! Teddy had a strong attachment to AZ!
                                      Many of His "Rough Riders" came from AZ and fought with him in the Spanish American War.
                                      The regiment, consisting of over 1,250 men, from all over the United States was mainly composed of cowboys, Indians, and other Wild West types, and Ivy League athletes and aristocratic sportsmen from the East.
                                      What did these two very different groups have in common? They could ride and shoot and were in shape, and thus could be ready for war with little training.

                                      Roosevelt Dam just Northeast of Phoenix was one of his major Conservation Projects.

                                       

                                      <message edited by Foodbme on Wed, 05/9/12 3:02 AM>
                                       
                                      #19
                                        Foodbme

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                                        Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Wed, 05/9/12 3:14 AM (permalink)
                                        JRPfeff

                                        That was a helluva walk. The AZ capitol is in Phoenix.

                                        AZ has had 4 Capitols!
                                        In 1863, Arizona was organized as a separate territory, with its first temporary capitol at Fort Whipple.
                                        Prescott became the capitol in 1865.
                                        The capital was moved to Tucson in 1867, back to Prescott in 1877, and finally to Phoenix in 1889.
                                        AZ became the 48th State in 1912


                                         
                                        #20
                                          buffetbuster

                                          Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Wed, 05/9/12 7:29 AM (permalink)
                                          I've been Tucson several times and had no idea they had a Theodore Roosevelt statue.  Definitely going to see that the next time through, along with that gorgeous church!  Instead of the state capitol building, I think that is the Pima County Courthouse, which is also worth checking out.
                                           
                                          I had the exact same meal on my visit to Mi Nidito.  That is a lot of food!
                                           
                                          How you can do all that walking in the heat is beyond me.  Keep those great photos coming. 
                                          <message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 05/9/12 7:31 AM>
                                           
                                          #21
                                            wanderingjew

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                                            Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Wed, 05/9/12 8:19 AM (permalink)
                                            Ann
                                             
                                            I'm glad that foodbme was able to answer that question. It did look like Teddy but I wasn't 100% certain
                                             
                                            JRPfeff
                                             
                                            Wow, do I have huevo on my face. You are correct, and I knew that too, the desert sun certainly got to me and clouded my judgement. I never professed to know everything (I just know more than everyone else when it comes to Roadfood) hence why I'm not on any geography boards.
                                             
                                            Regarding the mission, you'll notice looking on the right side of the building and comparing it to the left that it's unfinished. This was done deliberately- does anyone know why this was done? (yes I know the answer)
                                             
                                            Buffetbuster is correct- it is the Pima County Courthouse
                                             
                                            #22
                                              Michael Hoffman

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                                              Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Wed, 05/9/12 11:00 AM (permalink)
                                              I don't care whether it was Teddy or a teddy bear, this is a terrific report. Keep going, please.
                                               
                                              #23
                                                wanderingjew

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                                                Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Wed, 05/9/12 6:16 PM (permalink)
                                                Saturday April 21  continued
                                                 
                                                After walking around downtown. I headed out for a pre dinner snack.
                                                 

                                                 
                                                at the Anglo owned Tucson Tamale Company.
                                                I ordered just a couple of green corn tamales. 
                                                 

                                                 
                                                 
                                                Here's a cross section. Not very spicy these tamales were not very big in size but were very big on flavor, packed with green chili and cheese. 
                                                 
                                                Can it get better than this? You'll have to wait a couple of chapters to find out.
                                                 
                                                After my teaser to pique my appetite I headed to 
                                                 

                                                 
                                                El Guero Canelo 
                                                 
                                                for a quick dinner.
                                                 
                                                Ordering outside and seating is underneath the canopy, I was looking forward to trying a new regional specialty to me. The Sonoran dog. foodbme warned me that the dogs are small, so I figured I should order two.
                                                 

                                                 
                                                 
                                                as you can see, I'm not sure what foodbme's definition of small is, but this is not a small dog.
                                                 

                                                 
                                                but I ordered two anyway.
                                                 
                                                I really enjoyed my sonoran dogs and a bite into the peppers that accompanied the dogs made it that much enjoyable.
                                                 
                                                Buffetbuster suggested I order the horchata, he described it as the best horchata he ever had.
                                                 

                                                 
                                                This isn't my first horchata, but this one was just way, way, way, way too sweet. I'm surprised I didn't go into a diabetic coma afterwards. Honestly if the sweetness was cut by half, it could have been much more enjoyable.
                                                Overall, I enjoyed the sonoran dog and will certainly add that to my list of regional favorites.
                                                 
                                                After dinner it was time for another ballgame- triple A this time
                                                 

                                                 
                                                Kino Field
                                                 
                                                Home of the Tucson Padres
                                                 

                                                 
                                                 

                                                 
                                                 

                                                 
                                                I got there early so I could walk around a bit.
                                                 
                                                The Padres were hosting the Salt Lake Bees. I last saw the bees in Salt Lake back in 2010. If I recall they were playing Sacramento and lost.
                                                 

                                                 
                                                 

                                                 
                                                 

                                                 
                                                For the most part a very mundane, long, dragged out game.  
                                                The Padres were scoreless into the 6th inning with the Bees leading 8-0
                                                 
                                                However Padre, the mascot kept us very entertained.
                                                 



                                                 
                                                Anyway, the padres scored 4 in the bottom of the 6th, however I was still convinced the Bees were going to win this one. Something happened in the bottom of the 8th- the Padres scored 4 more runs to tie the game. Well over three hours into the game, I decided I wasn't going to stay past the 9th. Well the Padres scored one more run in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Bees 9-8.  This was a game I was glad to leave- it just lasted way too long...
                                                I returned back to my hotel.
                                                 
                                                More to come tomorrow.
                                                <message edited by wanderingjew on Wed, 05/9/12 6:18 PM>
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  the grillman

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                                                  Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Wed, 05/9/12 9:35 PM (permalink)
                                                  very nice pics; the church is especially beautiful.
                                                   
                                                  and the tamale looks wonderful.
                                                   
                                                  looking forward to more...
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    JRPfeff

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                                                    Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Wed, 05/9/12 9:38 PM (permalink)
                                                    Foodbme


                                                    JRPfeff

                                                    That was a helluva walk. The AZ capitol is in Phoenix.

                                                    AZ has had 4 Capitols!
                                                    In 1863, Arizona was organized as a separate territory, with its first temporary capitol at Fort Whipple.
                                                    Prescott became the capitol in 1865.
                                                    The capital was moved to Tucson in 1867, back to Prescott in 1877, and finally to Phoenix in 1889.
                                                    AZ became the 48th State in 1912

                                                    Foodbme,
                                                     
                                                    I would ask for proof of that from almost anyone else.  But knowing you were an eyewitness to all of those events, I cannot offer any dispute.
                                                     
                                                    jrp
                                                    <message edited by JRPfeff on Wed, 05/9/12 10:07 PM>
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      leethebard

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                                                      Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Thu, 05/10/12 5:07 AM (permalink)
                                                      Great trip report. Really enjoying it. Keep it coming!
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        wanderingjew

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                                                        Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Thu, 05/10/12 12:06 PM (permalink)
                                                        Thanks grillman and Lee
                                                         
                                                        Jim
                                                         
                                                        After meeting foodbme  last month, I'm convinced  that he and Michael Hoffman set out on the original wagon trail
                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          ScreamingChicken

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                                                          Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Thu, 05/10/12 12:31 PM (permalink)
                                                          The cheese tostada from Mi Nidito looks fantastic!  I looked up the menu on its website and see that there are several versions...was yours the green chile one?  I think I see little pieces of something hiding under the cheese.
                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            Michael Hoffman

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                                                            Re:Saguaros, Sonoran Surprises and other Desert Delights Thu, 05/10/12 12:33 PM (permalink)
                                                            Now just a damned minute Dale ...
                                                             
                                                            #30
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