Tag Archives: mexican food

Rillito Wash bike trail, Teresa’s Mosaic cafe – Tucson

For future reference (and to prevent a repeat of today’s long search), the stretch of the Rillito Wash bike trail in west Tucson that we rode started at the Ted  Walker park trailhead just south and a little west of the Ina exit of Interstate 10. Dad and I rode 9 miles (which is great considering that dad is rebounding after some major health issues) north from the small park on a trail that began somewhat unpromisingly, with quasi industrial scenery but quickly became more scenic, bordering a small creek lined with palo verde and other desert trees, with the mountains off on in the distance to the east and west. I was impressed by how well tended the trail was and the artwork adorning it including several mosaic panels.

Dad was a good sport to go with me for Mexican food, which he doesn’t like. We tried Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe in west Tucson off grant road west of I 10. It’s a peculiar looking place, a round greenish-blue building behind a McDonald’s that looks a bit like a spaceship or an import from the Jetsons. Inside the restaurant is more traditional festive Mexican with colorful paper banners, ceramics and paintings and a nice mountain view out the curved window. The food was pretty good although to be honest I think my carnitas are better. Their’s were big chunks with considerable fat (and not the promised crispiness). They were in light green sauce that was tasty. The homemade tortillas were as soft and fresh as advertised (we didn’t get to see them being made in the open oven area in the middle of the big curved dining room.) We were also impressed with the guacamole. The horchata (my new drink – a milky looking sweet rice and nutmeg drink) wasn’t as good as the one I had at the barrio cafe in Phoenix. (Nor was the pork, come to think of it.) but I would give this place another chance because it is colorful and has potential. Their huevos rancheros is supposed to be good.

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Filed under Arizona, bike trails, biking, Tucson

Pok Pok and Barbuto in NYC; Frontera Grill in Chicago

Thought of  recent dining adventures in  NYC, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon,  the other day when I read a NYTimes story about where top chefs go on the rare occasion when they don’t eat at their own restaurant.  Chef Daniel Boulud goes to Barbuto for Chef Jonathan Waxman’s roasted chicken, which my brother also has discovered. I had a good meal there with my brother and his wife in 2011. Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings

Also on the dining front, is Pok Pok NY in Brooklyn and Pok Pok Wing (see photo above of Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings)  on the Lower East Side.  My husband and I ate at the  original Pok Pok in Portland in 2010. (The chef Andy Ricker was named the Northwest’s best by the James Beard Foundation in 2011 so I bet it’s even harder to get a reservation now.) I see from the NYTimes that the two NYC-based Pok Poks have since opened. (Alas, we didn’t have the chicken wings when we went to Pok Pok in Portland. They look incredible! But it was very good Thai food by a non-Thai guy, which was the gist of the Times story. It also mentioned Rick Bayless and Frontera Grill/Xoco et. al.  in Chicago which I’ve been to many times over the years.)

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Filed under Chicago, New York City, Portland

Great new bike trail, in-and-out burger, and tucson food tour

Had an action-packed first day in Tucson, riding bikes with my dad along a bike trail along the Rillito wash which now connects to another trail that ends at Trailways Road (or some such). We started in Oro Valley, just northwest of Tucson, in a trailhead at La Cholla and River Roads and rode north and then back – about 15 miles total. Midway, we stopped at the In-and-Out burger in Marana. Don’t eat that kind of fast food often but heard so much about it (it’s the burger of choice for Hollywood celebs) that had to try. Not bad – liked the grilled onions on the cheese burger and the special sauce. The fries were so-so. The ride takes you through some less than scenic industrial type landscapes and some suburban sprawl but also along a pretty creekbed and a landscaped golf course and of course in the distance are the mountains and the desert foliage. And that brilliant blue Arizona sky. So no complaints. And did I mention the weather was a perfect 80 degrees, with a slight breeze?

Also read today about a new foodie walking tour of downtown Tucson that starts at the Hotel Congress and stops at The Hub, Empire Pizza, El Charro, Monkey Burger, Maynards Kitchen, Bumsted’s and the Chocolate Iguana. Other than El Charro (an old favorite ) and Bumsteads (which I just heard about last night on the plane from a kid who’s a Tucson native) I haven’t heard of any of these places. Find out more from foodtourstucson.com or call 477-7986. (don’t know the area code).


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Filed under Arizona, Tucson

Suggestions for a first visit to Tucson from a longtime visitor

My stepdaughter E is going to Tucson for the first time with her siblings, who know the place well, but I’d like to throw in my two cents as well about what to do and see there: (I’m only mentioning things your sibs may not mention.)

Sabino Canyon for classic gorgeous Sonoran scenery and easy hike/walk

Desert Museum – part zoo, part desert gardens, in mountains west of the city by Saguaro National Park (which is good hiking spot). You’ll feel like you’re driving through the set of a old western. (and there’s a famous old film studio nearby.)

Hiking:  A favorite (and easy) hike is at Catalina State Park –  right near my father’s house. There’s another one we’ve had trouble finding again ibut M&H report the trail head is just north of AJs fancy food market on Campbell and East Skyline Drive.

– downtown Tucson – Hotel Congress, great old rock n’ roll hotel with storied history, cool music venue (Club Congress where Thaddeus and his band have played) and fun cafe with great homemade cakes;  The historic district near El Charro (a favorite restaurant of the kids) downtown also worth a look – beautiful old homes.

–  M&H also report finding a new cheap Mexican restaurant – BK’s – downtown – which specializes on Sonora Hot Dogs and Carne Asada

Tohona Chul for lunch and stroll….


Filed under Tucson