Tag Archives: Mexican

Amado’s Mexican Food (Mesa, AZ)

One of the biggest things I miss living in rural New England is that Mexican breakfasts are almost non-existent. Good Mexican places are few and far between, those that serve breakfast doubly so. But my parents live in Mesa, AZ, which always has had a reasonably good selection of Mexican restaurants, with even more showing up in recent years. And, luckily for me, most of them serve breakfast. So when we had a free morning while visiting my parents, Carol and I were craving breakfast burritos, so I decided to check out Amado’s Mexican Food…

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El Chilango Taco Truck (Arlington, VA)

After completing my business trip in Arlington, I had a few hours to kill before I needed to head over to DC for my next meeting. Perusing the normal rating sites on my iPhone, I noticed that one place in Arlington in particular was getting consistently top marks: El Chilango. The interesting thing here is the El Chilango isn’t in a part of Arlington particularly well known for good food. Located in a residential area at approximately the corner of 14th St N and Quinn Street, approximately equidistant from both the Courthouse and Rosslyn Metro stations, just off of Arlington Boulevard (and a stone’s toss from my brother’s old apartment on Oak St, uphill from the Iwo Jima memorial), El Chilango is a taco truck. Yes, Arlington now has a decent taco truck!

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Taqueria Lupitas (Detroit, MI)

An interesting aspect of Detroit that a lot of people overlook is the wide number of ethnic enclaves the area has. Some are fairly obvious, such as the semi-Polish Hamtramck, or the well-known Greektown. Others aren’t as familiar to out-of-towners, such as Dearborn (long-time home to a rather substantial Middle-Eastern population). And, indeed, one of the things that I like about Detroit is that it’s a good place to go for Mexican food. Where? Mexicantown! Yes, Detroit has a Mexican enclave! Nestled in next to the more famous Corktown neighborhood (former home of Tiger Stadium, and home for the hulking derelict of Michigan Central Station), Mexican Town is oddly shaped and hard to define. The main thoroughfares of Mexicantown are Bagley and Vernor, but the neighborhood itself is approximately bounded by the Fisher Freeway and Fort St on the South, Clark Park on the West, St Anne on the East, and the Michigan Central railyard on the north (feel free to argue this one, I’m interested in hearing other interpretations of the boundaries…). But Vernor and Bagley are where most of the food interest is. Among these streets are dozens of Mexican restaurants (most of them still vaguely authentic, albeit many of them also catering to the Chi-Chi’s crowd), tortilla factories (indeed, the smell of baking masa is one of the ways you can tell you are in Mexicantown), vibrant murals in Spanish, and more than a few Hispanic grocery stores. It’s certainly an interesting neighborhood to explore, with many good restaurants. One of these (but not the only one) is Taqueria Lupitas.

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Revisiting Gusanoz (Lebanon, NH)

Every once in a while something happens that causes me to revisit a place, be it finding out that I missed (such as finding out that I had missed the best dish at the now-closed The Pines Cafe in Palmdale, CA, or finding out that a place has a new menu. This is actually my third writeup of Gusanoz (my second introduced you to their burger business, Revolutionary Burger), but a few weeks ago they made another menu change that I thought was worthy of checking out: they added breakfast.

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Pro’s Ranch Market (Mesa, AZ)

One of the things I always enjoyed about the Phoenix area was the vast array of businesses that cater to the Mexican population. Unlike most places I’ve lived, it’s relatively easy to go out and get some fresh masa, a wide variety of chile peppers, tamales, and the like, with most neighborhoods having either a grocery store that caters to the Mexican market, or at least does a good job of carrying Mexican staples and tortillas from some local bakery. However, on my last trip through Mesa, Arizona, I noticed that Ranch Market, the long-time Phoenix Mexican-themed supermarket, had now opened a location in Mesa, so I decided to go in and check it out, since I hadn’t been to Ranch Market in a while.

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Red Iguana (Salt Lake City, Utah)

I’ve always enjoyed my trips to the Salt Lake City area. The scenery is generally quite impressive, the area has a lot of interesting destinations (including Park City and Wasatch Brewery, of whom I’ve long been a fan), and the area includes several very good restaurants (such as Bambera). Included in this list, however, is one place that definitely counts as “offbeat eats”, and that’s the Red Iguana. Located on West North Temple in a slightly-less-than-desirable neighborhood next to a now-defunct motel, Red Iguana is definitely a “joint”. However, the place is almost always packed and most of the time there is a line out the door of people waiting for tables. Why? The answer is simply some of SLC’s best Mexican food…

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Taqueria San Pedro (Yuma, AZ)

Yuma has always been an interesting place to me. In some ways, it captures a lot of what I remember about the Phoenix area of my youth, with funky neon motor lodges and adobe-style buildings. Meanwhile, the town is so close to the border that it’s unabashedly Mexican in flavor. Businesses gleefully advertise in Spanish, and little mom-and-pop grocery stores proudly stock masa, beef tongue, and a variety of hot peppers, knowing that their clientele will be buying and using such items. Unfortunately, the busy part of Yuma is the “New Yuma”, centered along Highway 95 and I-8 Business Loop, which is mostly newer fast food chains (although they at least have some of the better fast food chains, like In-N-Out, Del Taco, and El Pollo Loco, in addition to the ubiquitous McDonalds), chain restaurants, and big box stores. There’s nary a taqueria, taco truck, burrito joint, or Spanish meat market to be found near most of the hotels and motels, and if there’s a Mexican restaurant, it’s heavily Tex-Mex influenced. Luckily, for those willing to go explore off of the I-8 Business loop, there’s plenty of real Mexican fare to be found in Yuma…

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Taqueria Pepe El Toro (Lancaster, CA)

Lancaster is filled with little Mexican mom and pop places, and something about Taqueria Pepe El Toro jumped out at me when I was grabbing some items at the Home Depot across the way. So I decided to check it out. First thing I saw on the menu was Tacos Al Pastor. I always love Tacos Al Pastor. It’s my favorite type of taco, with nice seared bit of seasoned pork. Taqueria Pepe el Toro did not disappoint, these tacos were quite good, and both of the sides (rice and beans) were good quality as well.

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Los Manjares (Yuma, AZ)

As part of my job, I had to spend a whole week in the Yuma, AZ area. One of the brighter spots of Yuma is that it’s one of the best places to get good authentic Mexican food (without the usual Tex Mex or New Mexico influences, which are good in their own right, but not true Mexican Food). I’ve known several good places in Yuma (including Mi Rancho, which has been around forever), and several good taco stands, but I wanted to see what the best Mexican food out there was. Consulting several online sources (Chowhound, FindItinYuma, and several blogs), there was quite a consensus that Los Manjares was the place to try first.

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