Monday, October 18, 2010

Like an Army, A Photographer Travels on His Stomach

If there was a "Photography Channel," I'd watch it, but there isn't, at least as far as I know, so I'm left to watch some of the other channels that pique my interest, such as the Food Network. Much to my delight, not long before I was to travel to Arizona two programs came on Food Network that promised me some good eating opportunities.

After an easy flight from Minneapolis, home of lutefisk and fast food, I arrived in Phoenix and waited, like 20 other customers, to pick up my rental car at Sky Harbor Airport (who came up with that name?) As soon as I got my car I headed for Tucson, but made a planned stop at Los Taquitos.

This place was featured on "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives," so I had to visit when I was in the area. It's run by five sisters, all beautiful. This is not a restaurant in the usual sense, although there is limited indoor and outdoor seating. There is no table service and don't complain about the wait. If you want fast "Mexican" food, go to Taco Hell. This is a hole-in-the wall place in a strip mall that serves great food, and let me tell you at 2:00 PM there was a line at the counter. Most of the lunch crowd were laborers and working types, waiting patiently for big take out orders. The young woman at the cash register (wearing a tank top declaring, "boobies rock," with a pink breast cancer ribbon logo) was brisk and efficient. When she bellows out your order number you wonder where the sound came from. She just grins.

I've only eaten here once, I admit, but the marinated pork burrito was to die for. Spicy, just the right amount of heat, with bits of cilantro adding just the right notes. If you're within 50 miles, sit, stay, eat.

On to Tucson, where I made a point of going to Teresa's Mosaic Cafe (2455 North Silverbell Road) after seeing it featured on "Throwdown" with Bobby Flay. On a Saturday morning I went in and had their famous huevos rancheros, and I can't imagine how they lost--they were the best I've had. The eggs were cooked just right and the salsa was excellent. I scarfed it down in record time. The homemade corn and flour tortillas (I requested both) were just like my mom used to make (and she's the real deal.)

Breakfast #2 was chorizo with scrambled eggs, another winner. I love good chorizo and this filled the bill. It being a Sunday, the place was busy but there was no wait to be seated and service was good. Service was fast and friendly, prices were reasonable, and if I lived in Tucson, this would be a weekly ritual.

Fortified, I went out to take pictures, savoring the memories of those wonderful flavors from Teresa's.

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