We’re headed to Phoenix (and maybe a day trip to Tucson) next month, and I’m looking for places that have NM-style green chiles, Sonora hot dogs, and diner-style breakfast places. Also any places that have foods unique to the area. (No fry bread, please.)
Too many years ago for me to even remember exactly when, I had New Mexican food at a couple of the locations of Los Dos Molinos. One meal was in a house in Phoenix that was owned by early Western movie star Tom Mix before becoming Los Dos Molinos. The other was at a Los Dos Molinos located in a strip mall in Mesa. Good food at both locations and the hottest New Mexican food I’ve had anywhere before or since. Like I said, it’s been a very long time since I’ve been there, so I can’t vouch for how the food is now.
The Tom Mix house is the location on South Central. https://losdosmolinosphoenix.com/
Second vote for Matt’s Big Breakfast.
Are you going to visist the Pima Air & Space Museum while you are in Tucson??
Source: Pima Air & Space Museum
Diner-style breakfast: Baja Café, various locations, I have been to the Ina location many times.
Sonora-style hot dogs: hands down, Tacqueria Acqui Con el Nene. Don’t sleep on the condiments table under the tent. Tacos there are also fabulous. Distant second choice (but still very good): El Guero Canelo.
Other fantastic food: El Antojo Poblano, featuring the cuisine of Puebla, Mexico including their cemita which food writer Jackie Tran dubbed the best sandwich in Tucson (and I will not fight him about that).
Are there any Native American restaurants you’d recommend?
I loved Tucson when we lived in Scottsdale. The valley of the sun was a pain to live in and why we ended up in Oregon.
Pre-pandemic I was a huge fan of the tiny restaurants at the Tohono O’odham Swap Meet. I am not sure what survived. Most of them were straight-ahead Mexican or Mexican-inflected though. Tucson certainly deserves its City of Gastronomy designation, there is a plethora of good food available and people have been practicing agriculture there continuously for thousands of years. Pre-pandemic I tried to spend 3-5 weeks there every winter but have not been back since 2020 (was trapped there by the pandemic through June and while it certainly had its advantages, that heat is Not For Me).
Ipsedixit, you are a treasure
GretchenS, Ive heard that the Thong O’odham Swap Meets are worth a look. Where are they held – not Ago, I hope. That’s a bit of a hike for this trip
Desert-Dan, I doubt it, since it will just be a day trip, if we go there at all, and I expect nature-focused. But I’d like to get back for a longer trip in Tucson
Just a bit south of Tucson proper. Pre-pandemic, it was a food-lover’s paradise. Mixed bag on the non-food merchandise. Not a lot of white faces but I always felt welcome and the atmosphere was great. My sister and I were particularly fond of a little place called Carnitas Los Equipales. We went originally for the suadero tacos (crispy skin-on pork belly) but everything we had there was great and served on gorgeous stoneware rather than styrofoam or paper plates. Lovely, welcoming staff.
5721 S Westover Ave, Tucson
Chino Bandido is unique. 310 W. Bell Road.
Do you think this survived the Pandemic?
No idea but I sure hope so!
The only restaurant I’ve eaten at in Scottsdale is Los Sombreros as long ago as when I was in Phoenix and Mesa. I thought it was very good. I see it’s still around.
Only Tucson restaurant I’ve been to is Mi Nidito around that same time. Mild but good Sonoran food. Still around, too.
I have found the Tucson Foodie web site to be a good source of Tucson food intel. They have a fairly recent “Where to Eat Tacos in Tucson” guide if that is of interest. For me, coming from the Northeast, tacos are always my focus in Tucson.
In the 80s, the original Macayo’s and the original Garcia’s of Scottsdale were still going strong.
I remember taking my parents to both when they visited.
Old Scottsdale was great fun back then. Happy hour at Don and Charlie’s, the Pink Pony and other places. Baseball player hangouts. When the Giants spring training facility was still right there instead of halfway to Utah. Cheap tickets and beer and lounging away the late winter afternoons.
I super enjoyed my Tucson visit mainly for birdwatching and nature stuff in August 2021.
My last stop before hitting the airport was a morning at San Xavier del Bac out on the Tohono O’odham res south of the city. The historic church is amazing as are the products (sorry, some are fry bread) at the popular family stand in the plaza out front. Ive linked a video I just noticed about it. The fillings for the bread are absolutely delicious and filling and sustained me through a long and worrying travel day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr1ojQjBxkU
There are several wonderful botanic gardens as well as Saguero Nat Park (I liked East) and of course the mountains.
I saw these guys on Diners, Drive ins, and Dives.
Yelp reviews are mixed.