“Have you had a Sonoran Dog yet?” a friend asked, upon discovering that I was in Tucson.
“What’s a Sonoran Dog?”
I wish I’d never found out, because it has officially ruined me for other hot dogs. Seriously. I’ve seen the promised land. Nothing else will do.
Imagine a hot dog wrapped in bacon. That should be all I need to say, right there. But then they add salsa verde, pinto beans, tomato, onion, mustard and mayo. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
We went directly to the source for this delicacy: El Güero Canelo has several locations around town. Washing this hot dog down with the kind of apple soda that I used to live on when I was a student in Mexico nearly made me swoon. It wasn’t the first excellent meal I had eaten in Tucson, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. I was only there for 5 days, and I’m quite sure I gained 5 pounds.
We also went to a place in Benson, Arizona called Mi Casa Restaurant. It is, literally, in a house, well back from the road. You could easily drive past it without even noticing it. But what a shame that would be. It’s a little mom and pop place. Mom is the chef, pop is the waiter, and the Mexican food that place produces is not only a culinary delight, but also a work of art.
We went to several tiny little places with scrumptious food, including Frank and Francisco’s, which is a diner that has, I’m told, the best breakfast in town. I’m not going to argue. So good.
As a respite from all the Mexican food, we went to Inca’s Peruvian Cuisine. Known for hardy meat and potato type fare as well as seafood, this was a very satisfying meal. (The only exception was the Arroz con Mariscos, which is apparently the Peruvian version of Paella, but was 80 percent rice.) We even partook of a drink called Chicha Morada, which is made from purple corn, pineapple, apple and cinnamon. It sounds strange, but it was actually quite delicious.
If I lived in Tucson, I’d probably turn into one of those people who could only be removed from my house by taking down a wall. The food is irresistible. The desire to not exert oneself to beat the heat, even more so. And every restaurant had better guacamole than the last. I’d be doomed.