Hiking at Tonto National Park, Costillas from Old Town Tortilla Factory and Valentine restaurant recommendations

12 Feb

Does anyone else think it is nonsense that Mitt Romney wants to drug test poor people? People on welfare, specifically. It sounds racist and a waste of money to the kitchen wench.

Sorry people, I hear stuff like this on the news, and I just can’t contain myself.


Yesterday Dad, Jack and I went hiking at Tonto National Park. You can call ahead and reserve a spot for their 2 mile (3-4 hour informative) hike up to the Sinagua Indian ruins.

You must do this. It is only a 600 foot elevation and the trail is well-maintained, so if you are in reasonable shape, you can do it. Here’s the #928-467-4421. And the best part (aside from the fact that it only costs $3.00 per person)…the views of Roosevelt lake, surrounding mountains and Mexican poppies.

After our hike we were really hungry…aside from snacks before we saw the ruins (bananas, apples, dried spicy mango and Twix bars) all we had to eat was Bosa Donuts. By 4:00 we were really hungry. I mean, that’s a late lunch! Fountain Hills was our first sign of civilization heading back into Phoenix, and Dad remembered he and Mom had a great Mexican food lunch at a place in Cave Creek called Encanto Mexican Restaurant, and he also remembered they have a location in Fountain Hills. ¡Si si si! A feed! After being given directions by a nice lady at Fountain Hills’ visitor center (and a plug for her real estate business) we were on our way to the promise of margaritas…which we did enjoy at El Encanto. Potent margaritas. When I came back from the bathroom, there was a pitcher on the table (don’t you love it when you come back from the bathroom and there is a pitcher of margaritas on your table?) and there were tamales for Dad and fish with an avocado/tomato salsa for Jack and me. The food was very fresh. I especially liked their salsas (one a standard, the other a dark red roasted salsa and then a tomatillo version) and chips. http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/22/1515041/restaurant/Phoenix/El-Encanto-Fountain-Hills This place reminded me of a restaurant my folks used to frequent, El Conquistador on 7th St. and Missouri. Do any of you remember that place? They had great sangria. Back in the day, my folks went their so often that sangria appeared on their table almost at the exact moment they sat down. My kind of place. Their tacos were so good. I suspect the chef at Carlos O’Brien’s swiped the taco recipe from El Conquistador. Their tacos were very crispy and filled to the brim with shredded beef. Ahhhh, memories.

I digrees.

Jodi’s birthday party was last night, and we took off for Old Town Tortilla Factory. I really liked this place. Jack ordered me a margarita (a horny margarita that comes to you pink. Not sure what he was intimating). He enjoyed a long island iced tea and we shared a house salad with jicama, oranges (mandarins?), red baby lettuce with a balsamic vinaigrette. This salad is great great great. I would have enjoyed a bigger version of it with some carnitas or shredded chicken. But, it was not the case. Their ribs at Old Tortilla Factory are very tender, the meat falls off the bone, but the sauce is a bit sweet for the kitchen wench (some like it spicy). But their coleslaw and shoestring potatoes are right on. I would go back there even though our entree (not including the salad) was $22.99. ¡Ay, Chihuahua!

This is where the kitchen wench makes Valentine’s Day dinner recommendations. Actually I recommend you go the day before, or the day after (the service and quality of food will be much better). But if you must go on Valentine’s Day, here are my thoughts: Arcadia Tavern for their yummy thin crust lavosh style pizza and hearty burger, or North for their board with savory and spicy salami, prosciutto, cheeses and toasted artisan bread (recently reviewed by the kitchen wench). If you are on a budget, however, I would recommend Tortas Paquime (who doesn’t like a Mexican crispy breaded chicken sandwich with a fruity drink?) or a homemade meal with one of these cute “cakes” from Gelato Spot.

Happy Valentine’s Day (and our State’s 100th Birthday)!

I’m going to add a funny post script to this post. My friend and contemporary John Burris (one of my fellow citizenship teachers) suggested to me today that I should nominate myself (my little business) for the AZ Hispanic Chamber’s Black and White small business awards on the basis that I have dated two Mexican guys (only the kitchen wench knows the true number here – jaja) and that I speak Spanish. I told John that the AZ Hispanic Chamber typically gives these awards to pretty accomplished people. But I would be happy to be a nominee…would I blush? I wonder…


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