Last night in Arizona – or dinner in a location where the focus is sports and racing

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Mexican dinner – the place was recommended by the front desk of a pretty nice hotel, he did point out that most restaurants in this area are chains, which I think tells you something about where you have landed. We drove for 20 minutes and when we got there the restaurant was full to the brim, on Monday night,  of large, in every sense of the word, variously tattooed,  American families of, it seemed to me,  Mexican origin. This seemed to bode well for the cuisine. The kitchen was a place you passed in walking to your table, not as sparkly as one might have liked. The Margaritas cost 99 cents for a big frozen one, considering a Margarita in Switzerland will set you back around 15-18 dollars this was a wonderful price, but as I was driving, no margaritas for me.

Anyhow – excited to be getting Mexican food I ordered the fajitas, the beans came covered in melted cheese, in fact there was melted cheese on everything, apart from on my strawberry virgin daiquiri:  there was whipped cream from the can on that (!!!) yes really.

My colleagues order chimichangas, they arrived the size of small torpedoes, on plates heaped with rice and guacamole and cream cheese, the sheer volume of the food, almost off-putting and indeed they suddenly were not hungry anymore. Ok presentation is not everything – my fajitas were passable – the guacamole fresh, the cream cheese, well nothing you can do wrong there, the steak a little dry, the onions nicely done, the re-fried beans with their coating of melted cheese a little weird, the salsas hot and fresh so overall 4 out of 10 for the fajitas compared to other places I have eaten at in the US or even Switzerland.

The top sights for the place, I am currently at,  include hockey stadiums, base-ball stadiums, training camps for baseball teams and nascar racing, everything is very flat and has been clothed in a hard casing of concrete.

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I am sure there is beauty out there, but I am yet to see it and of course I am not here for the view, the food or anything beyond work, but hey, I did expect to have great Mexican food here. I am going to go to Fiesta Friday to ask Angie and her fellow Americans all about food in the American mid-west 🙂 and maybe to discover what their food recommendations would have been.

Curious to see checked the restaurants ratings today – most users give it 4 stars, some comments include:

Great fast service and amazingly delicious food!! Great cheap margaritas during happy hour – try the prickly pear!!! And also try the pollo muy especial! Tons of outdoor TVs and a beautiful entrance and patio.

And there you have it – I think if the outdoor televisions are part of a place’s rating it may be an additional indicator on whether it’s your type of place.

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10 thoughts on “Last night in Arizona – or dinner in a location where the focus is sports and racing

    • Good mexican food is wonderful, travel for work, actually had loads of fun – meet wild people – airport lounges are cool for networking 🙂 – might blog about it – far off the topic of food though, or I could blog about the breakfast I had in the hotel…follows on from my mexican experience

  1. Too bad your meal didn’t meet your expectations, Poli. Sounds like the food you had was more “Tex-Mex” in variety opposed to true Mexican. My trips to Arizona have left me with memories of top-notch food and awe-inspiring views. It sounds as if you may have been in Phoenix? Next time you must venture into the dessert and witness Mother Nature in all her glory! 🙂

    • Hi Nancy – close – I was in Glendale – I have been to Arizona before, I remember the Grand Canyon, it was awe-inspiring, I remember steaks that were huge but wonderful, but didn’t stay inside the city sprawl that time which as you point out it makes a difference! Sadly I also missed the desert botanical garden, which would have been wonderful. Ah well, I maywell be in the area again!

  2. Sorry your experience was so disappointing, especially after such a long drive. I agree with a previous comment that it must have been Tex-Mex, which can actually be quite good in the best places but VERY poor in many. Sometimes they try to make up for quality with portion size. It sounds like it was quite popular with the local folks though.

    • Hi Liz – thanks so much for commenting, I really felt quite guilty for not liking it, as you say it is VERY popular with the locals, asked a Glendale “boy” born and bred for his evaluation and he said “it’s the best, Tijuana Mexican food” – so the quality must be ok, as said my fajitas were fine, the salsa fresh, homemade and hot, I guess having a daiquiri served with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top just started out the experience in the wrong way and the packed environment that felt like a truck stop didn’t help, so many impressions influence an experience don’t they? Had great Tex-Mex in San Antonio I seem to remembe, had great mexican food in Washington DC. I cannot say the food was that bad – it was just the whole environment…and of course the expectation that it was going to be stellar!

  3. I want to apologize on behalf of my country– wish you could have found super Mexican food!! Our favorite is a Tex-Mex place here in CA. Lots of flavor and subtle seasoning. It’s not authentic south of the border, but delish. (and around our house I make Mexican at least once a week– fajitas is a favorite!)

    • 🙂 that is very kind of you and totally unnecessary of course – the restaurant I visited was much loved by all locals – strawberry daiquiri with whipped cream non-withstanding, I was there with an Australian and a New York native – both were not impressed with the food, but well we were out-of towners, so it must have been our faulty out of town tastebuds – I loved the Mexican restaurants in DC….sadly so far away from me 🙂

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