I have a group of guys interested in cooking. This in itself is unusual–generally it’s the gals who show up and get into the aprons… But these guys want to cook Arizona-style. Well, it just so happens Arizona puts out some of the tastiest Mexican food on the planet, and of course, that’s my home base–so we’ll be turning out the old faves like green chile stew, and of course giant flour tortillas to wrap it in to create chimichangas!
I was talking to a friend the other day who, it turns out, was born in Jerome! I was born in Prescott, and spent a good chunk of my young life traveling from Sedona across Mingus Mountain through Jerome, wending our way to Prescott. Jerome is an amazing place, a legendary ghost town perched on a perfectly hollow mountain mined out during the boom years of the 20s. The hospital my friend was born in is now Jerome’s Grand Hotel, a deco-era chunk of solid concrete built in the area’s most stable position in case of cave-ins, and coincidentally the county’s highest point with absolutely the most incredible views of the Verde Valley below.
Anyway, her friend Miguel, who was ALSO born in Jerome, has a fantastic Arizona-Mexican cafe in Cottonwood at the base of the mountain below Jerome, where he serves up family specialties including green chile stew and chimichangas. Miguel lost mucho weight at one point, and took it as a sign he should slim down the family recipes, which he did without losing any of their original flavor. He also does outrageous hand-embroidered Levi jackets with portraits of Marilyn, Elvis… what a talent!
My Jerome friend and I agree that Bisbee, Arizona is a real hot spot of Arizona-Mexican cooking, well worth a stopover if you’re ever in southern Arizona! I actually teethed on flour tortillas at the El Canario restaurant on Prescott’s Whiskey Row, and Maria Luisa used to make, bar none, the best green chile chimichangas, served “french fried, enchilada style.” Wow!
I dedicate this entry to In Their Shoes, to Ben who is walking the entire length of the Baja Peninsula, and his dedicated support team. Guys, I’ll get the chimis on the stove anytime you say! Meanwhile, have a plate of scallops in Mulege and think of me.
My very best to everyone out there cooking Mexican, or thinking about cooking Mexican…