Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Road Trip: Tucson, Arizona

EHK and I just came back from Tucson this past weekend. It was quite a whirlwind as we basically rolled into town for a wedding and spent less than 24 hours there before we headed back to San Diego. Looking back, we had an excuse to be in town and should have taken off an extra day or two to explore the area or even drive up to Phoenix or Sedona.

I do have to give a shout out to Priceline again for setting us up in a lovely, extremely well priced room close to the venue which was the Manning House. We stayed at the Marriott in sort of an extend part of the University of Arizona. It turned out to be really nice location. The school is to one side of the hotel and there are literally a myriad of restaurants and shops to visit the next block over.

{Welcome to Arizona sign in Yuma, AZ}
{Tucson neon sign in Tucson, AZ}

Having about 3 hours to chill and get ready, we decided to grab a bit around the corner since we hadn't eaten since breakfast at McDonald's in Yuma.  The concierge recommended Gentle Ben's so we payed a visit. EHK and I shared a plate of Beer Spuds and he ordered a glass of the Tucson Blonde and a Southwestern Burger (not pictured). 

{Gentle Ben's Brewing Co ~ Tucson, AZ}

EHK said the Tucson Blonde was just a standard blonde... nothing to really wow about and he wasn't the biggest fan of the burger. I think his exact comment was "Am I eating in a college cafeteria?"

{ Gentle Ben's Brewing Co ~ Tucson, AZ}

The spuds were ehh... ok. I just didn't understand the little mound of salad in the middle of the plate. I ordered a plate of Beer Spuds right? I expect a plate of greasy spuds and nothing else. They were a little on the cold side. I would have preferred them to be pipping hot and not covered in the sauce. I'm more a sauce on the side type of girl for the fried fare.

{Beer Spuds ~ Gentle Ben's Brewing Co}

When we were looking for our hotel, EHK spotted this cupcake place just down a block from Gentle Ben's so I being the cupcake fanatic had to stop by. I really wanted to try 2 different types of cupcakes but I don't really like it when I ask what's good in a shop and the attendant basically says everything. I was going to order the Red Velvet since I'm a big Red Velvet fan and also because of the namesake. However, I wanted another flavor too and asked for a recommendation. The attendant basically gave me a run down of the flavors and didn't tell me what were the most popular flavors or what was his favorite. So I ended up ordering 2 Red Velvets.

{Red Velvet Cupcakery ~ Tucson, Az}

In retrospect. I should have saved my money and came back to SoCal for some Sprinkles. Speaking of which... Sprinkles in La Jolla is bound to open this Fall in The Shops at La Jolla Village (shopping center that contains Whole Foods). No more trekking to Newport Beach for cupcakes! Coming back to these cupcakes, at first glance they seemed like a deal at $3/cupcake compared to Sprinkle's $3.25/cupcake but they were actually way smaller than expected. The cupcake was on the moist side but definitely underwhelming and I found there to be too much frosting for so small a cupcake. I prefer a higher cake to frosting ratio.

{Red Velvet Cupcake ~ Red Velvet Cupcakery ~ Tucson, Ar}

Sorry I didn't take any photos at the wedding. I found myself busy modeling with EHK at the LA Photo Booth installation. It was the huge hit of the night as everybody was either modeling or checking out the images as they appeared on the Mac monitors instead of dancing the night away or listening to the prompts the MC was giving.We missed MH and OH's "Grand Exit" since we were so taken with the booth :(. In our defense, its no ordinary booth. Its like this wall-less setup and the guest controls the photo taking with a remote pedal. Oh... and everybody magically looks photogenic in their photos.

Dave, the Best Man did get a chance to stop by and chat with us before we took off, learning that we were heading back to San Diego in the morning and told us we had to try the Sonoran Dog at El Guero Canelo (featured on Man v. Food on Travel Channel).  I've attached a clip of the Man v. Food episode in which Adam tries the Sonoran Dog for your viewing pleasure.

Dave put up such a convincing argument that EHK and I immediately headed back to our room to change out of our fancy clothes and met up with MK to see what the heck Dave was talking about.

I have to admit that the description sounded pretty amazing. Bacon wrapped dog, pinto beans, grilled onions, fresh onions, tomatoes, mayo, mustard and jalapeno sauce. Who can resist? It turned out to be an interesting dog. I wasn't thinking that it'd be in a sweet Hawaiian bread type roll. Overall, dog wasn't too bad. EHK's complaint was that he didn't really taste the bacon. So... double up on the bacon wrapping? I wasn't really digging the beans. It was just falling all over the place out of the bun. After a night of model it wasn't all that filling by itself either. So be prepared to order 2 if you are ready to eat.

{Sonoran Dog ~ El Guero Canelo ~ Tucson, AZ}

We awoke the next morning ready to hit the road but not without something in our belly's first. The guys at the wedding weren't that awesome at helping us to find a breakfast joint so we were on our own. I spotted a pretty copy of the Tucson Guide in our room and perused it hoping for some breakfast inspiration. My prayers were answered as I stumbled upon a small article recommending a stop at Rincon Market to start a lovely day in Tucson. Apparently they have a breakfast bar on the weekend that serves made to order omelets, Belgian Waffles and Eggs Benedict. Yum!

{Cinammon Rolls ~ Rincon Market ~ Tucson, AZ}
{Omelet Bar ~ Rincon Market ~ Tucson, AZ}

Upon entering, I spotted the bakery counter with such a variety of pastries and some massive cinnamon rolls. I also saw a counter with some pre-made breakfast items but I'm not such a big fan of pre-made scrambled eggs. So EHK and I hopped over to the omelet station which I thought was a pretty good deal. For just under $7 we got an omelet filled with any of the ingredients we choose at the station, some home fries, some sautéed veggies and cinnamon roll or croissant. We actually really enjoyed our breakfast. Value wise, it was awesome and we really liked customizing our omelet.

{Omelet Plate ~ Rincon Market ~ Tucson, AZ}
{Mixtas Tostada ~ Tacos y Mariscos Juanita's ~ Yuma, AZ}

Finally on the road, we were troopers since we wanted to get back home before dark. However, hunger finally overcame us so I perused EHK's Blackberry as we were approaching Yuma looking for something tasty to eat. I came across Ed from Yuma's post on mmm-yoso mentioning Juanita's so we decided to make a food stop. We ordered the mixtas tostada, 2 fish tacos and 2 shrimp tacos. We actually wanted to order more food but decided to see how we'd feel after this initial order.

Thanks goodness we decided against ordering more at first. The mixtas tostada came out and covered nearly the entire circumference of  the plate. We really enjoyed the concoction of shrimp, octopus, cucumbers and onions with the exception of the massive amount of imitation crab. As EHK said, this dish would have been money if it weren't for all the imitation crab. The tacos were pretty good too. Maybe could have used a little more crunch in the batter but the portions were definitely very generous. All in all, this was what we were looking for on quite a warm day in Yuma. For $13 for this entire lunch, we were happy campers and filled for the rest of our trip back home.

{2 Fish and 2 Shrimp Tacos ~ Tacos y Mariscos Juanita's ~ Yuma, AZ}
Gentle Ben's Brewing Co.
865 E. University Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 624-4177
M-W: 11 am-12 am
Th-Sa: 11 am-2 am
Su: 12pm-10 pm

Red Velvet Cupcakery
943 E. University Blvd., Suite 165
Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 829-7780

El Guero Canelo
2480 N. Oracle Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85705
(520) 882-8977

Rincon Market
2513 E. 6th Street
Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 327-6653
store hours:
M-F: 7am - 9 pm
Sa: 7am - 8pm
Su: 8am - 8pm

breakfast bar hours:
Sa: 7am-12pm
Su: 8am-1pm

Tacos y Mariscos Juanita's
SW Corner of S. Avenue A & W. 8th St
YumaAZ 85364


  1. wow that's a quick trip! hope you had fun at the wedding. glad to hear sprinkles will be opening down there. i guess you will be visiting me less now :(

  2. Nonsense! There are still a ton of reasons to visit :)

  3. Hey Liz - Ed would be so happy to know you tried Juanita's! I still haven't made it back to yuma....hopefully someday soon.

  4. Glad you liked Juanita's. This fish and shrimp tacos are best fresh out of the frier, but unfortunately, they cook up a batch rather than prepare to order so that most of the time, they aren't as crunchy as could be.

  5. We'll be driving through Yuma and Tucson soon. Always know where I want to try in Yuma...but it's been a guess in Tucson. Thanks!

  6. Hi Kirk, Ed and Cathy,

    Thanks for stopping by! I hope to have time to make that drive again and eat my way through :)

  7. pity about the spuds, they looked good but I'm with you, they need to be HOT. That's funny, i've been to 2 weddings in the last mth and they both had photo booths. Kindda fun.. but scandalous ;-)

  8. Hi SC,
    I couldn't agree more about the photo booth.

    Hi Greg,

  9. sounds like an awesome roadtrip and some very droolworthy fare! Wish you had some photos of the modeling too... anyways one day I've got to get over there to check out some of those recos from Yuma Ed on mmm-yoso.

  10. sounds like an awesome roadtrip and some very droolworthy fare! Wish you had some photos of the modeling too... anyways one day I've got to get over there to check out some of those recos from Yuma Ed on mmm-yoso.

  11. Hi Kirk, Ed and Cathy,

    Thanks for stopping by! I hope to have time to make that drive again and eat my way through :)

  12. its great road trip, I like the most video which you have shared in this post. The Prop Stop Booth is also arrange the photo booth for different-different events in Maryland & other locations of this area.


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