Tillman's Profile

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Wall Street Journal Picks for Santa Fe and Taos

Good to see El Meze is back after their fire last year, and as good as ever -- as is the Love Apple. Sadly, Chef Damon's closed over the winter. I'll try to do a Taos 2011 update soon, as I don't see much new on the board.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman
Taos (summers)

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El Meze
1017 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, Taos, NM 87571

Jun 02, 2011
Tillman in Southwest

Tucson AZ -- Mexican Food

Just a quick note re my long-time favorite, Mi Nidito in South Tucson.

There have been comments (here & elsewhere) that M Nidito has gone downhill -- so we didn't go last trip.

This time, lunch at around 2 PM. No wait and food as good as ever. I had the birria plate (~$11), delicately flavored of cinnamon and as good as ever. Note that Sonoran birria is usually beef (as here). My wife had shredded-beef flautas, which she also pronounced as good as ever. So, Mi Nidito goes back on the "every trip" list, with Vivace.

Next stop: Chef Alias meaty Bosnian!

Cheers -- Pete Tillman

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Mi Nidito Cafe
1813 S 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85713

Mar 12, 2011
Tillman in Southwest

Tucson on Sunday night?.

We'll be in Tucson this coming weekend (March 20-21), and none of our old favorites are open on Sunday night (always a tough night). Any recommendations for your Sunday-night favorites? We'll be staying near the U of A, but don't mind driving elsewhere.

Thanks in advance,
Pete Tillman
ex-Tucsonan

Mar 08, 2010
Tillman in Southwest

Review: Elote Cafe - Sedona, Arizona

Minority report: Elote is decent, but inconsistent & overrated, imo.

My wife likes it, so we go now & then, and I'm generally vaguely dissatisfied -- if not more. Last visit, I had the carne asada. My reactions were about like yours, eh, and I love blue cheese. Combo just doesn't work.

In the past, sometimes the snapper is pretty good, sometimes old & fishy. Pork roast was dynamite one time, dried out the next.

Good service, pleasant place, and there aren't many first-rate places to eat in Sedona. But don't get your hopes too high.

Happy chowing--
Pete Tillman
Rimrock

Feb 01, 2010
Tillman in Southwest

Two Chowhound’s Road Trip (Starting in the Southwest)

So, where is this place? Town?

TIA, Pete Tillman

May 31, 2009
Tillman in Southwest

Where to Eat in Tucson near Catalina Foothills

The 3 best, in our experience:

1) Vivace, N. Italian, River & Campbell. Tucson's best restaurant, imo. Don't miss. See older writeups here for details. Not that expensive, especially for lunch.

2) Teresa's Mosaic #2, on Shannon (I think) opposite Wal-Mart. Not as atmospheric as the orig, but the albondigas soup & flour tortillas are still the best in town.

3) Tacos El Bruno, 1st and Ft. Lowell (NE corner). Solid neighborhood taqueria -- go for the beef.

Happy chowing, Pete Tillman, former Foothills resident

Jan 24, 2009
Tillman in Southwest

how is the food scene in taos?

Best new restaurant in town is El Meze', on the highway north of town, between Cids grocery & Orlando's. Advertised as Moorish-inspired, it's really New Southwest, and (so far) very, very good. On our last visit, we started with an order of herbal french fries, served with homemade mayonnaise, in a HUGE basket for (ims) $4. Hard to eat them all and still have room for the meal.... I had a wonderful bowl of oyster stew/soup, full of plump, tasty oysters. Wife had the pasta special, which she liked a lot. Huh, now I can't remember what we had for dessert, except it was very good, and you had to order it early, or wait a bit. Chocoalte souffle'?

Very good service, chef-owned, reasonable prices. After 5 or 6 meals, It's now in our top 3 in Taos -- Orlando's. El Meze, Trading Post.

Happy eating, Pete Tillman

Jan 13, 2009
Tillman in Southwest

Need Advice for Chimayo, NM

We've had mixed luck at La Paragua -- they definitely have consistency problems (the biggest bugaboo of rests, imo). Anyway, we had dinner there last week and it was mixed. I had a good relleno (in past visits, rellenos have ranged from outstanding to pretty bad) and a fair carnitas taco. My wife had chicken flautas, which she said were inedible (she ate about half of one). Plus the prices have gone up significantly -- you get a much better meal at Orlando's (Taos) for 1/2 the price. So, caveat emptor.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman
Taos

Aug 17, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Taos Report - long

Thanks for the report -- sounds like you had a nice trip!

Strong second to Orlando's, which has become my favorite place in Taos (we moved here about a month ago). I'm gradually eating my way through the menu, and haven't had a bad meal yet. My favorite remains the Frito pie, which is the best I've had anywhere. Excellent biscochitos (cinnamon sugar cookies -- we both prefer the plain) and apple pie. Cheerful, efficient service, very reasonable prices. It's in El Prado, a couple miles NE of the plaza on US-64 -- look to your left as you pass the green El Prado sign (northbound).

The only downside is, very popular, so the wait can get log on the weekends. Once you're seated, they're very efficient, even when it's full. Outstanding restaurant. Do ask about the chile if you don't want hot, and do try the chile caribe, which is earthy and very, very good.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman
Valle Escondido

Aug 17, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Hatch New Mexico Information.

Well, OK -minus when we tried it, though that's been a year or three back. We did find a good bkfst place downtown (& posted it here, ims), but have never found anything Chow-worthy in Hatch. In cafes, that is <GG>.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman
now in Taos

Aug 04, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Refried beans in Santa Fe?

Well, I hope someone chimes in. I like whole pinto beans, but miss my AZ/SON refritos!

My Gold Standard is the beans at Guayo's El Rey in "beautiful" downtown Miami (AZ). Lots of melted cheese & lard -- a coronary in every plateful!

Aug 04, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

N. Scottsdale inexpensive dining recommendations

Do you have URL for local restaurant health inspections?

TIA & Cheers -- Pete Tillman

Jul 20, 2008
Tillman in Phoenix

Favorite Restaurants in Phoenix/Scottsdale

Second to Eden's -- we've been there a couple times recently, and like it a lot. Excellent catfish & beef kabob, absolutely killer basmati rice with raisins & almonds. Nice people too. Don't miss.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman

May 12, 2008
Tillman in Phoenix

chimayo, new mexico between taos and santa fe

Thanks for the ink to Gil's -- I'd lost track last time he moved. A reliable reporter.

As for Chimayo, I'm always underwhelmed with the food at Rancho de Chimayo (but agree it's a lovely place) and enjoy Leona's when the weather's nice.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman

May 12, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Cafe Bink

We tried it last week, and were pleased. I had the quiche ($11), which was delicious. Wife had trout almondine ($18), which she liked but thought a bit plain and short of almonds. I liked the bite I tried. Excellent pecan pie for dessert.

Good food, nice people, pretty place. 36899 N. Tom Darlington Drive (Carefree Court Shopping Center), Carefree. 480-488-9796. Hours: 5 pm. to 9:30 p.m. (but lunch soon) Tuesday through Sunday. Tom Darlington is the north extension of Scottsdale Rd, and the shopping center is on your right, about halfway from Carefree Hiway towards downtown Cave Creek.

Happy eating--
Pete Tillman

Mar 06, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Review: The Asylum - Jerome, AZ (w/ photos!)

Seth: sorry to hear of your bad experience. The Asylum has been reliably good in the past, so I hope you hit them on a REALLY bad day.

Haunted Hamburger has been reliable for many years, though close parking there is impossible. Red Robin is a decent alternative.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman

Mar 06, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Weekend in Flagstaff

Where is Martannes's?

FWIW, the Himalayan in Santa Fe is also so-so. IMS this is a small chain, with another outlet in Durango??

You should try the posole at Ti Gavo (Enchantment) next time you're in Sedona. Nontraditional but excellent, a bowl makes a nice light lunch for $10, plus the wonderful Boynton Canyon views!

Happy eating--
Pete Tillman

Feb 16, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Is Sedona Really That Dismal?

Thanks!

PT

Feb 08, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Santa Fe Coffee

Nope.

HTH, Pete

Feb 08, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

PHX/Valley &/or Tucson: good French roast coffee?

Any recommendations for a good dark-roast coffee place? Looking to buy beans by the pound. N. AZ recos welcome, too, but I'm not hopeful there. No mail-order, please.

Incidentally, for Santa Fe, O'Houri's rules!

TIA & Cheers -- Pete Tillman
Verde Valley

Feb 08, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Is Sedona Really That Dismal?

You're better off searching Chowhoud with Google than via the internal search. They seem to have it set now to search the entire board, instead of just SW. Truth to tell, CH site-search has always been dicey.

Good luck, Pete

Feb 07, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Is Sedona Really That Dismal?

So there really is a Rachel Ray? {G} Not just on the back of the Ritz cracker box?

Breakfast or lunch at creekside at L'Auberge is so pretty on a nice day, you'll forgive any lapses in the food (probably). It's always been at least pretty good for us, sometimes very good, once or twice excellent. But inconsistent, which is annoying. We haven't been since last spring.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman. Rimrock

Feb 06, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Is Sedona Really That Dismal?

Breakfasts at L'Auberge are indeed good, though I would avoid the Sunday buffet, unless it's compris. No one has mentioned Heartline yet (5 min away) -- search here for my & others remarks. It's been the most consistently good place in Sedona: in the 15 years or so we've been eating there, I only recall one dismal, and 5 or 6 so-so, meals. Second the recos for Ti Gavo at Enchantment -- try their posole, which has been excellent this year. Plus the best red-rock views around. No reservations, so call ahead if you're going at peak times. Or just hang out at the bar, or outside -- the views are truly wonderful.

But don't get your hopes real high -- Sedona is about as good as it gets in N. AZ, but this is whitebread cowboy country, and you sure won't mistake Sedona for Santa Fe, or even Taos. But it has other virtues {G}.

If you go to Jerome, the Asylum is consistently good, with wonderful long views back to the red rocks. And the most consistently good food in the area (imo) is Pinon Bistro, in Cottonwood, about 20 min from L'Auberge. Search here for recent comments, and days open (Th-Sun only, usually-- call ahead)

Have a good trip,
Pete Tillman, Rimrock

Feb 06, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Flagstaff Dining

What do you like in Sedona? It seems like a semi-desert to me, foodwise...

Don't even get me started on Prescott -- though it's better now than when we left, about 5 years ago. N. AZ is getting better, but starting from a pretty low base.

For that matter, even Phoenix was pretty grim, 25 years ago...

Cheers -- Pete Tillman, 30 yrs+ in AZ now.
(now in Rimrock)

Jan 31, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Socorro Springs Grill & Brewery--Socorro NM

I haven't been in awhile, but we tried El Sombrero AWB and found it just OK. I'll second the reco for the Owl, & keep meaning to try Manny's, but don't get down that way as often as when we lived in Tucson.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman

Jan 25, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Sedona & the Verde Valley --year end report

A quick addition: Gabriella's Mexican in Camp Verde (Main St.) is now Casa Antigua, but it's just a name change -- same owners, same menu. We ate there last week, and it was just OK, imo -- my stepson likes it better (but he lives in NYC, so what does he know? {G}) I had the green chile plate -- decent meat, OK beans, fair rice, $10. Plenty of food!

I also ate at La Carreta in Cottonwood, near the jct of 89A & 179(?, hwy to CV/PHX), while having my oil changed next door. Ordered machaca & eggs, & it was pretty good -- hot, flavorful, reasonable ($6 or 7). I'd go back.

Happy eating--
Pete Tillman
Rimrock

Jan 18, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Mexican in Sedona?

I withdraw my reco for the Casa Bonita in Sedona. We ate there a few weeks ago. My chicken tacos were (barely) acceptable. My wife's entree (which I've forgotten) she pronounced inedible (I had a bit, & thought it OK, mas o menos). My stepson ate their earlier this fall, & reported the worst flour tortillas he's had in "years".

I haven't been back to Elote yet. My wife & her son ate their twice recently. He liked both his meals -- steak & shrimp, ims. My wife had the snapper twice. First time, great. 2nd, just OK. So they have consistency probems, what a surprise!

Sedona isn't a great eating-out town, I'm afraid. But it has other virtues! {GG}

Cheers -- Pete Tillman
Rimrock

Jan 18, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Tucson Mexican food

Seth, you should have a green-chile fry-bread taco at San Xavier-- there's almost always someone cooking, at the stands on the east side of the parking lot. Always good -- sometimes superb. BYOB (or whatever you like to drink -- they do sell sodas. Not to be missed. trust me.

Happy eating--
Pete Tillman

Jan 13, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Orion Bread Co, Cottonwood AZ

This new bakery opened over the summer. We had a loaf of their apricot bread (from New Frontiers) TOD and enjoyed it. We finally passed by when they were open -- they're in Old Town, at 1028 N. Main, 649-1557, about a half-block past Nic's (opposite side; towards Clarkdale). Open 10-3 M-T, 10-5 W-Sat. (I think).

Anyway, we kinda went wild & tried a buncha stuff--prices are very reasonable: 2 scones, 3 or 4 kinds of cookies, 2 kinds of cinnamon rolls, 2 kinds of mini fruit tarts, a nut-mix .... all were good, some very good. [Thinks] -- they all went pretty fast, and I can't think of anything we wouldn't get again. Best breakfast pastries in the Verde Valley, I think, and well worth trying. They serve coffee & tea (not tried) and have a dining area in the shop. Well worth a visit.

Cheers -- Pete Tillman
Rimrock

Jan 13, 2008
Tillman in Southwest

Tucson Mexican food

Mi Nidito, in South Tucson, has (imo) the best Mexican food in Tucson, and among the best in the state (or world ;-) The birria plate is a revelation, but really, you can't go far wrong here. Try to go at off hours, or be ready for a wait. Not to be missed.

Happy eating,
Pete Tillman, ex-Tucson resident

Jan 05, 2008
Tillman in Southwest