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moving to Yuma... where to eat?

I've done a search on here for ideas on where to eat (thanks a mill for all your posts, Ed!) but I'm wondering if there just aren't any worthwhile other-than-Mexican restaurants there? I saw the blurbs about Yummy Yummy and Hwy 95; where else can we go? We love to eat, and we love variety.

Where's the best pizza in town? (I lived in NYC for several years, so my standards are pretty high as far as crunchy-melty crust, acidity of sauce, etc. Plus husband makes TDF pizza at home, so really this is for when we're being lazy) Deli sandwiches? Italian? Mediterranean? Indian?

Are there Farmer's Markets? CSAs? What's the best-quality market in town for Hispanic foods like plantains and fresh fruit (soursop, mangos, mammon)?

I read on another board that the best Mexican bakeries are in Somerton, is that true? I'm looking for the best Tres Leches cake for my son's birthday in July. And where do I find the best fresh baked bread from scratch? (not the par-baked stuff)

Finally, I'm new to the board so not sure if this belongs on here or a different forum on the site (?) but if anyone can recommend a great route for the drive between Sacramento and Yuma, with suggestions on places to stop for chow, of course, that would be awesome. We're moving ourselves (so, we're driving a moving truck) sometime the last days of May and it'll be my eats-anything husband, our somewhat picky 4yo, and I.

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    1. I'm sorry you are a foodie moving to yuma...haha I'm from there and there are not too many great restaurants. As for pizza my favorite growing up is Ronnies pizza its new york style and the cheesesteaks are good too. No farmers markets haha it gets to hot there for that! Other wise the only decent mexican that isn't a taco stand would have to be Mi Rancho.

      1. I am not ignoring your requests. Yuma really has some great things. I enjoy living here (really). I'm just very busy at present, so it will take me a little time to put together an overall foodie's guide to town. I will post it here.

        ed

        5 Replies
        1. re: Ed Dibble

          yaay! Thanks Ed, I was hoping you weren't on vacation. :-) I've read your Yuma posts on Kirk's blog as well, and we're definitely going to try out that Pupuseria once I'm there. We love Mexican food, for sure, I just want to know what else we can eat in Yuma when we're not cooking.

          Oh, and husband tried out Juanita's Taco Truck for dinner last night (based on the recs from this board & mmm-yoso) and was super impressed with how good it was. His coworkers had insisted on taking him to Chretin's the other night and he said it was just ok, he was bummed they wouldn't try any of the places he had on the list I'd given him, LOL.

          Anyone else with opinions, recs? AlFerris where are you? clamb? all you other locals/frequent visitors: Please give me something to look forward to so I don't cry every time I go to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods over the next few weeks... ;-) I love Portland, but I'm definitely psyching myself to live in Yuma and enjoy it!!!

          1. re: micapu

            My husband and I just recently moved to Yuma from Richmond last month. So far we really like it. We haven't been out to eat much yet as I enjoy cooking at home. I was shocked last weekend however when I went to the Fry's nearby and found they don't regularly carry fresh tuna steaks. This was a bit of a shock for me, even when I lived in Denver I could reliably get tuna and it's far more landlocked than AZ. Now I'm wondering if any of the sushi places will be any good...

            1. re: krystin

              Albertson's is best in town for fish (particularly the B & 24th location).

              Most sushi offerings in town should be avoided unless you like the really mediocre stuff. Ah So, a Korean run "Japanese" chain does have sushi combos that aren't poisonous, but stick to the combos. Some of their nigiri options are truly nasty.

              I'll try to post more when I get time.

              ed

            2. re: micapu

              Wow, my first Yuma Chow shout out. ;-)

              Sorry, I've been chasing Ed's recommendations in Monterey, CA. Thanks again, Ed.

              I am going to slightly disagree with Ed, however, on Ah So Sushi and Steak. It's not very promising in concept--I mean, it's at the mall in the food court. However, at the recommendation of Johnny Rodriguez of Apparel by Johnny ("the" place to rent a tux in Yuma), my business partner and I stopped in late one night, spoke with the manager, and asked the chef to go "freestyle" on a sushi/sashimi combo platter. It was very creative and exceptionally fresh. Could have been a fluke, but we enjoyed it.

              There is a little Asian market in the Foothills--I think it's on Foothills Blvd, and if not, it's off of Fortuna. I'm sorry I can't remember the name of it, but it's in a little strip mall. I was not expecting much, but again was surprised when I visited at their selection. It's not a Ranch 99 by any stretch, but it had a decent selection of dumpling wraps and pretty good variety in the frozen foods. They also have pork sung, which is comfort food for me--the latest Saveur 100 called pork sung "pork cotton candy" which is pretty accurate. That stuff on top of a hot bowl of rice and I'm a happy camper.

              I don't know if they have much left, but when I was in Yuma at the beginning of April, Ciao Bella was closing out the last of the Anthony's Deli stock. We got a smoking deal on cheese, and almost all the pantry items were 50% off. They had them in the entryway at Ciao.

              I really wasn't all that impressed with River City Grill until I ate there at night on the patio. Now, by the time you move there, it probably won't be eat outside weather, but somehow the patio made the food taste better.

              Nature's Express is one of those places that would work really well in northern California, but instead, it's in Yuma. Even the owner said to me, "Well, if I can make this work in Yuma, I can make it work anywhere." Nature's Express is a vegan, counter service place in a converted Taco Bell building on 4th Ave. I tried the "essential greens," which were sauteed kale, and the "chicken" peanut wrap, which is made with a plant-based "chicken." It was remarkably flavorful. Their website is http://www.natures-express.com/ if you want to check it out.

              I'm due back in Yuma at the end of the month, so I'll let you know if I come across anything else. I'm looking forward to Ed's Yuma foodie post!

              1. re: AlFerris

                Good to hear from you again. I agree about Nature's Express. Remarkably good. The Southwest burger with guac and salsa and jalapenos on a good veggie burger is my favorite.

                The Asian Market is L & P on Fortuna and is very good. I just hope it survives.

                Reports are that River City Grill (and perhaps Ciao Bella) are getting better again now that the Anthony's Deli fiasco is history. But I haven't eaten at either in over a year. Carla Renee's has a simpler menu of mostly grilled items, but nice atmosphere, and is another fine dining option. I particularly like it at lunch. Julieanna's, even with its high wine mark-ups, strikes me as the best/most reliable fine dining in Yuma. Had a very nice salmon dish there last week, which I enjoyed a lot even though the Clean Slate Riesling (retail $11) cost me $31 there.

                As to Ah So, I am very picky about sushi. Certainly theirs is the best in town, but on one occasion I was served the foulest piece of fish that I have encountered in years. Perhaps letting the chef choose items is the way to go there (or just the combos which are adequate). My other issue with the place had to do with extraordinarily poor service on one occasion that took 20 minutes of haggling to resolve. Not that service issues don't occur at other Yuma places, but this was especially poorly handled. Your results may differ. : - )

                ed

          2. oh, new development is that we signed a lease on a house in the Foothills, it'd be nice to know of places to eat around there so we don't always have to go all the way into town.

            7 Replies
            1. re: micapu

              Foothills is generally dreary for food. Too many snowbirds, too seasonal.

              But here's the best to my knowledge:

              Mexican: Coyote on S Frontage is OK at some things. Tacos Durango truck on Foothills is allegedly very good.

              Kodiak Fish & Chips by Fry's is supposed to be good, and De Boyz, a small local chain also in that shopping center, is adequate pizza-cheap Italian.

              Bernardo's, which hides in the back of a stripmall on Foothills, has good pizza and good cheesesteaks (though not of Philly quality). Ham and tuna sub actually tasty.

              The chicken/rib place on Frontage used to be OK, but is under new ownership.

              Rob's Grill can do good food.

              Best food resource out there is L & P Asian Market in a stripmall on Fortuna. Chinese and other Asian veggies and groceries.

              But for most restaurant eating, you'll need to drive into town.

              ed

              1. re: Ed Dibble

                does Ah So do bulgogi well? I don't like kimchee (I know, shoot me!), so not interested in that but there is definitely other Korean fare I love... I had a Korean roommate at NYU, and she used to make this noodle soup (somen in a makeshift egg-drop soup w/ a bunch of extra fixins), I think it was called something like kook-soo and I called it Zombie soup because after I'd had it the first time I always craved it -- like 24/7 obsessed over it! If I find another place that makes the stuff I'll be in heaven, since I lost the recipe for the special sauce that makes the soup addictive. And I wouldn't mind some good bulgogi too...

                Ed, I know you're busy... but I'm still waiting for the Summer of 2008 Yuma Foodie's Review you promised. ;-) I'll keep checking, and I won't hit town for another three weeks so there's time, LOL. Thanks for the quick recs on the Foothills area, that'll help my husband make do until I get there. We'll go into town for the right food, heck, I'll even go to Somerton or San Luis for excellent Mexican bread and Tres Leches cake if I have to. I just don't want to go that far then dig in and find out that what I've gotten is mediocre.

                1. re: micapu

                  In a week, I will be able to give more attention to your queries. Ah So is more like a cut-rate beni-hana. I don't recall Korean dishes on the menu.

                  In the same huge mall (the only real one in town) there is a Hawaiian bbq that is OK. They might have bulgogi, and they do have other good grilled marinated meats.

                  But the thing to remember about Yuma is that it's only 2 1/2 hours to San Diego (well maybe 3 from Foothills). And SD has wonderful Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and sushi. So I have eaten at Ah So 3 times and have no plans to return (I usually call the place "So So" or after my one nigiri sushi experiment, "Ah Ful"). Yuma is also not that far from Phoenix (though having lived in SD, I almost always head toward the beach for escape).

                  ed

                2. re: Ed Dibble

                  Did a bit of a Foothills recon yesterday (Tuesday) around noon. Tacos Durango is open only until noon in the summer, and is closed on Tuesday (bad luck on my part). But the selection of tacos and prices look good.

                  Kodiak Seafood Co was closed. No sign explaining why. Maybe it's just on Tuesdays, maybe closed for the season.

                  I ended up at Dos Centavos - on the back side of the western edge of the central strip at the Fry's shopping center at Fortuna and the freeway. It used to have some very gringofied Mexican food, but it has had a new owner for a few months and it was very busy, which considering the terrrible location means that it is proabably worth visiting.

                  1. re: Ed Dibble

                    well, hubby tried to get us some Tacos Durango grub for lunch today but it was closed when he got there. So no luck on that front, though he did come home with some fish 'n chips from Kodiak Seafood. !!!

                    The Alaskan Cod was battered and fried to perfection: the fish was tender and moist, the batter crunchy but melt-in-your mouth and not greasy, doughy or too thick. The fries were standard pre-frozen stuff but fried to perfection as well, and with enough salt, pepper and malt vinegar I wasn't complaining. The tartar sauce was unremarkable and mostly mayonaisse-ish, but I dressed my HUNKS of fish with the big wedges of lemon they'd provided, so who cares? Next time I'll get the sweet potato fries (yum!!!) and one of their grilled fish selections. Overall, I'm impressed since the last time I had battered fish this good was on the Oregon Coast.

                    Kodiak Seafood Company
                    Mon - Fri 12pm to 7pm / Saturday 12pm - 6pm
                    Foothill Fry's Shopping Center - 11274 S Fortuna Rd. Suite C-1
                    928-345-0433
                    (this info off the menu hubby brought home, I figure if people keep going there the place will stay open, and I'm selfish like that... this place is just a couple of miles from our house!!!)

                    And we saw that Mariscos Mar Azul review on mmm-yoso, Ed. Hubby says he's seen the place packed every time he's been in the area, so I look forward to trying it. Tho I'm not a fan of seafood that's cooked prior to being made into seviche, call me old-fashioned. ;-)

                    I can't wait to try that

                    1. re: micapu

                      Thanks for the feedback and info. All the reports on Kodiak that I've heard have been positive. Truth be told, I don't go out to Foothills much to eat in restaurants, so it's nice to have someone on the boards with first-hand experience of the places out there.

                      The shrimp is the only thing at Mar Azul that can be either marinated raw (aguachile) or cooked (shrimp ceviche). The fish ceviche is not cooked, but like most pescado ceviche in town it has a lot of onion and cuke in it - and is not up to my standards for really good ceviche.

                      Within the next couple of days, I will post about Asian restaurants in town.

                      Welcome to Yuma.

                      1. re: micapu

                        Finally made it to Kodiak Seafood. The fish (but not the chips) was remarkably good. Fries very mediocre.

                        But the sweet potato fries are outstanding!!

                        They also have a nice selection of grilled fish dishes, none of which I've tried yet. They also encourage folks to bring their own beer or wine to have with dinner. So I will be back.

                3. I just thought of something else I need to find: the best chicken/turkey mole... OMGosh, I made myself so hungry today explaining to MIL what it is, how it's made and how delicious it is! I *must* take her somewhere that makes it so good you want to lick the plate and then yourself after you eat it... is there such a mole to be found in Yuma?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: micapu

                    Sorry to say that mole is not common here. I've never had a really good one in a restaurant and the best that I've had was at a restaurant that no longer has the same chef/ownership.

                    Yuma Mexican food (not counting the old-school places that reflect the traditional Mexican American cuisine of Yuma) is most influenced by the cuisines of Northwest Mexico (Sonora, Baja, Sinaloa, Jalisco, & Nayarit), so mole is not a huge part of the culinary tradition here. Things like red chile, green chile, posole, menudo, and other caldos are far more common.

                    And truth be told, I have had enough mediocre moles around here that I am less inclined to try mole when it is on a menu. Hopefully you will find some good ones and let me know.

                    1. re: Ed Dibble

                      ok, I can sign up for that... return the favor for all the great places you've sampled & recommended ;-)