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Jan 22, 2011 06:10 PM

Tucson AZ -- Mexican Food

I will be spending about 5 days in Tuscan at a training and an looking for some real Mexican restaurants (translation - no cheddar cheese on the premises). I will be staying in the University area, but after living 20+ years in Texas and now living in CT., I am willing to walk 1mile+/-, rent a taxi and for something special rent a car and drive!!

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  1. First off: search the board. The specialty of Tucson *is* Mexican food, you can't swing a cat without hitting a Mexican restaurant.

    Second: Don't fear shredded yellow cheese! The primary style of Mexican food in Tucson is Sonoran. Flour tortillas (made with lard) and yellow cheese are staple ingredients.

    Those said, in a nutshell: Cafe Poca Cosa downtown is fantastic, and has no yellow cheese. Go for lunch.

    Cafe Poca Cosa
    110 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ 85701

    1 Reply
    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

      Good advice. People's tastes vary wildly these days when it comes to Mexican food. Some of t he Sonoran places have a tendency to literally bury a dish with yellow cheese which is way too much of a muchness, but a tendency to the way folks like it here. I like the quesos blancos in their many disguises, but JK is right- don't fear the cheeses! (vague 1970s Wishbone Ash reference)

    2. 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

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

      1. I've never understood the love of Cafe Poca Cosa - I think it is truly boring. Almost everything they serve comes out looking and tasting like a salad - a not particularly good salad at that.

        My three favorite places for Mexican food in Tucson are:

        Poco & Mom's - 1060 S. Kolb - New Mexico style, great breakfasts, great green chile, very worthwhile.

        Teresa's Mosaic Cafe - 2455 N. Silverbell - also great breakfast, good everything else, nice comfortable place - wonderful fresh made flour tortillas.

        El Indio - 3355 S. 6th - a funky cafe on the other side of Interstate 10 - fantastic chile verde or chile colorado.

        Teresa's Mosaic Cafe
        2456 N Silver Mosaic Dr, Tucson, AZ 85745

        Poco & Mom's Restaurant
        1060 S Kolb Rd, Tucson, AZ 85710

        4 Replies
        1. re: estone888

          I have wanted to love poco & mom's and I tend to find them lacking in the finesse category. Too much cheese, too much sauce, otherwise really good food.
          teresa's- I've only eaten there A couple of times but it's always ben spectacularly good solid Sonoran food
          Haven't been to the Poca cosa in many years, but boy howdy was it ever good- very different from what we expect here in Tucson, but wonderful. .

          1. re: EWSflash

            I was in Tucson for the month of March, was down on So. 4th and found the old Crossroads has a lunch buffet, really good! Outrageously good chicken mole, AYCE.

            1. re: mrbigshotno.1

              I can't believe i've never eaten at the Crossroads. What else do they have? They used to be big into mariscos, or at least camarones if I remember right

              1. re: EWSflash

                Yep seafood and regular Sonoran fare, cozy old time feel to the place.

        2. The best Sonoran in Tucson comes from the trucks, El Nene and Angela's are my favorites. I like Parilla Suiza which you may like because they do in fact avoid the cheese and sauce routine.

          1. Alfonso's Carnitas Jalisco is excellent, just a block or two west of Crossroads, which also has excellent food. Xochimilco right down the street from Crossroads is also good, but haven't been down that way in a while and don't know if they are still there.