Yuma Mexican Food in general with thanks to Canon Fowler
I'd like to post a very quick thanks to Canon Fowler whose wonderful discussion of Sonoran food has helped me understand more the cuisine of the Yuma area and has made possible my posting on the Mexican food of Yuma.
The cuisine of Yuma seems based on Sonoran-but changed in several ways. Yuma is located in the rich farming area of the Colorado River valley and not far from the Imperial valley and the Mexicali region. So while flour tortillas are the local favorites, corn tortillas can be found. Albondigas is very popular, but Caldo de Res-a soup with chunks of beef and large chunks of vegetables like corn on the cob, squash, carrots, potatoes, celery, etc. is even more common. In fact, the local Mexican food seems to feature soups (caldos) from birria and caldo de pollo to menudo and posole. To someone used to Americanized Mexican food, this preference for caldos would seem unusual. Asadas, carne in particular but also pollo, are also local favorites, as are chilies, both verde and colorado. Authentic fast food Mexican (and yes, there is a lot of that here) usually doesn't feature the soups, but focuses on burritos and tacos mostly. Also, a taco here is a soft corn tortilla with meat and salsa or other condiments. If you want a crisp shelled taco, you must order a folded taco, and what other places call taquitos are here called rolled tacos.
See also my posting on specific Mexican restaurants.
Dear e.d.: I am curious about soups being called 'caldos'. I am used to the word 'sopa' for soup, which is, perhaps, no more than an Anglicism from 'soup'. I am used to the word 'caldo' for 'hot' but not for 'soup'. You are, of course, quite correct that delicious Mexican soups go far beyond the dependable albondigas (which I have never made but have eaten in the great Sonoran restaurants of my Tucson youth). Best wishes to all. Clint Fowler
Dear e.d.: Thanks (again) for your very kind words about my small knowledge of Sonoran foods. I grew up thinking they were the ONLY Mexican foods. When my grazing fields became larger (thank God!) I found that there were other good foods in the Mexican kitchen, but Sonoran was the BEST. Not devised for heat (hot chili contests repel me) but for deep, complex flavors, including a touch of chilies when they truly added to the flavors. New Mexican (Chihuahuan) is -- all right and even better sometimes. Texas Mexican can be very tasty, but it mostly falls victim to Texas tastes. In Tucson there is a restaurant which claims to serve the dishes of Mexico City, DF, itself. It is a good place to eat, but it has not the deep satisfaction of the rural foods of Sonora. Your own experience in Yuma County has been wider than mine which began 70 years ago or more. However, I must claim the advantage of not having eaten in tourist eateries. So when I see no Papago Indians (or Pimas or Yumas) in a restaurant, I am not encouraged. Thanks again. I shall pay closer attention to Chowhound again. Yours for full corn CAKES instead of corn tortillas (which must be de harina) Canon Fowler