Saturday, April 2, 2011

Road Food - the good and the (really) bad

Back from New Mexico and Arizona. What a super time I had.

Left Coast Crime in Santa Fe was wonderful. A great conference and very well organized. Far as I could see, there wasn't a single mis-step.

The conference was in the historic La Fonda Hotel, which was quite different than the usual big modern hotel these things are in. It was a challenge finding some of the rooms and getting around was occasionally difficult for those with mobility impairments.

I will never recommend serving a buffet meal to 400 people! But what a great New Mexican meal it was.

As well as the fun of the conference, the chance to catch up with Barbara Peters and Rob Rosenwald and the Poisoned Pen authors in attendance, the spectacular scenery and architecture – there was the food. Yum, yum.

The burritos at the hotel restaurant were wonderful, the lunch New Mexican buffet great, shrimp dinner at the Guadalupe Café spectacular, and enchiladas at the Shed where I lunched with my agent. Fabulous. I am running out of adjectives. And me, a writer.

Then it was on to Phoenix and Scottsdale for visits to the Poisoned Pen and Velma Teague library. We decided to drive from Santa Fe to see the scenery, which was well worth seeing.

We stayed overnight in Holbrook, Arizona, self-described as “the town too tough for women and churches.” All I can say is that it must have been the food that drove any self-respecting woman out. We ‘dined’ at a steakhouse on pork ribs a lot tougher than that town, drenched in bottled sauce, and served with a corn on the cob that was squishy to the touch. What the corn was to the taste I did not bother to find out. After one of the most insipid ‘free hot breakfasts’ I have ever had the misfortune to try, we fled Holbrook. (Barbara Peters warned me not to stop there – in that, as in everything else, I should have listened.)

Things took a turn for the better when we arrived in Scottsdale and settled in at the beautiful Hotel Valley Ho. Zu Zu’s, the hotel restaurant, is very good although doesn’t serve Mexican or South Western food.

We had dinner one night with Donis at Frank and Lupe’s which was great (I had the Chicken Mole Enchiladas) and after our appearance at the Poisoned Pen bookstore we went to the Mission. The guacamole prepared at the table was to-die-for (mixed with pumpkin seeds – that I am definitely going to try) and I had the posole soup.

In my limited experience, I felt that the New Mexican food we had in New Mexico was pretty much the same as we get in Canada at a “Mexican” restaurant. I like my food moderately spicy and didn’t come across anything that was too hot for me. In Phoenix, however, the food was different. The mole in the enchiladas at Frank and Lupe’s added a real kick of flavour and the salsa served at the Heard Museum (in the picture) was particularly nice although I have no idea what was in it. I had a glass of pricky pear iced tea at the Botanical Gardens and just loved it. (Confession time - I don't much like iced tea, but this was much more like lemonaide). The other picture is of my mother at the botanical gardens.


Donis Casey said...

What gorgeous pictures! Now I have to make a trip to the Heard.

B's Mom said...

Guacamole with pumpkin seeds? Interesting....

Margo Kelly said...

I do love chips, salsa, and gaucamole. YUM.