Tuesday, May 13 (Tucson)
Raging Sage Cafe--Had GOOD Americanos at the Raging Sage on Campbell--our first good coffees on the trip. Must say I noticed that the coffee culture in the Southwest is not as prominent as the coffee culture in the Pacific Northwest where my wife and I live.
Lunch--Cafe Poca Cosa
Wife and I had a really great lunch here. The service was friendly, efficient, and informative. I chose the Plato Poca Cosa so that I could sample several menu items. Had an absolutely HUGE plate of food. The carne asada in green chile was tender, moist, and flavourful without being overbearingly spicy. There was also an extremely tasty corn dish covered with a chile cream sauce; the server said it was like a tamale without the wrapper. The only mediocre dish on the plate was cod and mussels cooked with white wine and green onions, in foil. The cod was a touch overcooked for my taste. The mussels were good, though. The flavour of the fish was a little bland.
Lornna had a chicken breast in a chile cream sauce. It was delicious and plentiful. We also enjoyed the house margaritas; they were not quite as good as the margaritas at El Charro, in my opinion, but far better than the trashy mix margaritas we get north of the border.
Wednesday, May 14. Silver City
We drove into town from our casita outside of Gila, NM.
A hearty, well-priced lunch. I had a southwest chicken and green chile sandwich with avocado, "Boar's Head'" bacon, ripe tomato, and a green side salad with a simple vinaigrette. Lornna had a BLT with Boar's Head bacon. She also had a house-made cream of tomato soup, which was VERY good as far as tomato soup goes. Both sandwiches were made with bread from Diane's bakery; extremely fresh, moist, and with a chewy crust.
We could not resist dessert, having eyed the multi-layered cakes while waiting for our table. We went for the 4-layer chocolate cake. It had a chocolate ganache frosting studded with toasted almonds and a chocolate buttercream frosting between the cake layers. It was maybe just a touch drier than I anticipated, but I have grown accustomed to flour-less chocolate cakes and "molten" chocolate cakes, and this was a different style of cake. It was very good, but I wish I had also tried the cake with vanilla buttercream and fresh fruit topping (REAL fresh fruit, NOT gross jamm-y fruit topping mixed with gelatin and sugar).
Silver City has only 10,000 inhabitants and is fortunate to have a bakery/restaurant the calibre of Diane's.
Dinner: We made our own dinner back at the casita. We found a surprising array of quality ingredients in Silver City at the food co-op and at a specialty store called "the Curious Kumquat." Dinner was a pasta: bucatini tossed with sauteed spanish chorizo, zucchini, portabellos and peppers, toasted pinenuts, kalamata olives, and grated grano padano. We also had a caesar salad. We enjoyed Diane's olive sourdough bread with the dinner.
Thursday, May 14:
We ate toasted Diane's sourdough olive bread with butter for breakfast, and snacked on fruit and nuts throughout the day. (We also lunched on leftover pasta from the night before).
Dinner: Bone-in ribeyes, about 14-16 oz each, USDA choice grade, purchased at Albertson's in Silver City. These steaks were grilled rare/medium rare over charcoal. We served them with collards sauteed in olive oil and garlic. While I have had better quality steaks, we did the best we could while shopping in a small town. Lornna supervised the steaks and nailed the done-ness; they had a good char-crust and a juicy, pink centre.
I had not eaten a steak grilled over charcoal in a LONG time. We own a gas grill. I found the charcoal imparted quite an opinionated taste in the meat. I am not sure I enjoyed the flavour and am glad I own a gas grill. However, we enjoyed the dinner and were extremely full afterwards!
Over and out for now. Will provide further trip reports on Santa Fe, Taos, Flagstaff, and Phoenix when I have time.