Mexican food Archives

Last week, Pancho was taken from Chino Bandido.   It wasn’t a robbery – the 7,500-pound black granite bear statue was moved from the legendary Chinese-Mexican-Jamaican fusion eatery’s original location at 19th Avenue and Greenway Road to its new home at Bell Road and Third Avenue. After more than three decades in the same building, one of the Valley’s most beloved holes-in-the-wall is relocating.  “After 31 years, I knew it was time for a change,” says Eve Lee Collins, who opened Chino Bandido in 1991 with her husband, Frank...

J’Asada Tacos | Photo by Madison Rutherford   As a local reporter, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with a slew of small business owners who have palpable passion and pride for their craft. It’s a pretty gratifying gig, one that I don’t take for granted. And when I see that mirrored in Valley restaurants, retail spaces and other institutions, it reminds me why I love what I do. One such inspiring instance is husband-and-wife...

Great news for Downtown dwellers and the avant-garde peeps who appreciate Grand Avenue for its quirky coolness. Rene Andrade, the Nogales-born chef who garnered a following at Ghost Ranch, is opening his own Grand Avenue restaurant today in the tiny sunlit space that most recently housed Silvana Salcido Esparza’s Barrio Café Gran Reserva – and years before that, the historical Bragg’s Pie Factory and Bragg’s Pie Factory Diner. Andrade is calling his pie wedge-shaped place Bacanora, name-checking the little-known and underrated mezcal produced...

Mission Possible tacos. Photo by Dana Brown.

“Hope begins with a meal” is the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s slogan for those in rehabilitation and recovery. At first, the motivational phrase referred to Phoenix Rescue Mission’s soup kitchens, but now, with the opening of the Mission Possible Café, it takes on a whole new meaning.

Instead of only doling out meals to those in need, the Rescue Mission is providing something, though less urgent, perhaps more useful over time: the opportunity to work in a brand-new restaurant and provide meals for hungry customers.

If you’ve been searching for a brunch dish to “wow” your guests, Z’Tejas Executive Chef James Blanton offers up a recipe that fits the bill. His Southwestern breakfast bake is based on a classic bread pudding, but on the savory side, Blanton says. For the home cook, the recipe is ideal because you can add or delete whichever ingredients you like or don’t like, he says. “It really becomes a vehicle for you to be creative.” That only applies to the bread, meats and vegetables, however. The custard needs to be made as written (with the proper egg and heavy cream ratio) in order to thicken properly.

If you’re thinking about serving tamales at your holiday gathering, there are plenty of places around town you can rustle up a dozen or two, including Barrio Queen. But if you’d like to try making them yourself, Barrio Queen’s executive chef Julio Mata says they aren’t that hard to make. “It’s just a little time consuming,” he says.

Mata shares Barrio Queen’s recipe with a couple of suggestions: 1. Make the sauce first so you can mix it with the chicken after it’s cooked. 2. Make sure the masa is smooth, using an electric mixer or mix by hand. 3. It’s better to have a couple of people to help assemble the tamales because it goes faster. 4. You can use Crisco if you’re lard averse and will get the same results.

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