Category Archives: arizona

Kon Tiki, Tucson

When we were in Tucson I dragged (I am not exaggerating) my husband and parents to Kon Tiki, an untouched 1963 tiki bar. We weren’t even in the mood for a drink, and man were those drinks strong! But I wanted to bask in the Polynesian surroundings and leave with a tiki mug. This one was especially cute.

Mai Tai
Photo by Jeremy May

Its current content, also a perfect Arizona souvenir, is equally likely to put some hair – ahem, spines – on your chest.

Kon Tiki Cactus


Sonoran Hot Dogs in Tucson

I’ve been to Tucson, Arizona probably twenty times, but only had my first Sonoran hot dog this year. And then I had another.

The Sonoran style hot dog is wrapped in bacon, placed in a soft and sweet Mexican bolillo roll, and topped with chopped tomatoes, onions, pinto beans, shredded cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and sometimes jalapeno sauce.  The roll is not cut all the way to the ends, and the hot dog is small enough to fit entirely inside, making a perfect container for the numerous toppings.

Our first was from El Guero Canelo, which started out in 1993 as a hot dog cart. Their building reminded us of an airplane hangar – spacious, lots of metal, very clean. We loved the fixings buffet, which featured giant grilled spring onions and grilled hot peppers, jalapenos maybe, that had our mouths on fire.

Sonoran Hot Dogs
Photo by Jeremy May

Our second was from BK Carne Asada & Hot Dogs. It was a nice day so we took advantage of their outdoor seating.  Our order came with grilled peppers on the side. They also had a fixings bar which had an interesting roasted pepper salsa.

Sonoran Hot Dogs
Photo by Jeremy May

We washed down each of these hot dogs with horchata, which J cleverly noted is the Arizona equivalent of the classic Rhode Island gaggers / coffee milk combination.

Which was better? It was a close call! I very slightly favored the BK dog because the bun was sweeter and softer, and the dog was grilled perfectly – maybe it’s the mesquite they use. But I preferred the fixings and horchata at El Guero Canelo, and my dining companions preferred their hot dog. I recommend trying both and deciding for yourself.

El Tovar at the Grand Canyon

We started our Arizona trip with an excursion to the Grand Canyon. Originally we were going to visit for an evening and morning, but a flight cancellation meant we only had the morning to see the park.

So imagine our disappointment when we woke up, walked to the rim, and saw this – as captured by my phone:

What the Grand Canyon looked like

I especially felt bad for Jeremy, who hadn’t been before (I’d been about 20 years ago).

We made the best of the situation and had a leisurely breakfast at the El Tovar Hotel. I definitely recommend a breakfast there – the menu is great and surprisingly affordable for the quality. Apparently if you go on a clear day, they have quite a view. Given the conditions, we warmed up by the fireplace instead of requesting a window seat.

Sonoran Style Eggs

Jeremy had the Sonoran Style Eggs, described on the menu as “Served in a Tortilla bowl with Two Eggs any style, Chorizo, Natural Chicken, Black Beans, Roasted Peppers, Jack Cheese, Ranchero Sauce, Salsa, Sour Cream, Breakfast Potatoes and Flour Tortilla.” I’m glad it was big enough to steal a few bites for myself. I had the Wild Mushroom, Fresh Spinach and Smoked Gouda omelet, which was also delicious. The staff was friendly and super attentive – I don’t think I’ve ever had my coffee refilled so many times in one breakfast.

When we finished breakfast, the clouds had started to clear, leaving us with a dramatic snowy view.

Grand Canyon