Thursday, April 21, 2016

Favorite Haunts in Yuma, Arizona

Seeing Ed in Yuma (a.k.a. Ed Dibble) yesterday reminded me that I have not posted about Yuma in a long time. My business partner, Jim Anderson, and I have been traveling to Yuma for over ten years, and we definitely have places that we must visit when we are in town. So here's the list!

Coconut Curry Shrimp at River City Grill
River City Grill
600 W 3rd St Yuma, AZ

One of the nicest restaurants in Yuma, and owner Nan Bain is a huge supporter of public radio, particularly our station, KAWC. We've been eating here since our first visit to Yuma and have really eaten everything on the menu. My favorites are the roasted red pepper and tomato bisque, the coconut curry shrimp, the tequila snapper, and the pistachio crusted salmon or chicken. They are also a great option if you need vegan or gluten free options.

Previous post for River City Grill here.

Tacos Mi Rancho (aka Tacos Mi Ranchito)
188 South 4th Avenue Yuma, AZ
Tacos at Tacos Mi Rancho

I love this place. I have difficulty eating tacos anywhere else. I would love to comment on the whole menu, but to be honest, I always order a Carnitas taco on corn tortillas and then one or two other a la carte items. I've had pretty much every taco on the menu, and they are all good, and inexpensive. I've also had the chile relleno, which is okay, but I prefer ones at other restaurants. I've also had their seafood cocktail, which is fine, but I prefer the ones at Juanita's food truck. It's really just about tacos, beer, chips and salsa for me here, and I love them for it. It's not a trip to Yuma for me without a stop to see the ladies at Tacos Mi Rancho!

Previous post on Tacos Mi Rancho here.

CLOSED: Gone but not forgotten: Jack and Rosie's Steakhouse
1551 W 5th St, YumaAZ 85364

This is old school. Do NOT go here for a fancy steakhouse, or for high end atmosphere. Come here for huge traditional cocktails (nothing in a blender, please), a big steak, and a 1960's small town supper club vibe. I usually get a very large manhattan (up, in a large martini glass), and a ribeye medium rare or the fried chicken livers. Soup of the day, a piece of garlic bread and a simple iceberg salad are included. The house dressing is a french blue cheese dressing; you can get other dressings, but why? I realized as I wrote this that I don't have any decent photos from Jack and Rosie's, because it's dark and the food is pretty simply plated. Good excuse for a return visit next time, not that I need one. There are some reviewers on Yelp that clearly do not appreciate the vibe of this place--just pop more money in the jukebox and ignore the haters while you eat your perfect steak.

Tacos y Mariscos Juanita’s
SW Corner of S Avenue A & W 8th St Yuma, AZ 85364
Juanita's Campechana

Juanita's has the very best seafood cocktail in Yuma. Hands down, end of conversation. I love the campechana, which is the "everything" seafood cocktail, including shrimp, scallops, oysters, octopus and squid, and sometimes conch, depending on the day. The broth that the seafood rests in is the most delicious part. Add a little hot sauce, and it's a perfect meal on a sunny, but not too hot, day. Juanita's is a semi-permanent taco truck--it has a sign, outdoor seating, and rest rooms, but the truck drives home at the end of the day. It's also only open during daylight hours, because there's no outside lighting, and hours vary during the summer months. It's helpful if you know a teeny bit of Spanish, although on the weekends, the young man who typically is there expediting orders and busing tables can help with translation if needed. Bring cash.

Cheese crisp at Los Manjares de Pepe II
Los Manjares de Pepe II (Foothills Location)
11274 S Fortuna Rd, YumaAZ 85367

I used to go to the original location on 8th Street every trip for the Pepe Special, a tomatillo stewed pork. I still love the Pepe Special, but now I get it at their Foothills location, because it's 1) closer to the station, and 2) a little better, I think. Located at the very end of a strip mall, around the corner from the main stretch of the mall, this tiny restaurant produces excellent Mexican food. I am a big fan of the carnitas dinner as well as the cheese crisp, which I think is the best in Yuma.

Those were the old standby's. Now for some newcomers to our list:

The Patio at Desert Hills Golf Course
1245 W Desert Hills Dr, YumaAZ 85365

A new iteration of the restaurant at the Desert Hills Municipal Golf Course, this time the food is good! (I know I have photos somewhere, but I can't find them.) The jalapeno margarita is incredible, and favorite starters are the chicharron, the bacon wrapped shrimp and the stuffed medjool dates. I haven't eaten an entree here yet, because Jim and I usually get a collection of apps!

Ed's post is much more detailed than mine.

Sooo Cali Dog from the Dog Haus
Dog Haus
1651 S 4th Ave, YumaAZ 85364

The only chain on my list, and a newcomer to Yuma. Came here at the suggestion of a couple people at work, including Travis, whom we trust has good taste. We were pleasantly surprised by the variety of sausages available and the creative toppings. The Sooo Cali dog has arugula, spicy basil aioli, crispy onions, avocado, and tomato, and was delicious, if not tidy. Also, they have tater tots, which make almost everything better, and bacon, which definitely makes everything better.

By the way, check out Ed's blog. He's my go-to source for new places in Yuma.

This post first appeared on Alice's Restaurants blog.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Favorite Places in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Pork Rinds at Sweet Potatoes
Pork Rinds at Sweet Potatoes
My pal, Nick, asked me for recommendations today for Winston-Salem, knowing that I was just there for work. Since it's top of mind, here are my favorites!

Sweet Potatoes
529 North Trade Street
Winston-Salem, NC
Very well executed southern comfort food. Owners Stephanie Tyson and Vivian Joiner pour their hearts into this place, and the food reflects their passion. The fried pork rinds are made fresh to order, so they are still crackling when they are delivered to the table. My favorites are the fried chicken, smothered ANYTHING, the stuffed trout, and the sides plate--three sides of your choice.

630 S. Stratford Rd
Milner's Fried Chicken
Winston-Salem, NC
One of the nicer places in Winston-Salem. Beautiful small plates if you want to dine on a variety of appetizers; I also love their fried chicken.

638 West Fourth St.
Winston-Salem, NC
Awesome fried pickles, extremely generous sampler pours, and whiskey flights!

575 West 5th Street
Winston-Salem, NC
The owner/pitmaster, Mark Little, plays a mean harmonica and knows how to smoke meat. Love the brisket here.
Foothills Sampler Flight (photo by Jim Anderson)

310 West Fourth Street
Winston-Salem, NC
Beautifully delicious pastries. And owner Cary Clifford is one of the nicest people in Winston-Salem. Check out their Instagram feed to drool.