TWIN PICANTES

A couple of weeks ago, I was backtracking some of my old Judas Priest albums just for the hell of it, and, sure enough, I found a message. When I played "Pain and Pleasure" from Screaming for Vengeance in reverse, the lyrics, "The way you're treating me, I feel I'll have ta go/I've heard the rumours and it seems they're comin true" sounded a lot like: "T-t-try the f-f-ood in G-glo-obe/it's rilly p-pretty g-g-good"!

The dolphinlike voice delivering this message was high and kind of spooky, but very emphatic. Obviously, whoever implanted this message meant it.

Of course, even before I pulled my old albums off the shelf I'll admit I'd been thinking a lot about making a trip to the Globe-Miami area. Lately, it seems not a day passes when someone doesn't recommend the Mexican food up there. First some friends of mine. Then a few other people. Finally, the president of New Times corners me for my opinion on enchiladas Miami-style. But it was that fateful late-night listen to Judas Priest that clinched it. After giving an ear to Rob Halford and his pals for a half-dozen spins or so, I knew it was time to head for the hills. Something inside my head chanted, "Go for it, go for it."

Before I make the big drive, pragmatist that I am, I opt to check out mountain Mexican food closer to home. The same friends who raved about Globe and Miami turned me on to Casa Reynoso. This Tempe restaurant claims to cook with family recipes from Globe-Miami. It's been around a while, but somehow I never managed to stop in during the three years I resided in College Town.

I'm very sorry I missed out.
Casa Reynoso is an attractive, old-style Mexican restaurant filled with artifacts like grinding stones, copper and earthenware pots and authentic Spanish-style saddles. White archways and black grillwork give it a hacienda look. And the food is kind of different, but just how, I'm still struggling to put into words. Give me a minute.

Our waitress tells us the Gollo burro is named after a certain cousin Gregory from the Globe area whose name in Spanish is "Gollo." Constructed with whole pintos, green chili, cheese and onions wrapped in a buttered flour tortilla, this eponymous burro was first assembled by Gollo himself. I say doff your baseball cap if you run into him up there. This burro is pure genius. In fact, I like almost everything sampled during my trial run at Casa Reynoso: the smoky-flavored refrieds, the subtly coated chile relleno, the ample green chili enchilada. The only item I'm less than satisfied with is the red beef tamale, which is purely a matter of taste. Antonio and Roberta Reynoso make their tamales fluffy; I prefer them dense.

By the time the check comes, I'm both hooked and tantalized. I must know more. I must know what makes Globe-Miami Mexican food different. Pretty soon I find myself pulling my suitcase from the top of the closet. Before you can say "Hellion," I'm packed and ready to hit the road.

But not before I call our utmost authority on Globe, Arizona. That's right, the following morning I call Governor Rose Mofford to see if she can describe her hometown's Mexican food any better than I. Vada Manager, the governor's press secretary, acts as my intermediary. "Simply excellent," says Manager, quoting the governor. Of El Rey Cafe, one of the restaurants I plan to visit, Rose is said to have said, "I've particularly enjoyed food there in the past."

I thank Manager, hang up the phone and carry my suitcase out to the car. It is clear that if anyone's going to solve this mystery, it's going to be me. My culinary investigation of Miami and Globe has commenced.

Two Big Gulps and one winding trip through Devil's Canyon later, a friend and I pull up to the Cloud Nine Motel in Globe. This AAA, three-diamond motel is to be our base of operations while we're in the area. It has everything we need: pool, cable, ice machine. We stow our gear, make sure the TV works and set out to fill our stomachs.

Minutes later, we're cruising back through town on the lookout for the classic green and pink neon sign atop the El Rey Cafe. Outside, the parking lot is full. Inside, it's a Globe Saturday night. The place is packed with wall-to-wall humanity. The hostess gives us a nod, surveys the small wood-paneled restaurant and tells us we'll have a booth in a minute. We stand and wait by the door. We count beer signs on the walls to pass the time.

Once settled in our brown vinyl booth, we order ourselves some Superior beer and chips while we study the menu. Yep, no gratis chips here; they cost $1.25 a bowl--very steep by Phoenix standards. Then again, these aren't ordinary chips. At El Rey Cafe, your fried corn tortilla strips are served drenched with butter. I've never had anything like them before. They taste like popcorn. The table hot sauce is fiery, not sweet, and heavy on the oregano.

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