Phoenix's independent source of
local news and culture
We prefer to let the Lopez family cook for us, however, in their little cafe. They're masters of the Oaxacan tamal -- a delicious version of chicken steamed in a banana leaf and dressed with mole oaxaqueno (a sweeter mole containing almonds as well as red chiles, spices, chocolate, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds). Chase it with champurrado, a luxurious chocolate atole (a thick drink made with masa, milk and vanilla).
We're a little sorry to be sharing Mini Mercado Oaxaca with the masses. But then, we never could keep a secret this delicious.
While other restaurants may boast long tequila lists, the Coyote's also got that $145-a-shot super-premium star, José Cuervo 1800 Colección, of which Cuervo releases only a few hundred bottles a year. We can make do with the equally good Herradura's Seleccion Suprema, at an easier-to-swallow $35. And for dessert, the Grill has flavored tequilas -- coquila (coffee, chocolate and cream), rose (strawberry and cream), and almendrado (almond). Now that's tequila worth toasting.
One reason, we suspect, is word of mouth about Arriba's breathtaking carnitas. The grilled piggy pieces come two ways, traditional style with fajita fixings and flour tortillas for wrapping, and spiced with gutsy adobada, tucked in a massive burrito and paired with black beans and rice.
Either presentation, crispy-edged and juicy, makes us smile. Arriba, your carnitas carry us away.
While the wine -- and the resort, built in 1929 and inspired by the desert-design concepts of Frank Lloyd Wright -- may be old, the cuisine is entirely fresh. Chef Rick Boyer's contemporary, lavish style tempts with treasures like grilled veal and sweetbreads with pickled cabbage, pan-roasted sea scallops with celery root risotto and Sevruga caviar, and a chef's five-course tasting menu paired with -- what else? -- wines.
Now that's the Wright way to celebrate wines.
Silky green chile Colorado is packed with tender beef. Chicken enchiladas are draped in mole, a sensuous sauce deep-toned with chiles and chocolate. Pork tamales are moist and bursting with good piggy flavor. And the tacos rancheros, three tiny corn tortillas stuffed with spicy shredded pork, onion and cilantro, soar when doused with splashes of Pepe's incendiary hot sauce.
Breakfast is served all day, and we love to stop in for the daily specials, too. Pepe's is the best. And anyone who disagrees can just take it outside.