Chow Bella

Joe Johnston's 5 Best Spots for AZ-Mex in Metro Phoenix (and Beyond)

The countdown to Best of Phoenix is on. Mark your calendar: This year's issue will be on newsstands September 26. What better way to warm up than by asking some local "experts" to list their own personal bests? This week Joe Johnston -- the guy who put the "Joe" in Joe's Real BBQ and Joe's Farm Grill -- shares his favorite spots to get AZ-Mex food.

By Joe Johnston

Rating Mexican restaurants is dangerous business since there is an incredible diversity of Mexican regional styles available in the Valley and everyone has their own secret hole-in-the-wall. What I proffer is Mexican restaurant food in the lineage of the comfort food "we" grew up with ("we" being longtime AZ residents for whom Mexican food is not their traditional home cuisine). Sort of like Chinese restaurant food from the 1960s and 1970s, it is rooted in the culinary traditions of the mother country but modified for the local clientele and available ingredients. It is essentially a blend of food from the state of Sonora and ingredients and tastes of the state of Arizona.

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