I love tacos. I especially love Taco Tuesdays! It has become such a big concept and everyone who serves up tacos puts out great deals for this day. Backyard Taco is a popular spot here in the Valley that serves up tacos al carbon. “al carbon” means to cook over charcoal and are very popular in Mexico. I was introduced to this place when I ate here with my foodie group a few years back. Backyard Taco was started by Ruben and Maricela from Mazatlan. Their business was birth from cooking tacos in their backyard for friends and neighbors. So hospitality and making customers feel at home is a big part of their business. They use fresh simple ingredients along with their amazing selection of meats to create the authentic taste of Tacos al Carbon. I love it when you walk into the lobby and get a glimpse (and smell) of the meat grilling on their mesquite grill. I came by for lunch and sampled a few of my favorite tacos – Carne Asada, Pollo and Al Pastor. Of course I grabbed a horchata to wash it all down. They also do quesadillas, burritos, tostadas, gorditas and a crazy potato. My favorite thing about Backyard Taco is the condiment bar which has a variety of salsas, onions, limes and jalapeños for toppings. Lunch was delicious and affordable as always and made for another fun Taco Tuesday.
I love breakfast and one spot that has been serving the Valley some of the best breakfast since the mid 80’s is T.C. Eggington’s in Mesa. I’ve have been dining here for years and if you are a native like me, you know this place well. They are owned and operated by Thom and Kathy Coker and head chef Dean Delgado. I think what I really love about T.C. Eggington’s is the family feel environment they create in their restaurant. The decor makes you feel at home and the employees work hard to maintain friendly customer service. The food is prepared fresh and the portions are pretty generous. I usually get the eggs benedict but opted instead for their Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes – a Fall favorite of mine. I came with a bunch of friends and we had a wonderful experience. You can also check out their sister restaurant Ncounter in Tempe.
Oma’s Place is a neighborhood sandwich shop and bakery that also offers daily German food specials (such as roladen, schnitzel, Swedish meatballs, cabbage rolls, or brats) in Mesa. This little family owned establishment makes their food from scratch. In fact, there is a kitchen stove with an oven directly behind the order counter where you can see the food cooking. I enjoyed the ‘at home’ feel to the restaurant and found the owner (Astrid Braun) very welcoming as I came in (Oma is ‘Grandma’ in German). The Knoephla soup was pretty good as was the Reuben sandwich. I hope this place does well. I think being located in a strip mall with abandoned buildings all around will make business difficult.
Hi Foodies, tonight we travel south of the border to a local taco “stand” that is a favorite of many in the community. It started out as a true taco stand in the backyard of a home and as it grew in popularity with the neighbors and locals and finally outgrew its backyard roots. After searching for a new “official” restaurant site, and gaining an investor this once small taco stand has grown into a full restaurant.
It doesn’t get more authentic than this. My Tuesday night foodie group chose Backyard Taco as our evening food destination. One of the things I love about AZ is the great Mexican food we have here. You can smell the Tacos al Carbon grilling as you walk up. They serve up fresh ingredients and have a great salsa bar. Eating the tacos here make me wish I was in Mexico chilling on the beach eating some yummy street food. Taco Tuesdays are $1.25 tacos during happy hour times. Great find!
Downtown Mesa is really taking shape these days with the art center and all the cute little shops everywhere. Inside the Bungalow is both a cafe and a wedding venue and has been downtown for some time. It’s an old house with cozy furniture with a large grassy outdoor area. The cafe serves up a variety of sandwiches, salads and pasties that are cooked up daily. In their coffeehouse, they use Fair Trade coffee that is roasted locally. This place is a beautiful location for weddings as they have an outdoor courtyard big enough to accommodate a large wedding party. I had a nice quiet day studying here in one of their rooms and enjoyed looking at some of the old books on the bookshelf.
Tonight I had dinner with my friend Deanna at Pho Ao Sen. I have known Deanna since junior high and she has been a great friend for many years. In addition to her love for food, she is also a great cook. Her and I used to share recipes and bring dishes to dinner parties. She is an amazing Christian woman and I am so excited for her upcoming wedding to her best friend Joseph.
Pho Ao Sen is a modern Vietnamese eatery that embraces the authenticity of traditional Vietnamese cuisine while adopting the new age of contemporary flair. Their restaurant has a unique look and feel to it in addition to their tasteful dishes. I had their mandarin chicken with shrimp along with some vegetarian spring rolls.
I had a fun night at IchiBan in Mesa (I like to call it itchy buns..) for Kim’s birthday. Steve got together quite a few people for the teppanyaki party around the grill. I haven’t been here since my saki bomber days in college. I had some sushi, tempura and beef. The food was pretty good, but only one waitress for the whole restaurant. She was definitely running all over the place like crazy. But we all had a good time and the show was fun.