NPR

Why Doesn't Tucson's Mexican Food Scene Get More National Attention?

Migration from the Sonoran region of Mexico tends to flow almost exclusively to this part of Arizona. So its distinctive cuisine remains a hidden treasure. But that is changing.
Earlier this year, the James Beard Foundation named El Güero Canelo an America's Classic, the organization's version of a Hall of Fame award for restaurants. The eatery is most famous for its Sonoran hot dogs, wrapped in bacon, covered in Mexican cream and pinto beans, and placed in a French roll. Source: Gustavo Arellano

In the fall of 2012, I discovered the best hot sauce in the United States in, of all places, Tucson.

I had just finished a lecture at the University of Arizona on my then-new book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. My host was Maribel Alvarez, a professor of anthropology at the school who is the executive program director for the Southwest Folklife Alliance. She documents food traditions of the Arizona-Sonora borderlands, and she sent me back home with a goody bag of regional delights: carne seca (sundried beef), tepary beans (a small, meaty legume grown by natives since time immemorial) and flour tortillas called sobaqueras that are the size of a basketball hoop.

But the greatest prize was Poblano Mexican Hot Sauce. The, a tiny, wild pepper that starts fruity, then burns long and strong.

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