I wanted to visit Tubac, Arizona simply by virtue of reviews I'd read about the amazing moles and other Mexican specialties at a restaurant called Elvira's. I didn't know too much about the town, other than the fact that it wasn't too long a drive for a day trip from Patagonia, where we're staying for the month.
From a brochure in the house where we're staying, I learned more. Tubac was established in 1752 as a Spanish Presidio (fort) and now hosts working artists, art programs, and seasonal exhibits. Sculptures, paintings, metal art, and ceramics are displayed everywhere, and there's also a historic museum and state park right in town.
So, last Friday we headed over to eat lunch and stroll the colorful streets of Tubac. It's definitely a touristy town, but I can forgive it that since it's such a visual treat. Like Patagonia, Tubac is attractively situated, surrounded by mountains and high desert vistas. And there is colorful and unique art everywhere you look. Definitely a feast for the eyes!
After driving all over the small town streets looking for Elvira's as it was already "late lunch" time, we decided to park in one of the many small parking areas and walk around to continue our search. Seems like we saw everything besides Elvira's, but at least it was nice to look at, even as our bellies growled.
Eventually we ran across one of the tourist map boards located strategically around town and determined where the restaurant was. We hoofed it over there as quickly as possible and got a table outside. It was beautiful inside but very dark and packed with people. On such a beautiful day, we always prefer to eat outdoors, and we had their patio almost to ourselves.
This place is a definite splurge -- lunch menu prices were quite a bit higher than I'd expected, but we've mostly been eating simple, inexpensive meals at our "home" for the month and very few restaurant meals, so we didn't mind spending a bit more on a special lunch.
Barry adores mole, so I was glad he was able to try one of their five wonderful mole choices over chicken breast. He went with the traditional Mole Negro, made with no less than 34 ingredients. But they all sounded amazing -- they need to add a "mole sampler" to their menu!
I absolutely loved what I ordered, the Quesadillas Poblanas. They were limey and covered with fresh cilantro, which I adore, and just the right amount of heat in the salsa verde and cheese-chile-corn filling.
The desserts sounded so amazing we just had to split one -- yes, we were splurging today! We got the "Caribbean Treat", described on the menu as "Flamed bananas with Captain Morgan rum butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, over vanilla ice cream and walnuts. It was as decadent and delicious as it sounds and looks. And just in case you're wondering, I would have licked the bowl if I'd been at home...and if Barry hadn't beaten me to it!
After rolling out of the restaurant, we spent awhile wandering around and looking at all the cool art around town. Fortunately, since we're already traveling with as much as we can carry, we weren't too tempted to buy anything. If we had a yard to decorate, the colorful items for sale would have been much more difficult to resist.
There were a lot of incredible art pieces around town, but I think this one was my favorite. I can't imagine why!
After walking around for awhile, my feet were getting blisters (not used to wearing sandals any more!) And we were ready to hit the road. But where was our car? We had been in such a hurry to get to the restaurant that we just didn't pay close attention to which of the many small gravel parking areas we'd parked in -- and there were a lot of white CR-Vs (and similar vehicles) parked around town.
Finally I had to sit down and wait until Barry found the car because my feet were really hurting. Shortly thereafter, he spied it, and we were able to make our way home. Note to self: Always pay attention to where you park. D'oh!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
Favorite Travel Blogs