Thursday, February 18, 2010

Roadside Food Trifecta

Posted By on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Good things are afoot when the menu board looks like this.
  • Good things are afoot when the menu board looks like this.

Today was my day off from the Tucson Weekly and the weather was heavenly, so I rolled out to check out the wonderful road-food scene blossoming in the Flowing Wells/Wetmore roads area.

My first stop was the new barbecue stand called the Mesquite Pit at 1075 W. Wetmore Road. It's a lunch truck with a tarped seating area covering two tables, eight mismatched chairs and little else.

Bob Bjorke runs the place, and we sat for a while talking about his 18 years in the barbecue business. He smiles a lot and is damn proud of the food he serves. His company, the Mesquite Pit Catering Company, has catered events for everyone from the Pascua Yaqui tribe to the Carondelet Health Network. He smokes his meats "slow and low" using mesquite wood. His food is good, and his friendly personality

(and spicy, tangy barbecue sauce) make a person feel all good and warm inside.

Bob Bjorke, barbecue man.
  • Bob Bjorke, barbecue man.

Tri-tip sandwich, Mesquite Pit style.
  • Tri-tip sandwich, Mesquite Pit style.
On the menu: Tri-tip, chicken and meatloaf sandwiches served with a slice of mozarella cheese and homemade pico de gallo, for $5 a piece (or $6 with chips and a soda). There's also a pulled-pork sandwich topped with coleslaw and jicama. Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Wednesday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday. 264-8457.

Less than a block away, Aqui Con El Nene, the super-fantastic taco and hot dog stand that the Weekly wrote about here, holds down the corner of Flowing Wells and Wetmore roads with smoke-belching mesquite grills, superb tacos and an incredible condiment bar. Not enough can be said about this place. It's where I go for special occasions.

But head south on Flowing Wells about a block, and there's another stand at 4102 N. Flowing Wells Road. Just look for the jumping castle and colorful truck.

Agua Chile headquarters.
  • Agua Chile headquarters.

Agua Chile really blew me away. Owner Miguel Molina immediately invited me into the kitchen to demonstate how he makes the seafood tacos (shrimp, marlin, manta ray, octopus, crab) and massive shrimp cocktails. Cupboards holding perfectly sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and peppers hovered next to delicate bags of seafood. If I may, it was the cleanest kitchen I have ever seen. In my life. Seriously. A burly guy sitting outside said the sopa siete mares he was eating was the best he'd ever had.

Manta-ray tacos.
  • Manta-ray-and-shrimp tacos.

Shrimp cocktail heaven.
  • Shrimp cocktail heaven.

Kick-ass jumping castle shaped like a ship.
  • Kick-ass jumping castle shaped like a ship.

Agua Chile also serves soups (the albondigas de camarón sounds especially amazing) and tostadas. Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day but Tuesday. Call 940-7774 for more information.


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