The Arid Zone - Some Desert and Dessert

Tucson, Arizona

I have been wanting to write about my trip to Tucson, Arizona for months now, but alas many things got in the way and I am only now ready to put finger to keyboard :) Special thanks to all of you who participated in my mini-poll - surprisingly you were all in agreement that you wanted me to write about Tucson next!

Coming from the Caribbean my mental image of Arizona was a HOT, dry, HOT, desolate, HOT, desert land. With all those westerns shown on TV how could I think otherwise? Well finally the opportunity came to go and I set out to find out what there was to do in Tucson,AZ . Of course I realised by then that there were nice hotels, restaurants, (it's a US city after all!) and that if I went in the was not only cheaper but FAR from HOT! Actually it was cold to me (yes I do come from a tropical island). In terms of the 101 things to do in Tucson like the Cowboy shows, museums, science & technology exhibits, casinos... oddly enough none of those really appealed to me. I wanted adventure! And...adventure I got.
ATV Tour, Tucson Arizona

Yes, I surely found it in the off-the-beaten-track DIRT roads of the wide open desert, on the back of a red quad bike! It felt like we drove forever to get to this little "western movie type" looking bar in the middle of "nowhere", where our tour into the desert would begin. I was really pumped, until our guide started talking about how to manouevre our bikes if we came across a snake on the trail.... Excuse me?! Did you say the word snake? And did you then suggest that I not ride over it so as not to have it rain on the person behind me? Let's talk about this for a second here...I wanted adventure... but you know the kind without dangerous animals.... Oh well I've already paid, but you can be sure I'm gonna ride right behind the guide!

Turns out there were no snakes (that I saw) but even if  there were, this trip would have been well worth it! Talk about cacti of every size and shape! Talk about just getting away from the hustle and bustle and riding at top speed without a care in the world! Talk about the most spectacular sunset as you ride back!....and then talk about the DUST! This is not a tour for the beauty will not recognize yourself after this tour. But who cares, you would've had a most amazing adventure!
Amazing Sunset in the Arid Zone

Now no trip to anywhere in the world would be complete without some good food! Pinnacle Peak is one place that stood out in my mind because it was so very unique. Not only is it a saloon, fitting in with the whole western theme, but it is the home of the world famous Cowboy Steak.
Pinnacle Peak, Tucson Arizona

They also have a strict policy of absolutely no Neck Ties! I'm serious. I wore one just to test them (mind you it wasn't going with my outfit). As expected, they came around to my table with great ceremony, ringing a cowbell that must have come from someone's ancestor (seriously that thing was old!), and reminded me of their policy. Then they took out a scissors and cut off my tie!!! And proceeded to hang it from the ceiling with the other millions of ties from patrons who dared to defy them! Why I never...?! Can you believe it? They cut off my tie! If it wasn't for the humongous (is that a word?) cowboy steak, that was just oozing with flavor and the great fun I had...I would've sued them for my tie! Just kidding...
Sumptuous, Tender, Juicy Cowboy Steak

The Arid Zone turned out to be a great trip. Good food, adventure (and of course shopping). Now for the Dessert. As promised here's one of my creations:

Mango Crumble

2 - 3 large firm Mangoes
1/2 cup Brown sugar
1 cup Water
3 dashes Cinnamon
Dash Angostura Bitters
Brandy or Rum (to your liking)
1 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup Salted Butter

Place water in a saucepan and bring to boil.
Peel mangoes and slice meat from the seed. Slice into strips.
Place mango strips in boiling water. Add sugar, cinnamon. 
Stir till it becomes thicker, like a syrup.
Meanwhile combine flour and butter until it reaches a crumb texture. Set aside.
Grease dish. Remove Mango mixture from heat. Add brandy. Stir well.
Place Mango mixture in dish. Cover with crumble. Bake until golden brown.
Cool and serve with vanilla ice-cream. 
*optional - add dried cranberries, coconut or nuts of your choice to Mango mixture or Crumble mixture for added flavor. Bon appetit!

Mango on Foodista

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Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

That cacti is amazing! And the Pinnacle Peak restaurant definitely looks like something out of an old western movie. The mango crumble sounds delicious. Of course, I think anything with mango in it would have to be tasty!

Rox said...

Yum! Mango is my favorite fruit! Sounds delish.

Lynnylu said...

I love Tucson and have visited there three or four times and always see something different. Thanks for visiting my blog-Cafe Lynnylu and commenting. Your mango crumble sounds delicious.

Markiesha said...

An exciting story followed by a tasty dessert. I haven't tried the mango crumble as yet but I intend to the first chance I get. Thanks for the tip.

Sapuche said...

It was nice reading about your trip to Tucson! It brought back good memories of the years I spent there, and I'm glad to hear that you created some good new ones for yourself. Especially with that story about your tie! I guess they're serious about their dress code, huh. :) Your mango crumble sounds great, by the way!

Aysha said...

Interesting read!!