Oops, too many characters, so I split it. Arizona â€¦ 11 June â€“ 25 June Food Tucson Mexi-fest â€“ We had a bit of a borderlands eat-a-thon with stops at â€œstalwartsâ€ â€“ or at least historic dumps â€“ El Charro, Casa Molina, El Minuto and El Torero. Sorry, El Charro, when it comes to carne seca, Molina kicks yer butt; El Charro still rates two thumbs up, however. El Minuto was very pedestrian. El Torero is an absolute shithole on some dreary street in the City of South Tucson (which from the look of things was incorporated when both Tucson and Pima County decided that while squalor is acceptable, the south side oâ€™ town is just too much like the Western). El Toreroâ€™s Sonoran Mex just rocks, however; true hidden gem. Wowsa â€“ The Gold Room at Westward Look is the real deal. Donâ€™t laugh, but Iâ€™d call the fare California cuisine in that it emphasizes fresh ingredients and isnâ€™t hemmed in by some culinary shackle, e.g. â€œContinental,â€ â€œsouthwestern,â€ â€œAsian fusion.â€ Try the salmon starter w/vanilla vodka accompaniment and the trio oâ€™ duck entrÃ©e â€¦ or the beef, or the fish, or the anything. LOL Locals should check out the midweek specials, like Wednesdayâ€™s pick any starter, any entrÃ©e and any dessert from the menu for $25, or $35 with three wines. City views. Other Tucson Notables â€“ We dined a few times at the now-shuttered CafÃ© Terra Cotta in Scottsdale and finally made it to the original. Vibrant room, great Santa Catalina views, outstanding grits. Terri had a sweet corn and wild mushroom risotto napped in a red pepper chipotle coulis and a cilantro coulis. I had the very rare â€“ mmmm â€“ sirloin with black bean puree, chipotle mashers and seasonal veggies. And donâ€™t miss breakfast at the little-slice-of-France that is Ghiniâ€™s. The same goes for lunch at the tea room at Tohono Chul Park. I had some truly outstanding chicken enchiladas there. Really. Tucson Originals â€“ Long-standing Tucson eateries of various pedigrees have banded together to combat the American lust for the likes of Red Lobster, Outback and McDs. Itâ€™s an educational campaign fueled by good prices to get folks in to try it real and tasty, and all are offering some type of $20 summertime dining special, in some instances for two. All the eateries arenâ€™t created equally but some of the townâ€™s notables â€“ Janos, El Charro, Terra Cotta (our two-course dinners were $20 each), Jonathanâ€™s Cork â€“ are included. Stables â€“ The regionally inspired steak house at Tubac Golf Resort. Go straight to the rib steak. Period. Capisce?