The Sonoran hot dog: Bacon-wrapped dog in a soft bun, topped with everything under the sun-mustard, mayonnaise, tomatoes, onions, cheese, pinto beans, and...I lost track. Behind this giant: A grilled chile.
While in Tucson, Mike took me to Aqui Con El Nene, a truck famous for its Sonoran hot dog. For those of you who, like me, had never heard of the Sonoran hot dog, this is a dog worth researching. Its origins lie in Mexico and/or Arizona, depending on where you look. It begins with a bacon-wrapped hot dog and ends with a mountain of toppings-I'm uncertain about which are essential and which are variations on the theme.
The truck never leaves this spot, says Mike.
Mike ordered the Sonoran Style Hot Dog and a Papancha. "Did you know what a papancha was when you ordered it?" I asked. Response: "No."
Serious Eats gave Nene's a lot of love during last year's search for America's best hot dog. In fact, Nene's made it to the final two before getting cut. Not bad!
[By the way, did you know I write for Serious Eats? See my posts here!]
After you pick up your food, take a seat at a foldout table under the white tent. A mister showers you with cool water, providing temporary relief from the intense desert heat. Along one side of the seating area is a large bar with salsas, guacamole, jalapenos, and the like. A man kept coming over to help us, slowly pronouncing the containers' contents. "Gua-ca-MO-le," he said, lifting one of the plastic lids. I asked him where I could find the escabeche, and that word seemed to have some magical effect, because from that point on, he spoke to us solely in Spanish. Asians speaking Spanish in Arizona? Surely stranger things have occurred on this earth.
So that's what a papancha looks like. As you can see, it's sort of like a baked potato. I say "sort of" because this explosion of ingredients is nothing like the plain potato accompanying your T-bone at the local steakhouse. Check out those grilled onions.
And finally, one more shot of the pecan orchard, just because. In the background, you can see the outline of Picacho Peak.