The Wild West

On Friday, Dad and I flew to Phoenix to meet up with Jewels for a week’s road trip around Arizona. Seeing the Grand Canyon has been on both of our bucket lists for a long long time and to say that we’re excited about this is an understatement. We were met at the airport and immediately went to a Mexican restaurant called Blanco. I had visited Blanco in December with Jewels and had happy memories of the ceviche. Ceviche is uncooked fish or seafood which is marinated in citrus of some form. I ate ceviche for the first time in Peru where it was simply white fish, sliced thinly, and lime juice with a little seasoning. Friday night’s was more complex with prawns, crab, avocado, finely diced onion, radish and coriander with lime as the ‘cooking’ agent. I don’t think that either the prawns or crab were raw initially and it’s a dish I’m going to try to recreate at home.

We started the road trip by driving to the Mission St Xavier outside Tucson. This building is beautiful and is regarded as the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the States. The frescoes inside are exquisite and the statues and paintings equally so. It is very much a working church and is set on what is now Indian land, and has a school attached which serves that community. Interestingly when the church was being built, the workers were paid double because of the constant threat from the Apaches, and now obviously it is their descendants who ensure that the church isn’t simply an historical monument.

From there we went to Tombstone. What fun! Dad and I watched a recreation of the gunfight at the OK Corral. The acting was uninspiring and wooden but we have a much better understanding of what happened than before, so it served its purpose!


Just in case you didn’t know where we were!


Doc Holliday talking to Virgil Earp


The aftermath – Wyatt Earp surveys the dead, Billy Clanton, and Frank and Tom McLaury

We were surprised to learn that the entire gunfight lasted no more than a minute and were not surprised to learn that the reasons and outcome still divide people. As we left the recreation of the shootout, we saw a plaque on the wall which read ‘Only the living deserve respect. The dead deserve the truth’. It was signed the McLaury Family.

Later after a snack in Big Nosed Kate’s Saloon (yes she was really called that and she was Doc Holliday’s girlfriend), we visited Tombstone’s Historama, a mixture of a revolving model of Tombstone through the ages and film, all narrated by Vincent Price. It was interesting but so funny. The puppet of Morgan Earp dying as he played billiards will never be forgotten. Afterwards, we went to the Boothill Graveyard, so called because so many of its occupants died with their boots on. It was sad to see so many gravestones (actually wooden but gravewoods isn’t a word) with Unknown written on them. So many people died violent deaths – stoned by Indians, hanged legally, lynched by a mob, shot because of an argument over the colour of a shirt, shot in error, shot because he was too insistent about drinking with someone, and found without identification at the bottom of a mineshaft are just some examples. Tombstone made its money from silver and it prospered for about 7 years. Nowadays it has a population of between 1200-1300 and exists for tourism. It was one of the best preserved examples of a Wild West town and gained National Heritage status. Zealous Disneyfication of the town threatened that status but since 2005 great effort has been made to rein in some of the additions and to point out which are the genuine old buildings and which are reconstructions. It is one of the most fun places I have been to, and really really interesting.


For me, this would have had more impact without the typo!

Back to Tucson for the night and we decided to have Mexican food again, at the Guadalajara Grill which has won Best Mexican Food in Tucson three years running. The salsa was lovely – made at the table. We requested medium and I’m glad we didn’t ask for hot since the scale was slightly different to the one I’m used to! The back bite was interesting to say the least.

So today’s recipe? This is something that I had both at Blanco’s and at the Guadalajara Grill. As with all things popular there are variations of the recipe, and disputes about its origin. The generally accepted theory is that it was first served in a restaurant in Ensenada, Mexico, but there is no doubt that it is the most popular tequila-based cocktail. Today’s recipe is for Margaritas.

Margarita – Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz tequila. I have friends who swear that the better quality tequila you use, the less the chance of a hangover
  • 0.5 oz triple sec / Cointreau
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  • Salt or sugar to rim the glass. I prefer salt.


Pour the liquid ingredients with ice into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. If desired, salt or sugar the rim of a cocktail glass. Pour contents of shaker into the glass. Some people think this should be with ice, some without – it’s up to you. Garnish with the lime wedge.


2 thoughts on “The Wild West

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