Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lerua's Fine Mexican Foods

There's a place in Tucson where my mom's been buying tamales for Christmas Eve dinner for as long as I can remember. As in many Southwestern towns, it is the custom to eat tamales on that night, and we supplement them with lots of other, good homemade Mexican delights because normally women who spend years in Tucson, Mexican or not, know how to cook some damn good Mexican food. It's not texmex, or Mexico City style (though I adore the latter), it's not Vera Cruzano or any kinda gourmet anything. It's Sonoran, border-style Mexican, lowly and basic and can be fantastic depending on where you get it. Anyway, the name of the place we go for tamales is Lerua's, but I've always heard it pronounced "Laroos."

You just cannot beat the tamales, especially the green corn - we live for them every year. The beef tamales are killer too. So it was with great anticipation that that I went with my mom a couple of weeks ago when I was in town to have lunch there. I'd only ever been in to pick up tamales, and never noticed what a warm, welcoming dining room it has. It's super-casual, almost fast food, but there's also table service that's quick and extremely friendly. I ordered a carne seca chimichanga, (dried, seasoned beef wrapped in a flour tortilla and deep fried) one of my favorite dishes at El Minuto Cafe in Tucson ( At Lerua's it was not good. It was doughy, and soggy, and all black-peppery, which is not what I would call a traditional Mexican flavor. My mom ordered a carne seca tostada, (the same meat, plus cheese, lettuce, tomato etc. on a flat, fried, corn tortilla) and though she said it was good, I could see it was soggy as well. Imagine my disappointment. Perhaps their other dishes are good; I know their tamales are, but in spite of their obvious sincerity in every other regard, I'm not likely to go back for anything else.

Evaluation: Pretty sincere
(520) 624-0322
2005 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85719

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