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Hungry for a road trip? We spent the year driving around Southern Arizona and Sonora for our monthly road trip series ... and managed to work up an appetite along the way.
We've seen everything from the vast rockscapes of the Chiricahua Mountains to World's Smallest Museum. Along the way, we ate at cowboy diners, vintage Mexican restaurants and beach stands serving shrimp-stuffed coconuts. Here are some of our favorite food destinations along the way. Each of these five spots is worth the trip by itself!
The Horseshoe Cafe in Benson
Take the I-10 east to Benson in the a.m. and get breakfast at this historic western diner. You’ll know you’re there when you see the vintage neon sign in the shape of a big horseshoe. The Horseshoe Cafe is a popular diner that's been on Benson’s main drag since 1936.
The Southwestern spot is sure to charm you with its retro murals from artist Vern Parker. Its menu feels contemporary in a casual way, with perfectly-executed breakfast dishes like the chicken fried steak. Whether you hit this place up on your way to Bisbee, or make a trip of it on its own, the Horseshoe Cafe worth going out of the way for.
Read about more things to do around Benson and Tombstone here.
Address: 154 E. Fourth Street, Benson
Hours: Monday through Saturday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Apple Annie's in Willcox
The scenic drive through Willcox is nothing short of dreamy, with its grassy farmlands and quiet roads that stretch through the valley.
After you go wine tasting, it's fun to hit up Apple Annie's for some produce and fresh-baked pie. This family farm dates back to the 1980s, and grows apples, peaches, pumpkins and more.
The orchard and pick-your-own produce spots are closed until July, but you can visit the country store at 1510 N. Circle I Road year-round. There you can pick up fresh pies, homemade fudge, salsa and “every kind of jarred good you could imagine.”
Discover more fun things to do in Willcox here.
Address: 1510 N. Circle I Road, Willcox
Hours: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, and Easter.
Mexican food extravaganza in Globe
For a town of only about 7,000 people, Globe sure does have a lot of Mexican restaurants.
You can see the signs on the old buildings all throughout the city: El Ranchito, La Casita Cafe, Guayo’s El Rey and more. Turns out, the majority of these restaurants are owned by members of the same family. We visited Chalo’s Casa Reynoso, owned by second-generation Reynoso family members Chalo and Juanita, and run by their son Johnny.
The menu is similar to something you’d find down on South Fourth Avenue in Tucson, with the addition of fry bread tacos that are more common up here. Their specialty is green chile meat, which goes into the signature Gollo Burro along with beans and a runny fried egg. Don’t pass up the sopapillas for dessert.
Address: 902 E. Ash St., Globe
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., closed Sunday
The Queen Creek Olive Mill in Queen Creek
You could easily spend an entire day at the Queen Creek Olive Mill and not realize it. This 100-acre olive grove also has a food hall, shopping center and picnic area for tourists.
While you're there be sure to sample the olive oil: Queen Creek has several varieties and flavors to taste from and it’s all made onsite. And If you want to know more about what goes into this stuff, take the Olive Oil 101 tour where you learn all about the process of making olive oil and its properties.
If you're going for lunch, you've gotta get the bruschetta board. You can choose from a number of toppings including bacon avocado, gorgonzola cheese and salami, and burnt mozzarella and pesto. You can also go green and get a salad made with ingredients grown from their garden. Top the whole thing off with some wine and have a wonderful time!
Find out more things to do taking the "back road" to Phoenix here.
Address: 25062 S Meridian Rd, Queen Creek
Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Old Port in Rocky Point, Sonora
This Mexican beach town of Puerto Peñasco is only about five hours by car and half the price of anywhere in California. Thousands of Arizonans travel here every year for its Sandy Beach resorts, stunning seafood and offbeat vibe.
Before heading to the resorts, check out the Malecon. Also known as “The Old Port,” this vibrant district offers some of the best food and shopping in town. Take a stroll along the boardwalk and marvel at a giant statue of a man sitting on a shrimp (it’s more impressive than it sounds).
The Old Port/Malecon has a sizable fish market, where vendors sell everything from shrimp to seabass and big white buttery clams, which can be steamed or eaten fresh in a ceviche. If you don’t feel like cooking, head to one of the restaurants and have the chefs prepare it for you. Aqui es con Flavio serves a gorgeous aguachile of raw shrimp in a limey sauce with pureed green chiles and red onions.
Read all about what to do in Rocky Point here.
Address: Circunvalacion 10, El Puerto
Best time to visit: You can visit year-round, but if you're looking to get some beach time try aiming for spring to early summer.