Elvira’s Restaurant – Bar – Tequila

Tubac, Arizona


Elvira's Shop Entrance

Elvira’s exterior fits into the artist community of Tubac perfectly – tan plaster walls, red tile pieces, colorful pottery, unusual metalwork. Walk through the door to find absolutely nothing usual. Stunning would be an understatement.Brightly colored light fixtures, baubles of blown glass reflect magentas, blues, crimson, gold and silver.


Magenta Baubles


Seeing Stars

Chef/owner Ruben Monroy has a graphic arts and interior design background. Combining traditional and contemporary Mexican arts he shares the colors and culture of his native country. From every angle, in every nook and cranny there’s a new detail to note and admire. One’s tempted to play a game of I Spy With My Little Eye.


Elvira Mirror    Chandaleer    Face


Ornately framed mirrors, flying cherubs, Mexican tin star lamps, multi-globe chandeliers, creative flower arrangements – what do you spy?


Flower Arrangement


The original Elvita’s served customers in Nogalas, Mexico from 1927 – 2008. Monroy reports 95% were coming from north of the border. The Tubac restaurant opened in 2009. The menu displays Monroy’s creativity as much as the decor. Among the five or six mole choices Mole Negro remains “The King”, 34 ingredients in perfect balance. Seafood selections include at least eight shrimp preparations, Chilean sea bass, flounder, cabrilla and ahi tuna.


Elvira's Diners


When visiting Tubac let yourself be dazzled by the cuisine, service and decor of Elvira’s.


When You Go: Elvira’s is located at 2221 E. Frontage Rd, Building A-101, Tubac, AZ, 520-398-9421, http://www.elvirasrestaurant.com. Open Tuesday – Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday 11am – 3pm. Closed Mondays.

Chile & Spice and Everything Nice

Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co.

Santa Cruz Chili


Chili in every form imaginable  plus a few more calls customers to the Santa Cruz Chili Company a few miles south of Tubac, Arizona. I find it interesting to watch people enter: some come with shopping list in hand, other are totally intimidated even leery of sampling something from the tasting table. Many are awed at the multitude of products. Today a woman with cell phone in hand was calling a friend in Wisconsin for her requests. In addition to their own products, grown and processed in the fertile Santa Cruz Valley, they carry selections from  other companies featuring Mexican and Southwest flavors.


Santa Cruz Tasting

Looking for cookbooks, regional history or adventure? A wide variety awaits perusal. After taste testing I must leave with a mango salsa, spice bbq sauce plus several packets of seasonings for pork, tacos and beans. Once discover Santa Cruz Chili is a must stop in Southern Arizona.




When You Go: Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Company is located just north of exit 29 off of Interstate 19 on the East frontage road, 520-398-2591. Store is open 8am – 5pm Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm Saturday (Summer 10am – 3pm), Closed Sundays.


Santa Cruz JarsSanta Cruz Soices

Cochise County Wanderings



Coronado National Memorial

Coronado National Monument

Commemorating Franciso Vasquez de Coronado’s 1540-42 expedition, the National Memorial offers panoramic views of the US-Mexican border and the San Pedro River Valley thought to be Coronado’s probably route. The expedition was in search of the Seven Cities of Gold.


Ocotillo Bloom

Yucca - CNM












A short nature trail near the Visitors Center features desert foliage including yuccas and ocotillos. Not a true cactus, the spiny ocotillo stems look like dead sticks until crimson clusters appear on the tips.


Tough Bob

Bob tried to look tough and mean armed with saber and wearing a morion – the metal helmut associated with conquistadors. He reported the headgear was extremely uncomfortable and couldn’t image wearing it for any length of time.







Bisbee, Arizona


Bisbee attracts visitors with its rich mining history and present day art community. The first adjectives that come to mind are quirky and funky.


Old Bisbee StreetBob - Lavendar Pit Mine








Bob spotted a likely looking lunch spot, Cafe Cornucopia. What a great find. The tiny eatery seats 24 for lunch or a sweet treat.Their homemade bread and an array of homemade desserts shouldn’t be missed. I loved the Pina Colada Cake.


Bob - Cafe Cornacopia

Deserts at Cafe Cornucopia












San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area


Late afternoon found us at San Padro House, a popular Cochise County birding location. Trails lead into the Riparian Forest, past pools and ponds. Throughout our visit a large, white breasted hawk never left his perch in the top of a large cottonwood. With bird books and binoculars we spend a couple of hours. We are novices and don’t try to photograph the flighty feathered creatures.

San Pedro House

San Pedro Cottonwood 2










Friends of the San Pedro River, a non-profit organization operate a book and gift store in San Pedro House. Materials reflect nature and regional interests; the book selection is outstanding including children books for all ages and novels. I could spend a fortune here; a good way to support the organization’s efforts.


Anyone near Sierra Vista wanting to shop for books should head east on AZ Hwy 90 and browse the selection at San Pedro House. And, indulge in some bird watching while they’re there.

Name That Tree

Pomagranate Tree

This woman raised in the Midwest and living in Colorado for 50 years had no idea what kind of tree this is. At first glance I thought someone had climbed up and wired carnation blossoms to the limbs.


Pomagranate Bud

Buds of the tree in question.


Enlightenment came from a docent at Tumacacori National Historical Park in southern Arizona.



Pomagranate in Bloom

It’s a pomegranate tree, introduced into North America by Spanish settlers in 1769. No fooling’!



Arizona Folklore Preserve

With Dolan Ellis

Dolan 2

We spent the afternoon at the Arizona Folklore Preserve located south of Sierra Vista, Arizona. The center has evolved from a dream into reality for singer/songwriter/entertainer Dolan Ellis. An original member of the New Christy Minstrels in the 1960s, Ellis  has served as Arizona’s Official State Balladeer since 1966. He’s written more than 300 songs focusing on the history, culture and nature of his adopted state. Joining with the University of Arizona South Ellis and a dedicated cast of volunteers have established the center Dolan Signfor performances of music and Arizona folklore – fact and fiction. Originally Ellis performed nearly every weekend, currently he is scheduled once a month with guest artists from around the country the remaining weekends.

Our trip was planned around attending a Sunday afternoon Ellis show, and, were not disappointed. Today’s theme was Songs of Spring and included the debut of a new song, Casa Grande.  We’re amazed at his strong voice and energetic performance for a man who celebrated his 79th birthday this week. It was a privilege to once again see and hear this Arizona treasure who has been named the first Arizona Culture Keeper.

Situated in Ramsey Canyon the Arizona Folklore Preserve grounds are lush with spring greenery. After the show we relaxed on the deck which is built around a sprawling Arizona Sycamore estimated at more than 200 years old.

AZ Sycamore


Free Museums

Art SymbolThe word “Museum” stops many from  considering a visit, even the well educated think “how boring”. Our day was enhanced by three museum visit that were not only not boring but also were Free not something we often find. First stop was the Las Cruces Art Museum. We visited to see the current exhibition of the Gustave Baumann, a renowned New Mexico printmaker. Although we have several of his prints and books this show included many works we had never seen and we learned of Baumann’s talents as a marionette artist.

The Museum of Nature and Science is in an adjoining building. With the intention of just taking a peek the well presented exhibits lured us into a complete walkthrough. In the process we learned a great deal about the surrounding ChihuahuanDesert. Next door is the Branigan Cultural Center which we will check out the next time.

Sixty miles west in Deming, New Mexico we made another discovery. Again a particular interest drew us in only to find a treasure trove. The Luna County Museum is known for their collection of Mimbres Indian pottery.

Two hours later we were still exploring the amazing collections found here.  A thousand antique dolls, the military room, transportation wing, original art, western history, quilts, bells, on-and-on. Besides the Mimbres pottery the most amazing to us was the geode collection. This compares those we’ve in University Mineral Museum. We made a note to visit nearby Rockhound State Park on a future trip.


Mimbres Pottery

Spring Snow???

Snow or Sand

No! Not a drifting spring snow but the ever shifting sands at White Sands National Monument on a cloudless March day.


White Sands



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