Phoenix: Day One 19 October 2019

My plane ride last night was uneventful, which is good. It was about 10:30pm local time when I arrived and I told Denise I wanted to check out a dollar taco truck, which was outside a club. When we got to the address we couldn’t find the truck and Denise suggested In-N-Out Burger, which I had never had. So we set in that direction when I saw the taco truck. So we circled back. The truck was on the other side of the club and there was a little patio for eating. It did not have the same name as the truck as I had found in the magazine. Denise had sent me three Arizona tourist magazines for food and site suggestions. But the magazines were from last year, so as happens, some of the restaurants no longer exist.

There was a guy sitting at table next to the big menu. In front of him was an open window, which people inside the club used to order food. I got one taco al pastor and another taco de nopales and a horchata. Denise was standing on the other side of the guy and called me over. From outside we could see the stage. Turns out Charlie’s is the best gay cowboy bar in Phoenix (and I do not know how many gay cowbay bars there are in Phoenix). But we were not hearing cowboy or country music but old school disco and current dance music. And on stage were men dancing wearing nothing but black leather jockstraps, so there was a lot of ass-shaking. The club seemed to be half men and half women, which was surprising. I have hung out in my fair share of gay bars but I usually do not see that many women. We enjoyed the show while we waited for my order. Denise tried the horchata, which she had never had before, and she liked it a lot. The tacos were delicious and were $2 from this new truck. It looks like Taqueria Los Yaquis (which has its fans – a much bigger menu of Sonoran style tacos and other foods) lost its contract with Charlies and is looking for a new location. I did not write down the name of the new truck but the food was very good.

Then, believe or not, we went to In-N-Out Burger. Like Shake Shack, I was not impressed and did not know what all the fuss was about but it is certainly better than most fast food burgers.

Last year when I got to Denise’s house, Waldo, Denise’s first rescue dog, recognized me right away and would not leave my side. And it had been four years since I had seen him. Once again, he did not disappoint. Waldo was very excited to see me and when I sat on the bed he sat by my side. When I went to the bathroom, he patiently waited outside the door. When I went to bed, he was the only one of the animals to join me.

We found Waldo (actually he started to follow Denise home when she was walking her dog Tally) when we were still taking care of my mother. When I was packing to leave PR, he sat inside my suitcase ready to leave with me. His tongue just kills me.



We got up at 8am on Saturday and I mentioned that I wanted to check out Singh Meadows in Tempe, which is a farmers market with a café attached that was known for their duck egg and vegetable frittata. The entrance to the former golf course is in an industrial park area, so it was very unexpected to see such a beautiful location.


The farmers market was closed and we walked into the building, where we could immediately smell the fresh vegetables. Denise and I tried some of the different pears and apple samples and the radish sample, which was so out of this world – radish flavor with a bit of bite at the end.

We went through to the other side and saw the beautiful grounds. There was a man sitting with a dog and another man wearing a hat talking with him. We could see they were setting up for an affair, and Denise spoke to the man with the hat since he seemed to be directing the workers. Turns out that he was Mr. Singh. We asked about the café and he said it was closed because he did not have any vegetables ready. Everything is organically grown and he only sells what is in season and if there is nothing available, then there is nothing to sell. When Denise told him I came all the way from NYC just to eat there, he insisted on shaking my hand. He went on and on explaining to us how he farms (it is nearby) and what he uses and he was very proud of his farm and produce. It is always a joy to talk to someone who loves what they do. He was probably old but did not seem old because he loves his life.

We went back inside the store and bought some almond croissants (almond silvers on the outside and an almond custard inside), apple cider, and pears for breakfast. Denise also bought some radishes so we could use them in a salad later. We sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenery. They had been setting up hay bales for the affair that night and there was some loose hay on the ground. I, of course, slipped on it and fell dead on the ground. Denise and I have this thing – when one of us or a stranger falls, we start laughing hysterically. Which we then did.




Where I slipped and fell.




By Carene Lydia Lopez