February 13, 2013

photo heavy post- last weekend's food and garden tourism

A week ago Saturday, Tom and I headed south to Tucson, for lunch. Yes, lunch! (and a bit of sightseeing, in addition to eating.) It was a beautiful day for a drive, and we headed out early...
our destination
We got to the restaurant  in South Tucson at about 10:30 am to wait
for their 11:00 lunch opening. And we were not the first people there- it was a good thing we left home early!

The restaurant is 'Mi Nidito' which means 'My Little Nest' in Spanish;
it's been serving food in Tucson since 1952, and was featured
on the Travel Channel show Man vs. Food.
We waited with some very nice people out front of the restaurant, and got a booth when the restaurant opened... our waitress asked, 'do you need a menu?' (apparently they get a lot of regulars who know what they're going to order!) Us, now, we needed some time to check out the offerings on the menu, so we could narrow it down. The couple in the booth behind us didn't need menus; they ordered straightaway, and were giving us a bit of advice about what was good. In talking to them, we found out that was because they've eaten lunch at Mi Nidito every Saturday for the past 20 years! Now that is definitely a ringing endorsement! One of the restaurant's other 'claims to fame' is one of their previous customers: former President Bill Clinton- they even have the President's booth marked in the restaurant! (and no, we didn't sit in it... lol!)

Our table: we had no idea we were going to get this much food!!
The food was delicious, and the portions were quite generous: we brought home plenty of leftovers!  We got a Tostada with chiles as an appetizer (which is sort of like a Mexican pizza), I got chicken enchiladas with red sauce, and Tom got a beef chimichanga. The chimichanga (which was the size of a pillow, lol!) was made with their house specialty: a shredded beef called birria. Birria is brisket which is slow cooked with chiles and spices, then shredded. Neither of us could place the flavors in the shredded beef, but luckily we happened to see the television show episode again last week- turns out that the 'secret ingredient' in the shredded beef is pickling spices, which gives it a really complex, mellow flavor! The food was all delicious, and we'll definitely be eating there again.

After we ate lunch, we headed back north to do some sightseeing at a cactus nursery we'd heard about from some friends who live in Tucson. (On the way, we saw an estate sale, so we stopped for a quick look. Turns out it's a recurring sale, and there was so much stuff that a quick look wasn't possible- so I'll save that one for another time, lol!)

The cactus nursery was total visual overload-- I definitely want to go back again, and maybe bring at least few plants back home with me. I'd love to have (at least) one of everything, but we don't have nearly enough room! For now, I'll have to settle for admiring the plants in the photos and post just a few of the many pictures I took to give you an idea of the scope of the place:

one of the (huge) cacti right at the main entrance-
I don't know what kind it is, but I'd love one!
 The property is on approximately 10 acres, and contains rows and rows of nursery plants and greenhouses for propagating cacti- check this out!  (and don't forget, you can click on any of the photos to make it larger.)

one of the many propagation houses on the property
I can't even begin to imagine how many hundreds of plants are in this greenhouse, let alone in all of the greenhouses on the property- there had to be at least 10 or 15 greenhouses altogether (the actual number is 24, according to their website). Looking at the pots in these houses closer, it's even more amazing to contemplate:

teeny, tiny baby cacti
Some of these cacti are so very tiny that you can't even see any of the plants themselves; all you can see are the feathery cactus spines. I had to add in the quarter when I took the photo just to add a sense of scale to the picture.

I don't even know what kind of cacti this is, but I
thought it was really cute, since it was so tiny!

As we wandered around on the property, we came upon a 'cacti compost heap' of sorts. We both would love to figure out some way to bring this impressive Saguaro skeleton home with us... unfortunately our family room isn't big enough for it, nor was it for sale (and even if it had been, I'm sure we couldn't have afforded it, lol). But wouldn't it make a striking accent piece in a room, preferably with a spotlight on it?!?

A view from the nursery's property off to the east. These are either the Santa Catalina mountains or the Rincon Mountains- I'm not sure which. (geography was never my strong suit.) Regardless of what mountain range it is, it's a gorgeous view. That's one of the things I love most about living in the desert, the expansive vistas and the fact that you can see around you for miles.

A really cool looking aloe plant in the main greenhouse!! he looks kinda mean,
doesn't he?!? I definitely would love to have one of these for our backyard!

a close-up of the individual flowers in the aloe flower cluster-
I bet the hummingbirds would love it, too!

A view of their main display garden... cacti can definitely make
an eye-catching presentation when you landscape with them!

A few (very large) containers in the display garden area. 
a sea of Golden Barrel Cacti in the main greenhouse area
I have tons more photos from the nursery- we were only there for a couple hours, but I took close to 100 photos in that time. This place was amazing, and we probably didn't even see half of it in the time we were there! If you want more info about it, you can Google it: Bach's Cactus Nursery. Since they don't ship plants, they don't have too much of a website, but if you click on this link: Danger Garden blog post about Bach's nursery you can read a very nice blog post written by a gardener /  blogger that contains many more photos of the place. (and I'll post more of my cacti photos soon!)

1 comment:

Alison said...

That cactus nursery looks quite amazing..the clusters of cacti look very effective....and that food looks amazing!
Alison xx