Authentic Sonoran Style since 1979

Sometimes you meet people and have no clue how far your friendship will take you. In junior high, I met this wild bass player in orchestra. She laughed out loud with the boys during class and always seemed to be in some great inside joke. Her personality was absolutely contagious.

It is no wonder then in high school that the two “orc dorks” managed to play in the orchestra together for the next 4 years. During that time, the adventures increased as we “bus surfed” to California for regional competitions (and SeaWorld!) and flew across the country to Boston, mostly to remind the whole plane why school orchestras should never travel together. 80 orc dorks and a symphony band? You can imagine what an 8 hour flight might create opportunities for.

Now Stephanie lives outside the state, but I asked her to share a little about her favorite restaurant. Here she is to introduce you to where I ate last night, the lovely Serrano’s!

“When I started going as a 3 year old, [Serrano’s] was in mesa. My family went so often we got to know the Serrano family that owned it. It was a special place for myself with my mom and grandparents. I loved it so much that every time my grandparents would pick me up they didn’t even have to ask where I wanted to eat out. This past December my sister was married in their banquet hall in Chandler and it was perfect. There are just so many memories that its hard to pick the best one. My family has seen the changes and disasters that it has endured (half of it burnt down years ago) and even though I am not in AZ at the moment, they still go there for my birthday!”

You want to see the place? Well let’s take a look!

My favorite part is the entrance. Bright, inviting, and a good sign for the atmosphere! When I met the manager, I found out so much more about the family style relationships and family style kitchen the Serranos embrace.

Did you know…
-only fresh, local ingredients are used?
-NO preservatives touch your plate?
-each dish (except for two*) use healthy vegetable oils, not lard?
-every month this family contributes serious amounts of food to our community as well as donations to schools?

This family deserves a lot of respect for their commitment to our community’s welfare. My orchestra experience is something I would not replace for a million bucks.

This is just the start- wait till you see what I ate! For the first time ever, I tried FRIED ICE CREAM. I am pretty certain the manager (Ms. Marilyn) thinks I have a hidden second stomach, because I polished the entire dish. No joke.

Fried ice cream is like a caramelized crispy exterior with a buttery, flaky flavor and sweet insides. I cannot wait to have this again.

The reason I may have two stomachs is what I ate beforehand. May I introduce you to Enchiladas Suizas!

A corn tortilla filled with shredded little chilis in the chicken, blended into a warm bed of tomatillo sauce and spiked with my favorite secret sour cream of theirs. Seriously, you will not find that tangy sour cream anywhere else. I’ve tried. I talked with the super friendly staff and the tomatillo sauce is new!

My lovely waitress Allison described the sauce as something “a little sweet and a little sour” and worth the try. I completely agree. If you want a unique flavor, this tomatillo sauce would be good for starters. Another item I want to try is the Chile Relleno – a stuffed, roasted pepper with all sorts of goodies, smothered in sauce and special to the house. Sound delicious to you too? We’ll have to try it sometime. A favorite that will always have me coming back for more? THOSE CHIPS and THAT SALSA.

Honestly, Arizona has a kick-butt policy when it comes to Mexican fare: if you cannot produce quality chips and dip, just stop yourself. Locals know better because we’re positively spoiled and we like it love it that way! In fact, I was told a local Arizona mom buys tortillas in bulk to freeze every semester, along with the homemade Serrano’s beans and salsa, to send back East for her starving college student. He doesn’t even share!

Diehards. That is what Arizona locals are. I cannot blame him.

Before I left, I had some business to get down to though: a tip for you guys!

Chef’s Tip: To cook your rice into a delicious hot dish, use a good quality chicken stock to add a bit of depth. The richness of the broth means your rice is ready for service!

For more of the food, the tiny statues and unique atmosphere that Serrano’s has, please visit and tell me that you went on the next Where I Ate, What I Ate post!

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