Only in Tucson

Yesterday was  St. Patrick’s Day, after all and since corned beef and cabbage is out of the question we wanted to celebrate Tucson style.So we made a quick trip to St. Mary’s Tortilla Factory, a tiny, well-loved spot just west of the Freeway on St. Mary’s Road.

I don’t know how long St. Mary’s been round but we’ve loved their tortillas for years. They make three sizes; we almost always order the large.

A photo doesn’t do them justice. Thin as air and about 15 inches in diameter, the tortillas are perfect for constructing big, fat burros. Most Mexican restaurants in Tucson also use to make cheese crisps (For those of you who don’t know what a cheese crisp is- you take a large flour tortilla, spread shredded cheddar cheese all over it and then bake them until they are golden brown and the cheese is all melted an bubbly. You can add chiles or just about anything else you’d like, too.)

Anyway, we also picked up the house red chili and some carne seca. (Again, for those not from Tucson, carne seca is made from thinly cut skirt steak that is seasoned and then traditionally dried in the sun like jerky. It’s then shredded and reconstituted with beef juices, finely chopped chiles, onions, sometime tomatoes. People in other places say they have carne seca, but it’s never like the real stuff we have here.) There are no pictures of the red chili because it’s all gone.

This photo gives you an idea of what carne seca is but only hints at the size of the tortillas. (The tortillas in the package are folded in quarters.)

A couple of local craft brews were all we needed for a great celebration.