With all of the racing of this weekend’s Tucson Bicycle Classic over with, I had one final objective to complete before driving home. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I enjoy watching food and travel shows when I work out on the trainer, as they are just the right mix of distraction and entertainment to get me through a long workout. Well, a few weeks ago, I was looking through Netflix’s show selection as I started my workout and was thrilled to find that Tucson had been featured on Man v. Food. I watched the episode, hoping to find some good food suggestions, and I discovered the Sonoran Hotdog at El Guero Canelo.
El Guero Canelo gets its name from the Spanish word “Guero” which is a term for a light-skinned person, and “Canelo” which means cinnamon-colored. This essentially translates to “The Cinnamon-Colored White Guy”. There are three locations in Tucson, and I chose to go to the original one to get the full, authentic experience. The restaurant is only about an hour away from Nogales, Mexico, and you can tell. The neighborhood it is found in is comprised of Mexican shops and restaurants, with everything written in Spanish. To be honest, I had not realized how close I’d be to Mexico on this trip, or I would have brought my passport to make a quick stop across the border. I therefore had to settle for this Mexican neighborhood to get a taste of Hispanic culture.
The restaurant itself is as minimalistic as can be. It is nothing more than a glorified taco stand with some tables and a covered patio. The whole outside is painted like the Mexican flag, making it pretty hard to miss. The menu is just as straight-forward, consisting of burros, tortas, tacos, caramelos, quesadillas, and a few desserts. I wasn’t there for any of those things though. I was out to eat a Sonoran Hotdog!
The Sonoran Dog starts out like all hotdogs do: a humble sausage. The hotdog takes an awesome twist, however, when it is wrapped in bacon. The bacon fries onto the sausage, creating a crispy envelope of bacon-goodness. The modified sausage is then put on a bun that is quite outstanding. It is somewhere between a piece of cornbread and a brioche. Despite being a little bit greasy, it has a good taste and is nice and fluffy. Once the sausage is in the bun, the hotdog is topped with beans, grilled onions, fresh onions, tomatoes, mayo, mustard, and Jalapeno salsa! A salad bar with additional toppings gives you even more options if you can find any extra room in the already loaded hotdog.
The hype was big for this hotdog. I had been planning on stopping here for several days since Adam Richman of Man v. food had made quite a big deal out of the place. This meal was reserved for the end of my Tucson trip because fast food can be hard on the digestive system if you are not used to it and the last thing a bike racer wants is an upset stomach during a race. To be honest, the hotdog was good for what it was. I can’t say it was the best hotdog (or even fast food item) that I have ever tried, but at $2.49, it wasn’t half bad. The all around experience made this worthwhile. The staff was friendly, the food was ready quickly, and I was happy to eat something filling after a long day of cycling
El Guero Canelo is worth trying if you like hotdogs and happen to find yourself in Tucson. Just don’t expect to be blown away by it. Rather, I recommend focusing your attention on the authenticity of the place and on the originality of the hotdog. The bacon-wrapped sausage and the hybrid bun were things I’d never tasted before, so I’m glad to have tried the Sonoran Hotdog. It’s not something I’ll be dying to eat again anytime soon, but I encourage you to make your own opinion!