Of course, we ate Mexican food in Yuma. The Mi Rancho restaurant was our introduction. The decor of Mi Rancho was splashed with lime greens and lemon yellows, all trimmed in pink. The waitresses drew their dark hair into tight buns pinned with artificial roses. The walls were covered with photos of young Latino boxers, until then something I’d seen mainly in Albuquerque barber shops. There were colorful acrylics of matadors and Mexican mercados. There was a rooster clock and a warping poster of Chichen Itza. La Casa Gutierrez, now no more, was aptly named. Sandwiched between two residences on a quiet street, it obviously was the house of the Gutierrez family at one time. I favored its chile rojo. Maricosos Mar Azul introduced us to Mexican seafood―Yuma is 70 miles from the Gulf of California―the best we’ve eaten this side of the border. Like La Casa Gutierrez, Los Manjeres was charmingly intimate―a couple small rooms, one with a fireplace (that’s right, in Yuma). It, too, was surely once a house.
From Clinton, Oklahoma, to Yuma, Arizona, Latino chefs knew how to satisfy.