Sunday, January 29, 2012

"food-truck round-up" on a sunny Sunday afternoon

The food-truck craze that's been sweeping cities across the country has arrived in Tucson:

We picked up the teenage daughters of some friends of ours and headed to an empty lot just north of downtown, transformed into a food-fair this afternoon--what better way to spend a sunny 75-degree Sunday in January?

Tucson has long had its Sonoran hot-dog stands and taco-trucks...
...but the 'roach-coach' tradition has become more cosmopolitan now.
Check out some of the offerings:

Mafooco (Korean-Mexican Tacos)
Jane’s Rolling Wok (chinese food)
Guero Loco Bubba Q (smoked meats)
Jamie’s Bitchen Kitchen (cuban sandwich)
Robdogs(variety of toppings. Soy dogs, too.)
Red Pepper Mexican Gourmet
Jones St. Bistro (Premier Appearance! modern urban cuisine)
Cyclopsicle (frozen dessert on a stick)
Luncha Libre (mexican gourmet)
Stolen Recipe BBQ (delicious smoked BBQ)
Baja Tacos (seafood oriented tacos)
Isabella’s Ice Cream (dairy and nondairy)
Street Delights (one word: pie)
Shinobu Diego’s Tacos y Burritos
Pinup Pastries (whoopie pies with a smile)
Street Kitchen (sesame chicken with zucchini tempura, edamame)
Vero Amore Neopolitan Pizza
Jake’s Donuts and Funnel Cakes
Seis Curbside (mexican nouveau cuisine)
Planet of the Crepes (sweet or savory crepes)
Animal Farm (big burgers, sandwiches)
Roasted Corn (on the cob)
Q UP! Barbeque(BBQ nachos, chicken wings)
(list from THIS website)

 It may be a 'rip-off' from the Kogi trucks in the L.A. area, but it's about time that Korean tacos arrived here...
    A while back, my wife and I had half-jokingly come up with the idea that if we were ever to both lose our jobs at the same time, that we could open up a Korean taco stand in Tucson...(Korexican? Mexirean? "Seoul-food" of the desert?) Alas, someone ELSE took 'our' idea...and talking with the owner this evening, I found out that there isn't even a single Korean working for his 'Mafooco' (Mexican-Asian-Food-Company) business! Ay ay ay...BUT the kimchi was auténtico, I must say...
...and you have to love the retro graphic of the sombrero-clad chopstick-toting hombre...

And la comida--muy deliciosa! Quesadillas filled with kimchi and cheese, topped with a sesame glaze, and tacos filled with bulgogi--Korean carne asada--and a kimchi 'slaw' as well:
 ¡Viva la fusión!

¿Los chinos hablan español...o hablan los latinos chino?

 I had echte Berliner currywurst! Sehr guht!

Ahh, planet of the crêpes...

This battery-powered ice-cream retro-truck sells rose ice-cream...

...and on the way back to our car, a picture of dilapidation, but pleasantly decrepit, no? Some creative graffiti on a crumbling desert façade: endless summer, a luchador BBQing next to "God who?" in a boarded-up window...

Tucson eats.
Come check it out.

(more information about this evening's food truck round-up HERE)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

post-race...along with the t-shirt and medal, got a cold...

A couple of mornings ago, at the 1/2-marathon starting line near AZ State University:
(photo from here)

This year instead of being four-thousand-somethingth, (out of 19-thousand)
I came in at two-thousand-somethingth...
Five minutes faster than last year!

That was Sunday.
Monday I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. A nasty cold.

When you push your body without interruption for more than 90 minutes, the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine, which suppress immune function, gush out of your adrenal glands. Inflammatory cytokines, neutrophils, and monocytes (red-flag markers of physiological stress) take over your bloodstream, while your virus-fighting T cells and "natural killer cells" go into hiding. None of this is good. It doesn't make you sick on the spot, but for at least a few hours after the run, it makes your body as inviting to "bugs" as a porch light.

With tens of thousands of people milling about after I crossed the finish line, I guess it's no surprise I got some germs...But after sleep and soup, I feel much better today, just in time to be back in front of the classroom again...

The night before, while walking around downtown Phoenix,
we saw this brand new alleyway mural:

For being the nation's fifth largest city, the skyline isn't exactly distinctive:

 ...but still, it was nice to have a view of something from our hotel: the giant retractable roof open on the nearby stadium on a mild January night:

This is the 'Rock-n-Roll' marathon after the race, there was a free concert:
the B-52's!

This year, free 'pace-tats' were handed out to runners:
These temporary tattoos only came in ten-minute intervals; rather than having my one-mile splits slower than I wanted, I thought it would be good to have them faster than I'd planned...
It ended up helping me: my goal had been 1h55 (3 min faster than last year), but I ended up running the half-marathon in 1h53 min...

(Along the route, there were some funny 'inspirational' signs, including:
  "Chuck Norris never ran a half-marathon.")

And of course--the medal and the t-shirt:
Picky, picky--I don't like the graphic design this year as much as last year's: year...t-shirt #3?
I hope so.

After I ran my first half-marathon last year, I wrote about why it was such a 'big-deal' for me...the reasons are the same, even now after running three half-marathons.


  • First of all, I now weigh 20 pounds less than when I moved to AZ three years ago, mostly due to running.

  • I was a sedentary teenager--bookish and into music.

  • I never ran. "5k" and "PR" were not in my vocabulary.

  • I always thought runners were super-lean OTHER people.

  • I loved hiking--or at least the idea of it, while living in non-hike-friendly eastern Georgia, but the idea of running was utterly off my radar.

  • I'm 36 now--over halfway to the proverbial, poetical and Biblical 'three-score-years-and-ten;' recent deaths of relatives and friends have underscored my own mortality...

  • My father had emphysema and later lung cancer--after my early childhood, I never saw him run...

  • "Ask yourself: 'Can I give more?'. The answer is usually: 'Yes'."
    -Paul Tergat, Kenyan professional marathoner

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Running it again--year no. 2

    Tomorrow we're heading up to Phoenix for the weekend;
    Sunday is the marathon/half-marathon!

    Below is the route--red is the full marathon,
    and blue is the 13.1 route--that's what I'll be doing.
    A few other friends of ours from here in Tucson will be running it as well...

    (more info--here)

    Last year was my first...then I ran a local half-marathon, in Oro Valley in March...This Sunday will be the third one for me. In some ways, it still doesn't feel like 'me;' I'm still not very fast...but enjoying every stride... 

    (Thank you thank you thank you to our friend C., for helping with arranging our posh downtown pre-race hotel!)

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    pulvis et umbra sumus--from a ridgetop last Sunday

    This past Sunday, January 1st: sunny and 75 degrees on a ridgetop between two canyons--hardly a better place to be...

    ...a perfect day for a desert hike on Tucson's northeast edge, up to Blackett's Ridge. In the sky between Sabino and Bear canyons, the city feels a world away. No big cacti either; at this elevation, you're above the saguaro-line.

     (I had only taken my iPhone with with shadows...pieced together six pics for this panorama.)

    Words from the ancient Roman poet Horace come to mind:
    "pulvis et umbra sumus"
    (we are but dust and shadow)
    echoing the earlier Job:
     "man fleeth as a shadow..."
    ...reminders to make good use of this new year.

    [above photo just published here in the local newspaper]