Ed (from Yuma) finally has another post here at mmm-yoso. Cathy and Kirk get a day off today.
When you live in a big city like San Diego there are always new restaurants opening, old restaurants transforming, and more variety of food choices than any one person can experience. When you live in Yuma, Arizona, however, it is easy to sample dishes from each of the long time non-chain restaurants in the area in a year or two. So I go to my favorites and try new places that might interest me. Sometimes I even write about them for mmm-yoso. But it is rare for me to "discover" a Yuma eatery that has been around for a long time. This post is about one of those rarities.
One day last summer, I knew that I would be stuck from 9 AM to 4 PM getting chemotherapy at my oncologist. My old buddy Dave volunteered to bring in lunch. I told him that sounded great, but I certainly wasn't expecting him to arrive with two large Styrofoam containers filled to the brim with Mexican-style chicken soup, a couple huge flour tortillas wrapped in tinfoil, some Mexican rice, and two aguasfrescas. And I certainly wasn't expecting the soup to be the best chicken soup I had ever had in Yuma – well actually, probably the best chicken soup I've ever had.
"Chicken soup?" I asked.
"Yeah," Dave said, "it's a good thing when you're sick."
It usually contains three pieces of bone-in dark meat chicken, celery, carrot chunks, potato, and sometimes even squash in a hearty chicken broth that is full of chicken flavor and so rich that any left overs turn gelatinous in the refrigerator.
Dave had picked up the soup from La Flor, a longtime Yuma Mexican restaurant that occupies a stand-alone building with a lot of parking (pun intended) on the corner of Avenue A and Third Street. Dave says it's been there for over 20 years, and he would know:
That picture does not show the 5 or 6 booths along a couple of the walls, so the place is bigger than it looks.
It wasn't that I had never eaten at La Flor before, but I thought it was just a decent Mexican restaurant with very fair prices that did a lot of things fairly well, but nothing was so extraordinary as to invite a post at mmm-yoso. But La Flor did have some unusual qualities. All the dishes were preceded by a small cup of cream of vegetable soup:
On the other hand, I still have terrible memories of a soggy chicken torta made with boiled chicken, and I would urge anyone to avoid the fish tacos, the fried fillets swimming in a sweet thick yellowish mayonnaise based sauce.:
The mild green chili sauce, the fall apart tender pieces of pork, and the hint of tomatillo combine to make arguably the best green chili in Yuma (and I love green chilies).
Now, however, Tina and I usually come to La Flor for the comforting and filling bowls of soup. Most days the restaurant offers eight or nine different soup choices. Of course, the chicken is still maybe our favorite, but the albondigas with numerous peppery meatballs and various vegetables in a very savory stock is often quite good – if occasionally a little salty.:
Years ago I fell in love with siete mares on vacation in Ensenada, and truth be told, I have never had a version on this side of the border as good as the impeccable mixed seafood soup that still lives in my memories of Ensenada, but this was deeply flavored with a robust fishy broth (look at that broth) and most of the seafood was good. The portion was also so huge that I couldn't finish the whole bowl.
So I owe a tip of the hat and a shout out to Dave – it has led to numerous flavorful and fulfilling meals over the last year. I have also been extremely lucky with my lung cancer (fingers crossed). In addition to six days of chemotherapy, I had around 35 tomotherapy radiation treatments. My radiation oncologist – a man of faith – said that the disappearance of the tumor was "miraculous." I personally attribute it to Dr Shea and Dr Giangreco and their wonderful staffs at Southwest Oncology.
But maybe it was just the chicken soup.
La Flor, 1085 W 3rd St, Yuma, AZ 85364, (928) 782-5621, open from breakfast through dinner, but closed on Tuesdays.