Arriba's team culls chilies grown in Hatch, New Mexico to assemble made-from-scratch New Mexican fare depicted on an extensive menu. Culinary tourists can take a trip to the border via the White Sands chimichanga plate—covered by a unity of spicy ground beef, green chili, and chicken guisado ($11.59)—or by way of the machaca green-corn tamales, which brandish machaca beef and a crown of green sauce ($10.99). Entrees typically come chaperoned by beans and rice, for a meal more multifaceted than a swiss-army knife glued to a smartphone. Dishes range in spiciness from “snappy” to “meltdown,” but can be prepared by mild by request, with the Santa Fe fajita salad ($11.99) falling in the former category and the eight-ounce steak Tampico ($17.99) dwelling in the latter category. Diners can also satiate smaller appetites with individual tamales or tostadas from the à la carte menu.
Heaping portions of Sonoran-style Mexican food whisk palates away to the plains of Northern Mexico at Someburros, a quick-service restaurant renowned for its authentic family recipes and from-scratch preparations. The menu's house specialties exemplify the care and culinary ingenuity honed over three generations of Vasquez family cooking, as the restaurant has evolved from its early days as a small South Phoenix takeout. The house-made salsa adds a piquant accoutrement to the pollo fundido’s jalapeño cream cheese–topped tortilla, coaxing out its marinated chunks of chicken breast with the toasty warmth of fiery spice. The restaurant’s eponymous burros pack soft tortillas with beans, melty cheese, and meats such as green chili beef or grilled carne asada. Cascades of 32-ounce soda, lemonade, or iced tea capably relieve tongues tingling from spices or licking lightning-flavored stamps.
With pages full of flavors traditional to Mexico City, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Cozumel, the menu at Haciendas Mexican Grill is like an atlas of Mexican cuisine. Guests can taste the classic Mayan influence on the nation’s dishes with the cochinita pibil, a cut of pork that slowly marinates in a stew of achiote, orange juice, and banana leaves, or revel in the country's knack for sauces with the dark-brown dressing of the pollo con mole. The chefs also take slight liberties with the dishes, infusing the chocolate fondue with ancho chiles and transforming the humble hamburger with oaxaca cheese and chipotle mayo. To honor Mexico's extensive coastlines, the chefs drench jumbo prawns, stuffed salmon filets, and lobster ravioli in spicy cream sauces.
Outside the dining room, guests can experience Mexican culture with specialty margaritas, tap and bottled beers, and other libations in the restaurant’s three bars. Like an interstellar pub crawl, each bar features a different atmosphere: one sports a scenic view of the mountains, another buzzes with a row of LED TVs, and an outside patio grants fresh air and warm sun ideal for a round of icy beverages.
Pink- and salmon-colored walls, saffron accents, and verdant plants contribute to the Southwest and Latin atmosphere that pervades The Saguaro Spa. Amid regional wood and leather furniture, candles in tin holders, and folk art, therapists lead guests into partitioned or private treatment rooms to perform spa services inspired by the healing traditions and history of the desert. They stroke guests' backs using pressure-point and relaxation-massage techniques, often adding heated stones or wild-desert-herb compresses to melt tension. During body-wrap treatments, aestheticians swaddle bodies in organic, Southwest-inspired botanicals such as lime and aloe or chilis and chocolate.
Aestheticians also rejuvenate busy patrons with 30-minute mini treatments such as a prickly-pear sugar scrub and an orange-blossom neck massage. When they?re not soothing skin and faces, staffers can be found leading guests and gnomes in open-air yoga classes that take place amid cool breezes in an adjacent garden.
The Urban Dare Adventure Race is a fast-paced competition that challenges two-person teams to decipher clues, navigate the city, and perform playful stunts. Combining the bustle of a track meet with the brain-taxing sleuth work of a luge competition, the race uses a dozen trivia-based clues to lead contestants to checkpoints all over their sprawling metropolis. Location hunters reach their checkpoints by whatever means necessary, be it hopping a bus downtown, flying madly through a network of secret ziplines, or scuba-diving in a fountain for bus fare. At the mini destinations, racers must use a camera to document their presence or, in some cases, get their passports stamped after completing challenges that may include a climbing wall or solving a riddle.
A 6.5-pound behemoth of a burrito can really only have one name: the Big Papi. At Papi Chulo's Mexican Grill & Cantina these giants of gastronomy, which were recently featured in Phoenix Magazine, are waiting to be conquered by challengers willing to dethrone current champion Stephanie Torres, a competitive eater who has appeared in the Nathan's Famous Women's Hot Dog Eating World Championship. On the regular menu, Papi Chulo's executive chef combines Mexican tradition with Sonoran familiarity to craft authentic Southwestern dishes with a down-home feel. The staff serves regular lunch specials, Mexican favorites such as chiles rellenos, and breakfast specialties including huevos rancheros and chorizo and eggs.
Inside the spacious dining room, imported Mexican furniture sits below exposed wooden beams bearing wrought-iron chandeliers ideal for illuminating a special meal or supporting the weight of a masked Zorro impersonator. Attended by a sunny wait staff, the bar slings specialty margaritas and happy-hour specials every day that patrons can enjoy indoors or on the outdoor patio in full view of Camelback Mountain. Papi Chulo's also hosts regular events including poker nights on Mondays and live comedy every Friday and Saturday night in the Speak Easy Lounge located inside the restaurant.