Saturday, May 30, 2015

Desert Dining with Stevie & Chef Bruce

It was a sleepy afternoon in the desert when we arrived at the former girl's school known as Hacienda Del Sol in Tuscon AZ. There were fans over head, a vista of sandy cacti and the Catalina foothills through leaded windows and under foot, clay tile once trod upon by western debutants, dusty from an afternoon ride on the trail.

It was an easy 105 out on the asphalt but flashing smiles and water for our canteens provided relief. Further sustenance came in the form of spirits and a sublime squid salad. It was bright in the room and quiet except for the buzzing of something airborne, a winged reminder that nature is the boss of us. A brisket sandwich arrived on a steamed bun. If the phrase "steamed bun" makes your mouth water, then you can imagine our elation over this dish. It tasted of a southwestern sunset, sweet and slightly smokey, with overtones of the Pacific Rim.

Chef Bruce Lim strolled over and accepted our gratitude for his food. The business end of his heat probe was hidden in the pocket of his chef coat.

"What's in this brisket chef?" inquired Stevie. "A three-day marinade of red curry paste, sugar and then braising," he said with a shrug, as if to say, 'who doesn't prepare brisket sandwiches in that manner?'

Stevie Pierson & Chef Bruce Lim, Hacienda Del Sol Tuscon AZ