I drove east toward the lightning and wound up here: Inside the Rita Ranch Market along the I-10 freeway is a little red shop with an explosive selection of homemade salsas.
Papa Locos Tacos and Burgers is run by Guaymas native Leticia Ramirez, who grew up selling tacos at a shop built inside her family's living room. (Her mother's place, Lucy's Tacos, has been going strong for 40 years, she says.)
The restaurant upbringing is well-evident in her menu, which displays incredible care for something inside a gas station. You'll see immediately that the salsa bar is immaculate and filled with tons of goodies, like a fiery toasted chile de arbol salsa and fresh cut jalapeños drenched in soy sauce.
Perhaps it was the hunger from the long drive, but the fish taco really blew me away. Rather than giving you a single slab of fish, they cut up the tilapia into little chunks with crispy edges and soft meaty centers. The tangy pico lights it up, and the buttery avocado cools it down. Unexpected, but truly, a perfect storm ...
Insider's tip: You can buy beer and wine at the gas station and bring it into the restaurant, free of charge.
Location: 8201 S. Rita Road
Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays
Payment: accepts debit and credit cards