Say hello to my little friend ... A super-sized baked potato that's packing carne asada, crispy bacon, mushrooms and some serious gobs of melted cheese.
They're called Papanchas, and you may have had one before. The Mexican version of the loaded potato is on the menu at Aqui Con El Nene, with several locations across town including 65 W. Valencia Road. They're a specialty of Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, where owner Salvador Gastelum is from, but they can be found in several Sonoran cities like Nogales and Hermosillo.
Some quick Internet search reveals half a dozen creative Papancha varieties: Hawaiian Papanchas with pineapple, Papanchas topped with stewed corn, with al pastor, with a full guero chile, with cream cheese. One Obregon spot called Papanchas Locas even has something that looks like a Papancha pot pie, with pureed potatoes piled high with two layers of spicy meat and cheese.
Over at Aqui Con El Nene (which by the way recently took first place for its tacos at Tucson's Mero Mero Taquero competition) they squeeze a heft amount of butter over the silken soft baked potato and then add the fixings, finishing it up on the flattop. It comes to the table with freshly made tostadas and a side of sour cream, which I ignored in favor of the salsas and pickled red onions. For dessert? Take a nap ...