Tucson's own chimichanga: When stifling a curse word turns into something glorious

2014-04-20T14:56:00Z 2014-10-30T10:59:02Z Tucson's own chimichanga: When stifling a curse word turns into something gloriousBy Tom Beal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

“Do you like chimichangas? I mean, do you really like chimichangas?”

If you were around Tucson in the 1980s, you no doubt remember that commercial from Gordo’s Mexicateria, then owned by Diego Alfonso Valenzuela, aka Gordo.

Everybody, everywhere likes chimichangas, but the deep-fried burritos didn’t exist before they were invented, right here, in the 1920s.

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Like all great food stories, this one involves an accident. Monica Flin, one of the original owners of El Charro restaurant, dropped a burrito into a pan where she was frying ground-beef tacos. She began to utter a common Spanish epithet, but children were nearby, so she changed it to “chimichanga,” which means “thingamajig” or something like that.

There are claims from other restaurants in other cities, states and countries on the origin of the chimichanga, but Tucson has the best one. It’s our story and we’re sticking to it. Make mine “enchilada-style.”

Contact reporter Tom Beal at tbeal@azstarnet.com or 573-4158.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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