It was 2 p.m. and the vendors at the Tohono O'Odham swapmeet were all packed up, so we followed our noses to a little white building covered in yellow signs. You can smell the smoke pouring off the grill at Los Mezquites from a block away, an exquisite foreshadowing of the crispy charred meat that's about to enter your life.
But what I got, I honestly hadn't expected: long tubes of bouncy tripa, not to be confused with the spongy white honeycomb tripe you might find in a bowl of Vietnamese pho. These are actual intestines from a cow, which get thrown over an open flame and then chopped up right in front of you on a plank of mesquite wood. They come to the table naked in all their gristly gooey glory, topped with nothing but the crisp, desert air.
Weird fact: The inside of this place is seriously cute, especially for a building that lacks a floor. If they put it up for sale, I would pay good money for that large '80s Southwestern landscape painting of the glistening river stream ...
Location: 5721 S. Westover Ave.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; closed Tuesdays; 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Payment: cash only