Sonoran Saguaro and winter. Manuel’s dinner.

Saguaro shadow
Our Sonoran Desert winter prognosticator, according to Phoenix’s 12News Facebook page.

This isn’t Punxsutawney  PA and we have no groundhogs here to prognosticate, but we have other means in the Sonoran Desert. And we don’t even need to bundle up or have a special event to determine whether there will be six more weeks of winter. Channel 12 News provided the accompanying image at their Facebook page today and I borrowed it to share with you. See it at

Searching for a place to eat tonight I thought of Valle Luna, on Cave Creek Rd. I have seen it often and in checking reviews thought it would be a great place to eat. Besides, we are looking for other places we can go with our monthly Royal Palm Birthday Bash. As we approached the restaurant we encountered a stack of vehicles trying to get into the parking lot. Not a good sign! We finally got into the parking lot and could not find a parking space, so we decided we would not get served very soon. Where to go next?

Chicken Rolled Quesadilla
Elaine’s Chicken Rolled Quesadilla from Manuel’s

We had many options, but I remembered the Manuel’s further south on Cave Creek Rd. We have eaten there before as well as at several other Manuel’s Mexican Restaurants & Cantinas in the Valley; there are seven of them around Phoenix. While the parking lot there was mostly full, there was plenty of seating and we got in right away.

Chicken Carne Picado
My Chicken Carne Picado from Manuel’s

We had excellent fare, as usual. We started with margaritas: Elaine had the Ultimate, I had the Turquoise. Both good. Elaine ordered the Rolled Chicken Quesadilla and I ordered the Chicken Carne Picado. Lots to bring home. For dessert we ordered a sizzling apple pie to go; of course they could not make it sizzle in the takeout container, so it turned out to be essentially apple pie a la mode.

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