After the short three-hour drive, I pulled into the parking lot of the Best Western Coronado Motor Hotel and got a warm welcome from Yvonne Peach. Yvonne and husband John are the proprietors and it won’t take you long to discover they are the city’s unofficial ambassadors. The Best Western Coronado is living, breathing history as we would discover a few short days later on a visit to John and Yvonne’s museum. We gathered at Yuma Landing for hors d’oeuvres and libations. Kilee Hood offered up La Diablita de Yuma, a spicy/sweet cocktail featuring strawberry vodka and jalapeño tequila, while Jeremy Contreras prepared The Chavela, a spicy brew with beer, clamato juice, tabasco, lemon, lime and more. I’ll add the recipes below.
We met Charlie Flynn, director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, at Pivot Point and strolled in the warm Yuma sunshine to see this incredible engineering feat. The name refers to the concrete pivot which allowed the rail bridge trains rode upon to pivot to let boats pass. Flynn is a Stanford grad who says timing is everything. They were able to get substantial funding for several projects he directly oversaw. The East Wetlands area has been transformed with more than 350 acres stripped of non-native vegetation and ‘hobo camps’ and replanted with nearly a quarter-million native trees, plants and shrubs. Perhaps most impressive is the Yuma Siphon, a massive project that began in the early 20th century and functions to this day. The video below will give you an idea of how far ahead of its time it was.
We met Tina Clark at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park for a tour of yet another of Yuma’s many fascinating spots. Used as a storage and distribution hub by the Army in the late 1800s, the depot held a six-month supply of ammunition, food, clothing and more. The depot has been lovingly preserved and restored and five of the original buildings remain intact. After our tour we stopped for pie at with Eva Gaxiola at the Back In Time Pie Shop. I had brambleberry and it was wonderful.
A Yuma Tradition
Rim Glass with either “Margarita” Salt or Tajin (a chili lime salt).
Lemon & Lime Juice (Fresh squeezed)
Bud Light (or favorite beer of choice)
Start with “rimmed” glass, mix in (to taste) above ingredients.
Fill glass with favorite beer.
Garnish with a skewer of green olives.
La Diablita de Yuma
“The Little Devil of Yuma”
Build in Rocks Glass:
Fill glass to top with ice
Combine in rocks glass:
– 2 oz Strawberry Vodka
– 1/2 oz Jalapeno Tequila
– 1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
– Splash of Lemon Juice
– Fill to top with Strawberry juice and stir
Garnish with Chinese Chiles (to look like horns),
found at any local Asian store.
Tom Plant launched WINEormous in 2009 and is a member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Based in Temecula, California, he offers intimate winery tours for no more than seven people. Tour details and pricing are available at www.temecula-tours.com. Call now to book your Temecula Winery Tour at (951) 907-9701! Ask about special discounts.