Dine like an NFL star at this Mexican restaurant in Phoenix
In late August, a Super Bowl champion, his cannabis business partner, another former NFL football player, and about 30 people from the weed industry and their guests gathered at Asadero North of Sonora in downtown Phoenix.
“I heard that there were a lot of people who had arrived by plane and by car from different states,” explains Caesar Bravo-Valenzuela, chef and son of the restaurant owner. “So I was like, ‘I know I’ve seen this guy before. It’s Jim McMahon, you know, from the 1985 Chicago Bears. He’s on the greatest team ever. So I was like, ‘Okay, this has gotten serious.'”
McMahon was the star quarterback for the Chicago Bears in the mid-1980s. He led his teammates to a victory in 1986 superbowl rolling over the New England Patriots to win the championship.
McMahon, Kyle Turley, the former offensive tackle for the New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, and Eben Britton, a former NFL offensive tackle who was not present at the dinner , were in town to launch RevenantMJ in Arizona. . Their new cannabis line includes flowers, pre-rolls, edibles, vape cartridges, and products featuring the RevenantMJ logo.
The football players and their guests “have been asking for great Mexican food,” says Raul Molina, chief operating officer of Mint Cannabis dispensaries, which have locations in the Valley and Michigan. He knew exactly where to take them.
“I’ve been coming here forever. The place has great prices, huge portions, and it’s as close to Mexico as it gets to Phoenix,” Molina says.
Football enthusiast Bravo-Valenzuela presented the crowd with a buffet of grilled meats.
He and his sisters served pollo asado, carne asada, prime rib and al pastor in portable stainless steel parrillas., a type of grill that contains smoldering coals to keep food warm.
Placed on the wooden and tiled tables, the parrillas were surrounded by rice, beans, flour tortillas imported from Mexico, vegetables, guacamole, house red salsa and charra frijoles, a homemade soup with pinto beans, bacon, cilantro and onion.
“McMahon ate the ribs,” Bravo-Valenzuela recalled. “And the other footballer [Turley] he made chicken tacos on the grill.”
The players toasted each other with glasses of horchata, jamaica and tamarindo aguas frescas, lemonada and bottled Mexican coca-cola. The invitation-only dinner lasted until 9:30 p.m. Guests, all pleased with the Sonoran-style Mexican meal, mingled for about an hour and then called it a night.
The next day, most of the group reconnected at the Mint Dispensary in Guadalupe to meet the football players and introduce the new RevenantMJ products. Afterwards, they attended the Marijuana Industry Trade Association’s Arizona Chapter’s monthly mix in Phoenix, where they talked more about their advocacy for cannabis and the dinner they all enjoyed the night before.
The 16th Street restaurant’s name translates to “a grill in northern Sonora,” says Bravo-Valenzuela.
“My dad used to work at this restaurant as an employee, then around 2003 or 2004 it wasn’t doing so well, so he bought it, created the menu and started working on it from scratch,” he said.
Today, 18 years later, the whole family works at the restaurant, says Bravo-Valenzuela, including “my parents, my two older sisters who are twins, then me, then our two younger sisters, and our 16-year-old daughter. brother who works part time.
It’s not often the family has former NFL superstars in their restaurant. Every day, the small restaurant prepares tacos of lengua, tender cow’s tongue and tripas, tripes served crispy with chicharrones.
Another specialty, the barbacoa burrito, is made with shredded beef shoulder.
“They all take us hours to make,” says Bravo-Valenzuela, “because we chop them, clean them, throw them in the jars, fill them with the spices and everything, then let them sit on the stovetop for a few hours. Everything is simmered.
The family also makes a medium torta, with a bolillo roll, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and a mix of carne asada and pollo asado. The pollo asado combos are the restaurant’s bestsellers, says Bravo-Valenzuela, adding that whole or half chickens come with corn tortillas, salsa, beans and vegetables.
For dessert, “my sister introduced churro cheesecake,” says Bravo-Valenzuela. “It’s very popular because we’ve never really brought desserts here.”
Cinnamon Sweet Churro is rich, creamy and the perfect way to wrap up the meal.
Whether customers are soccer superstars or just fans hoping to watch the game while feasting on a Sonoran barbecue, Bravo-Valenzuela has them covered.
Asadero North of Sonora
122 16th Street North