Ah, 2013. You were good to Tucson. In fact, 2013 may be the year that put Tucson on the national radar as a town with more than just Sonoran Dogs and saguaro cactus. While there are far more numerous items to list than what’s mentioned below, read on for the biggest ones that stand out to Tucson Foodie.
Tucson received quite a bit of national press this year. It wasn’t just for food, either. With numerous mentions in Food & Wine Magazine, Eater.com, Hipstercrite.com, Culture Map Austin, NPR, Roadfood.com, Cooking Light, Forbes, The Boston Globe, and Esquire, clearly the nation is starting to take notice. In addition, Serial Grillers were selected for Eat St., and 13-year old Haile Thomas appeared on the Food Network’s Kids Cook-Off with Rachel Ray and Guy Fieri.
Downtown Tucson Resurgence
It’s almost inconceivable how many businesses opened in downtown Tucson this year. Here’s a quick recap: Penca, Proper, Diablo Burger, World of Beer, Gio Taco, St. House Rum Bar, Cartel Coffee, Thunder Canyon Brewery, Reilly Pizza, Unplugged Wine Bar, a fabulously redesigned Maynard’s Market, co-working spaces Gangplank and Connect, Maker House, Good Oak Bar, Exo Roast, Tap & Bottle, Agustin Kitchen, and Reilly Beer Garden. Coming soon, of course, is – drum roll – Pizzeria Bianco.
Edible Baja Arizona
In an age when starting a printed magazine focused on a local, niche market might be the dumbest thing you can do, the guys at Edible Baja Arizona said screw it and did it anyway. And it ended up being one of the most successful launches any Edible magazine (part of a larger national network) has ever seen. With in-depth, well-written articles and excellent photography, Edible Baja Arizona is a sure sign that the food scene and food awareness here in Tucson is rich, alive, and growing.
Broadway Village Area
Keep an eye on the southeast corner of Broadway and Country Club. Falora Pizza opened up here this year, and Sushi Garden is in there, too. Falora’s owner, Ari Shapiro has a new speakeasy style bar on the way, Sugar Sweet Bakery is across the street, and there’s word that a cashew-based ice cream joint is coming soon.
Hamilton Distillers is the first legal distiller in Tucson. And, we aren’t talking about quadruple distilled vodka, either. Whiskey Del Bac, their triple product offering, is a whiskey inspired by – and made in – the Scotch tradition of malting barley over peat smoke. The thing is, they smoke their barley over mesquite rather than peat. It’s only available in select restaurants at this time. But, word is they’re good to go for phase two, which includes a beefed up production with bottles for sale. If you’re into Scotch, you have to give this a try.
Tucson Foodie Hosts On The Menu Live
Filling in for Matt Russell on his noted Saturday show, On the Menu… Live, Tucson Foodie led the show with guest appearances by the associate publisher, Jared McKinley, of Edible Baja Arizona, Noel Patterson, Stephen Paul of Hamilton Distillers, and Kevin Fink from Zona 78. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that big of a highlight. 😉