Gluten-FREEstyle: Improvising Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free On University Boulevard

From graduation ceremonies to performing arts and Broadway shows, Centennial Hall has long attracted crowds hungry for entertainment. Equally enticing are the many nearby restaurants on University Boulevard. Diverse menus offer plentiful dining options all within walking distance of the venue. A good show paired with a better meal is one of our favorite date-nights. Below are three ways to feast gluten and dairy-free.

Pasco Kitchen & Lounge

820 E University Boulevard, Tucson, AZ 85719
Big Boy Burger at Pasco (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Big Boy Burger at Pasco (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Chef Ramiro Scavo’s modern take on basic, authentic dishes is admirable. A generous amount of fresh herbs and rich seasoning complement the simple ingredients, inviting a different flavor in every bite. He approaches his cocktail menu the same as his food. With multiple components to each handcrafted item, somehow everything finds a perfect balance.

The shared meal:

  • Big Boy Burger – Grass-fed all natural beef patty, 12-hour braised pork belly, fried farm fresh egg, house-whipped organic hollandaise (contains clarified butter – sub with mayo and red-wine vinegar mix), Oaxaca cheese (request without for dairy-free), organic spring mix, vine ripe tomato, red onion, country bread toast (sub with gluten-free bun)
  • Patio Herb Collins – Plymouth gin, freshly muddled cucumber, sweet basil syrup, house made sweet & sour
Patio Herb Collins at Pasco (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Patio Herb Collins at Pasco (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Recommended:

  • Quinoa Super Food Bowl – Citrus-grilled white prawns, quinoa steamed with organic vegetables, garden herbs, grilled Tofu, cucumber and mint tzatziki (request without for dairy-free), house–made chili oil and organic baby spinach
  • Anita Street Corn Tortilla Taco – Served with pico de gallo, refried beans, shredded cabbage, Oaxaca cheese (request without for dairy-free) and lime. Choice of grass fed braised beef, grilled natural chicken, heritage pork, or organic vegetables

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Lacey and Suede say:

Menu items that denote “gluten-free” allow us to eat more comfortably and reduce Lacey’s fear of later feeling sick. As always, items like a gluten-free bun are susceptible to cross-contamination, but our server, Nico, did a thorough job in confirming the safety of our choices.

For more information, visit pascokitchen.com.

Wilko Winebar + Eatery

943 E University Boulevard, Tucson, AZ 85719
Trentino Salad at Wilko (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Trentino Salad at Wilko (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Sister restaurant to The B Line and Time Market, the expectation of high-quality ingredients did not disappoint. Vibrant colors and crisp textures speak to the menu’s freshness. Manager Jon Kane fully embraced our need for gluten and dairy-free options.

“Our kitchen likes playing around with stuff,” said Kane. “We enjoy the challenge.”

Specially prepared was a three-course meal that made us hum and dance to every mouthful.

The shared meal:

  • Watermelon Gazpacho – With pickled rind, dill, feta (request without for dairy-free) and a mild chili-spice
  • Trentino – Arugula, radicchio, Italian parsley, parmigiano (request without for dairy-free), toasted walnuts, celery, lemon vinaigrette
  • Risotto – Roasted onion, summer squash (request dish without butter and cheese for dairy-free – Chef added garlic and roasted tomato for body and flavor)
  • Lavender-Grapefruit Lemonade – Daily, house-made selections
  • T.C.W. Dry Hopped Cider – Naturally gluten-free, brewed in Washington from organic apples
Full Spread at Wilko (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Full Spread at Wilko (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Recommended:

  • Spring Hen (Top Knot Farm, Benson, AZ) – 1/2 chicken, charred okra panzanella (sub with side salad for gluten-free), pickled watermelon
  • Bavette Steak Frites (Niman Ranch) – Salsa verde, herb fries (uses shared fryer), lemon aioli

Lacey and Suede say:

With a “let’s make it happen” mentality, management graciously provided a memorable gluten and dairy-free experience. There was no hesitation in guiding menu options. All allergy concerns were eagerly addressed.

For more information, visit barwilko.com.

Saguaro Grill

Tucson Marriott University Park – 880 E Second Street, Tucson, AZ 85719
Shrimp Lettuce Wraps (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps at Saguaro Grill (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Welcomed by a giant skylight and the soothing sound of a large waterfall, this hotel restaurant sits left of the lobby atrium. The menu makes an obvious attempt to satisfy a varying demographic. Relative to the area, it’s an unconventional choice, but with flavor combinations like spicy orange vinaigrette, ancho lobster, ancho maple, and apple fennel, it has the potential to compete with University Boulevard’s most popular spots.

The shared meal:

  • Shrimp Lettuce Wraps – Roasted corn, blistered tomatoes, avocado slices and mustard-chile vinaigrette (request without cheese for dairy-free)
  • Carne Asada Street Tacos – Corn tortillas, lime slaw, guacamole and salsa (request without cheese for dairy-free)
  • Strawberry Margarita  – With house-made, jalapeño-infused tequila
Strawberry Margarita at Saguaro Grill (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Strawberry Margarita at Saguaro Grill (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Recommended:

  • Caramelized Apple Salad – Romaine, toasted walnuts, tomatoes, cucumber, blue cheese (request without for dairy-free) with spicy orange vinaigrette
  • Chipotle Pork Tenderloin – Pumpkin, cilantro, mango, grilled squash

Lacey and Suede say:

The easiest way to protect against gluten and dairy consumption was to stick with familiar dishes. Although our server did attempt to relay questions to the chef, it remained unclear what options would best accommodate our unique appetite.

For more information, visit marriott.com.

Lacey & Suede blog about fashion, food, and fun at laceyandsuede.com.