The month of September was a big one for Tucson.
This year’s Sonoran Restaurant Week was an all-around success with several restaurants witnessing a spike in foot traffic. As for the eaters, we were treated to unique dishes and multi-course dinners at some of our favorite spots in town. Also, Oktoberfest seems to be taking every weekend by storm and continues to spill into the month of October. Many other events are starting to show up as well like the return of Tucson Pride and Tucson Meet Yourself.
However, here’s a look back at what the Tucson Foodie team enjoyed the most in September. Not only are these reminders of the dishes we ate, but they can also be a guide for your own decisions on what to eat here in Tucson.
I went to a wine dinner at the Urban Grove where I got to try chef Adam’s cuisine from Cafe Sonoita who paired the dishes with Deep Sky wines. His menu at the Cafe (in Sonoita) is always evolving. Last week at the wine dinner, I had the balsamic rosemary pork loin with caramelized onions, mashed potatoes, and asparagus.
I also tried the Salmon Trio and Toro at Yamato. I could not believe I’d been sleeping on this gem. I want to have the smoked salmon every day for breakfast.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am still stuffed after Sonoran Restaurant Week. There is one dish from that whirlwind of dining out that I can’t stop thinking about… the Halibut at Maynards. Perfectly laid atop yellow Finn potatoes and lavishly swimming in housemade whey butter. It was delicate to a point where I felt almost bad eating it… almost. Chef Brian Smith is a martial artist when it comes to creating a memorable dining experience. Bravo!
An assortment of Bubbe’s bagels, the best in Tucson. Clockwise: poppy seed, rye-caraway, sesame seed, cheddar jalapeno. The cinnamon raisin in the center didn’t make it home intact. I tried, but resistance was futile.
I’m obsessed with Go Dim Sum’s Red Bean Sesame Balls.
The fluffiest blueberry scone at Tooley’s Cafe.
I might be slightly allergic to shrimp, but I’ll still go out of my way for the Aguachile at Cocteleria La Palma. I even lift the plate to slurp the chili-infused lime juice when I’m done.
Cauliflower is an elite vegetable and the folks at The Barnyard understand.
Every bit as ooey as it is gooey, don’t forget the wet wipes when eating this sticky roll of strawberry lemonade goodness at Nadine’s Bakery.
The PY Wedge Salad looks a bit like an elevated model of the nucleus and tastes magnificent.
I was fortunate to get acquainted with Okashi through a friend and was lucky enough to be invited to try their stuff. Making ice cream in his apartment downtown, Dean of Okashi set me up with a three-flavor variety, and, wow, each one was better than the last. I will say the vegan almond joy was a standout because, um, how is this vegan? Creamy, delicious, flavorful, and even a bit naughty. Okashi steps it up with new flavors each week so it’s best to keep up as this is some of the best Asian-inspired treats and ice cream in Tucson. Huge fan of this guy and his frozen delights. Huge!
The newish food truck Taco Sabrozon is one that I hunt down when I can and an article about them from me is on its way. Their food is amazing but their house salsa is something else. It’s just so tasty and spicy that every time I get some grub from them I always have to ask for more salsa. No, more than that. I will so pay you for more salsa. Here, I have a container in my car, just fill that up. It’s so good and it so goes with anything that they cook up. Heck, it goes well with the oatmeal I eat in the morning. This is Tucson, you know. Put salsa on everything and especially the salsa from Taco Sabrozon.
Usually chilling on a nearly abandoned parking lot on the corner of Euclid and Broadway, Fatboy Sandos is bringing Japanese quick bite street food to the 520. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of trying one of each from these guys but my favorite has to be their egg salad. The eggs are always cooked perfectly, the ratio of seasoning and viscosity is spot on and, oh, that vegan milk bread they use courtesy of August Rhodes is soft and stunning. I can’t decide if this is a breakfast item or a lunch deal or…what? It doesn’t matter. The egg salad sando just is and it is just awesome. Plus look at it. It has the wizened gaze of something that knows it is far yummier than the last thing you ate. Or the next. Can a sando be smug? This one has earned the right.
Crooked Tooth Brewing Company
The best thing I’ve eaten this past month was this incredible pretzel at Crooked Tooth Brewing’s Oktoberfest last weekend. Crooked Tooth used Anelllo’s ovens to bake ‘em. Oh, the beer was also really tasty.
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Why eat a salad at Choice Greens? Go for the mac n’ cheese with bacon and next time remember to take a pic before it completely disappears.
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I’m a sucker for pancakes and Cup Cafe took me by surprise with the amount of flavor packed into theirs. Between the seemingly perfect amount of cinnamon making an appearance midway through each bite, increasing my excitement for the next, and no syrup needed as a means of adding sweetness, I couldn’t resist putting my fork down between bites to really lean into the experience of such a solid pancake.
As pictured, though, this trip was a comprehensive experience that included smashed potatoes, and an ideal selection of hot sauces from Jabari Sauce and Arizona Gunslinger. And, yes, I prefer part of my pancake to include the savory bonus of an over-medium egg dabbled with some heat. I highly recommend it. You’re welcome in advance.
The Ginger Tofu lunch special at Yoshimatsu.
The entire menu at Crisol Bar.
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This was the highlight of the month for me. Simple and nostalgic: the Sonoran Dog from Del Cielo.