November was an all-you-can-eat food fest and the month of December followed suit with its friends and family gatherings, fancy dining experiences, and lots of eggnog.
Here's a look back at what the Tucson Foodie team enjoyed the most in December. Also, 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 enjoyed a Fried Chicken Sandwich at Time Market and it is arguably one of the best pieces of poultry between two slices of delicious bread I've ever put in this gullet of mine. The spicy version is no joke. I ordered a kale salad to offset the fried chicken :laughing: and wine. Time Market is just so cool.
I tried and loved the ThunderKush Burger at Thunder Bacon Burger Co. It was awesome. It had fire-roasted green chilis, smoked blue cheese, bacon, and raspberry preserves. The bread is super light and airy which is exactly what you want when your burger is so jam-packed with meat and other deliciousness. Also, they have Hot Cheeto dusted tater tots which are just the icing on the cake.
The evening menu at Five Points also slaps. We split the Cachete Ahogado — braised beef cheek, hominy grits, brown butter jicama, parmesan, and the Autumnal Nian Gao with local mushrooms, pistachio, and parmesan. The cocktail program is excellent, too. A perfect way to unwind.
There is only one person that comes to mind around the Christmas Season… local artist Danny Martin. Not following? Well, then you need to bite into the dreamy chimi concoction named after him at El Torero. There isn’t an ingredient missing in this tightly tucked fried present covered in Christmas fashion red and green sauce. I mean if this doesn’t say merry Christmas, you filthy animal… what does?
Everything about the menu at Locale is spot on, but the appetizers there are to be praised. Any day of the week you can chill on the sun-soaked patio and laugh with friends over Aperol spritzers and the best apps around, Fried artichokes! Meatballs! Calamari! Come on… let’s head there now!
The classic Tres Leches cake is kicked up a couple of notches with the moist and creamy Cinco Leches confection at El Cisne. I’m not sure what the five milks in this recipe are but can attest that they work well together, complemented by subtle hints of cinnamon and citrus.
If adding birria to ramen is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. This Japanese-Mexican fusion dish pairs the mild flavors of ramen noodles with the strong and aromatic flavors of birria, putting an exciting twist to comfort food.
In my first installment celebrating the club sandwiches to be loved and devoured here in Tucson, my main goal was to not play favorites. Well, as I am currently working on "part two" of that series, I have to fess up and say that the club sandwich from the Arizona Inn was a standout among a selection of greats. The thing was huge, not expected from a boutique hotel featuring a white linen dining area and a library that looks and smells of rich mahogany. Chef Aron Fonte-Grushka just kills it with his version of the legendary three-tiered sandwich. Now, the others I mentioned in my article were all beautiful and delicious in their own right, but the club sandwich from the Arizona Inn gets to wear the tiara and sit at the cool kid's table this month.
As a frequent visitor of the Rillito Park farmer’s market on Sunday, I was introduced to the local coffee company Adventure Coffee Roasting over a year ago, and so far I have not been disappointed with any of their varieties. Well, I haven’t had any of the decaf but I assume it's as good as the fully-charged versions. What I also love is that you get a free cup of coffee when you purchase a pound and, let me tell you, in the early thralls of the market, especially now that it is quite chilly, I really appreciate that offer. My preference is towards their darker roasts, which have a deep complex flavor and rich body, but overall all of Adventure Coffee’s coffee is so darn good.
Now, I am keeping this one short as my article on Samurai Sombrero, a new food truck providing Mexican influenced sushi rolls, has not hit the waves of Tucson Foodie yet. But let me tell you, everything that I was fortunate to try out was superb, inventive, and oh so gosh darn yummy. So consider this here blurb a teaser for what is to come because all of the food from Samurai Sombrero is most excellent. Party on, Tucson!
The Saganaki Burger is now one of my favorites in Tucson. As they brought the beast of a burger to me at the bar, they lit the cheese on fire so that it'd melt in a flavorful fashion — grabbing everyone's attention, too (my burger was purposely on fire, folks). Oh, and they've got incredibly priced Dragoon IPAs as well and the burgers are equally as wonderful at Opa's Grill on Fourth Avenue.
I probably eat at El Chinito Gordo once a month but this time I got something different — behold the birria chimichanga. It was cold outside that night so I had it blanketed in a tasty red sauce (enchilada style).
With so many great options and a passion for pie (not to mention easy cleanup and leftovers for tomorrow), we have pizza probably once a week. Here is a large cheese from Time Market, followed by a bite of one of their killer brownies and a glass or two of pinot noir — dinner is complete. By the way, Time Market has a host of wine options prices for every budget. Beers aplenty as well.