This month marked a new year of new dishes, beverages, and experiences at local restaurants, bars, pop-ups, events, and more. We ended up with a pretty diverse list this month.
Here's a look back at what the Tucson Foodie team enjoyed the most in January. 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 went to Le Rendez-vous and it was abundantly clear why they were listed as one of Arizona's Best French Restaurants. I usually wouldn't have opted for a puff pastry for dessert, but the pithivier was in a league of its own. This reminds me, and it pains me to have to say, but be nice to your servers. Show some kindness.
The Little One
I also went to The Little One for the first time. I cannot believe I'd never been. I will never make that mistake again. I was so glad to be able to have an opportunity to order the Surprise Plato.
Want to have a perfect day? Here’s the ingredients - pick a sun-filled spot on the patio at Saint Charles, order a Ray Ray’s Sonoran Spirit Tea (it’s on tap there), and DoorDash Go Dim Sum. Best day ever!
It really had been a minuto since me and two of my friends had eaten at El Minuto (probably at least 10-15 years) It felt nostalgic. Even a woman sitting next to us was recounting her pride in the Tucson cheese crisp. It made us all realize how special this not quite a quesadilla, not quite a pizza crispy crunchy cheesy goodness really is! The green chili at El Minuto Cafe is a rite of passage.
Only available by pop up but probably the most interesting and beautiful iteration of Southeast Asian and Mexican fusion I’ve ever had was this tostada by chef Kusuma Rao that complimented an intimate art retrospective of their father’s incredible painting and drawings. Follow @ruchikala.
New on the 5 Points dinner menu is this hearty Kale Caesar Salad that has a thick cashew-based sauce so vegans and almost all eaters can rejoice for a non-wimpy salad classic Fun fact: did you know the Caesar salad was invented in Mexico by an Italian man? The toasted fatty bread chunks take you to another dimension. Go pro and have it with cheese, anchovies, and/or chicken.
A James Beard nomination is a great excuse to try chef Wendy Garcia’s Tumerico but I love using the excuse of going there to fulfill my veggie intake. Why drink a smoothie or a salad when you can have the tastiest huitlacoche tostadas, and red chile tamales stuffed with perfectly seared potatoes and jackfruit? These veggies definitely have “all the powers.”
Ensenada Street Food’s new breakfast menu is here! Chilaquiles, pancakes, breakfast burritos, and more. The chorizo and potato breakfast burrito is my favorite. Breakfast is available Tuesday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Chef Wendy Garcia is a James Beard semifinalist, and Tumerico made Yelp’s list of ‘Top 100 Places To Eat!’ Pretty cool. My favorite order at Tumerico: the red chili vegan tamale plate, a lavender latte, and a 1220 Bakery scone.
As a certified curry fanatic and a longtime fan of Panda One, I had to try their #37, the Singapore Noodle. Never had it before but one cold, cold night I decided to give it a go — so glad I did. This dish is now one of my regular customers and the not-so-great photo I took of it recently was probably my third or fourth time eating it this month. It was late and I just wanted to eat. The curry isn’t overpowering, a good amount of heat, and the cuts of vegetables, pork, chicken, and a bunch of shrimp hiding in a vast nest of perfect al dente thin noodles always make me really happy. Definitely give this dish a shot because yum.
As a food writer, as a guy with a metabolism the speed of slugs racing in syrup, and as a guy officially in the middle of his middle age, I have to eat as healthy as possible when not working. Thankfully, the good kids at Sleeping Frog Farms provide the best-tasting pink grapefruits I have had the pleasure to eat since moving to Arizona almost 20 years ago. These are pink grapefruits — not those ruby reds you get at the supermarket which is way too bitter and probably the reason you’re not all that into grapefruits. Sleeping Frog Farm’s grapefruits are juicy, tart, tasty, and packed with tons of nutrients that my well-abused belly and system definitely need.
Recently the wife and I were extremely fortunate to be a guest at one of Ador Cuisine’s coursed dinners which were so extraordinary that it easily became an article. Chef Adrian Ortega, along with his partner Raymond Felisicimo, created a dazzling display of ideas, flavors, and textures but a standout that night, for me anyway, was the dish titled “Metamorphosis”. Fourth in the line of scrumptiousness, Metamorphosis featured herbed shrimp, gaia spirit cabbage, a caper cherry tapenade, spiralized butternut squash, locally grown arugula, and white Sonoran wheat beans. It was so delicious as it was but when you poured this gaia water Moscato reduction over it the whole sense and sensation of the dish transformed. Hence the name. It's really difficult to explain in words that incredible experience so all I can think of how to describe it is you know that meme of some dude having his mind blown while the universe explodes around him? Yeah, that.