"Best Brunch Ever" at The Monica (Kim Johnston)

Here are the best things the Tucson Foodie team tasted in March 2023


April 1, 2023
By Tucson Foodie

In March, the sun was out and the Tucson Foodie team was out. We visited plenty of local restaurants, bars, pop-ups, and events throughout the month, and now we’re excited to share what we devoured.

Here’s a look back at what the Tucson Foodie team enjoyed the most in March. 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.

Addie Ibarra

Forbes Meat Co.

Sandwich Thursdays are my favorite day of the week. The insanely talented team at Forbes turns their butcher shop into a delicatessen every Thursday. It’s always something new and it’s always something incredible. This week’s was a classic: Club sandwich. Their meatball with spaghetti sandwich was so good even Spaghetti had to get in on the action.

Sandwiches from Forbes Meat Co. (Photos by Addie Ibarra)
The Coronet

The Coronet accidentally tricked me into eating a fully vegetarian meal and I was none the wiser because it was so magnificent. I started my meal with an Aperol Spritzer because their bar program is so fire. The dish consisted of Curried Carrot Soup, followed by more curry: Spicy Green Curry with pomegranate glazed seared tofu. I finished strong with their olive oil cake.

The Coronet (Photos by Addie Ibarra)

Feng-Feng Yeh

Ermanos Bar

No hate to late-night pizza and burrito joints but can we have more variety in late-night eats? So, thankful we have Ermanos as insurance for an “I drank a bit and forgot to eat dinner and it’s past 9 p.m.” situation. The Cashew Curry is the perfect compromise between my healthy and hedonistic side.

(Photo by Feng-Feng Yeh)
5 Points Market & Restaurant

You may want to dip everything in the green sauce that pairs with this perfectly cooked steak, a new item on the revamped 5 Points dinner menu. While you’re at it, get the new shrimp scampi, roasted sunchokes, and you’ll never regret a slice of self-taught pastry chef Chandler Donald’s cakes.

Dinner at 5 Points (Photos by Feng-Feng Yeh)
Dinner at 5 Points (Photos by Feng-Feng Yeh)
Nopalinda

Do not tempt me with vegan nachos because I will eat them all by myself very happily in one sitting! These plant-based nachos from Nopalinda were the perfect ending to the Mexican American Heritage and History Museum and Confluencenter conversation on the future of Tucson!

Vegan Nachos at Nopalinda (Photo by Feng-Feng Yeh)

Hannah Hernandez

El Torero Restaurant

The Death Free Spicy Udon special at El Torero! Keep an eye out for its return. This dish features spicy miso broth, udon noodles, grilled tofu, crispy onion & oyster mushrooms, and a bunch of other tasty stuff.

Death Free Spicy Udon special at El Torero (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)
Samurai Sombrero

The tuna in the Spicy Vegan “Tuna” roll is made with chickpeas. Drooool.

Spicy Vegan “Tuna” roll (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Kim Johnston

Cafe Francais

Noelle at Cafe Francais is the queen of Kouign Ammans.

Cafe Francais (Photo by Kim Johnston)
The Monica

Best Brunch Ever. I mean it… that’s what it’s called.

“Best Brunch Ever” at The Monica (Kim Johnston)
Cafe Desta

For nearly 13 years, Cafe Desta has been serving authentic Ethiopian dishes to visitors of Downtown Tucson. Guests can enjoy proteins such as chicken, lamb, and fish, or skip the meat with a variety of vegan options. Each saucy entree is served with a flat, spongy bread called injera used to sop the side dishes.

Cafe Desta (Photo courtesy of Kim Johnston)

Mark Whittaker

Espressoul Café

The older I get, the more I discredit dairy. Sure, I like ice cream, things covered in cheese, and the occasional latte, but to be honest, most lattes out there are just steaming mugs of milk and like a shot of espresso. To get even more honest here, I’ve never really been a big fan of lattes for the said reason of all that dairy. That’s why all of the lattes from Espressoul Café coffee truck treat me right because they only use oat, almond, and coconut “milk” in their sultry creations. A preview item I was so lucky to be privy to sip was their Baklava Latte. Those are two of my all-time favorite things: baklava and a good strong coffee drink. Sip after sip kept getting better and better. Not too sweet, which I’m not a fan of either, with a good balance of that dairy aspect that doesn’t really exist in this concoction finished with chopped nuts that would make anyone from the Ottoman Empire dazzle with joy. Plus, it had a nice caffeine kick so under the springtime sun I was ready to do dervish spins all day long. Just plain yum. 

Baklava Latte at Espressoul Café (Photo by Mark Whittaker)
Curry Pot

The Curry Pot food truck and I go way back. Amjaad and Shuhana, who run the mobile Sri Lankan cuisine cart, have been keeping me full and happy for almost a decade and I can’t thank them enough for that. A recent addition to their menu is something we can all get behind — Curry Fries. Now, curry from Sri Lanka is a bit different than most that we are accustomed to because it isn’t as forefront in its tongue-punch audacity. It’s smoother and a bit more forgiving, although still packed deep with immense flavor. Put their take on some perfectly fried fries and we have a mouth party about to get stupid lit. What I love about this dish/snack is that it brings everyone to the delicious food yard. Omnivores and vegans can all agree that this is a tasty finger food fete syncopating mess and magnificence that invites all factions of diets and preferences together in saucy harmony. Unless you don’t like delicious food.

Curry Fries at Curry Pot (Photo by Mark Whittaker)
Vero Amore

Oh man, it had been a while — probably well over a year — since we ordered food from Vero Amore. Why? No clue. Don’t ask these things because I’m a food writer, man. Anyway, one night, the wife was craving Vero Amore’s Lussuria Pizza. It’s something that we used to eat on the regular, and that notion alone made me happy that I asked her to marry me in the first place. That pizza is so good in all of its simplicity: red sauce, garlic, housemade mozzarella, the perfect addition of red pepper, and salumi. What is salumi, you may ask? Well, it’s sort of like salami except it isn’t exactly sausage that has been dried and fermented, and more of a cured pork product that is a tad more delicate with a good marble of fatty awesomeness. Put all of those expertly executed components together on some crispy, chewy dough and you have the reason why I had to use a stock image of the Lussuria Pizza because we ate it up without even thinking of taking a photo. It was post-pizza inhalation that I said, “Oh man, I should have had the camera ready.”

Vero Amore’s Lussuria Pizza (Photo courtesy of Vero Amore)

Rita Connelly

Tucson Food Tours

Food Tour finds: mezze from Sinbad’s, jackfruit taco from Tumerico on Fourth Avenue, and the Firenze pizza at Bacio Italiano.

(Photos by Rita Connelly)
Firenze pizza at Bacio Italiano (Photo by Rita Connelly)

Sariya Jarasviroj

Seven Cups Fine Chinese Teas

I spent a restful and delicious Sunday afternoon at Seven Cups with my family.  As a sommelier and lover of complex beverages created in partnership with Mother Nature, I have a deep appreciation for the diversity and inclusion of the offering here. Our middle schooler enjoyed the Seven Cups Eight Treasures herbal tea. The Sticky Rice Tuocha Pu’er was true to its name and took me right back to eating grilled sticky rice on a Bangkok street side. Our college junior marveled at the complexity of the rare and seasonal Early Mogan Yellow tea farmed by a female tea master in the Mogan Mountain area of Zhejiang.

(Photos by Sariya Jarasviroj)

None of us had ever had an oxidized style of tea before. The amber color and natural acidity deepened with each cup. Our group’s favorite was the Emperor’s Orchid from the seasonal menu. The floral nose and layers of flowers, minerals, and stones on the palate had us all sipping very slowly and discussing what we experienced.  Not to be missed are all the teatime treats. The fruit hand pies and scones were mouth-watering enough that we ordered seconds. The mung and red bean cake fed the eyes and just the right crumb. The staff was knowledgeable and so kind. To top off the afternoon, we found a book left by the Tucson Tome Gnome as we were leaving. I was so excited to have such an excellent and also family-friendly foodie experience.

(Photos by Sariya Jarasviroj)
Nook

Due to the high praise from Shane Reiser, I took a maiden breakfast voyage to Nook. This is definitely a spot that I didn’t know I was missing from my 2023 bucket list. Arriving 15 minutes before opening, there were already others waiting to storm the beach with me. In Tucson, I am not accustomed to seeing this kind of foodie enthusiasm so early in the day. Understanding hit my palate with the first bite of my Bahn Mi Benedict. The fragrance of the dish was spot on for a pork Bahn Mi sandwich. My favorite part was how the Hollandaise sauce carried the flavors of the pork, egg, and fresh vegetables in a similar fashion to paté (normally used in sandwiches). I also ordered the cinnamon roll griddle cakes that were highly recommended by Shane last month. They were scrumptious.

Bahn Mi Benedict at Nook (Photo by Sariya Jarasviroj)

Shane Reiser

Beaut Burger

The cauliflower bites from Beaut Burger, but get it as a sandwich on a bun. Packed with flavor. It more than satisfied my craving for a fried chicken sandwich.

Ube Bae Desserts

Ube Bae Desserts’ Pandan Coconut Taiwanese Snowflake Crisp.

Ube Bae Desserts (Photo by Shane Reiser)

Taylor Thoenes

Blue Front

The vegan breakfast scramble from Blue Front’s new brunch menu is excellent (and I’m not even vegan).

Tofu Scramble Hash at Blue Front (Photo by Taylor Noel Photography)

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