The Ginzo Cowboy at Mama Louisa's (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

The Best Things The Tucson Foodie Team Tasted In July 2023

August 1, 2023
By Tucson Foodie

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

Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

Ahí Wonton Nachos at Hacienda del Sol’s Tiki Tuesday. I’ve had the Sunday brunch here, too, and it’s a can’t-miss. It’s all good, plus the views are solid.

a plate of food on a table
Ahí Wonton Nachos at Hacienda del Sol (Photo by Addie Ibarra)
Zio Peppe

Everything is good at Zio Peppe. We got the Figgy Stardust — incredible. But you know what really impressed me? That even the Pasta Alfredo, which in my opinion, always gets the least amount of love, made me want to lick the plate clean. We finished strong with the Chocoflan — it tasted incredibly authentic.

a piece of chocolate cake on a plate
Chocoflan at Zio Peppe (Photo by Addie Ibarra)
The Dandelion Lounge

These cocktails at Dandelion Lounge were easily some of the best cocktails I had in the entire month of July.

a glass of orange juice on a table
Cocktails at The Dandelion Lounge (Photo by Addie Ibarra)
Hillhouse Coffee

The Chai Latte with oat milk at Hillhouse has become my new favorite way to treat myself, and, boy, do I like treating myself.

Chai Latte at Hillhouse Coffee (Photo by Addie Ibarra)

Edie Jarolim

Phở Ngân

First time visit to the Vietnamese Phở Ngân in the Crossroads complex — definitely not the last. First time taste of bánh xèo — definitely not the last.  Listed on the menu as a Vietnamese rice crepe, it’s more akin to a taco, with the outer shell folded over and crispy. Inside are bean sprouts, shrimp, and slices of beef — insertion of basil leaves is optional. Portions are huge; my friend and I split an order, and, along with the delicate spring rolls, had more than enough for lunch.

a plastic container filled with different types of food on a plate
Phở Ngân (Photos by Edie Jarolim)

Feng-Feng Yeh

Bisbee Breakfast Club

Scratch that sloppy diner food itch with the Triple B Veggie Burger at Bisbee Breakfast Club! The black bean burger is buried in sautéed onions and mushroom, cheese, and some decadent drippy sauce. I recommend licking your fingers because a napkin won’t cut it!

a person sitting at a table with a plate of food
Triple B Veggie Burger at Bisbee Breakfast Club (Photo by Feng-Feng Yeh)
5 Points Market & Restaurant

The new Dry Fried Eggplant dish on the 5 Points menu is probably one of the best dishes I’ve ever had in Tucson! It is almost like a crunchy eggplant french fry with lots of umami: featuring a caramelized cabbage purée, chiltepin guajillo oil, kimchi relish, and herbs. Chef Miles Bartlett knows how to pack a flavor punch filled with a combo of pleasing textures to amuse any bouche!

a plate of food on a table
Dry Fried Eggplant at 5 Points (Photo by Feng-Feng Yeh)

While you’re at it get the incredible rotating desserts at 5 Points — a peach cardamom cobbler pie during the height of the peach season, thank you, Chef Chandler Donald. And dessert doesn’t count unless you get double. The new vegan offerings of Houlden’s Rise Above at 5 Points is genius. The most moist rich chocolate cake layers set between prickly pear is an exercise in pure bliss.

a piece of chocolate cake on a plate
5 Points and Houlden’s Rise Above desserts (Photo by Feng-Feng Yeh)

Hannah Hernandez

Blue Willow

The Pear Cinnamon Coffee Cake at Blue Willow is vegan, gluten-free, and so fluffy.

a half eaten piece of cake on a plate
Pear Cinnamon Coffee Cake at Blue Willow (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Jackie Tran


Nightjar’s newest cocktail menu additions tickle my fancy with ingredients such as matcha honey. This cocktail pictured was one of their specials, subtly sweet with roasted carrot.

Nightjar (Photo by Jackie Tran)

Death Free Foodie’s vegan ramen special at OBON showcased a variety of textures and a creamy-but-not-heavy broth.

a bowl of food sitting on top of a wooden table
Death Free Foodie Ramen at OBON (Photo by Jackie Tran)
Houlden’s Rise Above

I still occasionally treat myself to Houlden’s Rise Above and their superb laminated dough pastries. They let me try the fizzy prickly pear tea they were experimenting with, and was just the refreshment I needed that summer morning.

a doughnut sitting next to a cup of coffee
Pastries and Tea at Houlden’s Rise Above (Photo by Jackie Tran)
Owls Club

I also indulged in a variety of cocktails from the new menu at Owls Club. My favorite was the Vagabond, a combination of tequila, aquavit, honey, orange, lime, and sage.

a wooden table topped with plates of food on a plate
Cocktails at Owls Club (Photo by Jackie Tran)

Kim Johnston

Bride + Brie

An eight-person charcuterie board made by Bride + Brie that I took up a mountain and ate by myself. 

food on a picnic table
Charcuterie board made by Bride + Brie (Photo by Kim Johnston)

Mark Whittaker

Blue Willow

It’s like super crazy hot right now. Breaking records. Still, I’m a glutton for punishment and Blue Willow has one of the best patios in town. Now that they’ve installed high-powered fans with misters back there, the patio is far less H-E-double-hockey-sticks hot during the afternoon hours. One thing that I had to help break the torridity was ordering their Lavender Blueberry Lemonade. It’s so refreshing — made with fresh lemonade, lavender syrup, and seasonal blueberries. It’s easily one of the sweetest and tastiest drinks I have tipped back in quite a while, and I tip back a good amount of drinks.

Lavender Blueberry Lemonade at Blue Willow (Photo by Mark Whittaker)
Holy Focaccia

Okay, maybe it’s because I’ve caught a bit of the Barbie fever that’s been going around but I have been feeling the pink. First, it was the Lavender Blueberry Lemonade and now it’s the Limoncello Pistachio Cake from Holy Focaccia. The cake itself isn’t pink but the box that it comes in sure is. The cake was so moist, delicious, delicate, and so very addictive. The best part is that the cakes from Holy Focaccia aren’t full-on “cake” sized. They’re actually handhelds that can be gobbled up in a few bites.

Lavender Blueberry Lemonade at Holy Focaccia (Photo by Mark Whittaker)
La Chaiteria

The thing is, I wasn’t planning on ordering anything from the La Chaiteria truck when it was parked at the farmers market. But when I ran into owner and chef Wendy Garcia, whom you may know for being the force behind Tumerico, I just had to get something. Luckily, she steered me in the direction of the Vegan Huevos Rancheros and all I can say is mucho gracias! Everything was seasoned to an unbelievable level of wow. I don’t normally have salad before noon but the one that came replete on this dish was a most welcome addition. The thing was heavy, too. A lot of food and a lot going on. Great, now I’m hooked on yet another dish that Wendy has created. It’s vegan so that’s okay right? Right? 

a plate of food on a table
Vegan Huevos Rancheros at La Chaiteria (Photo by Mark Whittaker)

Matt Sterner


The Shawarma Fries from the food truck Friesy were mighty fine. The fries were topped with chicken, garlic sauce, and diced pickles. You can also get it as a sandwich but I stuck with the fries because I wanted to make a mess all over the bar at Casa Video.

a plate of food on a table
Shawarma Fries from Friesy (Photo by Matt Sterner)
Mama Louisa’s Italian Restaurant

The Ginzo Cowboy at Mama Louisa’s (which is on the Guido-Q menu) is one of the best sandwiches I’ve tasted in a very long time. It’s well worth the disaster it left on my beard.

a cut in half sandwich sitting on top of a wooden cutting board
The Ginzo Cowboy at Mama Louisa’s (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)
Café à La C’Art

There’s nothin’ like a coffee, a Dragoon IPA, and the Chilaquiles from Café à La C’Art to get your Saturday morning off on the right foot. It was so good I took a three-hour nap afterward.

a plate of food on a table
Chilaquiles from Café à La C’Art (Photo by Matt Sterner)

Max Wingert

Mama Louisa’s Italian Restaurant

The Calabrian Gnocchi from Mama Louisa’s was incredible. A perfect, rich blend of sweet, spice, and savory flavors surrounding soft pasta and crunchy bites of veggies and meats.

a close up of a bowl of food on a plate
Calabrian Gnocchi at Mama Louisa’s (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

For a full guide of classic Italian Restaurants in Tucson like Mama Louisa’s, check out our new guide.

Sam Jump

Oralia Coffee + Kitchen

The French Toast from Oralia Coffee + Kitchen’s newly-launched breakfast menu won me over at first bite. The tanginess of their house-made berry compote paired with the sweetness of the fluffy brioche was a match made in brunchy heaven alongside my cup o’ Decibel coffee. I highly recommend the potato hash, too! A commonly under-seasoned side item, Oralia nailed it by layering their cubed spuds with garlic and onion. Fun fact, if you’ve got an aversion or allergy to garlic or onion, they can still potato you up accordingly.

Shane Reiser

Istanbul Mediterranean Cuisine & Bar

The Turkish tea at Istanbul.

The Turkish tea at Istanbul (Photo by Shane Reiser)
Goodness Fresh

The Shroom Burger at Goodness.

a sandwich sitting on top of a table
Shroom Burger at Goodness (Photo by Shane Reiser)
MotoSonora Brewing Company

The PCH Shandy at MotosSonora!

PCH Shandy at MotoSonora Brewing (Photo by Shane Reiser)

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