Best Things the Tucson Foodie Team Tasted in January 2024

February 1, 2024
By Tucson Foodie

Here’s a look back at what the Tucson Foodie team enjoyed the most during the first month of the new year! 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.

Chrissy Mance

Zayna Mediterranean Restaurant
1138 N. Belvedere Ave.

The falafel at Zayna Mediterranean is lil’ sweet orbs of chickpea perfection. The Zayna fries are their own species, like a steak fry and a seasoned potato wedge fell in love. I dunked mine in the cucumber/mint/garlic yogurt — a delicious accompaniment to Tucson’s most unique fries.

a plate is filled with different types of food on a table
Zayna Mediterranean (Photo by Chrissy Mance)
Rollies Mexican Patio
4573 S. 12th Ave.

I look like a dork when I eat Rollies’ potato tacos because my eyes do this weird roll-back thing and I moan. But they’re just that good.

a plate of food on a table
Potato tacos at Rollies (Photo by Chrissy Mance)

CJ Hamm

Bashful Bandit Barbecue
3686 E. Speedway Blvd.

The new barbecue kid on the block, with a familiar name, has ‘cue fans in the 5-2-0 talking! I heard wonderful things about their brisket, but also that they sell out fast. So, I made sure I got there as they opened the doors one morning to see for myself. Yes, the brisket is the real deal. Tender, beautiful smoke ring, and juicy. The biggest surprise I found, was their housemade Chile Relleno Sausage. It was absolutely stunning in both construction and flavor! I almost don’t want to write this, in fear of arriving one day to hear that the sausages sold out as fast as the brisket! 

a bridge with a building in the background
Patio at Bashful Bandit Barbecue (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)
New York Pizza
8771 E. Broadway Blvd.

This old haunt for east siders (high school kids, particularly), has come under new ownership recently. Along with a revamp of the dining room, their staple, the cheese slice has returned to glory. Perfectly crispy, with a perfect sauce-to-cheese ratio, this New York-style slice brought me back to childhood summers in the NYC.

Indian Twist
4660 E. Camp Lowell Dr.

Chicken Rogan Josh (with garlic Naan) – Tender chicken simmered in a creamy, heavily spiced, and garlic-ed yogurt sauce, served hot and fast in a beautiful setting. This is what Indian food is all about.

El Sur Mexican Restaurant
5602 E. 22nd St.

Red Chile Beef Enchiladas (Christmas-style). This dish is one of my all-time go-to’s. For some reason, my last visit hit differently. Maybe the stars were aligned just right, maybe the cold weather made the chile sauces’ warmth that much more comforting. Whatever it was, it reminded me how lucky I am to live in the city with the best Mexican food in America. 

Hannah Hernandez

Substance Diner
103 N Park Ave. #101 (Screwbean Brewing)

One of my long-time favorites is back! I adore Substance Diners’ breakfast burrito. Substance Diner recently moved to Screwbean Brewing — check out our article about it.

a sandwich sitting on top of a table
Substance Diners’ breakfast burrito (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Matt Sterner

Redbird Scratch Kitchen + Bar
6444 N. Oracle Rd.

“Heaven is a Place on Earth” by Belinda Carlisle was blasting in the background and Redbird as I took my first bite into their Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding. And in that moment, the song wasn’t lying!

a piece of cake on a plate
Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding at Redbird (Photo by Matt Sterner)
Jaime’s Pizza Kitchen
312 E. Congress St.

Once I saw them on the menu, I could not not order the garlic knots at Jaime’s Pizza Kitchen. The crispy outer shell of these knots easily makes them my favorite in town.

a bowl of food on a plate on a table
Garlic knots at Jaime’s Pizza Kitchen (Photo by Matt Sterner)

Rita Connelly

The Parish
6453 N. Oracle Rd.

And yet another tasty lunch. Behold the Ruby Trout at The Parish. Flaky to the touch, Buttery, with a bit of spicy seasonings. Served atop crispy fries, Perfect! Pairs nicely with a crisp, dry white.

a sandwich and fries on a plate
Ruby Trout at The Parish (Photo by Rita Connelly)
Roma Imports
627 S. Vine Ave.

One bite in. I couldn’t wait to take a pic. The Ultimate Roma at Roma Imports. This is a good sandwich!

Check out Rita’s 2022 article about Roma Imports.

a sandwich with meat and vegetables
The Ultimate Roma at Roma Imports (Photo by Rita Connelly)

Sam Jump

Decibel Coffee Works
267 S. Avenida del Convento Bldg #9

The Sea Salt Chocolate cookie from Decibel is divine. Crispy edges: check. Perfect amount of chew: check. Salty, sweet, and delicious: check, check, check. Solid call, too, in adding a layer of chocolate versus chips! Tastily accompanied by my oat milk cortado, also from Decibel. 

a close up of a plate of food with a slice cut out
Sea Salt Chocolate cookie from Decibel (Photo by Sam Jump)
Iron John’s Brewing Company
5350 E. Broadway Blvd. #128

I’m always on the path to find pizza crust that I dig at least as much as the deep dish from Transplant or the perfectly chewy wood-fired varieties at Anello and Falora. The added texture of the slung cornmeal crust at Iron John’s new Broadway location hit the mark!

I went with a build-your-own, which involved no mozzarella, extra sauce, goat cheese, roasted red peppers, arugula, and a pesto swirl.

a pizza sitting on top of a wooden table
Iron John’s Brewing on Broadway (Photo by Sam Jump)
Sushi Garden
3048 E. Broadway Blvd.

The Monkey Brain appetizer at Sushi Garden on Broadway always checks all of the boxes for me when it comes to texture and flavor. They always somehow manage to score perfectly-ripe avocados, and they sit center stage for this dish, which can easily act as a meal of its own.

The Monkey Brain appetizer at Sushi Garden (Photo by Sam Jump)

Shane Reiser

Teresa‘s Mosaic Cafe
2456 N. Silver Mosaic Dr.

I’m not sure if this is actually on the menu at Teresa‘s Mosaic Cafe but if you ask nicely, maybe they will bring you some of their housemade tortilla chips smothered in their delicious mole sauce. It’s how Isaac (the son in the family that owns Teresa) likes his chips.

a bowl of food on a plate
Teresa‘s Mosaic Cafe (Photo by Shane Reiser)

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