Cheers to Love at Sauce

The Sauce Pizza and Wine restaurant by my house is always packed and with the deal that they’ve got going for Valentine’s Day the line will be out the door.


Sauce is offering one 12 inch pizza ($11.50), one of their fab hand-tossed salads (my fave is their Classic Caesar) and two glasses of wine for  $22.00.

A little romance, a little pizza….what more could you get ask for?


Hearts Afire at Kingfisher on V-Day

Kingfisher has always been one of my favorite places in Tucson. The food is a little bit down home; a little bit uptown. The vibe is sophisticated especially in the bar.This 20-plus year dining gem has won Best Seafood many years running from various publications and with good reason. The team there knows what their doing and their talent and passion is apparent.

For Valentine’s Day Kingfisher is pulling out all the stops with a special ala carte menu that include their world-famous steamed lobster tail, seared scallops and Long Island Duckling. Of course, a fill slate of chilled on-the-shell oysters will be available.

 Dinner will be served from 5-11pm. No happy hour offered on the holiday.  Reservations are a must.  Call (520) 323-7739 or visit .

oysterfest 002Oyster BAr

Seasonal Oysters, ½ dozen, market price.

Gulf of Mexico Oysters, ½ dozen. 13

Seasonal Selection Pacific NW Oysters

Grilled and Chilled Gulf Shrimp, ½ dozen. 15

House Smoked Ruby Red Trout, red onion jam, hot mustard, croutons. 11

Oyster Bar Tasting, gulf oysters (4), grilled shrimp (6), ½ smoked ruby trout, bay scallop ceviche, condiments. 26

Really Big Oyster Bar Tasting, chilled, 1 pound Lobster (split,) 10 ea grilled and chilled shrimp, 10 seasonal oysters, 1 order smoked trout, 1 order ceviche, smoked mussel salad, condiments. 110.00


New England Clam Chowder, oyster crackers. 7.5

Lobster Bisque, lobster, sherry cream, garlic toast, chives. 12

Seasonal Mesclun Greens, radicchio, Kalamata Olives, grape tomatoes, red onion, balsamic-lemon dressing. 6.5

Ahi Tuna Poke, Wakame salad, golden beets, sesame seeds, soy, honey, served up. 14

Spinach-Shaved Brussels sprout salad, dried cranberries, bacon, scallions, hot bacon maple vinaigrette, spiced pecans.10

Traditional Caesar Salad, anchovy, sourdough crouton, parmesan. 7.5

Steamed Black Mussels, Sriracha, fish broth, sweet butter. 15

Baked Oysters “Storyville,” (5) crab meat, champagne, crème fraiche, cayenne, Parmesan, sweet butter 18


Macadamia Nut Crusted Hawaiian Fish lemongrass butter sauce, Texmati rice pilaf, sautéed spinach, fried sweet potatoes. 26

Steamed Whole Maine Lobster, (1#) herb butter, sautéed green beans, Texmati rice. 38

Seared Scottish Atlantic Salmon, roasted beet, sweet onion tumble, herbed aioli, sautéed spinach, Texmati rice. 27

Kingfisher’s Bouillabaisse, blue crab, scallops, shrimp, cod, mussels, tomato, garlic saffron broth, rouille crouton. 34

Grilled Sea Scallops, braised leeks and oven-dried tomatoes, roasted mushroom risotto, sautéed green beans. 28

Roasted and Carved “Prime” Beef Tenderloin, Blue Crab-Pichu berry relish, sautéed asparagus, mashed Yukon gold potatoes, red wine glaze. 38

Pan Seared Arctic Char, red shrimp chermoula, pigeon peas and rice, lemon butter sauce, sautéed broccolini 26

Grilled ½ Long Island Duckling, prickly pear barbecue sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, sautéed green beans. 23

Grilled Sea Bass, Romesco sauce, white bean ragout, tomato, rosemary, grilled oyster mushrooms, Kalamata olives, broccolini. 28

Grilled Angus Beef N.Y. Steak, glace di Viande, au Poivre butter, mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, grilled green beans and onions. 33

Rockin’ at Carriage House

Carriage House has some tasty events happening in February.

On Saturday February 9th, they’ll be celebrating their annual Chinese New Year party.

The menu comes from all over China and I suspect has roots in Chef Devon Sanner’s recent trip to the UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy gathering in Macao.

Shunde Hamachi Crudo

ginger, seaweed, candied jalapeño, shiso

Macao Soup Dumpling, Duck Confit Spring Roll, Shrimp Jiaozi

Five Spice Quail

Shanghai savory nian gao

Crispy Skin Pork Belly

hoisin, pickled vegetables

Sesame Ice Cream

kumquat, mandarin, pandan, almond tuile

Kick off is at 6:00 p.m. and includes a welcome cocktail and half bottle of wine per person

$65.00 +22% service and 8.7% tax per person

There will be a Lion Dance performance by Jade Lion

Then on Valentine’s Day bring you and your sweetie can enjoy

Love on the Lido Deck

The menu is all out romantic:

SiIkie Tart
red wine braised silkie chicken in savory tartlet

Chorizo y Huevos
Spanish chorizo, deviled quail eggs, truffle salted potato

Rouged Cheeks
braised beef cheek tostaditas with chiltepin salsa

Grab em in the Biscuits
barbecue glazed pork belly biscuits with bread and butter pickled chayote

Ménage Artichauts
grillés artichoke, preserved lemon, smoked paprika, labneh, and
pomegranate spiral sandwiches

Pink on Pink
house-cured gravlox, beet horseradish panna cotta, shrimp cracker

Getting Some Action Stations

Hot Taco
achiote shrimp taco, caramelized pineapple

Stuffed Loins
roasted pork loin stuffed with habanero + pepita pesto, on soft buns

Solid cocktails

Dirty Knees
mesquite honey Bees Knees gelée, cucumber cup, candied lemon zest

peach nectar and sparkling wine gelée in kumquat cup

Happy endings

Assorted sweet bites

6:00 pm
$50 + tax / person


or call

520 615-6100

On the Menu…

Yesterday I had the privilege of appearing on the radio program, On the Menu…. Live hosted by the charming and funny Matt Russell. The show was held at Jonathan’s Cork and co-hosted by  chef Alan Zeman. Both choices were quite appropriate in light of the situation.

This isn’t my first time on the show but sadly it may be my last because the radio station that the show is on was bought out and the format is changing.

Matt is working on finding a new home and I along with the rest of the Tucson culinary community is hoping that happens soon. Not having Matt on the radio leaves a huge gap in Tucson.

For almost a decade, Matt has brought together the chefs, mixologists, food purveyors, food writers and a full menu of people who make a difference in Tucson hospitality.

His passion is clear. He loves food and drink and he loves to talk and write about all the wonders of Tucson’s dining scene. He and the show have promoted the food, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, events and people in town. He gets excited about a new cocktail. He waxes poetic about a new dish or new restaurant. He’s done wonders for people’s careers, mine included. He’s been the emcee at all sorts of food related events. In a word, he’s a gem.

People love him, not just because he’s so good at promoting Tucson’s dining options, but because he is sincere in his work. Filling an hour on the radio is harder than it looks (believe me I hosted the show once and it was fun but challenging) yet Matt handles each show with ease and enthusiasm.

For my part, he made a difference in people learning about my work. He introduced me to so many great people and we shared so many great meals together on the air and off. I know he’s done the same for others.

Matt will continue his column On the Menu in Inside Tucson Business

and no doubt will be hosting numerous culinary events around the city. He’ll continue his work with his company, Russell Communications.

And if we’re lucky we’ll soon be listening to the charming style of Tucson’s treasure, Mr. Matt Russell.

Proof Proves True

This should have been written last week but somehow things got in the way.

With the kitchen still in a state of chaos we decided to check out Proof Artisanal Pizza and Pasta, the new restaurant from the team at Union Public House/Reforma Modern Mexican. We had high hopes and we were not disappointed.

If you ever ate ate at any one of the other eateries that was in that space you’ll be surprised at the redo. Gone are all the antique white frills. Instead there is a more relaxed look fitting for a casual pizza spot. Off the entryway there is a window where you can see the pizzas being made. The patio was also redone making it more inviting and a great spot to spend an evening.


The wine list is short and smart with wines not found at other places in town.

We started with the polenta fries that came with a pleasant marinara sauce, The thick cut ‘fries’ were light and fluffy with a nice lightly crisp outside. I’d definitely order them again but the other apps look so tempting a reorder will have to wait. Baked ricotta? Yes. Fried asparagus? For sure, Meatballs? Without a doubt.

The artisanal pies looked great but we went with a basic pepperoni. It came to the table hot and bubbly. The crust was impossibly thin and crispy with a slight char, There was the perfect amount of that same tasty marinara on top, The cheese and meat were top-notch, with the spiciness of the  pepperoni balancing out the creamy mozzarella.


We finished our meal with the panna cotta. Cool and light, it was the perfect finish,IMG_0977

We’ll be back. I want to try some of the beautiful looking pastas that walked by that night.



Cheers to Sam Fox

While writing ‘Historic Restaurants of Tucson’ I came across studies that show that 60% of restaurants that open close within one year, 80% shutter after five years, so any restaurant that thrives twenty years is remarkable. To have a stable full of restaurants that remain in business for decades is beyond that and then some.

DSCN0132 (610x458)

Wildflower in Tucson is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  This charming place was the first in what would become the small empire known as Fox Restaurant Concepts and is owned by Sam Fox, who grew up in Tucson. Today FRC has over 50 restaurants all over the Unit4de States with eleven different concepts that range from craft burgers to Italian to Mexican to All American. Wine is central to any Fox restaurant as is quality service and, of course, good food.cropped-cropped-dscn1299.jpg

FRC is celebrating the BIG 2-0 with special events at all the Tucson restaurants. Tucson Made fun includes weekly promotions at the various Tucson locations.

We missed the Blanco specials but this you can enjoy live music at Culinary Dropout and ½ of all local beer with $7.00 pretzels and fondue.


Starting October 15th through the 20th a three-course dinner can be had at North. Tomato and mozzarella salad, chicken lasagna and Nutella & banana parfait are a mere $20.

From the 22nd through the 28th, Zin Burger has the famous Sam Burger with onion rings and a root beer float for $12.IMG_0422

Things wrap up on October 30th with a 20th Anniversary three-course dinner at Wildflower ($55, $30 wine pairing). Hosted by Regan Jasper, FRC’s wine guru whose been with Sam from early days, the evening should be truly special.

Reservations are needed for the Wildflower Dinner. For all other events just walk in the door.

And while you’re at whatever Fox Restaurant samfox2you choose raise a glass of your favorite beverage the local boy who made it good, Sam Fox.

A Sense of Place / Tucson on a Plate

Autumn is here at last and with along with all the wonders we desert folk love about this time of year, comes the City of Gastronomy “Sense of Place” Fall menu at Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails. This is only the latest in a series of “Sense of Place” events at the restaurant.

These eclectic menus, the creation of the legendary Janos Wilder and his illustrious team, are the bones of what Janos has been doing for decades. From his early days in Tucson, Janos has celebrated and used local ingredients to make some of the best food in the city.

The Fall Menu features food that is of Tucson and our desert with influences from the globe. The press release calls the menu, “playful, delicious and iconic”, much like Janos himself.

Both global and local, modern and traditional the Fall Sense of Place menu truly tells Tucson’s story on a plate.

Take a look at the menu and then make reservations. The menu is available at dinner only, seven days a week.

A Sampling from the fall Menu:



pickled beef tongue (optional), apples, dates, raisins, carrots, broccoli, toasted sunflower seeds, cider vinaigrette, goat cheese



stuffed with caramelized apples, Magdalena Big Cheese squash sauce, pomegranate arils, mild green chile vinaigrette




lightly minted meatballs in rich chicken and tomato broth finished with lime; garnished with radishes, queso fresco + cilantro



spicy peruana beans, radishes, red onion, cilantro, roasted garlic cloves, roasted Anaheim chiles, lemon citronette, corn emulsion




citrus braised duck quarter on chipotle molasses sweet potatoes with Aravaipa Asian pears, Briggs and Eggers apples, roasted grapes, spiced wine reduction,

membrillo vinaigrette with watercress/watermelon radish salad

Call 520 623-7700 for more information and to make reservations.