GUT part 2

The recovery time is a bit slow this morning.

Last night’s Gastronomic Union of Tucson’s Snout-to-Tail 32 Degrees of Latitude Dinner was a celebration of all things pork and a grand gathering of talented local chefs. Held at Carriage House, the meal and company were fab!

From the simple pimento cheese of saltines  (sorry no pictures) with a ham garnish to the tasty ramen IMG_0501

to the pork tikka masala IMG_0507to the mesquite-smoked, proscuitto-wrapped pork belly rib,IMG_0510 the crowd dined like royalty.IMG_0512

Watching the team plate the food and talking with the chefs was a treat. Everyone pitched in.

I met new friends, too.



At Last!

Mark your calendars!

For months, I’ve been watching as a huge, white, windowed building was  being built on the old Grant Road Lumber Yard site

I could hardly wait. This was after all, going to be the first new Fox Restaurant Concepts restaurant in Tucson in quite some time. And it was going to be Culinary Dropout, a jazzy eatery with a menu that made my mouth water.


Well, the word is out…. Culinary Dropout is opening on September 20!

The space is massive, some 20,000 square feet made for eating, drinking, live music and games.

There will be a dedicated area called The Yard with games both new and traditional. A private dining room can hold 150 people.

The food will be a mix of items other Culinary Dropouts (Soft Pretzels & Provolone Fondue, 34-Hour Pork Ribs, Fried Chicken) and the potent potables will include Arizona beers and a long list of creative cocktails.

This is going to be a great addition to the Grant Road foodie corridor.

PS – If you are a food service person looking for a great job, Culinary Dropout will be hiring 210 people in all aspects of the restaurant. Apply here:


GUT – Pop Up Dinner from Around the World at Carriage House

The Gastronomic Union of Tucson  – GUT – is at it again. On July 30, GUT, will be hosting their second pop-up dinner at Carriage HouseGUT-32-DEGREES.

Just like the first dinner GUT will bring together chefs from all over Tucson to prepare a five course dinner with wine.

This dinner will bring together the flavors found East along the 32nd North Parallel. Tastes from Japan, India and of course, Tucson and Arizona will come together for this one of a kind dinner.

Wines are poured at 6:00. Dinner starts at 6:30. Seating is limited. Cost is $75.

Snout-to-Tail #2:

32 Degrees North Latitude

Think Globally, Pork Locally


Passed Hors d’oeuvre:


Oysters on half-shell with bacon fat mignonette

Low-country shrimp boil skewers

Aged cheddar pimento cheese with ham garnish on saltines

 First Course:


Tonkotsu, alkaline noodles, i’itoi onion, soy and sherry vinegar pickled shiitake, pork jowl chashu

Second Course:


Pork Tikka Masala, coriander basmati, minted cashew cream, kiwi chutney, chicharron roti

Third Course:


Mesquite-smoked pork rib, Arizona-creosote polenta, proscuitto-wrapped belly rib, fermented nopales



Croquant pig ear on white chocolate, hibiscus & Fujian white Szechuan ice cream

The chefs/collaborators for this dinner will include:

Max Provost, private chef and caterer
Jason Purdy, Ermanos
C.J. Hamm, Saguaro Corners, Mulligan’s Sports Grill
Matt Kraiss, Ermanos
Roderick LeDesma, Primo
Devon Sanner, The Carriage House
Eric Catalano, The Forum at Tucson
Janet Jones, Hacienda Del Lago
Ben Forbes, Forbes Meat Company
Drew Burk, mercenary chef

That Steak Joint

We finally had a chance to visit Charro Steak and all I can say is, “Why did it take so long?”

The space is open and rustic with dark, distressed wood tables and chairs. Ceilings are high and walls of windows allow for great people watching. Ceiling fans kept the space cool. Artwork of charros almost blend into the walls looking like murals.

But we were there for the food. Apps are a mix of traditional, although not necessarily prepped in traditional ways. Our app, for example, was mushrooms stuffed high with fluffy chorizo surrounded by a queso blanco, that we drizzled over the top. (Sorry not pic here,)

We also ordered the calabacitas as a side dish and loved the chunks of summer squash, bits of corn and chiles and the queso crema.


The dish was light with a nice mix of textures and fresh flavors.

And our steaks? IMG_0435

Well, in a word, wonderful. I had the bone in strip IMG_0432and John went all out with the Tucson’s Favorite T-bone. Both were cooked exactly as we requested. Juicy, tender, and perfectly seasoned, they were the epitome of what a steakhouse steak should be. I can taste the beefiness now.

All steaks come with charro beans IMG_0434and a choice of corn or flour tortillas. The beans reminded me of why I prefer this style of beans over refried beans. Toothsome and earthy, soft and almost sweet they were the perfect accompaniment to the meat.

We finished off with the lime flan IMG_0437which was the perfect ending to a huge, meaty meal. A hint of lime, a drizzle of caramel, subtle whiff of tequila. Practically perfect in everyway.

I can’t wait to go back.

The Best, I Mean The Best, 23 Miles of Mexican Food in America

Tucson has more than its share of fabulous food festivals. We are, after all, the only city in North America with the UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

But next Saturday, all the stops will be pulled with the 2nd ‘23 Miles of the best Mexican food in America” event.Blanco tacos

Held at the J.W. Marriott Star Pass Resort and Spa, this grand event celebrates all the great Mexican restaurants that can be found all over our great city.

Sponsored by Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance and, this event will feature more than 25 local restaurants, breweries and wineries. Last year’s event was great and this year’s looks to be even better. SAACA had a way about them when it comes to their food events, They’re big and bright and fun.

Tickets are $49 for all you can eat and drink. Families are welcome and the resort has some special packages should you want to spend the night.

Check out SAACA’s website for details and to purchase tickets.

GUT! – Tucson Chefs Coming Together

One of the neatest aspects of Tucson’s culinary scene is the genuine respect and admiration that chefs in town have for one another. Competitions are plentiful, but in reality, these guys are friends.

Now, some of these chefs are coming together at Carriage House on Sunday, June 25th. It’s a celebration of Tucson and the UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation. And it sounds divine,

GUT! Nose-to-Tail Tucson Collaborative Pop-Up Dinner will feature some of the city’s best and creative young chefs. The cost is $75. Seating is limited. Hor D’oeuvres start at 6:00. Dinner at 6:30.

Here’s the menu and list of chefs.



  • Arepas with Fiore di Capra chèvre, local peach salsa, bacon
  • Trotter taquitos with chiltepin aïoli
  • Melon and cucumber gazpacho verde with prosciutto



Forbes Meat Company Guanciale and fig agnolotti, arugula, Midnight Moon, fennel/orange/Sambuca syrup



Trio of Enchiladas: puerco verde, puerco en nogada, puerco chile colorado



Smoked porchetta pibil, blue corn sopes, white tepary bean purée, calabacitas en escabeche, cotija, cilantro crema



Mesquite flour biscuit, coffee chocolate truffle with spicy chicharrones crumbles, Whiskey Del Bac crème anglaise


Mat Cable, Fresco Pizzeria and Pastaria
Michael Elefante, Mama Louisa’s Italian Restaurant
Ben Forbes, Forbes Meat Company
Matthew Gutierrez, Union Public House, and Immersion Brewing, Bend, OR
Janet Jones, Hacienda Del Lago
Natasha Kalina
Roderick LeDesma, Primo
Maria Mazon, Boca Tacos y Tequila
Nohemi Montoya, Lowes Ventana Canyon Resort & Spa
Jason Purdy, Ermano’s
Devon Sanner, The Carriage House


Sauce Supports

Yesterday I posted about the great Summer special at Sauce Pizza and Wine restaurants

While we were there we noticed another great special that is happening at Sauce, ‘Mondays Are For Heroes’.

I could’ve mentioned it yesterday but this special deserves its own post.

Every Monday from 11:00am until 9:00pm, active police officers, active firefighters, active EMTs, active, Reserve and retired Militaty receive 20% off.

This is every Monday and is a great way to say ‘Thank you’ to all those who take care and protect us.