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.



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.

The Colors are Changing at Sauce


Everyone is thrilled about the cooler temperatures that have rolled in to Arizona in recent days and with them come changes in the menu at Sauce Pizza and Wine.

The choices are many and start with the Roasted Portobello and Artichoke Bruschetta ($6) topped with goat cheese and roasted bell peppers.


Both pizza and pasta have changed their fall colors as well. The Winter Roasted Vegetable pizza ($10.50) starts with a white sauce and then is covered with a plethora of roasted veggies like cauliflower, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, sautéed spinach and dried cranberries.

The Fall pasta is mac n’ cheese turned up a notch with those same savory roasted vegetables found on the pizza.

And not to be outdone, the seasonal cannoli is Pumpkin and Candied Pecan filled with house-made pumpkin ricotta.

All you’ll need is a glass – or even a bottle – of one of the many great wines (red for autumn?) that you’ll find on the Sauce menu.

Plenty of Good Eats

With the exception of the first event there is enough time to get a reservation for any one of these fabulous events.

September 11. 2018

North Italia Community Dinner


Chef Omar Huerta will prepare a four course/wine paired dinner at North Italia in Tucson.



Buffalo mozzarella, ‘nduja, crusty barrio bread, potato fritter, olive oil


Hayden flour mills hand cut pasta, Mediterranean mussels, heirloom cherry tomato, chick pea and pepperncino


Swordfish, tomato, olive, caper, asparagus chicory salad


Chef’s whim

Cost $60 call 299 1600 for rezzies.


Not to be outdone by its fancier sister restaurant, Zin Burger (also part of the Fox Restaurant Concepts) has the final Beer Pairing Dinner at the River Road site.

The beers are all from Sierra Nevada and the three courses start with a salad of heirloom roasted carrots and avocado with feta and toasted pumpkin seeds in a lemon vinaigrette.

Second course us a Brat Burger topped with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and a honey Dijon pickle.

Apple Strudel with cinnamon, crème anglaise and caramel finishes off the dinner.

$35 per person

Call 299 7799 to reserve your spot.


Maynards in the historic rail depot has a great Arizona dinner planned on September 21 at 7:00pm

First Course
AZ beef tartare, jalapeño aioli, pomegranate, cured duck egg, puffed sweet potato
Pairing: Callaghan Buena Suerta 2015

Second Course
Ancho glazed quail, apple-chorizo stuffing, ayocote morado beans, celery root
Pairing: Dos Cabezas Red 2014

Third Course
Desert campfire, Ibarra chocolate, mezcal marshmallow, mesquite crumble, prickly pear, horchata sorbet
Pairing: Sand Reckoner R 2015

Iron Chef 2018 winner Chef Brian Smith and sommelier Will Olendorf are a creative duo and if the dinner I went to a month or so ago is any indication, this should be a grand evening.


Reservations can be made online.


Finally, The Gastronomic Union of Tucson is having their final summer.

While I haven’t found a menu yet, the food at the last dinner was great. This time the focus is on The Future of Tucson Cuisine.

What makes this event memorable is the fact that dinner is prepared (and served) by a list of clever young chefs in town.

$75 for tickets.


Don’t ever say there’s nothing happening in Tucson.

A Night at the Theatre & a Tasty Meal

Just when you think Janos Wilder has done it all, he pulls another trick from his magic bag.

Starting in September with the Arizona Theater Company’s season-opener – Native Gardens – Wilder will create a special menu to be served at the Temple of Music and Art.

For every production, Janos at the Temple will serve a buffet that reflect various aspects of the production. Native Gardens, a comedy that pits the generational differences between two couples, will feature A Garden BBQ with dishes from an English garden contrasting with plates from a border fiesta. For example: An English garden salad vs. a Southwest Caesar or Grilled chicken vs cochinita pibil.

Meals start 90 minutes before the production at both matinees and evening performances. Cost for lunch is $14.50 and dinner $24.50. Quite a bargain considering you’re getting a meal from a James Beard Award winning chef and a local icon.

ATC has a full and varied slate planned for the 2018/2019 season and Janos has plans to create dishes that will reflect his love for Tucson and the creativity of ATC.

Theater tickets are available at and offer a wide range of prices.

Janos at The Temple is certainly going to be a fine way to start an evening at the theater.

PS: Janos continues his Around the Globe Summer Culinary Tour with a special meal featuring food from Jeonju, Korea, a sister UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Korean Fried Chicken (it puts other fried chicken to shame), Bo Saam (a heavenly slow-roasted pork) and Asian Pear an Ginger sorbet are just a few items to choose from in the three course meal served at Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails.

GUT Does It Again!

Tucson chefs are an unusual bunch. Not because they are offbeat and kooky (okay, some are but that’s why we love them), but because they support one another and love to collaborate as a group. Professional jealousy is not in their make-up.
This quality has resulted in plenty of great cooperative meals but also in the creation of The Gastronomic Union of Tucson, aka GUT.
Since its inception a few years back, GUT has out on numerous food and drink events that attract local foodies all eager to get an opportunity to sample the best from multiple kitchens in one sitting.
This Sunday,August 26th, GUT will be serving up a tribute to Tucson’s past at the GUT Wild West! Dinner. We were invited and are looking forward to dining at Carriage House.
Below is the menu and the roster of chefs who will be there. One of the neat parts takes place behind the kitchen doors when the chefs team up to help prep and serve.
I am so looking forward to the dinner. I love the creativity but I also love the cooperative efforts. Plus, I’ll get to talk to some of my fave chefs.
Tickets are still available for $75.
Kickoff is at 6pm


Corn and Cactus Fruit Gazpacho

Old Pueblo Chicken Roulade

Cowboy Cornbread Chili

Chinese Chorizo Steam Buns


Citrus-brined Apache trout, hominy, corn consommé, fava beans, almond chile foam


Chuck wagon stew: goat 3 preparations, braised turnips, goat fat hoe cake, squash chips, bone broth


Saloon beef & coffee, smoked marrow, chiles, onions, corn, pickles, foie gras


Mesquite bacon velvet cake, pecan dacqouise, barrel cactus fruit jam, goat milk tarragon Bavarian cream and chiltepin tuile


Ken Foy, Dante’s Fire

Gary Hickey, Charro Steak

Obadiah Hindman, Mountain Oyster Club

Izaak Morhaim, Harvest Oro Valley

Bruce Yim, Hacienda Del Sol

Travis Peters, The Parish

Wendy Gauthier, Chef Chic

Daniel Thomas, Bird Bar & Chicken

Roderick Ledesma, Casino Del Sol

Stacy Vernooy, Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails

Mat Cable, Fresco

Devon Sanner, The Carriage House

Rica Rances, The Parish

Juan Jose Almanza, El Taco Rustico

Matt Kraiss, Thunder Canyon Brewstillery

Vanessa Moon, Phoenix Salt and Spice

Jerome Camacho, Charro Steak

Nohemi Montoya, Eurest

Michael Estelle, Mountain Oyster Club

Buddy Hopkins, Thunder Canyon Brewstillery

Janet Jones, Tanque Verde Guest Ranch

Max Provost, Gastronomic Soldier of Fortune

David Hargis, Charro Steak



From the better late than never file comes a peachy prospect.

Sauce Pizza and Wine has created clever ways to serve the last of the summer peaches. During August, which is officially National Peach Month, diners can enjoy peaches in numerous peachy ways.

A Roasted Peach bruschetta kicks off a meal; peaches, ricotta, lemon, prosciutto and a balsamic glaze are all served on a crusty Tuscan bread. The perfect pairing for this dish? Sauce’s Peach Bellini.

Follow this with a Roasted Peach Salad or a Roasted Peach pizza and your evening will be complete.Image.15338293820499

There are four Sauce locations in Tucson and numerous others through the state and several in New Mexico. All will be peaching it until the last day in August.

Of course, it peaches aren’t your thing, Sauce Pizza and Wine has a full menu of pizzas, salads, panini, soups, pastas and, of course, wines.

We just may do dinner there tonight.