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.

Another Summer Treat

Summer in Tucson is filled with exciting options for great dining.

This is part one of a very short series of foodie things to do in The Old Pueblo Summer 2018.

Maynard’s Market & Kitchen just rolled out a summer menu with a serious nod to eating local. Many of the ingredients come directly from the garden/grove that sits just off the patio. Others come from nearby farms and ranches. Executive Chef Brian Smith has developed an interesting nu full of flavors, colors and fun. I was fortunate to get a sample of the menu at a media dinner.


Maynard’s also has a great cocktail program and currently is working with Three Wells Distilling to develop an exclusive gin made from herbs growing in the garden combined with Mt. Lemmon juniper.


The wines too include the Maynard’s Private Label with both reds and whites.


Chef Smith and the team at Maynard’s have plans to expand their use of local sources. Currently they figure they are at about 60%; plans aim at 90%.

The new starters include:

Wheat Berry Salad


Strawberry Beet Salad


Sweet Corn Bisque


New entrees are:

Seared Duck


Hanger Steak


Sweet Pea Risotto


Roast chicken


Plus, Chef Smith is going to compete in the Iron Chef Tucson event at Casino del Sol on June 23rd. He’ll compete against reigning champ, Travis Peters of The Parish.

ZinBurger Celebrates America’s Favorite Food

May is National Hamburger Month so ZinBurger invited me to sample their new updated menu.

I must be honest here, we are semi-regulars at ZinBurger and have long enjoyed the place. The burgers are spot on, the wine list is varied and reasonable and the vibe is upbeat and fun.

When we arrived, the place was packed with families and large groups of people, small groups of people and couples of assorted ages and genders.

Like most regulars at places we tend to order the same items over and over but in the spirit of the new menu our burgers consisted of the Waygu Burger, an enormous patty of juicy beef topped any way you want.


We also had the Double All-American Diner Cheeseburger, a messy but most tasty version of the classic.


We also ordered the Double-Truffle Fries and the Onion Rings, both have been on the Zin’s menu from Day One.

Our dessert was the Chocolate Cream Pie. The photo is of after we packed the pie up to take home.


Other new items on the menu include the Seared Salmon Salad, which is tossed with roasted zucchini, shaved vegetables, avocado, romaine, sunflower seeds, and lemon mustard vinaigrette and the California Burger Bowl, made with avocado, griddled sweet potato, roasted mushrooms, caramelized onion, zucchini and tamari.

We also sipped on one of the new cocktails the Long Tall Lemonade with vodka, lemon, smashed blackberries and elderflower. This could become my drink of the summer. It’s tart and refreshing and went down way too easy.

Another point worth mentioning is Happy Hour at Zinburger. Every day from 3pm-6pm, they serve Ziniburgers for a mere $5.00. Sides are $3. (not all burgers and sides are available, but the choices do include a sloppy joy which is not available on the regular menu.) Add the perk that all wines and draught beers are half-price and well-drinks $4 and a list of $6 cocktails and you can eat, drink and be merry for mere pocket change.

Check the new menu out at your neighborhood ZinBurger.

Kingfisher – A Tucson Treasure

Tomorrow night I will have the pleasure to dine at one of my most favorite Tucson restaurants: Kingfisher.

This year Kingfisher celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Congratulations, Good Wishes and thank you for the many wonderful meals I’ve had thanks to the fab team.

What follows is from my book, “Historic Restaurants of Tucson“:

Kingfisher– 1993

One of the greatest compliments a restaurant can get is when other restaurant people eat there. Kingfisher is just such a restaurant. In interviews, when local chefs are asked to name their favorite restaurants, Kingfisher comes up again and again and again. But the midtown restaurant is also popular with the regular diners, as evidenced by being named the ‘Best’ seafood restaurant in all major Tucson publications.

Jim “Murph” Murphy, Jeff Azersky, Tim Ivankovich and John Burke had worked together in various combinations at other places in Tucson. So, when they opened Kingfisher in 1993, they had a built-in crowd that followed, but they also attracted a larger audience who loved the casual atmosphere and the delicious American fare.

Murph had learned the ropes of seafood at Jerome’s and Azersky was a transplant from the South Shore of Massachusetts so there was plenty of knowledge and experience in that area. Ivankovich and Burke had years of experience in the front of the house. But the team knew they needed more than just great seafood.

Marianne Banes was the perfect choice. Banes had a stellar culinary resume and was hired to create desserts. Kingfisher introduced Tucson’s first late night menu. They lightened up the dining room. (In its previous incarnation, the building had been home to The Iron Mask which had the look of an old English tavern.) The bar, though, retained much of the same look including the original Iron Mask bar chairs. Murph talked about how when they moved a heavy refrigerator from the kitchen to behind the bar all went well until they had to lift the item over the bar. Somehow, the mission was accomplished, but it hasn’t move since.

In 1999, Burke left to open Fiorito’s, an Italian eatery nearby but the friends continued. In 2005, they opened Bluefin Seafood Bistro on the northwest side. That restaurant closed in 2015.

In 2012, Ivankovich died unexpectedly at the age of 54. The team felt the loss deeply, but they moved forward always with their friend in mind.

Aided by a team that has been with them for years, Murph and Azersky take turns in the kitchen and in the front of the house. On any given night, the dining room is full to capacity and people stand three-deep at the bar.

The regular menu always contains a choice of oysters from every coast and other fresh seafood options. Annual festivities include an Oysterfest, Fat Tuesday celebration and a summer-long Road Trip around America.

Murph credits the longevity to attention to detail. Tucsonans credit the longevity to a fine place to relax over great seafood, a couple of cocktails or a glass of wine from the American-centric wine list.oystersstoryville