Tonight, Tonight

Here are the finalists for tonight’s Cocktail Challenge at Carriage House:

Stephanie Kingman and Kris Carr, The Parish 
Robert Gillies, Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink and the Tough Luck Club 
Janelle Haegert, DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails 
Ryne Hoffman, The Still Speak Easy, Sazerac Creole Kitchen & Cocktails 
Eric Farmilant,  Contigo Latin Kitchen 
Kiva Strand, 47 Scottdscn2490 

Tucson’s 23 – Miles and Miles of the Best Mexican Fare on the Planet

Those of us in Tucson know that we are blessed with the best Mexican restaurants north of the border. Tex-Mex can’t hold a candle to what we have and So-Cal offerings are just so So-Cal.

In celebration of the many restaurants that can be found in Tucson, the second annual Tucson 23 Mexican Food Festival will be held on Saturday 17th at JW Marriott Star Pass Resort. The event is sponsored by VisitTucson, SAACA (Southern Arizona Arts and Culture Alliance) and the resort. Cost is $49 and there are stay and play packages available at the resort.chile-en-nogada

The Best 23 Miles of Mexican Food was officially proclaimed by the city to celebrate all the wonderful Mexican food options found in the 23-mile area that “is Tucson.” From South Tucson through Downtown to Mid-Town, you can find a full assortment of Mexican fare. Many of those restaurants will have food and drink at the event. Music is a part of the mix.DSCN1025

I went last year and had a truly great time. There was so much food to choose from that I doubt I got it all.

Other events that weekend include a Celebrity Chef Dinner on Friday night and an Authentic Father’s Day Mexican Buffet on Father’s Day (Sunday the 18th).

Cooking Classes from The Middle East

The Tucson Jewish Community Center is partnering with the International Rescue Committee to present a series of cooking classes from foods of Syria, Iraq and the Congo.

On Sunday June 4th from Noon to 3pm, refugee chef Shahd will be teaching the fundamentals of a Syrian breakfast with such treats as fattet hummus, falafel, ful medames (fava beans and sautéed vegetables and bad maslooch (her signature hard boiled egg dish).

Cost is $70 ($65 for JCC members). or call 520-299-3000.

Monies will benefit the International Rescue CommitteeDSCN1970

Oh What a Week It Was!

The work for my new book has kept me very busy so finding time to post has been tough.

But in the last week or so I’ve eaten at several places I’ve never eaten before (and some that I have) and I have to say I enjoyed every bite.

I tried to take pictures but wasn’t always successful. That only means I have to return to fill up my portfolio.

So here’s what I ate and where:

The Bubble Waffle at Teaspoon: Decidedly different and crave-worthy. (Mary Jo had the omelet). Apparently the waffle is Hong Kong street food.



No photo of the food, but the pork tenderloin sandwich at Johnny Gibson’s market: This would give any pork tenderloin sandwich in Iowa a run for its money.


A whole slew of great items at New Delhi Palace when I was on On The Menu….Live.



I was blown away at how flavorful and rich the food was there. I’ve never had lamb shops that were so tender and the sauce was a knockout.

And the pescado al a menier IMG_0238 at Inca’s Peruvian Cuisine celebrating Karyn Zoldan’s birthday. Edie Jarolim had the aji de gallina. IMG_0240

The food was perfectly cooked and again the flavors were outstanding.

Oh, I also forgot…..patos tacos IMG_0236 at Elliot’s before I was on After Hours with Frank Powers.

I finished it off with ribs from Brushfire delivered to my front door. Yum! (ps photo below is not from Brushfire. So sorry.


Hong Kong, Peru, Iowa, Mexico, India…flavors from the world over and all right here in Tucson.

Janos Wilder Brings the World to Tucson

The other day I wrote about Chef Janos Wilder traveling to Paris as part of the UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation.

Well, if you can’t make it to Paris, don’t worry, you can still enjoy the great food and a little bit of glamor.

As he has for the past several summers, Janos and his team will be taking Tucsonans on the Around the Globe Culinary tour that includes classes and pop-up dinners at Carriage House and a series of menus at DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails.

The cities on this year’s tour are sister Cities of Gastronomy and are an excellent mix of flavors and tastes.


Dénia, Spain – May 30 – July 17 – Class and Dinner – May 25

Florianópolis, Brazil  –  July 18 – August 21 –Class and Dinner – July 21

Shunde, China  – August 22 – October 2 –  Class and Dinner – August 18

Zahlé, Lebanon – October 3 – November 13 -Class and Dinner September 29

Classes will be held at The Carriage House and allow guests the opportunity to learn about the culinary history of the cities and enjoy a full dinner featuring a variety of dishes offered on the tour. . Cost is $80 per person plus tax and gratuity for a five-course dinner.

Here’s the link:

Also, don’t forget about the Demo Classes. Check out the website for details.


Summertime and the Eating is Easy

Summer in Tucson is not for the weak at heart but it is ideal for foodies.

Kingfisher has released it Road Trip itinerary and while all the details aren’t finalized here’s the list of where you’ll be eating and who your driver (chef) will be,

We try and make a couple of times each summer. We sit in the the best bar in town and enjoy everything from apps to one of Marianne’s fab desserts.

Give it a try.

I’ll be posting other Summer Special Events as the week progresses

  • May 26-June 13 – Southwest, Chef Fred Harris


  • June 14 – June 29 –  Pacific Northwest, Chef Jeff Azersky


  • Kingfisher will be closed for vacation from June 30 through July 13


  • July 13 – July 24 – Great Plains/Midwest, Chef Jim Murphy


  • July 25 – August 3 – Back East Chef Jeff Azersky


  • August 4 – August 16 – Californa/Hawaii Chef Fred Harris


  • August 17 – September 3 –  Down South, Chef Jim Murphy

Cocktails in Paris

The UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation has brought Tucson’s culinary scene on to the world stage in a big way.

The US Commission to UNESCO recently extended an invitation to Tucson to showcase our cuisine at a special reception honoring The Old Pueblo. The reception will take place at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on June 28th.

Appropriately the chef who will be preparing the special dinner is James Beard Award winning Chef Janos Wilder, who long before it became trendy, celebrated local foods in his restaurants.

Janos wants a cocktail that says “Tucson” to be served with his dishes and so he’s shouting out to all local bartenders to use their talents to create that one-of-a-kind cocktail.

The Tucson Feeds Paris Cocktail Challenge will take place at The Carriage House on Thursday June 1st from 5pm-7pm. The cost is $25.

Six cocktails will be served (whittled down from a first round selected by judges) along with hors d’ouevres. Guests will vote for the cocktail that best represents the flavors and ingredients of Tucson.

Sponsored by the non-profit Tucson City of Gastronomy and The Carriage House this event sounds like a great time. The winning bartender will get $500 and bragging rights to showcasing Tucson in the City of Lights.

Bartenders interested can see the rules at

Deadline is May 22nd.

Seating is limited to 125 people. Make reservations at: