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.

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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.

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

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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

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Strawberry Beet Salad

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Sweet Corn Bisque

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New entrees are:

Seared Duck

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Hanger Steak

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Sweet Pea Risotto

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Roast chicken

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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.

And The Winner is….

The day was a long one, but yesterday’s Stella Artois Iron Chef Tucson was a fun one. The event was held at the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa and included cooking demonstrations,DSCN2311 booths with cooking equipment and foodstuffs, samples of food from an assortment of restaurants and lots and lots of beer and other spirits.

I was lucky to be a participant this year. Not as a chef – heaven forbid – but as a panel member in one of the many breakout sessions that were a part of the Iron Chef Culinary Event.13524374_10104989648990322_4042269662127497380_n

Along with Andi Berlin of Tucson.com (The Arizona Daily Star), Adam Lehrman of Tucson Foodie and with Matt Russell from On the Menu …Live who moderated the panel, we discussed the restaurant scene in Tucson – Past, Present and Future.

There were three sessions which drew good sized crowds. In between we ate and drank and chatted with the various providers that were a part of the event.DSCN2308

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The day culminated in the Iron Chef competition between defending champion Chef Danny Perez of JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa and Chef Javier Castro of Casino del Sol.Danny-Perez-620x400

The chefs and their teams had one hour to prepare four courses using the secret ingredient (chocolate) in each dish. One dish had to incorporate Stella Artois.

Matt and Chef Jonathan Landeen, owner and executive chef Jonathan’s Cork were the emcees. Neither of these two would ever be described as shy, so the patter was lively with professional insights from Jonathan.DSCN2321

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Judges were chefs Alan Zeman, Russell Michel, Executive Chef at Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa and Brian Burton from the Art Institute of Tucson.

The good-sized audience watched (with up close views on mega-screens) as the chefs went at it.DSCN2327

Add the power going out due to a major storm and the competition was a great time.

It was difficult to see and hear the dishes but in the end Danny Perez prevailed.

A good time was had by all.

Iron Chef Tucson

As I mentioned in an earlier post the heat is on in Tucson but foodies are keeping cool with a variety of delicious events.

This weekend finds everyone heading to Westin La Paloma for the annual Original Stella Artois Iron Chef Competition and Culinary Experience.

Along with a full day of events, two local chefs will battle it out for the title of the Iron Chef Tucson.

Last year’s champ, Danny Perez Danny-Perez-620x400

of the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa will face Javier Castro from the Casino del Sol Resort. This is the 10th year of this competition and as in the past the two talented chefs will go head to head to create true “a la minute dish.” There will be a “surprise” ingredient, three judges and lively commentary.

Other events though out the day include cooking demonstrations, displays of the latest kitchen and BBQ equipment, food prepped by other local chefs, libations galore and three panel discussions about the past, present and future of the Tucson food scene, The panel will be led by Matt RussellDSCN0672 of On the Menu Live …. with Matt Russell radio show and also include Andi Berlin, food writer from the Arizona Daily Star andi & adam

and Adam Lehrman, from Tucson Foodie website and me.

What a great way to stay cool and enjoy the wonders of Tucson’s culinary scene.