Tucson Local Media: Nourishment


  • Third annual Southern Arizona Food & Wine Festival this weekend

    The third annual Southern Arizona Food & Wine Festival will be held this Saturday, Feb. 6 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Tucson Botanical Gardens located at 2150 N. Alvernon Way. The event will showcase some of the region’s best cuisine and is a fantastic showcase of some of Tucson’s local culinary talent.Set in the beautiful setting of the botanical gardens, the festival will feature over 60 different restaurants, wineries, breweries and specialty cooks, all prepared to showcase their finest plates and drinks. This foodie festival will showcase the amazing diversity of food that Tucson has to offer in addition to the regions burgeoning fine spirit industry.The event is open to anyone aged 21 and older with general admission tickets costing $65. Tickets include all food, wine and other samplings, as well as access to the Tucson Botanical Gardens, event activities and awards raffle. To purchase tickets, visit https://saaca.thundertix.com/events and select “Savor Food & Wine Festival at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.”Not only will local foodies be able to sample some of the greatest dishes Tucson has to offer, but guests will also have a unique chance to meet and interact with some of the chefs during the event.In addition to alcoholic beverages, vendors will also be on-site offering various artisan coffees and teas. See below for entire menu and list of participating businesses:Artisan Popcorn by {POPPED}Various flavors of Artisan Popcorn.Agustin KitchenTop Knot Duck Tinga on Hubbard Squash Puree. Alfonso Gourmet Olive Oil & BalsamicsSamples of Olive Oils and Balsamics.  Athens on 4th AvenueSpanakopita, Greek salad, Saganaki, Roast peppers and grilled pita.  Arizona Hops & VinesNamaste (Chardonnay), Cazzo Piccolo (Sangiovese Cabernet) and The Fluffer (Sparkling Moscato). Black Crown Coffee Co.4 oz. samples of Brazilian/Ethiopian coffee blend.  Blue Moon Brewing CompanyHard Orange soda and Henry's hard Ginger Ale.Boca Tacos y TequilaBlack Bean Enchilada Eggrolls with Eamarind sauce.Bodega Pierce WineryPandora - Pinot Gris Blend, Chardonnay, Moscato, Emotive - Super Tuscan Blend, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.Borderlands Brewing CompanyNoche Dulce Vanilla Porter and Citrana Wild Ale.  Caduceus CellarsMerkin Vineyards - 2013 The Diddler, Caduceus Cellars - 2013 Lei Li, Merkin Vineyards - 2014 Chupacabra and Caduceus Cellars - 2012 Primer Paso.Café BotanicaSmoked Nopal Canape with avocado-lime drizzle on poblano polenta cake.Carlson Creek Vineyards2012 Carlson Creek Sangiovese, 2012 Carlson Creek Rule of Three, 2012 Carlson Creek Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Sweet Adeline Riesling.  CataVinos Wine Shoppe & Tasting RoomFeatured premium wine samplings.Chef ChicBeer Bread Bowl with IPA Risotto with pork belly, S'mores shakes: chocolate cup filled with a porter shake topped with graham cracker crumbs and a brulee marshmallow top. Chilttepica SalsaChilttepica Salsa, a fresh medium red chiltepin salsa.Commoner & Co and Prep & PastryGoat Cheese Brulee Tart.  Dragoon Brewing CompanyDragoon IPA and Scout Porter.Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar  HopShock IPA, Mr. Pineapple and Devil's Ale.  Fermented Tea Company4 flavors of Kombucha Tea.Fini's LandingChorizo Stuffed Clams with Chubasco Hot Sauce Trio.  Golden Rule VineyardsWine samples.  Goose Island (GED)Beer samples. Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bistro & BakeryAward-Winning Dill Pickle Soup paired with Shaved Ham Sandwich with horseradish cream sauce.  GRINGO grill + cantinaManchego and Chorizo stuffed Chili Relleno.  Hamilton Distillers(Whiskey Del Bac)Whiskey Del Bac - Classic and Clear.  Hannah's Hill VineyardHannah's Hill Vineyards Wine: Viognier, Malbec and Petite Sirah.Hermosa Coffee RoastersA selection of coffees from around the world.  Iron John's Brewing CompanyBeer samples. JW Marriott Starr Pass TucsonPork Posole with fried hominy and Shrimp Sopes with Spicy Cilantro Crema.Kingfisher TucsonKingfisher's Seafood Gumbo paired with the Kingfisher Hurricane Cocktail.Living Room Wine Cafe & Lounge and Humble Pie Meatball slider with red sauce and Parmigiana on brioche bun, Mixed berry crepe topped with seasonal berries and berry sauce.Mama's Hawaiian Bar-b-cuePrickly pear and toasted macadamia nut lemon squares with a mesquite flour crust.  Maynard's MarketMaynards AZ Red Zinfandel Blend, Maynards AZ Red Malbec Blend.  Noble HopsFocaccia paired with a India Pale Ale Brew.NORTHTuscan Kale Salad, Short Rib Radiatore and Salted Caramel Budino.Omni Tucson NationalPecan Wood Grilled Flank Steak on Wagyu Beef Rillette with Sorrel green and Bora Bora Sea Salt.Oskar BluesDale's Pale Ale, Pinner IPA, Oskar Blue, Mama's little yella pills and Old Chub.PencaRoasted Corn Mousseline with a Beet and Chiltepin Salsa.PRP Wine InternationalSelected Wine Sampling.Pueblo Vida Brewing CompanyBrew Samples.PY SteakhouseE&R Pork Lardo, House Focaccia, AZ Date & Pecan Mostarda served with cocktails featuring Three Wells Distilling products.Queen Ceviche Organic hibiscus syrup with organic lemonade.  R & R Family Kitchen & BBQPulled Pork Sliders and Tacos. Rigo's RestaurantMini Chimichangas (Beef,chicken,Calabacitas) withTamarindo Ice Tea.Roger Clyne's Mexican Moonshine Tequila  Mexican Moonshine Tequilas: Silver, Reposado and Añejo. Sand Reckoner2014 W White; 2013 R Red; 2013 X Malbec.SanTan Brewing CompanyHopShock IPA, Mr. Pineapple, Devil's Ale and Grapefruit Shandy.Seis Kitchen & CateringChili Verde Pork Taco on handmade corn tortillas.  Sierra NevadaBrew Samples.Sogno Toscano Tuscan DreamSelected breads and olive oil and balsamic sampling.Sonoita VineyardsLocal wine sampling.Sonya's Brown Sugar BakeryMini Cheesecakes with Prickly Pear Wine Gelee.Table of ElementzPrickly Pear and Thai Chili Smoked Brisket Slider. Crispy Corn Tortilla and Vegetable Slaw with a Tamarindo Dressing. Tamarindo, Candied Poblano Chili and Toasted Pine Nut Fudge.  TavolinoPenne Funghi: Penne pasta with mushrooms, spinach in a parmesan cream sauce and Penne Bolognese: Penne pasta with a meat ragu sauce.Tazzina di GelatoVarious Gelato.  The CoronetLemon Tumeric Cookies and Lavender Earl Grey Cookies. The Melting PotChocolate-Dipped Strawberries and Chocolate-Covered S'mores.The Ritz-Carlton Dove MountainRed Velvet Trifle: cream cheese icing, red velvet sponge cake, raspberry crunchy cream puff, raspberry chocolate cream.The StillDesert Flower Punch  Three Wells Distilling CompanySonora Silver, Sonora Copper and Agave Silver.  Tucson Country ClubChipotle Chicken Pasta/ Duck Confit Salad; Ginger Margarita: Milagro silver tequila, house-made ginger syrup, fresh lime juice, topped with ginger beer and a salted chili rim.Tucson Tamale CompanySanta Fe, Green Corn, Santa Cruz and New Dehli Tamales.Ume Sushi & Asian CuisineStrawberry , Kiwi, Pineapple and Cream Cheese Dessert Sushi rolled in  sweet  rice and topped with locally-grown pecans, shredded coconut and a prickly pear syrup. Vero AmoreEggplant Parmesan paired with a Clove Daiquiri provided by The Still.  WildflowerCider glazed Pork Belly, Cauliflower Polenta, Brussel Sprout Leaf, Pickled Green Garlic and Mini Mocha bar with huckleberry and crème fraiche.Yellow Brick CoffeeCosta Rica: Don Pepe, Kenya: Kayu, Nexico: Nueva Esperanza and Chiapas coffees.

  • Oro Valley Community Center soon to feature French cuisine

    Arizona has long been known for having a fine selection of Mexican cuisine and other Latin-inspired dishes. A hotspot for any foodie, Tucson in particular has long contained some of the best restaurants in the state — and the Southwest region.The Oro Valley Community and Recreation Center, located at 10555 N. LaCañada Blvd., is set to throw some world cuisine and culture into the mix with the new dinner program, the Traveler’s Passport Series.Executive chef Robert Kaslly, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate at the helm of The Overlook restaurant at the community center, is excited to flex his culinary muscles for members of the community. “People aspire to travel, explore and discover new cultures, dishes and history,” Kaslly said. “This allows people to continue discovering and exploring with friends and family, without leaving home.”The dinner series will be held at the community center for six events between January and March. The event begins on Jan. 9 and 23 from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and will feature French cuisine and a look into French culture.Kaslly will lead with food he is quite familiar with. Having received classical French training from Le Cordon Blue in San Francisco, Cal. and spending years cooking in France and Germany, Kaslly said he plans “to wow guests with a few modern flares on traditional French cuisine.”

  • Giovanni’s Gelato Café brings a slice of Italy to Oro Valley

    Sicilian native Giovanni Rizza and his wife, Agnes, own and operate Giovanni’s Gelato Café in Oro Valley, an establishment that offers a wide array of both traditional and intriguing flavors of the classic Italian dessert. Giovanni’s is authentic to the core, according to Rizza, a point in which he takes great pride. From the gelato case to the espresso machine, and even the architect who laid out the design for the beautiful store — it all came from Italy.Rizza himself made it to the United States in 1967, having left behind an Italy in which he said he, and many others, faced little or no opportunity for work. He followed his relatives before him and settled down in Chicago. To make a living, he bought, sold and developed real estate.Though the café just opened in mid-August, Rizza and his wife have wanted to open the business in the Tucson area since 2007. He said they were interested in Tucson because of the favorable weather.“I wanted to go somewhere you could sell gelato twelve months a year,” he said.During their initial incursion into the area, the couple was unable to seal the deal on a location. Though they moved back to Chicago, Rizza had purchased three houses in Tucson.

  • Restaurant opens at community center

    The Oro Valley Community and Recreation center recently re-opened its restaurant, The Overlook, over the course of two events. Initially shown during special, members-only sneak peek two days before the public ribbon cutting, the restaurant will be offering lunch service throughout the week, pasta night on Thursdays and a dinner menu Friday and Saturday.“This is what this place is destined to be,” said Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath. He, along with other members of council and town staff, were present at both events to welcome members and new guests alike.“It’s the perfect place for lunch and weekend breakfast, for brunch,” Hiremath said. “Most of the time, the community is going to come here and play bridge. This is literally where community happens.”The first event, which brought in over 200 guests, was a chance for the community center and town staff to express their thanks to the members who have stuck through the transition from private to public ownership. The pre-grand opening celebrations included food cooked by restaurant staff.“Hopefully,” Hiremath said, “we can get a blend of new people who never knew what this was, and the older guard who say, ‘Wow, I like the direction that it is headed in.’” Oro Valley resident Tom Forsythe considers himself a member of the “old guard” of patrons, and said the restaurant is a “fantastic” addition to the Oro Valley community.

  • Food festival returns to Tucson this wekend

    Where else in town can you find beets, bicycles and baklava all within an arms reach?  Try Tucson Tandem, a partnership of Heirloom Farmers Markets and Living Streets Alliance, to take place the weekend of Oct. 31-Nov. 1. The beets and eats are at the Heirloom Market at Rillito Park on Saturday while the Cyclovia Tucson bike event offers  five miles of car-free city streets along a midtown route on Sunday.“We’re co-marketing the festivities because we have a lot of folks who patronize both events,” says Diane Frisch, event coordinator for Viva La Local Food Festival. “Rather than competing, we’d prefer to work together because we have a lot of market customers who use the Rillito Park bike loop to get to the market for fresh vegetables.”  As further proof of the partnership, festival goers can shop Baja Arizona’s finest farm vendors and store their fresh purchases with a complimentary bike valet — a Veggie Valet if you will — hosted by Living Streets Alliance as food patrons explore the mecca of restaurants available.“The Tucson Tandem weekend promotes community, health and wellness, active living and sustainability,” said Christina Geare of Banner-University Medical Center, one of the events sponsors.“We run the farmers market and we’re doing event planning every week anyway, so why not add to the other festivities,” asked Heirloom Farmers Markets co-director Manish Shah. HFM, with three locations (Fridays on the Eastside at Trail Dust Town, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road; Saturdays in Oro Valley at Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 North Oracle Road, and a Sunday Market at Rillito Park, 4502 North 1st Ave.), is celebrating 13 years as a leading local food outlet.“We believe good food, good farms and good communities profoundly enrich our lives and our mission is to strengthen the community food systems of Southern Arizona,” said Shah. “We are dedicated to farm viability, promoting sustainable land use and engaging the community in the food system. HFM has grown from year one with a mere five participating farms to a current 80 vendors that attract some 1,500-2,000 people to farmers markets weekly.”

  • On the Menu: Celebrating pizza in Tucson

    What more can be said about pizza that hasn’t already been written? I mean, c’mon, it’s pizza, right?That was the challenge confronting me in the days leading up to National Pizza Month, which kicks off Oct. 1. Then I thought about all of the craftsmen in the community whose pies represent completely different sides of the pizza pole, and, at that moment, 31 days didn’t seem quite long enough for the celebration.So what does it mean for pizza to have an entire month dedicated to its deliciousness?Ask Rocco DiGrazia of Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria, 2707 E. Broadway Boulevard, and he’ll tell you that the pizza party is way too big to confine to a single month.“It’s always pizza month at Rocco’s,” he said. “I see no discernable difference between October and the other 11 months of the year.”That said, DiGrazia is challenging his guests to share their thoughts on the perfect pizza during National Pizza Month. All it takes is visiting Rocco’s, thinking creatively and filling out a form. And while you’re there, try the pie that he says “puts hair on your chest.”

  • Dragon Village an easy, delicious treat

    With two Best of the Northwest awards under its belt, Oro Valley’s Dragon Village has become somewhat of a folk legend amongst the community. Located in Safeway Vistoso Plaza on 12152 N. Rancho Blvd., its location is fairly nondescript for a nationally-recognized, two-time local award-winning locale.It’s a relatively small business functioning on the corner of a pale structure which also houses a closed-down Italian restaurant to its right. To knock it off for being nonchalant would be a mistake, however, as Dragon Village has consecutively delivered the best Chinese food in Oro Valley for two years and running.Even in light of an ownership change following its most recent award March 25, the restaurant still has yet to miss a beat when it comes to offering high quality, authentic Chinese cuisine in abundance — and for a low price. Of particular highlight comes Dragon Village’s menu of lunch specials. For the ballpark range of $6-$7, customers of Dragon Village can expect a hearty serving of a variety of main courses paired with their choice of fried, brown or white rice with an egg roll or crab puff also accompanying the plate as a side item. To top it off, customers begin their meal with a choice of hot and sour or egg drop soup alongside a bowl of wontons and sweet and sour dipping sauce to serve as a complimentary appetizer. Dragon Village lunch offerings include vegetarian options such as eggplant or broccoli in garlic sauce and vegetable delight. Of the meat-based choices, there is a myriad of courses to choose from, ranging from the mild Cantonese dish moo goo gai pan (chicken with sliced mushrooms) and cashew chicken, tabbed with a yellow smiley face on the menu to denote its health, to choices with a chili pepper beside them for those less faint of heart. These include a Kung Pao chicken recipe stirred with plenty of dried chilis and peanuts, as well as the delicately fried Hunanese staple, General Tso’s chicken. The restaurant has also opted to include an option for the more Thai-minded spice lovers with their innovative curry chicken.Another staple of Dragon Village is its well-received house lo mein. Featuring soft, thick noodles as its base ingredient, cuts of beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, bok choy, leeks and carrots are included to make for a sumptuous staple for the locale. The restaurant also serves vegetarian counterparts to each of its traditionally meat-oriented dishes, ranging from vegetable lo mein and chow mein to more audacious creations like “Mongolian beef without the beef.” Boasting a broad menu and low prices, Dragon Village is open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

  • Beyond Salt: Cocktail rims are branching out

    Move over plain and pedestrian salt. A new generation of rims is running circles around you, kicking-up cocktails with each and every lick.Now don’t get me wrong. I honor the historic role that salt has played around the rim, and there are some among us who wouldn’t imagine enjoying a margarita without this smack of sodium. But thanks to a few forward-thinking mixologists, modern expressions of rim tradition are starting to produce a new palette of flavor experiences.Consider the El Guapo, one of the cocktails on the menu at Playground Bar and Lounge, 278 E. Congress St.This beautiful beverage is made with blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, and Aperol, but it’s what’s around the rim that truly makes the cocktail shine.“We serve our El Guapo with a mango con chile rim, a granulated version of the traditional Mexican Chamoy candy which brings together the sweetness of mango and the spice of red chile peppers,” said Rachel D’Acquisto, Playground’s general manager. “We’re all about keeping it playful at Playground, and this combination of flavors is really a lot of fun.”When it comes to rim protocol, I generally see two options – give the rim a quick lick before each sip, or simply let the sips themselves dislodge and deliver the dust from the rim. D’Acquisto agrees, and reports that her guests are evenly divided.

  • Salsa and tequila on display at upcoming challenge

    Salsa and tequila. Two of the basic food groups in my personal pyramid.So what happens when an entire event is built exclusively around them?Pinch me.Encouragingly, tequila has matured since my college days, and salsa has evolved from a quiet little condiment to a dominant player on many a plate. This is why my excitement will know no bounds when they both take center stage at the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance’s fifth annual Salsa and Tequila Challenge on August 22 at La Encantada Shopping Center.The event will feature the culinary and cocktail artistry of nearly 50 restaurants, collectively serving 25 tequila-based cocktails and 40 salsas. Judges’ and People’s Choice Awards will be conferred in several categories and live music and performances will entertain guests from 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm.“This is one of those fun, cut loose, and enjoy the end of summer events,” said Cait Huble, the Alliance’s communications director. “Make sure you’ve arranged a designated driver, come hungry, and don’t forget to hydrate throughout the night!”

  • Quality, creativity and authenticity Loews Resort takes cooking seriously

    When chefs talk about their culinary point of view, it generally boils down to the uniqueness of their style, standards and technique.When Chef Ken Harvey talks about his, however, it’s more about a personal attitude than it is about a particular approach.“Culinary point of view is a big thing to have, but when you serve 10,000 guests a week, you have to do every style and have every point of view,” said Harvey, executive chef at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive. “Having team integrity, and doing the right thing when no one is watching, that’s more important for me than culinary point of view.”So what does integrity look like on the new seasonal menu at the resort’s Flying V Bar and Grill?Introducing the rabbit relleno.“The chile relleno is something that Tucson is known for, and we try to tie in Tucson not only to our locals but to everybody who comes through the building,” he said. It’s his way of showcasing what he calls “our uniquely local environment.”

  • Tucson’s new Iron Chef: a man and his knife

    Chef Danny Perez has been making quite a name for himself around Tucson for his skills in the kitchen. As executive chef at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa, Perez oversees the operations of multiple restaurants, including Primo, Signature Grill, Catalina Barbeque Co., Salud and Plunge Poolside Dining. With that much work to do, it would be crazy to say Chef Perez doesn’t have enough on his plate. Well, it seems as though the responsibility of supervising the food service for an entire spa just isn’t enough for him. Perez recently added to his accolades with a win in the Tucson Iron Chef competition, further proving he has the chops to be a world-class cook.Originally hailing from Mexico City, Perez recalls spending his early years with his family in his grandparents’ kitchen. At once, he remembered his grandfather’s busy work in the kitchen.“The things that woke me up in the morning made me want to be with him, he would make fresh carrot juice every morning,” Perez said. “You would walk down in the kitchen every morning and there was cut strawberry, papaya and a glass of fresh carrot juice. That’s how we started our mornings.”At 10 years old, he moved to Tucson with his family, and the love of cooking traveled with him. Perez graduated from Tucson High School in 1996, during which he spent his time working in various professional kitchens. 

  • Balsamics getting mixed up in cocktail world

    What was once a kitchen condiment that seemed to struggle for relevance beyond the caprese has become a common companion for dishes from hamburgers to ice cream. But drizzles of what some have called liquid love aren’t limited to the kitchen these days. It has quickly become a dominant player in the craft cocktail scene, and you’d be hard pressed to find a progressive bartender in town who doesn’t keep it within reach. What's that sound you hear? It's the sound of business booming for balsamics. 

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