Tucson Local Media: Nourishment

Nourishment

  • The Clam Capital of Pima County

    Jackson Tavern, the latest concept from Metzger Family Restaurants, is scheduled to open this week at 2900 N. Swan Road in Plaza Palomino. It draws its inspiration from the coastal towns of New England, and its menu features creative twists on regional classics from Rhode Island to Maine.But make no mistake about it. At Jackson Tavern, the clam is king.“Clams are the quintessential Rhode Island thing,” said Brian Metzger of Metzger Family Restaurants, which owns and operates Jackson Tavern. “I remember eating clams as a kid growing up in Rhode Island, and they’ve always been my favorite food. I knew that if this menu didn’t represent the clam in a big way, it just wouldn’t be authentic with what we’re trying to do.”The clam makes an appearance on six of the tavern’s menu items, from snacks to supper and seemingly everywhere in between. But it’s the clam cake that holds a special place in Metzger’s heart.“My twin brother and I first started eating clam cakes at age six, when we spent the summer hanging around the Rocky Point Amusement Park in Warwick,” he recalled. “My grandparents took us there every summer, and clam cakes were always such an important part of that experience.”Jackson Tavern’s ode to this Metzger memory is a plate of big bite-sized clam fritters served with a horseradish tartar sauce, a “true taste of Rhode Island,” he promises.  

  • Scotch or bourbon? Scotch is the choice until spring

    I hope that my beloved bourbon is not getting a complex, but this time of year it’s the scotch that seems to be more frequently earning my favor.Perhaps it’s the comforting smokiness of the peat that goes so well with a comfortable pair of slippers and a roaring fire. Maybe it’s the vision of that age-old distilling process, where the malted barley is heated shortly after it starts to germinate.Call it what you will, but the single malt is a seasonal expression for me, and this is the season when it sings.But with several thousand brands sold all over the world, how is one to know one scotch from the other?Rather than book a trip to Edinburgh for answers, I simply scheduled an appointment with Aaron DeFeo, resort mixologist at the Casino del Sol Resort, who has curated an impressive 120-selection scotch menu at the resort’s PY Steakhouse, 5655 W. Valencia Road.DeFeo says that differences among scotches are as stark as the regions in Scotland where they’re produced, and he took me on a tasting tour to better understand their unique characteristics.

  • On the Menu: The Coronet brings power back to the power breakfast

    To business professionals, it’s that quintessential morning meal that serves as a backdrop for engaging in deals with colleagues, customers and clients.The power breakfast.In my years as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., power breakfasts dominated my calendar on a weekly basis, and were typically conducted at Washington’s tony hotel restaurants where politicos and power brokers congregated. Frankly, it didn’t much matter what was on the plate. This encounter was strictly about the deal, and the food itself was secondary.To local restaurateur Sally Kane, that breakfast has somehow lost its spark, with far too many people either yielding to mediocrity or skipping the meal entirely, and she’s out to change the way people think about what’s often called the most important meal of the day.“If the power breakfast is really about power, then the focus must be on the fuel,” said Kane, owner of The Coronet, 402 E. 9th Street. “We can’t get power without fuel, and, done right, breakfast will provide the fuel you need to get your day started powerfully.”The Coronet’s breakfast menu is a manifestation of that promise, featuring a range of protein-centric dishes that are designed to jump-start the day.

  • The New Bar Eats and Craft Cocktails at the Hotel Congress

    These new Hotel Congress Bar Eats and craft cocktails are impossible not to enjoy.  Whether it’s the scrumptious bites from Executive Chef Michael Byrer or thirst quenching drinks from the cocktail dream team, David Clark and Matt Talavera, guests can enjoy these generous tidbits and tastes in the Tap Room, Lobby Bar, Club Congress Bar, and on the plaza.  The $5 Bar Eats are no doubt a bargain and can be savored daily from 4 p.m. to kitchen close while the Book of Drinks cocktails are available all the time and only $5 during Happy Hour from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.   With seven new editions to the menus, the Hotel Congress continues to solidify their reputation for having something for everyone.New Cocktails: Lazarus   Plymouth Gin, Lillet Blanc, orange syrup, lime, Reagan’s Bitters 311 East  Sailor Jerry Rum, Benedictine, Francet Cognac, Blackberry and Lime Angostura Bitters El Santo’s Punch  Mexican Moonshine Blanco, Lime and Peach Bitters East End Toddy   Gentleman Jack, lemon, Agave Nectar, clove, cinnamon  New Bar Eats: ·       Mesquite Smoked Spare Ribs Three bones, cherry chipotle BBQ sauce, and pepper slaw ·       Sonoran Hot Wings Crispy chicken wings tossed with green Poblano hot sauce, bacon dust, scallions, and cilantro ·       Silver Side Eggrolls Corned beef, potato, braised cabbage, Gruyere cheese, whole grain horseradish mustard  Hotel Congress suggests enjoying the beautiful weather and new items on the plaza on nights such as Thursday or Friday when there’s live music on the plaza.  Local musicians such as Salvador Duran and Tom Walbank keep the place lively and fun.  If Bloody Marys are more your thing, take note that Hotel Congress now hosts their famous Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Either way, on any day, The Hotel Congress is the place to be.

  • Tucson’s raw bar culture – Kingfisher to host Oyster Festival

    It’s long been surmised that Jeff Azersky has the most beautiful bivalves in Southern Arizona.Lest your imaginations run wild, let me be clear. We’re talking oysters, people, and Azersky indeed has every reason to take pride in helping to pioneer Tucson’s raw bar culture, a culture that will be celebrated at the annual Kingfisher Oyster Festival on Nov. 8.Azersky spent nearly 30 years on the South Shore of Massachusetts, what some consider to be the nation’s oyster capital, halfway between Boston and Cape Cod. When he relocated to Tucson more than 20 years ago, he started shipping fresh oysters here, and today they’re among the top sellers at both of his local restaurants – Kingfisher Bar and Grill, 2564 E. Grant Road, and Bluefin Seafood Bistro, 7053 N. Oracle Road.In preparation for the Oyster Festival, I sat down with Azersky last week to learn more about our squishy little friend.He started the lesson by describing the significant number of oyster varietals currently being harvested across the globe, and that he expects to feature nearly 20 different types at the festival.“We’ll be serving oysters from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, California, New England, the Mid-Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and other regions that produce great oysters,” he said.

  • Jeff Azersky schools Matt Russell in the science of shucking

    It’s long been surmised that Jeff Azersky has the most beautiful bivalves in Southern Arizona.Lest your imaginations run wild, let me be clear. We’re talking oysters, people, and Azersky indeed has every reason to take pride in helping to pioneer Tucson’s raw bar culture, a culture that will be celebrated at the annual Kingfisher Oyster Festival on November 8.Azersky spent nearly 30 years on the South Shore of Massachusetts, what some consider to be the nation's oyster capital, halfway between Boston and Cape Cod. When he relocated to Tucson more than 20 years ago, he started shipping fresh oysters here, and today they’re among the top sellers at both of his local restaurants – Kingfisher Bar and Grill, 2564 E. Grant Road, and Bluefin Seafood Bistro, 7053 N. Oracle Road.In preparation for the Oyster Festival, I sat down with Azersky last week to learn more about our squishy little friend.He started the lesson by describing the significant number of oyster varietals currently being harvested across the globe, and that he expects to feature nearly 20 different types at the festival.“We’ll be serving oysters from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, California, New England, the Mid-Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and other regions that produce great oysters,” he said.

  • Join TLM Staff for happy hour review at fox and hound

    Join staff of Tucson Local Media for the monthly Sippin’ Social on Thursday, Nov. 20, at Fox and Hound Smokehouse & Tavern, located at 7625 N. La Cholla Blvd. from 4 to 6 p.m.Pitch story ideas, discuss current news, or relax and enjoy food or drink.Tucson Local Media does not pay for food or drink.

  • The Parish's raspberry tiramisu with floating finger

    A ghastly review can be enough to make any restaurateur tremble. But to Steve Dunn, a frightening culinary experience is exactly what he wants for his guests.Let the trembling begin.On October 31, Dunn and his team will unveil their scariest menu to date, at their annual Voodoo Halloween dinner at The Parish, 6453 N. Oracle Road.“We set out to bring the New Orleans Halloween experience to Tucson, and people that have experienced Halloween in New Orleans know how much fun this can really be,” said Dunn, co-owner of the southern fusion gastropub.Dunn spent much of the 1990s managing restaurants all along the French Quarter, and knows from personal experience how important it is for the Big Easy’s entertainment and culinary cultures to intersect on the last day of October.“This celebration is second only to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, which explains why so many people visit for Halloween and end up moving there.”

  • Sippin’ Social: Turnout growing for happy hour gatherings

    Staff of Tucson Local Media made its way to Harvest for October’s monthly Sippin’ Social – an event which the public is welcomed and encouraged to join to engage in conversation or simply enjoy happy hour selections. The turnout continues to grow each month, this go-around seeing about 15 faces – some new, some familiar. The idea behind the meetings – which take place on the third Thursday of each month, is twofold. First, it allows newspaper staff to collect public input on the type, quality, and amount of content being delivered through Tucson Local Media’s publications, which include The Explorer, Tucson Weekly, Inside Tucson Business, Foothills News, Desert Times, and Marana News. Tell us what you like or don’t like, what you’d like to see less and more of, or whether you think reporting is balanced. Have a story in mind? Pitch it to us. We as a newspaper rely on reader input when it comes to this. The second purpose is to provide a happy hour review of the particular month’s restaurant of choice. These restaurants/bars are generally located on the northwest side, alternating between Oro Valley and Marana, but with the acquisition of additional newspapers, could expand to fit the readership of those publications.In the case of Harvest, it’s a must try, if for nothing else than the mountain views and broad wine selection. Located in the heart of Oro Valley, Harvest, with its reasonable happy hour, won’t kill the wallet, either.  While abundant conversation in this case took priority over reviewing food and drink, I did enjoy a 20-ounce Deep Canyon Amber ($4.85), a familiar brew made locally from Thunder Canyon Brewery. Wine was a popular choice of the others at the table, but what is most important was our server’s ability to keep up with a 15-person group, always remaining courteous and prompt. Next month on Thursday, Nov. 20, staff will try out Fox and Hound, located at 7625 N. La Cholla Blvd from 4-6 p.m.

  • RA Sushi supports the American Heart Association

    From Feb. 1 to Feb. 28, all 25 RA Sushi locations nationwide will be helping to increase awareness and raise funds for the number one cause of death in women: heart disease. RA Sushi has created a special “Go Red” menu that will benefit the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women initiative.  For every Go Red item purchased throughout the month of February, $3 will benefit the American Heart Association. The Red Dress Martini, offered for $9, is a blush-worthy blend of Absolut Citron vodka, Pama liqueur and fresh lemon and grapefruit juices. The slightly spicy Red Heart Roll, available for $12, is made with kani kami crab mix, cucumber, and avocado, rolled and topped with spicy tuna mix.   Support the American Heart Association fundraiser at any RA Sushi location in the United States Visit www.RAsushi.com

  • Sippin' Social: The Gallery Grille worth a try

    Who says an outing in the heart of the luxurious and scenic Dove Mountain has to empty your wallet? The Gallery Grille, located at 14000 N. Dove Mountain Blvd. wipes that misconception right out with a daily happy hour from 4-7 p.m. that features $2 drafts, $4 well drinks, $4 wine, and an attractive appetizer menu to go with.That’s where staff of Tucson Local Media ended up in this month’s Sippin’ Social – an open-to-the-public event that takes place on the third Thursday of each month in which readers can discuss their thoughts on recent news, suggest local story ideas, or – the best part – simply get to know us.Alright, fine. We’ll leave the flattery to The Gallery, because this place is definitely worth the visit. The Grille has a lot going for it even beyond its clean, calm atmosphere with mountainside views and a helpful wait staff. The appetizers – while undiscounted during happy hour, truly speak for themselves. That’s true whether of the Nachos De Casa ($7) or the Citrus Shrimp ($11), both of which we gave a test-run during our visit, and neither of which disappointed.The nachos come on a big plate and could easily serve as a stomach-settling snack for three or four people. The dish of tortilla chips, grated cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, olives, cilantro crema, and pico de gallo with salsa is, however, fairly addicting, so if sharing, you’d be wise to get your hands involved quickly.The citrus shrimp, orange-glazed with smoked paprika and olive slaw is every bit as good – so much so that you’ll wish the plate came with more than a mere five of them. Still, they were perfectly cooked and breaded to give a pleasant texture and even better follow-through when it comes to taste.Both dishes were recommended to us by what seemed to be a veteran staff member who was prompt in her service, but even more importantly, honest about her thoughts when asked about menu items. There was no generalized “everything on the menu is good” (which it probably is) rather, she took the time to talk about her personal preferences or suggest items based on previous customer feedback.

  • Arizona Restaurant Week

    Fabulous restaurants in Tucson & Southern Arizona offer a three-course dinner menu of signature dishes, priced at special rates.September 19, 2014 - September 28, 2014Venue: Various locations Phone: (602) 307-9134 x118 Recurring dailyFor more information visit: http://arizonarestaurantweek.com/restaurants/

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