Tucson Local Media: Nourishment

Nourishment

  • Arizona wine industry matures, experts foresee potential gains

    The back roads near Cornville look like many others in Yavapai County, until you turn a corner and find rolling hills filled with vines, tasting rooms and homes that are more Tuscan than Southwestern.Javelina Leap Winery sits among grapevines in a small valley outside Cornville. The 10-acre property includes a vineyard, tasting room and production facility.Owner Rob Snapp was one of the first to start his business in the burgeoning wine region. In the last 15 years, he’s seen the area grow from just a few acres of vineyard to a tight-knit winemaking community. Now, at least 70 acres of vineyard dot the landscape of this northern Arizona region just under an hour from Prescott.Throughout Arizona, wineries have cropped up in droves. More than 90 locations have farm winery licenses in the state. They’re clustered in three general locations: Sonoita/Elgin in southern Arizona, Willcox in central Arizona and the Verde Valley near Prescott.The wine industry grew gradually until 2001 when Arizona began to experience exponential growth. Wine production in the state soared nearly 700 percent in the 14 years since, well above the national average.The winemakers have come to Arizona for the climate, business environment and love of the drink itself.

  • Dining: Recipes of refreshing drinks in increasing heat

    Toasted TropicsWhiteface Lodge’s Lead Mixologist Zachary Blair (Lake Placid, New York)  2oz Leblon Cachaca1oz Banana Liquor.75oz Peach Syrup2oz Pineapple Juice

  • Local chef works to preserve global gastropub traditions

    From burgers with bacon jam to seafood macaroni and cheese, nothing says comfort food quite like the fare that you’ll find at gastropubs across Tucson.Although the gastropub scene has been somewhat Americanized to please western palates in recent years, the concept is a native of Europe, and one local chef is working to preserve the global traditions that he calls an inspiration for the menu at his Oro Valley gastropub. “A significant portion of our spring menu comes from European and neighboring influences,” said Jamie Eldredge, executive chef at Noble Hops, 1335 W. Lambert Lane. “You’ll see a lot of Spain, France, England, even Eastern Europe and Northern Africa on this menu.”Eldredge was classically trained in French cuisine, learning the benefits of applying Parisian rudiments to the preparation of dishes from around the world, but admits that his own passport hasn’t seen much action. He tells me that his initial pursuit of an acting career took him across the pond 12 years ago, but the dream ended abruptly after a single performance on an Edinburgh stage.“I quickly discovered that my passion for cooking trumped my passion for theater,” he said.One of Eldredge’s new menu items invites Noble Hops guests to “take a Mediterranean journey with a single dish.”

  • Renee’s Organic Oven brings breakfast pizza to Tucson

    My mother always told me it’s the most important meal of the day, so imagine my excitement when Tucson’s newest breakfast menu rolled out at a local pizza joint.To be clear, a joint it’s not, with a thoughtful design, warm colors, and a passion for food and service that’s off the charts. But pizza has always been its anchor, and Renee Kreager has used it as her inspiration to re-invent breakfast at Renee’s Organic Oven, 7065 E. Tanque Verde Road.“We wanted to put a different spin on breakfast, and really focus on what’s missing from other breakfast menus,” said Kreager.But she didn’t have to think too far outside the pizza box. She simply built the menu around what she does best.The 8-inch breakfast pizza is the standout dish on the morning menu, and there are five distinct versions that span a wide spectrum of flavors.The “Margarita with a Runny Egg” takes the tomato-basil-mozzarella classic to a gooey new level, with the addition of a local organic egg and Parmesan cheese, and the “Vegan Crush” brings together vegan pesto, red sauce, pine nuts, zucchini, olives, artichokes, broccoli, and roasted red peppers.

  • Romeo & Juliet Show-Inspired Dinner

    Get into the spirit of a classic tale of romance with Romeo & Juliet presented by the Arizona Theatre Company. Maynards Market & Kitchen has been a sponsor of Arizona Theatre Company for several years, but this is the first year the two have collaborated for a show-inspired dinner.  Ticket holders can make a night of it starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12. The three-course menu can be enjoyed with the sommelier-selected wine pairings for $60++ per person, or without wine for $45++ per person.Take a sneak peak at Chef Jared’s specially crafted menu:·                     Fettuccine Carbonara – Smoked ham hock, pea, carbonara sauce, local baby greens. Paired with Domaine de Quilla Muscadet 2012, FR.·                     Guinness and Lamb – Root vegetables, pie crust, pistachios. Paired with Chartron La Fleur, 2010, Bordeaux, FR.·                     Raspberry Trifle – Layers of coconut cake, raspberries, pastry cream, topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut. Paired with Strev, Moscato di Asti, 2013, Italy.It’s not just ATC ticket holders that can take advantage of the dinner, anyone can book their spot. There are only forty spots available and they are on a first come, first serve basis, so interested parties should secure their spot today by calling Maynards Kitchen at 520-545-0577. For additional show information please visit the ATC website at http://www.arizonatheatre.org

  • Sippin' Social - Monthly gathering at Poppy Kitchen

    If not for the view alone, which overlooks miles of winding desert scenery and encapsulates the distant downtown skyline, Poppy Kitchen is worth a try for an inexpensive yet upscale happy hour experience.Staff with Tucson Local Media gave the new establishment a try this month for the regularly scheduled Sippin’ Social, a public event that allows readers a chance to share their voice for everything newspaper related.Opened in February and located at the 3770 E. Sunrise Drive in the prestigious La Paloma Resort, Poppy Kitchen offers a bar happy hour Monday through Friday from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. and daily specials on Sundays and Mondays that feature half-priced bottles of wine. Saturdays feature a 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. happy hour.Poppy’s is suitable for any demographic. It has a kid’s menu that features such basic options as grilled cheese sandwich, while its regular menu features delights like duck breast, rib eye steak and salmon. Vegetarian options are also available, as are gluten-free items. Those arriving for a social gathering, such as was the scenario in our case, will be pleased to find a full bar including a handful of wines, craft beers and infused cocktails. I gave a try to the Oak Creek Amber Ale ($4.50), brewed out of Sedona. This beer was pleasantly malty and clean with a hint of bitterness trailing and a scent of hop flowers. At a mild 5-percent alcohol-by-volume beer, the amber is mellow enough to enjoy more than one of, and offers a flavorful experience with a touch of caramel balance.The beer paired well with an order of the crispy goat cheese ($9), pecan crusted and fried, and with fig jam, roasted garlic cloves, and pumpernickel toast.

  • Sippin’ Social – Mr. An’s

    The cravings for sushi, cold beer, delicious cocktails and a friendly atmosphere were all quenched at Mr. An’s, 6091 N.Oracle Road last week.The monthly Sippin’ Social gatherings continue to bring in numerous new faces from our community, while giving a few regulars the opportunity to talk about familiar topics.The bar and happy hour open and begin at 4 p.m. and continue on until 7 p.m. For some extra happy hour, Mr. An’s offers all-day happy hour on Sundays. The very extensive happy hour menu consists of 18 different drinks comprised of beer, wine, sake and mixed drinks, and 22 different food items that range from a simple order of edamame to delectable sushi rolls. Drinks range from $2 to $5 and food ranges from $3 to $8.Seeing two beers neither one of us has tried, Chris Flora and I were curious about the Mr. An’s Ale and Mr. An’s Pilsner. The attentive server was quick to offer us a sample of each to help us with our decision.I chose the ale, which was slightly malty, but certainly not heavy. There was a crisp dry finish that was slightly similar to New Castle Ale. The $3 beer went down very smoothly.Chris enjoyed the pilsner, which was light, smooth to drink, unfilling and all with hints of a sake flavor finish that is very fitting for the environment.

  • Arizona Beer Week 2015

    The craft beer craze takes center stage in Tucson next month, as the Old Pueblo preps for an onslaught of visitors, special events and beer-centric celebrations.The 5th Annual Arizona Beer Week returns Feb. 12 – 21, and this year’s nod to Arizona’s unique and exploding craft beer culture has been expanded to nine days, giving revelers an additional 48 hours to drink in the state’s top hops through participation in pub crawls, beer-pairing dinners, meet-the-brewer nights, special collaborations and tappings and more.Brewers statewide will be showcasing new brews, old standouts, special collaborations and more, and with more than 60 breweries now open across Tucson and southern Arizona, the region is set to host more hoppy happenings than ever before. Here’s just a small sampling of where craft beer conniousseurs can quench their thirst when Arizona Beer Week hits southern Arizona Feb. 12 – 21, 2015. Events are added daily, so for a complete list of events, visit www.ArizonaBeerWeek.com.Thursday, Feb. 12Boarderlands Meet the Brewer & Tasting Event  - Total Wine and More (Tucson)Four Peaks Tap Takeover at BZ's Pizza- BZ's Pizza (Tucson)

  • On the Menu: Liver lovers rejoice!

    A federal judge in California issued a ruling earlier this week that overturned the state’s ban on foie gras, the intentionally fattened livers of geese and ducks, ushering in a new generation of foie fans in the Golden State.At issue was a series of legal questions around the federal regulations of poultry products and whether they superseded state law. But to two Southern Arizona restaurateurs who celebrated the judge’s ruling with great enthusiasm, it simply comes down to an issue of personal choice.“Whenever you talk about banning certain foods or limiting the size of sodas you can buy, you’re simply stripping away personal choice,” said Jon Tuck, owner and general manager of Dante’s Fire, 2526 E. Grant Road. “It’s not anyone’s job to tell me what I can and can’t eat; it’s up to me to do my own research and make informed decisions.” Tuck says that there’s a great myth perpetuated by what he calls the “militant anti foie gras movement,” admitting that their “deceptive tactics” have been somewhat successful.“These groups have people believing that these animals suffer and are treated inhumanely,” he said. “In truth, the old practice of force-feeding, or tube-feeding as some called it, went out more than 25 years ago, and the fact that there’s still a public fuss about this is silly.”Foie gras has been on the menu at Dante’s Fire in various preparations since the restaurant opened. Its current selection is the “foie pop” with an ancho chili-roasted pineapple and a Thai peanut sauce.

  • 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.

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