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Good Oak Gastronomy

I’ve been to many wine pairing and cocktail pairing dinners over the years, but I’ve never experienced both intentionally wrapped into a single evening.

As the saying goes, and as I echo here with great anticipation, there’s a first time for everything.

On August 11 at the Good Oak Bar, executive chef Nico Rodriguez and beverage director Tim Walsh will host a five-course wine and cocktail pairing dinner that I tease in this week’s Inside Tucson Business. It signals to me they weren’t able to make up their minds on wine or cocktails or there truly is a method to their madness. After spending some time with Chef Rodriguez, it became crystal clear it’s the latter.

Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!


Oklahoma “Country Boy” Goes to Loews

He’s cooked for the Dalai Lama, lectured on backwoods Oklahoma cuisine, ran the banquets program at the legendary Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, and prepared fried squirrel at the Smithsonian Institution during National Food History Weekend in Washington, D.C.

To say that Jason Flores has a diverse background would be an understatement. And it may explain why this chef who describes his culinary point of view as “redneck-chic” was a natural fit when Loews Ventana Canyon Resort recently introduced him as its new executive chef.

My latest Tucson Foodie story tracks Flores’ journey from his childhood in rural Oklahoma to the pinnacle of his culinary career at Loews. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!


Pickle Paradise

What is it about the pickle that equates it with adversity in today’s lexicon?

As we all know, when you find yourself stuck in a difficult or dangerous position, you’re known to be “in a pickle.” This bad rap may be a mystery to those of us who love these briny cukes, and thankfully there are local restaurateurs who are changing the pickle narrative, elevating it from gratuitous garnish status to a signature element in their menu items. 

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I share the delicious stories of those in our local food and beverage community who celebrate the pickle with the level of pomp it deserves.

Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!


Virginians Seeking Victory: Iron Chef Tucson 2022

It’s hard to say with certainty that the Wolverines of West Potomac High and the Eagles of Thomas Edison High are rivals in Alexandria, Virginia, but the real rivalry will take center stage in Tucson next month when two of the neighboring schools’ alumni battle it out for the title of Iron Chef Tucson.

In my inaugural story for Tucson Foodie, I share the histories of two local chefs whose journeys have taken them from the same neighborhood in Northern Virginia to the same street in Tucson. It’s either one of the greatest coincidences of our time or stalking at its best. Either way, expect this to be a battle of epic magnitude on Saturday, July 30 when Casino Del Sol’s Grand Ballroom will be transformed into Kitchen Stadium.

Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!


For the Pacific Northwest Palate

What does the Pacific Northwest look like at the center of the plate and in a glass?

Jeff Azersky, of Tucson’s Kingfisher Bar & Grill, offered his insights when we discussed the latest regional destination on his annual Summer Road Trip that that makes virtual stops in the most delicious regions of the country.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, Jeff transported my palate to Oregon and Washington while telling a fun story about how a mountain man in 1848 inspired this authentic Pacific Northwest menu that runs through June 25.

Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!


Craft Beer for a Cause

Building a thriving community by uniting people, ideas and resources requires lots of hard work. I’d suggest that recognizing these tireless efforts requires lots of cold beer.

What a coincidence. In commemorating the 100th Anniversary of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, Ten55 Brewing Company released its UNITED Summer Ale last week, a sudsy way to celebrate the organization’s century of service during the year’s warmest months. 

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I tell the story about this beer, including the incorporation of a rare peppercorn from western Africa called “Grains of Paradise.”

Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!


Who’s a Liver Lover?

My affinity for liver and onions ranks right up there with anchovies and fruitcake, and I’m well aware that I stick out like a sore thumb when I order these foods in public places. But those of us who share a love of liver can hardly contain our enthusiasm for National Liver and Onions Day on May 10.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, a local chef shared a story with me about the significant role that liver and onions has played on his menus for decades. He said, “Liver and onions is one of those classic comfort foods, like beef stew, fried chicken, and meatloaf, which has a way of connecting people with their past.” Few dishes have a nostalgic nature like our beloved L&O.

Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!


Slider Smack Down

There’s nothing small about the life Chef Lindy Reilly lives.

His iconic burgers are second only in size to his prodigious personality, and a big bolt of lightning is the centerpiece of his Fourth Avenue restaurant’s brand. So, imagine my surprise when I learned that he’ll soon go to battle in a cooking competition that requires participants to set their sights on the smaller side of things.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I share some of Reilly’s strategies for success as he prepares for the inaugural Slider Smack Down on May 7 at Button Brew House.

Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!


Social Sippers

With mask mandates expiring, and many of us rightfully dragging our Zoom apps into the recycle bin, local businesses across Southern Arizona are celebrating what it means to be social again.

At Portal, an intimate cocktail bar on Fourth Ave., they are taking the idea of social rather seriously. My column in this week’s Inside Tucson Business stirs up a few examples, from the Swamp Thing to the Jupiter Bowl, where straws are handed out by the handful.

Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!



While many of us learned early in life about the consequences of yelling “fire” in a crowded building, the exclamation has taken residence in the formal and flame-licked lexicon of downtown Tucson’s hottest new restaurant.

BATA, the newest concept from the crew that brought us Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink, is inspired by fire, and all of the nearly 20 dishes on the menu are touched by fire in some way. My column in this week’s Inside Tucson Business tells a story about these flames and how the Fenton family is igniting them at a beautifully re-imagined 1930s supply warehouse.

Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!