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The Soul of Senae

It’s doubtful that Garee Gai, Tua Pik Khing, and other staples of Thai cuisine are on the kitchen menu at St. Mary’s Hospital, but 100 hospital employees recently enjoyed an authentic taste of Thailand without stepping foot off hospital grounds.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, you’ll read that the best way to introduce people to Thai culture is through its food, and how the food at Senae Thai Bistro has therapeutic properties that go far beyond merely satisfying hunger.

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


Vegan Burger Breakthrough

I never thought I’d have anything good to say about plant-based burgers. But here I am with lots to say about my recent vegan burger breakthrough.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I reveal a secret that I’ve been keeping for weeks. And it will come as a shock to my comrades in the carnivore community.

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


Beer: The “Great Uniter”

Leave it to Chris Squires and his brew crew to find a delicious way to bridge the gap between Tucson and Phoenix.

Their solution is beer, or what Squires calls the “great uniter.”

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I tell the story of a limited-edition brew that united Tucsonans and Phoenicians in a way that dispels any illusions that the gulf between the two cities is more than simply geographic.

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


Lost Tacos…Found!

A delicious game of hide and seek has turned up Tucson’s lost tacos!

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I reveal the whereabouts of some tacos and other “shares and schwag” that were otherwise hard to find….until now. See what happens at the Lost Taco Shop after the Sonoran Brunch Company wraps up its breakfast and lunch service.

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


The “Russell Box” Story Revealed

If there’s a greater honor than having a meat box named after you, I know not of it.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I trace the “Russell Box” history back to Newport Beach in the 1980s. It’s a story of wood floors, sawdust, whiskey, and carcass-cutting, following the journey of celebrity butcher Ben Forbes.

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


Mother’s Day Dining & Distancing

The purple-shirted and suspendered Chef Ken Foy with his mom and brother

With social distance guidelines still in regular practice by most, how can you responsibly dote on mom this Sunday over a memorable, chef-prepared meal?

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I caught up with a local chef whose basket-based strategy sounds like a must for Mother’s Day!

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


Half Man, Half Amazing

He’s been called half man, half amazing.

His enthusiasm for serving the community was boundless and the love that he showed for his patrons went far beyond the assembly of a memorable pizza pie.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I reflect on my rewarding, yet all-too-brief, relationship with pizza pioneer Dino Chonis who passed away recently.

Check out my story here and join the community in praying for Dino’s family during this difficult time.


Take Out Once a Week

If you follow the local food and beverage scene on social media, you’ve probably seen the public service video that challenges us all to do take out once a week as a way to support our struggling restaurant community.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I tell the story about this video that’s been viewed more than 16,000 times since it was posted last week.

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


Ryan Clark’s BFFs

What does it take to be one of Chef Ryan Clark’s BFFs in 2020?

Easy. Just be a farmer.

My column in this week’s Inside Tucson Business takes a look at the role that farmers are playing in Clark’s PY Steakhouse this year.

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



Reflections on Life as a Varietal

The multi-faceted Brent Karlicek

What’s the one grape varietal that best represents who you are, psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally?

It’s a question that I’ve asked many winemakers and sommeliers over the years. It’s not about the grapes that they most enjoy in a single varietal or blend, but more about the characteristics of a certain grape that most closely match their own as real people.

I tossed that one earlier today to Brent Karlicek, beverage director of Upward Projects, as he was hosting local media at the company’s newest Postino Wine Cafe scheduled to open next week at the intersection of Grant Road and Tucson Boulevard in Tucson.

Without much hesitation, he told me a tale of two sides on the varietal spectrum that he believes authentically define who he is.

“On one side we have Gamay, a grape that’s fun, personable, pleasurable, and happy-go-lucky,” he said. “I’m in the hospitality business, and this is a business about simply making people feel good.”

Eager to hear what was on the opposite side of the spectrum, while at the same time fearing that the other Brent might not be as fun, personable, or pleasurable as the one across the table from me, I asked him to reveal it.

“The other part of me is more like a Nebbiolo, a grape that’s a bit deeper, more structured, and introspective,” he said. “This one takes a little more time to understand as the layers are peeled back.”

The answer to the question, in his words, introduced a “multi-faceted me.”

Postino’s wine list is as multi-faceted as the man who curated it, assembled with approachability in mind and a pledge to feature a few selections that you may not have seen before. For me, one of those was the Pomares Douro, a bright white blend perfect for a Friday afternoon on the patio. I don’t think it was a coincidence that this particular wine got my attention. Made from Gouveio and Viosinho grapes, it hails from Portugal in the Douro Valley, which is exactly where we’ll be heading on my next Culinary and Cocktail Cruise.

I left my inaugural Postino moment with the confidence that it will thrive on the Southern Arizona food and beverage scene, and with an enthusiasm for getting to know both sides of Brent Karlicek a little better. I guess that means drinking some Gamays and Nebbiolos with him next time…at a decidedly structured yet happy-go-lucky happy hour!

Located at 2500 E. Grant Road, Postino opens to the public on Monday, March 2, 2020.