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Expect the Unexpected

Expect the unexpected.

That’s what I discovered when I first set my eyes on the new menu at OBON.

Paulo Im, brand chef and director of culinary innovation at OBON, executes the unexpected in fascinating ways with these new seasonal selections, and my column in this week’s Inside Tucson Business tells a story about his big reveal and how a sensibility to his roots is a reflection of the food that he creates.

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


Hockey & Hops

Call it a power play for the palate.

Hockey and Hops, a beer garden with 11 regional brewers that will pop-up outside the Tucson Convention Center prior to the Tucson Roadrunners hockey game on November 13, will raise money for local non-profits that promote healthcare, education, and cultural arts programs for children, servicemen, and servicewomen in Southern Arizona.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I caught up with two local craft brewers who will participate in the hockey-hops pairing as they shared what they’ll be pouring and why it’s important to be involved in events like this.

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


Mulligans Menudo

Tucson cook Vanessa Baker wasn’t surprised when her 8-year-old son revealed that he wants to be a chef when he grows up. What he doesn’t know is that he’s the fourth generation in a family with culinary traditions steeped in tripe broth.

As I report in this week’s Inside Tucson Business, Baker’s longtime family recipe for menudo, with roots in Sonora, Mexico, started making local food news the very moment it landed on the new Sunday brunch menu at Mulligans Sports Grill. But no matter where they land on the issue of stomach lining as a morning and mid-day meal, hungry football fans have much to choose from on this chef-driven, scratch-based brunch menu.

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


Mother Road Mondays!

Since my very first sip of suds from Flagstaff’s Mother Road Brewing Company, there’s been joy in the adventure with every pint I’ve hoisted with friends and family. I’ve even had the opportunity to share some treasured moments with Mother Road’s owner Michael Marquess, the dapper dude pictured here, enjoying stories about his company, its culture, and its distinguished and food-friendly brews.

Lucky for me and other Mother Road fans, these beers have become widely available in Southern Arizona, and local chefs are celebrating how well they pair with a variety of dishes.

These stories will anchor a new series on Wake Up Tucson on AM-1030 called Mother Road Mondays! Starting on October 4 and continuing every Monday morning through November, host Chris DeSimone and I will sit down with our Mother Road friends and a different Southern Arizona chef each week for some delicious stories about their brews, their cuisine, and why they’re the perfect match.

The series will launch on October 4 at 7:00 am when Mother Road’s craft consultant Stephanie Henderson joins us in the studio, along with Andrea Wagner from Casa Marana, to kick off National Pizza Month. Pizza and beer? A traditional pairing. For breakfast on live radio? Yes, please!

I hope you enjoy this nine-week series. You can listen live every Monday at 7:00 am on KVOI, AM-1030, and on KVOI.com.


Wine of the Wild

Have you heard the one about the African elephant, squirrel monkey, giraffe, flamingo, white rhino, and anteater that walk into a bar? A wild time was had by all {enter rim shot here}.

But in this case, premium wine is the foundation of the festivities, and Rancho Rossa Vineyards has just released a wine paying tribute to these six animals to benefit the Reid Park Zoo.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I tell the story behind this Bordeaux blend and reveal which of the six animals I think I personally relate to the most.

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


Sonoran Restaurant Week 2021

If you think Sonoran Restaurant Week is only about Mexican food, you may do a double take when you see dishes inspired by Moroccan, Jamaican, French, and Indonesian traditions on display during the annual event.

But fret not, enchilada enthusiasts. As I report in this week’s Inside Tucson Business, classic Sonoran cuisine will take center stage at several of the eateries participating in the September 10-19 fete. But many others will be serving up dishes drawn from other cultures, and that squares nicely with the spirit of the week.

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


Burger of the Week Series Lands at The Landing

On my inaugural visit to The Landing last week, the sister restaurant of the nautical-themed Fini’s Landing, it was clear that Chef Ryan Jones values his home on the range as much as his time on the dock of the bay.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I tell a story about the special place he’s carved out for beef in this sustainable seafood restaurant, with a new Burger of the Week series that features a rotation of some, shall I say, distinctly different selections with a shelf life of seven days.

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


Wood-Smoked Wisdom

In preparation for my 10th year as a judge at the Nugget Rib Cookoff, dubbed the “Best BBQ Festival” in the nation by USA Today, I sat down with decorated Tucson pit master Brandi Romero as she shared her strategy for wowing judges at similar competitions.

What’s required to score big points in appearance, texture, and taste categories? What should competitors be thinking about if they want to bring home the hardware? It’s all revealed in this week’s Inside Tucson Business.

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


National IPA Day!

It’s the day over which hop fans like myself swoon, and I’m pleased to report that we’re one week away from National IPA Day on August 5!

In this week’s Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business, I share some celebration-worthy suggestions for those who prefer their brews on the bitter and slightly more spirituous sides. And there’s a lot to consider from the perspectives of one local brewery that’s preparing to pour four distinct IPAs on the big day, ranging from 6-10 percent on the ABV scale.
Check out my story here and let me know your thoughts!

Summer Survival 2021

According to her great, great nephew, Monica Flin likely spent the first summer at her new El Charro Café making pots of stew and tortillas to feed local construction workers. That was 99 years ago, and summer survival continues to be the hallmark of the season at each of El Charro’s Tucson locations.

In this week’s Inside Tucson Business, I tell a story about how this “fierce and feisty frontier woman” reflected the principles of service, family, and togetherness, and how they continue to guide this local restaurant’s work in getting us all through another long Tucson summer.

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