Tuscon’s Authentic Eats
Southern Arizona has a cuisine all its own. “A lot of places have great food, but our great food feels like Tucson,” notes Gibson. Making it official, UNESCO designated Tucson a World City of Gastronomy in 2016—and it was the only U.S. metropolis to make the list. Incorporate these items into menus to add local flavor.
Sonoran Hot Dog
A hot dog is wrapped in mesquite-cooked bacon, grilled and then topped with pinto beans, grilled and fresh onions, tomatoes, mayo, mustard and jalapeno salsa. Serve on a bolillo roll (the Mexican riff on a baguette) with a side of roasted chili peppers.
Prickly Pear Syrup
The magenta-colored syrup, produced from prickly pear cactus, is incorporated into everything from lemonade and margaritas to candy and barbecue sauce.
You can get quality mesquite-smoked steaks and chops around downtown, but Hamilton Distillers thinks outside the animal with its mesquite-smoked aged whiskey, Dorado—a smokin’ idea for room drops or VIP gifts.
Executive Chef Ken Harvey, who leads groups on foraging expeditions around Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, practices what he preaches. He incorporates Arizona-native tepary bean into hummus on the resort’s poolside menu.