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Tucson Grocery Shopping Advice?

  • j

Two weary-of-the-rain Seattleites will be touching down in Tucson on an upcoming Saturday morning, and are seeking recommendations on where to go to stock up on provisions for our week at a rental house in west Tucson area. We love to cook and have four hours after we leave the airport before we can check in ...time we thought we should use to roam around and locate fresh produce and proteins and carbs and coffee beans and alcohol. Everyone knows air travel and shopping can be exhausting and fray one's nerves, so I also welcome suggestions on where we can sip a fine mid-afternoon margarita to sustain us and support this complex transition into vacation mode. Many thanks.

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  1. Trader Joe's, A.J.'s, Costco are your best bets.....what part of town are you staying in?

    1. Thanks ciaogal. I don't know Tucson so forgive me: We'll be in an area that looks to be West of 10, North of Speedway, East of Saguaro National Park-West.

      1. Well, since you will have a lot of time on your hands before checking in, you can head down south of where you will be staying and hit Rincon Market, a Tucson original since 1926:

        1. I would second Rincon Market - great pastries. You can grab a good burger and a beer at Bob Dobbs next door.

          1. 17th Street Farmers Market (near downtown in an industrial area, but worth finding) for produce--both organic and exotic--and fresh seafood. Roma Imports http://www.romaimports.com/ (also near downtown, also in a funky location) for Italian meats, cheeses and prepared foods.

            1. There's an Albertson's supermarket at 1350 N. Silverbell (corner of Silverbell and Speedway). It's large, will probably have everything you want, and is probably near where you're staying. A mile north of there is an excellent Mexican restaurant called Teresa's Mosaic Cafe where you can sit outside and drink your margaritas. It's just off Grant, a little west of Silverbell. You can't really see it from Grant, but there's a McDonald's right next to it. Turn off Grant like you're going there, then just drive past it to find Teresa's.

              1. Rincon Market and 17th Street, and AJ's are all good recommendations. I'll also suggest taking a trip to the Sunday Farmers Market at St. Phillips Plaza for very fresh eggs, produce, breads, and a variety of locally made, tasty stuff like goats cheese, salami, tamales, and other easily prepped and eaten treats.

                For booze, I recommend: The liquor section at AJ's (over-priced, but a nice selection); Plaza Liquor and RumRunner. Rum Runner also has some gourmet goodies.

                If you fancy a take-out meal, Feast (which also has wonderful dining) offers a great take-out service.

                You may also find a quick trip to Grande avenue between Speedway and St. Mary's to be fun and satisfying... you'll find some of Tucsons best Tortilleria's there, along with excellent, inexpensive mexican food, and the locally famous Pat's Chili Dogs (If you go, eat the fries quickly... they're wonderful hot, but cool into an inedible leaden mass if you leave them sit).

                Enjoy! (Looks like we'll have some stellar weather for you, too)

                1. Oh thank you dear Tucson hounds. Perfect suggestions and over the course of the week we'll hit them all!

                  1. Want to second the suggestion of the Farmers Market @ St. Phillips Plaza. It's at the corner of Campbell and River on Sunday mornings (I believe they're there until 1, but earlier is probably better). I'm particularly fond of a couple of the cheese stands - one does a REALLY nice farmer's cheese in a variety of flavors (but the plain is my favorite) and the other does goat cheeses (I love the Queso Blanco, personally). Many of the same people also set up on the Mall @ the U of AZ on Friday mornings/early afternoons if you don't want to wait until Sunday, although anything involving the University on a weekday isn't pleasant. It's about 30 seconds away from Trader Joe's (Campbell, north of Roger).

                    The Albertson's on Silverbell and Speedway mentioned above is my regular one - perfectly fine but if you want fresh herbs, go elsewhere.

                    I really enjoy the Asian market at the corner of Grant and Stone for a much more interesting selection of stuff than you'll find at one of the typical chains.

                    I'm not a margarita fan, but my friends like the ones at Club 21 at Oracle and Miracle Mile.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BigCountry

                      When did they start setting up food tables on the mall? They weren't doing that when I graduated in '02.
                      Also, I have to disagree about visiting campus on a weekday, especially now that the weather is getting warmer. Several times as a student I spent the better part of a day parked on a soft piece of grass, watching the student body walk by. Love those UofA shorts. :-)

                    2. Started fall semester '06... certainly a very welcome addition. I wish it'd had been there when I was living on campus freshman year!

                      Soft grass? In Tucson? Seriously? The mall is brown and pathetic. I'm glad it's spring break! ;-)