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New Orleans Hounds Need Recs for Tucson This Weekend

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We're heading to Phoenix and then Tucson this weekend from New Orleans. I'm originally from Albuquerque, but this will be a first-time trip to this area for me (other than just driving through or sitting in the airport). We are staying with friends in Phoenix, so probably don't need dining recs in Phoenix. Then we are heading to Tucson where my parents have a vacation house in the Oro Valley area. We would love some recs for breakfast, lunch and dinner since we don't plan on doing a ton of cooking at the house. We have a rental car and are willing to drive, so the area of town isn't that important. Where are the best places to eat in Tucson? Also, are there any good places in the Oro Valley area that will be close by for breakfast and/or dinner? Thanks in advance!

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    1. Hi - I've lived in Tucson less than a year, but I'll list a few of my favorites so far (and if you do a quick search for Tucson recs, the same restaurants tend to come up). Up towards Oro Valley, Jax Kitchen is great (www.jaxkitchen.com), and Wildflower is popular (haven't tried it yet). For Mexican, we like Guadalajara Grill (www.ggrill.com - try the halibut in chipotle cream sauce or tilapia in poblano sauce) and Cafe Poca Cosa (www.cafepocacosatucson.com - closed Sun. and Mon.). For breakfast, I highly recommend Ghini's (www.ghiniscafe.com) - they also have a nice lunch menu and a bakery. If you're here on a Friday, try the walnut fig bread.

      Perhaps some others can be more helpful about places in Oro Valley. Have a good trip!

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      Cafe Poca Cosa
      110 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ 85701

      Jax Kitchen
      7286 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85704

      Ghini's
      1803 E Prince Rd, Tucson, AZ 85719

      1. My 18 year-old lives in Tucson and we visit fairly often from the San Francisco area. We love Beyond Bread for breakfast pastries. It is a very comfortable, clean and well priced. There are dozens of pastries and breads to choose from (fig and pistachio - yum) including more sourdough choices than in my native San Francisco. The lunchtime salads and sandwiches are also good. The only weakness is the coffee which is not up to my snobby Peet's standard.
        Next door is a Bookman's - Tucson's wonderful used book, record, video and more store.

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        Beyond Bread
        Tucson, AZ, Tucson, AZ

        Beyond Bread
        6260 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85712

        1. Thanks for the recommendations!! I have heard that El Charro is good for Mexican, but it seems to get some mixed reviews. Any thoughts? Wild Onion - I take it you prefer Guadalajara Grill?

          2 Replies
          1. re: latasche

            El Charro is an institution, known especially for their carne seca. We were there a couple of weeks ago with an out-of-town guest - my husband's carne asada burro was pretty good, and I like their red salsa, but the place isn't on our regular rotation. If you can only try one or two Mexican places while you're here, I'd recommend Poca Cosa and Guadalajara Grill. If you try the latter for dinner rather than lunch, I might suggest that you ask for their regular (lunchtime) salsa, rather than get the table-side salsa (which tastes a little too much like canned tomatoes for my taste), or ask for both, so you can get the experience.

            I forgot to mention in my other post that you might try Harvest, which is up near where you're staying. It's a little out of the way for us, but has been well-received.

            1. re: wild onion

              I agree with wild onion's recs, and want to add that I like Harvest and Wildflower as much as I do Jax Kitchen.

              Near you, towards Dove Mountain, is McClintock's - the food is not bad, but the landscape and views are incomparable. Go for drinks at sunset if you don't want to eat there.

              Regarding Ola's coffee comment - the only coffee in Tucson that matches Peet's are at Raging Sage, Crave Espresso (if they're still in biz); the coffee at B Line and Blue Willow are pretty good, too.

              Read the older thread about the El Conquistador posting, which is near Oro Valley. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7072...

              There's a lot of info in other older threads. Have fun!

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              Blue Willow Restaurant
              2616 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719

              Crave Espresso Bar
              4530 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85711

              Raging Sage
              Tucson, AZ, Tucson, AZ

              Jax Kitchen
              7286 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85704

              McClintock's
              3755 W. Conrad's Way, Tuscon, AZ 85742

          2. These places all look great. I think this will give us plenty of options for our short stay. Thanks again!