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Tucson (+ some Phoenix) Report

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Pardon the spelling....I'm not going to go throught his twice:

Sat am: Arrive PHX and went straight to Farmers Market in Old Town Scottsdale. Fascinating to an East Coaster to see all the freshness at the end of March. Beautiful rustic breads too. Picked up some dried beans. And lots of hot sauces.

Sat Lunch: Mission in O.T. Scottsdale. Lovely back patio for lunch. While I would normally say guac is guac, here it's somehow much much better. Made table side, it is just the best we've ever had. The chips and salsa too, (I know, I know), but really, they just are better. And the Margarita was absolutely the best I've ever had. Not at all bitter or sweet. Perfect. Mains less so. We each had a taco plate and we were each kinda bored with our choice. I think you should probably stick to the brunch offerings.

Sat Afternoon: Maryvale Stadium. We picked this for a spring training game. PACKED! I thought we'd stroll right in! Traffic was a nightmare. We could only get lawn seats. But the sun was warm and the beer was cold.

Sat Evening (now in Tucson): 47 Scott. Probably the best dinner we had. The place isn't much to look at, with bare bulbs on the walls. But our waitress was an absolute pro. Perfect Rye Manhattan. Great tomato bisque and kale salad. Best Steak Frites we've had in years. Excellent salmon in red curry. And a satisfactory chicken wrapped in Phylo with goat cheese. Interesting AZ red to wash it down. And cheap too. I don't think the whole bill with tax as $140.

Sun Lunch: 4th Avenue Street Festival. We enjoy this every year. Beer stand on every corner, how can you beat that. I think $4 each! For lunch, we waited in line at BBQ 4 U. TriTip Sandwich. Very moist. Very salty. Piled high. Served with Salsa. WOW. Fantastic! Roasted corn not quite as successful. I think tho that we were rookies in understanding the condiments and should have asked for advice.

Sun Dinner: Downtown Food and Cocktails. Probably our worst dinner of the week. Setting was pleasant, and service ok, if not overworked. Food failed on every count. Caesar salads were wanting. A stuffed pepper starter was one-dimensional, crying for taste. Duck was just flabby and bad. The plantains underneath were both too soft in some bites, and hard as a rock in others, and in every case were 100% tasteless. Chicken two ways should have been left in the kitchen. I detected no rub, spice, seasoning, brine, etc at all. The rice underneath wouldn’t have been acceptable at a food court Chinese stall. These were actually pretty small portions, and still we left lots on the plate.

Monday Lunch: The Grill at the golf club at JW Marriott. This is supposed to be a BBQ place. As I said last year...stick with the pulled pork. The brisket is not as good.

Monday Dinner: Bluefin Seafood Bistro. We truck all the way up Oracle Rd once a year because we like this place. We got a wonderful table out on the patio. West Coast Oysters suffered a bit from the plane ride. But the house smoked trout app was outstanding. Bouillabaisse was absolutely chock full of seafood. Good thing too because the broth was not worth drinking. Sturgeon special and grilled salmon were both enjoyed. Great waitress. Good wine list.

Tuesday Lunch: Marsicusso's on Grande (sp?). Our favorite place in Tucson. Limey and delicious Shrimp Ceviche. Seafood Cocktail with clams, snails, shrimp, squid, etc. Gulf Coast oysters on the half-shell. Marlin Tacos. And fish filets in Culcitto (sp?) Green Sauce. Plus, a refreshing Michalada (sp), which is half beer and half spicy tomato juice. Man, is this a great spot. Cheap too. I have no idea why we don't go here more often.

Tuesday Dinner: Proper. This was new on our list. Right downtown amidst the growing Tucson downtown hub. Big windows lining the street. Well populated inside for a weeknight. We liked our meal. Charcauterie board was varied and delicious with sliced meats and pickled vegees. Kale salad the best we had in Tucson. Another duck dish, this one better than the last. Well cooked, medium rare. I had the fish, and again, it was gently cooked and well liked. I'm struggling to recall the last main.

Wednesday Dinner: Maynard's Kitchen. This is definitely the best looking place in downtown Tucson. White table clothes (tho covered in butcher paper) and napkins. The menu is frustrating, as both the apps and mains are meat-centric, and hard to pair up. We started with a wonderful Onion Soup, a nice plate of oysters, and another charcauterie board with excellent duck rillets, an okay pork terrine, and a luscious liver pate. Mains were only so so. A gorgeous looking lamb shank had been well browned before serving, with a lacquered appearance. Unfortunately, it was so well browned that the coating had a terrible bitter taste. The Vegetable Plate was a total fail. The squash mold that should have been the star was a dud that had me searching for the salt shaker. The mushrooms underneath needed better trimming and more careful cooking. And the steamed mussels weren't as plumb as they should be, and the broth not as reduced as it should have been. This place never seems to reach its potential.

Thursday Dinner: Daisy Mae's Steak House. You know...call me a sucker, but we get a kick out of this place. The margaritas are awfully sweet, so stay away. But the grilled wings are the bomb! And your steak comes off the grill exactly as ordered. 18 oz (really?) T-Bone is $27 or 14 oz Ribeye is $28, and comes with salad, baked potato, texas toast, and ranch beans. But do not leave without sharing the apple pie ala mode. You only need one order for the table, it's huge. Service is done with a smile and your money goes a long way.

Friday Lunch (back in Phoenix): Dick's Hideaway. First, it really is hidden. Just follow the address. Best bloody mary I've ever had, served with a beer chaser. I had Eggs Benedict Abodavata (sp). That is a long simmered pork in red chili sauce. Outstanding. I mean really outstanding. Breakfast quesadilla must have had a dozen eggs in it, I'm not kidding. And a combo plate of enchiladas and Benedict with jalapeño hollandaise was very well received. We honestly did not eat again until the next day.

Look forward to our trip next spring. Any reccos for warmly received.

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  1. Glad you liked 47 Scott.

    We've found Maynard's to be attractive, but somehow the pieces never seem to come together.

    1. Nice write-ups! When we were in town last month, we very much liked, didn't quite fall in love with our food at 47 Scott. That said, the cocktails were simply beyond reproach.

      We also made it to Proper and I'm right with you on your assessment. Interesting restaurant, everything competently prepared, especially the charcuterie, but nothing was quite the best XYZ I'd ever had.

      Dick's Hideaway is New Mexican-style Mexican food, and even after having lived in NM for about five years now, I think it's among the better renditions I've had. By NM standards it would be on the pricey and upscale side, but it's beautifully executed, down to the fact that the chile tends to have some legitimate heat.