Author: Daniela Siqueiros

California Dreaming

Santa Barbara’s distinctive architectural style was the inspiration for this Tucson home.

BY ROMI CARRELL WITTMAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY HASKELL

Sitting at the end of a quiet street, shaded by a dense canopy of mesquite trees, is a home that looks as if it was plucked from picturesque Santa Barbara, California. This was exactly the look that Georgann and John Munic aspired to when they built their 6,000-square-foot home. Santa Barbara architecture fuses design elements from many regions, most notably Spanish Colonial, Italian and Mediterranean. These iconic elements can be seen throughout the Munic property.

Inside and outside, no detail has been overlooked. The landscaping— using mostly native plants such as succulents and Golden Barrel cacti — ensures that the main focus remains on the home itself. Pea gravel, a staple in European gardens, was used in the outdoor spaces to evoke an Old World feel. Cantera stone accents further enhance the outdoor spaces.

Tall glass double doors serve as the home’s entryway and are framed by concrete cast stone. As Georgann explains, guests enter a canvas of crisp, white walls framed by 14-inch mahogany moldings and baseboards. A stretch of hand-scored and waxed concrete covers the floors.

At the home of Georgann and John Munic, a cus-tom metal pergola casts geometric shadows.

 

A carved cantera stone table imported by Holler & Saunders is located in a side garden.

This formal living room, or salon, has an immaculate, high-contrast design aesthetic. White slipcovered sofas and chairs are positioned to create intimate seating areas, while an eclectic array of antiques and artwork, some from Latin American art purveyor Holler & Saunders Ltd., provides visual interest.

Georgann handled the interior design of the home. Her approach reflects juxtaposition, and the unexpected surprise of contrast can be seen throughout. An example is the way she has designed certain rooms, such as the library and the master suite having their own foyers. This adds both elegance and privacy.

One of two dressing rooms off the master bedroom foyer. Artist Becky Hengsteler painted the decorative motifs.

Each room also has double doors to afford access to exterior personal spaces. Arguably, the most stunning of these spaces is located off the library. Here, the patio is covered by a custom-made metal pergola that casts geometric shadows onto the concrete pavers below. These shapes change as the sun moves across the sky, creating an ever-changing art show. This garden holds a stunning array of barrel cacti planted en masse.

Located on opposite sides of the master bedroom foyer are identical dressing rooms, complete with mirrored doors. The walls are embellished with delicate, handpainted art created by Becky Hengsteler.

 

 

 

 

 

The master bath en suite was designed to have a spa-like ambience.

Two handcrafted mahogany vanities featuring Rosso Levante marble flank opposite walls of the space.

The master en suite includes a soaking tub and a pair of mahogany and marble vanities.

“The master en suite is a quiet, sunlit sanctuary with double doors leading out to a private garden and fireplace wall, which can be enjoyed from the soaking tub,” says Georgann.

The home always has been shared with the community during many charitable events and celebrations, including the wedding reception of their son and daughter-in-law.

As Georgann says, “I’ve always felt one’s home should be a reflection of its owners. In building, you leave a bit of your soul, a watermark for all those who follow to enjoy.”

Sources:

Del Sol Tucson Landscaping, LLC., delsoltucson.com

Holler & Saunders Ltd., hollersaunders.com

A Collection of Colorful Cacti

People who claim that the desert landscape is boring have never been here in spring when the cacti blossom into a palette of many hues.

BY DEBBY LARSEN

Cacti are one of nature’s dichotomies; their thorny sculptural spheres, spiraling columns and flat paddles are paired with beautiful tissue-paper-like flowers, creating a glorious contrast.

Some species, such as the ubiquitous prickly pear, cover the landscape with displays ranging from yellow to pink. Most species of cacti bloom in April, while others are late bloomers, extending the colorful show.

 Beavertail Prickly Pear (Opuntia)

Low-spreading and slow growing, this cactus has blue-gray pads covered in tiny brown barbs rather than spines. It displays lovely pink to magenta blooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Torch Cactus (Trichocereus)

Trichocereus hybrids are columnar cacti that are admired for their brilliant flowers in a range of colors. Some cultivars produce magnificent displays in flushes (the period when all of a plant’s flowers are in bloom) over time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hedgehog Cacti (Echinocereus)

Heavily spined and short statured, this cactus forms dense, low-clustered mounds. It produces large, brightly colored flowers, such as this variety, called Claret Cup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saguaro (Carnegiea)

Easily recognized as the iconic sentinel of the Sonoran Desert, this slow-growing, columnar giant reaches up to 50 feet. A corona of large, night-blooming, white flowers appears in May, followed by red edible fruit in June.

 

 

 

 

 

Fishhook Barrel (Ferocactus)

This basketball-shaped, long-lived cactus has ridges of curved red or yellow spines. Yellow or orange flowers form a crown, followed by a crop of yellow-pineapple-shaped fruit with many tiny black seeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staghorn Cholla (Opuntia)

This very spiny, tree-like cactus has rod-shaped branches that are favored by native birds for nesting. The cholla species should not be planted in high-traffic landscape spaces!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pincushion (Mammillaria)

Small and spherical in shape, this species is covered with tiny spines. A ring of pink flowers appears at one time, followed by a circle of oval-shaped, red fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Rita Prickly Pear (Opuntia)

This low-growing, clumping variety has flat, round, reddish-purple pads and fewer spines than others in its family. The pads’ hue deepens when stressed by drought or cold.

Amazing April

APRIL 6

2019 NAMIWalks Southern Arizona

Don your favorite sneakers, grab your friends and join other community-minded folks in NAMIWalks, which raises funds for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Arizona.

This 501c3 is a grassroots organization that addresses the mental health needs of our community, replaces the stigma of mental illness with understanding, and helps thousands of families and individuals each year. At NAMIWalks Southern Arizona’s 13th annual 5k event, funds raised will help the organization to offer no-cost advocacy, education and support programs.

The event’s honorary chairpersons are U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and Arizona Sen. David Bradley, who are strong supporters of NAMI and improving mental health services in Arizona and nationwide.

There is no registration fee, but participants are encouraged to collect donations from friends and family, or to organize teams of walkers for the same purpose.

In addition to the 5k walk (3k and 1k routes also are available), the event features a festival, with speakers, entertainment, children’s activities, and a resource fair with 25-30 organizations providing information on mental health and services.

NAMI Southern Arizona has set a goal to raise $140,000 and sign up 100 teams; last year, more than $123,000 was raised and 79 teams entered!

TucsonLifestyle.com is a media partner. Other partners include KOLD-13, i-Heart Media; KXCI Community Radio; AdVision; Cox Communications; Comcast; and The Loft Cinema.

NAMIWalks Southern Arizona

Check in: 7:30 a.m.; walk at 9 a.m.; program runs 8-11 a.m. Kennedy Park Fiesta Area, 3359 S. La Cholla Blvd. Free event; however, participants are encouraged to raise funds to support NAMI

Register at namiwalks.org/southernarizona, or call 622-5582 for more information.

APRIL 6

100th Baile de las Flores

The Baile de las Flores was first presented in 1920 to benefit St. Luke’s and the tubercular patients in their care. Today, the Baile supports St. Luke’s and the elders who make it their home. The Baile is the signature fundraising gala of the Board of Visitors. The women of the Board of Visitors have served the Tucson community for an impressive century and stand as one of the oldest female organizations in Southern Arizona.

The April 6th event will feature a delectable dinner, lively entertainment, raffle of an original oil painting donated by artist Barbara Gurwitz, a spectacular silent auction, the popular Wheel of Whine or Wine, original artwork donated by past Baile de las Flores artists, and a display of historic items. All proceeds benefit St. Luke’s Home.

St. Luke’s Home is a holistic, assisted-living community for-low income elders in Tucson, a region where 46 percent of older adults bring in less than $30,000 a year, well below the average cost of $48,000 a year for assisted-living care. Choices for quality housing and care for low-income elders are limited, and for many St. Luke’s is the only quality option available. All of the elders pay what they can to live at St. Luke’s, but as a non-profit 501(c)(3), St. Luke’s subsidizes, on average, $10,000 annually per elder.

TucsonLifestyle.com is a media sponsor.

Baile de las Flores 6 p.m.

JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa Tickets: $200 per person

For more information, call 628-1512 or email 100thbailedelasflores@stlukeshometucson.org

APRIL 14

Drop in at the Dropout – A Pop-up Event

Drop in at Tucson’s hottest new pop-up shopping and social event for both men and women on Sunday, Apr. 14.

Angel Charity for Children, Inc., is partnering with Culinary Dropout, one of Tucson’s hottest restaurants, to premiere its newest fundraiser — a unique sip and shop experience that combines shopping with food, craft cocktails, music, entertainment and a cigar and

whiskey lounge.

Enjoy a casual and leisurely afternoon shopping, or catching up and relaxing with friends over your favorite brew. Open to the public, the community event runs from 4 to 7 p.m. VIP early shopping access tickets, allowing entry at 3 p.m. and including one drink ticket, cost $100. General admission is $35.

Event highlights include:

• Fashion, clothing, jewelry, art, pottery and more from local retailers and artists.

• Music entertainment by DJ Lokey throughout the event.

• Chance to win two tickets to see Ariana Grande in concert; raffle prizes from each vendor.

• Many more door prizes announced throughout the event.

• Tequila shot ice luge.

All proceeds benefit Angel Charity for Children’s 2019 beneficiaries. TucsonLifestyle.com is a media partner.

Drop in at the Dropout

4-7 p.m.

Culinary Dropout General Admission: $35; VIP Tickets: $100.

Reserve tickets at www.AngelCharity.org.

APRIL 6

Puttin’ On The Dog

Put your money where your heart is! Puttin’ on the Dog is the Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s largest fundraiser of the year, and in 2019 celebrates its 21st anniversary with the introduction of a casino theme and charity gaming tent.

Gather your friends and family — including your well-behaved dogs — and join HSSA on Apr. 6 at a new venue, Kino Sports Complex, for a fun-filled night of fine food, drink, music, live and silent auction, prizes and gaming.

This year’s Canine Casino Royale tent will include blackjack, roulette, slot machines and craps tables. A stack of chips is included with each ticket purchase to get you started, with more chips available by donation. You can win big, too! The person with the most chips at the end of the night wins a grand prize travel package.

Speaking of winning, the Puttin’ on the Dog live and silent auctions include vacation packages to Alaska and San Francisco, jewelry, restaurant dining, autographed music memorabilia, art, unique experiences and even a chance to have your pet star in HSSA’s 2020 Super Bowl ad.

For complete details and ticket information, please visit HSSAZ.org/POD.

Puttin’ On The Dog

Kino Sports Complex

For tickets or more information, go to www.hssaz.org/pod

 

APRIL 27

“Peace, Love, Centurions — A Party 50 Years in the Making”

A rockin’ band, cocktails and drinks, groovy grub buffet, special events, fun & games, a costume contest, charity casino, “purple haze” cigar and specialty drinks, raffles and more!

Join 5,000 of your friends on April 27 at Kino Sports Complex to party like it’s 1969.

The Centurions’ “Peace, Love, Centurions — A Party 50 Years in the Making” will invoke the spirit of Woodstock for a night. It’s all for charity, and the goal is to raise more than $200,000 to help underserved community members, primarily in the areas of health care, education and mentorship, with an emphasis on improving children’s lives.

Tucson Medical Center is the Presenting Sponsor of the event, and all of the proceeds will benefit TMC for Children — a Children’s Medical Center; Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals — Helping Local Kids; Youth On Their Own; Boys to Men Mentoring of Tucson; and San Miguel High School.

The Centurions have raised more than $8 million for local charities through its annual fundraising event. Charities they have supported include Tu Nidito, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson, Youth On Their Own, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, Boys to Men Mentoring, TMC for Children, and St. Mary’s Burn Center and Hospice Care.

TucsonLifestyle.com is a media partner.

“Peace, Love, Centurions”

6 p.m.-12 a.m.

Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium Tickets $95

For more information or tickets, call 795-1071 or visit thecenturions.com/the-event

Parkinson’s Disease: Solving The Mystery

Although an understanding of Parkinson’s disease dates back to at least the early 19th century, there is still much research to be done. Here is what you need to know about diagnosis and treatment options.

By Elena Acoba

Parkinson’s disease is confounding. The medical community doesn’t know what causes it. No two patients have the same symptoms or progress through the degenerative movement disorder in the same way. It’s hard to diagnose. There is no cure or way to slow its progression. And medical treatments lose their effectiveness over time.

But that doesn’t mean that someone with Parkinson’s can’t live a fulfilling life. “There are currently no treatments that delay the progression of Parkinson’s disease,” says Sarah Sullivan, D.O., a neuro-hospitalist with Northwest Medical Center and Oro Valley Hospital. “There are treatments, however, that improve a patient’s symptoms and quality of life, as well as decrease risks such as falls.”

About 60,000 Amer-icans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every year. Around 10 to 20 percent of them have young onset, meaning they were diagnosed at age 50 or younger, says Rebecca Gilbert, M.D., Ph.D., vice president and chief scientific officer of the American Parkinson Disease Association. Some one million Americans live with the disease, including about 14,200 Arizonans.

It’s a difficult diagnosis for someone to receive.

“Patients often feel overwhelmed and anxious upon first hearing the words,” says Dr. Sullivan. “I review the medication and treatment options that we will consider in an effort to reassure patients that although we cannot cure the disease, there are many things we can do to manage it.”

Sarah Sullivan, D.O., a neuro-hospitalist with Northwest Medical Center and Oro Valley Hospital.

The first line of treatment for symptoms is the medication levodopa in various formulations and dosages. This drug allows the brain’s nerve cells to create dopamine, the neurotransmitter whose absence triggers Parkinson’s symptoms. The exact formula and dosage need continual adjustment taking into account the patient’s specific symptoms and disease progression.

The medication eventually no longer works, or its side effects become hard to tolerate. At that point, patients can consider deep brain stimulation (DBS). This could extend the relief of movement symptoms for 10 years or more, says Joseph Christiano, M.D., a neurosurgeon with Western Neuro.

In the procedure, two electrodes are placed in areas of the brain where Parkinson’s is disrupting movement control. These leads are connected to a battery pack that’s inserted under the skin of the chest. Electrical pulses adjusted to the patient’s specific needs are transmitted into the brain to help it control tremors and other movement symptoms.

“Ninety-plus percent of people see results,” says Dr. Christiano. “They can get significant improvement for various symptoms such as tremor, slowness and stiffness, gait issues and imbalance.”

With results like that, one might seek out the brain surgery as soon as possible. But, like a lot about Parkinson’s, it’s not that simple.

“Every patient’s Parkinson’s is slightly different,” Dr. Christiano says. “Medication often is very effective in the early stages and allows time for both the diagnosis and the trajectory of the disease to become clear. There are other disorders that appear similar to Parkinson’s disease, and it is important to clearly establish the right diagnosis.”

A typical Parkinson’s patient can consider DBS as early as three years after diagnosis, but this may depend on how fast the symptoms worsen.

“DBS is a well-studied, safe and effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease, and will be the next logical choice for many patients at some point in their disease,” says Dr. Christiano.

“There are other disorders that appear similar to Parkinson’s disease, and it is important to clearly establish the right diagnosis” – Joseph Christiano, M.D.

The Federal Drug Administration recently has approved the use of focused ultrasound to manage tremors. The nonsurgical procedure creates a lesion in the area of the brain where Parkinson’s has caused abnormal circuitry for movement.

Although medical options appear limited, many people can keep Parkinson’s symptoms at bay with lifestyle changes. This may be one benefit of having an early diagnosis even though there is no cure.

Rebecca Gilbert, M.D., Ph.D., vice president, chief scientific officer of the American Parkinson Disease Association. Photo by Abdulai Sesay.

“Some would argue that knowing that you have the disease is vital so that you can understand the changes that are happening in your body, increase exercise and plan for the future,” says Dr. Gilbert. “This should occur as early as possible.”

There are many ways to keep movement stable as long as possible.

Some physical therapy programs specific to Parkinson’s focus on exaggerating movements like arm swing and stride. Exercises that encourage loud speech help with maintaining vocal control.

Movement-dependent activities like video games, boxing, yoga, dance, swimming and tai chi help elevate mobility and mood. Any exercise is good, but doing them as intensely as possible shows more benefit.

Appropriate diets can address constipation, a common issue with Parkinson’s patients. Dr. Sullivan also suggests working with a doctor or dietician on the timing of eating certain foods, such as those high in protein, which can affect levodopa absorption.

An entire health team can respond to issues as they come up. Dr. Gilbert suggests a movement disorder specialist, primary care provider, rehabilitation specialists, nurse, nutritionist, neuropsychologist and social worker.

Research continues on many fronts: discovering genetic and environmental factors that cause the disease; detecting it before symptoms occur and brain damage becomes irreversible; and formulating treatments that can slow or stop its progression and for non-motor symptoms.

Joseph Christiano, M.D., a neurosurgeon with Western Neuro.

For Dr. Christiano, the way DBS is done — the procedure doesn’t change the brain structure — shows that the medical community has not given up.

“The key point,” he says, “is we are hopeful that somebody will come up with a cure for Parkinson’s, and since we didn’t change the brain cells, it might still be effective for DBS patients.”

PARKINSONISM

Some people who present with typical Parkinson’s symptoms also may show unrelated symptoms. This condition is known as Parkinsonism or Parkinson’s plus. Parkinsonism can appear in people with a history of stroke, head injuries or exposure to certain medications. It’s also evident in other diseases, such as Lewy body dementia and progressive supranuclear palsy.

“Because there is no single definitive test of Parkinson’s disease, these conditions sometimes are misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s early on,” says Dr. Sullivan.

Medications and therapies for classic Parkinson’s don’t work as well in these patients, and the disease may progress faster.

CHARACTERISTIC SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE

  • Tremors at rest
  • Decreased blinking
  • Handwriting that gets smaller
  • Small movements of the hands and feet
  • Arm, leg stiffness
  • Stooped posture
  • Decreased arm swing
  • Shuffling walk
  • Turning by taking several steps instead of pivoting
  • Changes in vocal quality There also are symptoms not related to movement, including
  • Loss of smell or reduced sensitivity to odors
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression, anxiety, psychosis
  • Gastrointestinal, urinary issues
  • Excessive sweating
  • Cognitive, personality changes

RESOURCES

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, and Tucson has several resources to offer. Dr. Sullivan sees much interest among patients on how to live well with Parkinson’s.

“It’s something I see in Tucson a lot,” she says. “They are hungry for more information, more education. Many Tucson patients and winter visitors are intensely motivated to participate in their care. They want to stay young, vital, vibrant and active.”

Here are some locally based resources.

American Parkinson Disease Association Arizona runs three programs: a lecture series on the first Tuesday of the month; a support group for patients and caregivers every third Tuesday of the month; and for newly diagnosed patients, an eight-week class: “Parkinson’s Roadmap for Education and Support Services.” For more information: www.apdaparkinson.org or 326-5400.

The Parkinson and Movement Disorder Alliance lists several support group meetings and exercise classes, as well as online and streaming resources. The organization will hold an educational event July 25. For more information: www.pmdalliance.org or 800-256-0966.

Parkinson Wellness Recovery focuses on exercise and other ways for the brain to adapt to the effects of the disease. For more information: www.pwr4life.org or 591-5346.

The Tasty 10!

This is the second year of “10 to try.” Although it’s hard to narrow down our staff’s favorites, we think you’ll find in these selections something that will make your own “best of ” list.

FROM THE STAFF OF TUCSON LIFESTYLE

Saffron Indian Bistro

MUST TRY: CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA

Although it’s the national dish of England, Tucsonans are crazy about Chicken Tikka Masala! According to server/bartender Aaron Wilson, this dish is the one most often requested at Saffron Indian Bistro, usually ordered with a side of garlic naan with which to sop up the delicious creamy, tomato-y sauce. The succulent chicken breast pieces are first marinated in yogurt blended with a number of traditional Indian spices such as cumin and coriander. The chicken then is added to a slow-simmered fresh tomato sauce with a hint of cream and zesty Indian herbs and spices. Basmati rice sprinkled with cumin seeds accompanies the saucy deliciousness.

Saffron offers most familiar Indian dishes, which are available in different levels of spiciness. Wilson notes that customers who like it hot can request additional spice levels, ranging from “spicy American,” “extra spicy,” and “Indian spicy” to a level so high the staff refers to it as “pet hospital”! Another notable factoid about Saffron: Owner Mintu Sareen offered furloughed Federal workers (with valid ID) free lunch buffets during the government shut-down — more than 700 were served!

7607 N. Oracle Rd., Suite 101, Oro Valley, 742-9100; tucsonindianrestaurant.com

Agustín Kitchen

MUST TRY: MEZZE PLATTER

If we learned nothing else from kindergarten, it’s that “sharing is caring,” and you can show your dining companion that you care very much by selecting the mezze platter at Agustín Kitchen. This Mediterranean-inspired dish offers plenty for two to share, and so many delicious and different tastes that it may be hard to decide what you like best.

Executive Chef Alex O’Neill explains how the dish evolved. “It started on a summer menu. We were trying to figure out something that was a little more economical, and more adventurous than the traditional chef board. Sally Kane, our operating manager, mentioned mezzes, and it piqued my interest with how dynamic they are. There are a plethora of ingredients that you can pull from to make a mezze platter, and it instantly became a staple on our menu. It’s one of those items that I think we would be met with torches and pick axes if we ever took it off!”

With ingredients that include beet-pickled eggs, hummus, flatbread, olives, sheep’s milk feta, falafel, and muhammara, it’s easy to taste why it’s so popular.

But it’s only one option on a menu that takes advantage of both locally sourced ingredients and O’Neill’s culinary wizardry. The restaurant not only has good relationships with many farmers and food producers in the region, the Mercado itself holds a farmers market every Thursday, and sometimes O’Neill will pick up something that seems especially inspiring.

“When I make the menu, there’s an unspoken tie that binds everything together,” says O’Neill. “Any time we put a dish on the menu, it has to speak to what the restaurant is and who our clientele are.”

That means the brunch, lunch and dinner menus can have everything from entrées with a Southwest flair (huevos rancheros), to Asian influences (tandoori pork loin), to classic French dishes (coq au vin), all created with a distinctive Agustín approach.

With bar dining that has a fun communal vibe, patio seating (with live music on the weekends), and a dining room that is elegant without being stuffy, there’s a spot for any dining mood.

100 S. Avenida del Convento #150, 398-5382; https://agustinkitchen.com.

Culinary Dropout

MUST TRY: BEER BATTERED FISH & CHIPS

Fish & Chips is a traditional dish that works well in casual eateries, so it’s no surprise to find it on the menu at Culinary Dropout. While developing the concept for the eatery, founder Sam Fox and Clint Woods, Fox Restaurant Concepts’ vice president of Culinary, created the dish to reflect classic comfort dishes for a gastro-pub style setting. Made with California Rockfish and beer-battered (using Stella Artois), the fish fillets are deep-fried to be crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. They are served with coleslaw, tartar sauce and fries.

Three days before opening the inaugural Culinary Dropout, Fox and Woods were still working on the menu, with a lot of ideas but no firm direction. “Nothing was working out,” Woods states. “So we starved ourselves for a day, and that’s how we came up with the ideas, like, ‘What are you hungry for right now?’ A little hung over, a little starved from the day before … that’s how the menu came about.”

The menu features many such pub food items that are enhanced in creative ways. The results are as varied as the eatery itself, with its many different dining areas, each with a different vibe.

2543 E. Grant Rd., 203-0934; culinarydropout.com/locations/tucson-az

El Sur Restaurant

MUST TRY: CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Visiting the 22nd Street location of El Sur Restaurant is like dropping into your grandmother’s house for dinner … if your grandmother is a fabulous cook from Sonora, Mexico. The aromas are enticing, the staff is welcoming, and the menu includes so many options that you’ll want to return for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The chicken tortilla soup is a really good example of the care that goes into preparing each order. Isela Mejia, who owns the restaurant with her husband Luis, explains that they boil the chicken themselves, make their own broth, sauté tomatoes, onions and green chiles, and put it all together just before it goes out to your table. “We make everything when you order it, so the tortilla strips, the avocadoes, the goat cheese, nothing is cut and done until you order,” says Isela.

The recipes are those of Isela’s mom, who was from Sonora, as well as from El Sur’s cook, who likewise hails from that state. Whether you order the soup, shredded beef flautas, or cheese enchiladas, a server will come to your table and offer you steaming, freshly grilled onions and peppers to go with your meal. And fans of rice and beans will be pleased to know that they are prepared fresh several times throughout the day to keep up with the demand.

The 22nd Street location offers both interior and patio dining. The 29th Street store was recently remodeled, and is set up like a taco shop. “You order up at the front,” notes Isela, “and we have a salsa bar, a chip bar, and we make our corn tortillas for our street tacos by hand.”

The legions of fans of the 22nd Street location, who know how crowded the cozy dining room can get at peak lunch and dinner times, will be relieved to hear that plans are in the works to expand beyond the present boundaries. 5602 E. 22nd Street, 748-1032; 4602 E. 29th Street, 747-3313; www.elsurrestaurant.com

Beyond Bread

MUST TRY: CHOCOLATE BOMB

For many Tucsonans, Beyond Bread has become synonymous with delicious dessert items in addition to their amazing baked-on-the-premises breads. One treat that ranks as a Tucson Lifestyle favorite is the Chocolate Bomb. These orbs of chocolatey goodness come in three flavors: peanut butter, amaretto and the “chocolate lovers” version. It’s easy to find which is which, as the peanut butter has a hole in the chocolate shell to show off its peanutty inside; the amaretto has an almond attached to the shell; and the chocolate lovers features a white chocolate drizzle. Assistant Manager David Drazkowski, of BB’s Speedway location, notes that “The peanut butter seems to be the most popular, and it usually sells out first.”

Before indulging in your chocolate bomb, make sure to peruse Beyond Bread’s extensive menu. With its creative takes on sandwiches and salads, there is literally something for everyone in your party. The menu points out which options are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free, and also warns those with dental issues (via an adorable toothshaped icon) about crusty breads.

Monterey Village at Wilmot, 6260 E. Speedway Blvd., 747-7477; beyondbread.com

Bob’s Steak & Chop House

MUST TRY: PRIME FILET MIGNON

When you’ve got a fantastic product, there’s really no need to “gild the lily.” This is certainly true of the Prime Filet Mignon at Bob’s Steak & Chop House, which is available in 9-, 12- and 16-ounce portions. According to Bob’s General Manager Peter Prassas, their prime beef is chosen from the top two percent in the country, and is perfectly trimmed and expertly grilled. “With beef this great, there is no need for marinades — just salt and pepper, cooked and seared to perfection,” says Prassas. “The filet really is the best of the best — you’d be hard pressed to find a more tender piece of beef. Some guests prefer the ribeye, which is more marbleized. Each entrée — whether it is beef, vegetarian or seafood — is accompanied by our signature giant carrot, which is coated in a cinnamon glaze.” The carrot is a throwback to Bob’s grandmother, who used the vegetable to separate food items on his plate!

Bob’s Steak & Chop House’s dining room is charmingly old school, with hardwood floors, leather chairs, wooden beams and iron chandeliers. The main dining room seats 60, 30 on the patio, which looks onto the Catalina Course of the Omni Tucson National Resort. A private dining room is available for parties up to 50 guests, and boasts golf course views. The eatery is renowned for its hefty portions, big pours on drinks, and its attentive and knowledgeable staff. Omni Tucson National Resort, 2727 West Club Drive, 877-2377; bobs-steakandchop.com/Tucson

Dao’s Tai Pan Restaurant

MUST TRY: VEGETARIAN SPRING ROLLS

Long before most Americans learned what pho was (and subsequently fell in love with it), Cac Dao, owner of Dao’s Tai Pan Restaurant, was doing his best to introduce the cuisine of his native Vietnam to Tucson. A professor in UA’s Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Mechanics, he discovered some 20 years ago that he had to go to Phoenix for authentic Vietnamese food. He and his wife bought what was originally a Chinese restaurant, and went about slowly educating consumers. “The American public didn’t know that much about how to enjoy pho, banh mi and other dishes,” says Dao, “so we started a cooking class. We taught them how to make the spring rolls, and then they could eat what they made.”

The spring rolls are a little marvel: perfect for an appetizer, or even by themselves for lunch. Dao’s has the conventional variety, goi cuon tom thit, but also their own vegetarian version, goi cuon chay dau hu chien, with noodles, green onion, tofu and mint. “There’s no such thing as vegetarian spring rolls with tofu in Vietnam,” explains the owner. “We created it because of the needs of the customers. Traditionally spring rolls come with pork and shrimp. Someone said, ‘Why don’t you put tofu in and eliminate pork and shrimp?’ People have loved it. I debated whether to use fresh or fried tofu, and it depends on the customer. If they want fresh, we will do that.”

Likewise, Dao’s has both the type of pho one would find in Vietnam, as well as some rice noodle soups that are uncommon, such as pho rau dau hu with tofu and vegetables, or pho gar au, with chicken and vegetables. The chicken and vegetable soup was created for a regular customer, and has proved to be so popular that Dao says it’s their “signature dish.”

The exciting innovations don’t stop with the appetizers and entrées, however. Dao has added his personal tastes and experience to the beverage selection. “When I was in Vietnam, I was a student, and I liked to enjoy fruit smoothies,” he says. “I actually helped my brother run a store selling them. Four or five years after we opened here in Tucson, we added these drinks with tapioca, which are originally from Taiwan. I came up with the recipes myself from my experience, and named them things like Tropical Storm, and Sensation of Vietnam.” For those who need a smooth and satisfying blast of caffeine, the restaurant also has sweetened iced coffee and Thai iced tea.

446 N. Wilmot Road, 722-0055; 4206 N. 1st Avenue, 888-2200

Shogun Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar

MUST TRY: CATERPILLAR ROLL

Although the Caterpillar Roll may look like its namesake insect, it does not contain any (thank God!). This “Americanized” sushi roll is unlikely to be found in Japan, but is super-popular in Tucson. It contains cooked fresh water eel (unagi) and cucumber, wrapped in a seaweed sheet (nori), and rice. The cucumber offers a hint of crispness. The exterior is layered with avocado, then drizzled with a thick, sweetened soy sauce that perfectly augments the eel’s slightly smoky flavor. According to Shogun’s Front-end Manager Chris San Jose, the Caterpillar Roll is half-price as a special on Wednesdays (each day features a different roll as the special). He notes that the restaurant primarily is known for its sushi and sashimi, and especially for its fresh, generous cuts of fish.

Shogun also serves traditional Japanese offerings such as teriyaki, sukiyaki, tempura fish and vegetables, Bento boxes filled with tasty items, and colorful “boats” laden with a variety of cooked items or sushi/sashimi assortments.

5036 N. Oracle Rd., 888-6646; shoguntucson.com

47 Scott and Scott & Co.

MUST TRY: GRILLED CHEESE STACK

Like the downtown scene itself, the menu at 47 Scott is always evolving. Manager Teodoro Lillard comments that, “It’s a menu with offerings for every individual. It constantly changes with the seasons, with creativity, and the availability of products.”

Although it’s not a huge menu, it’s finely curated so that whatever you’re in the mood for, you’re likely to find something that suits your tastes. Asked for her favorite item, Lillard names the scallops, which are served with a celery root risotto. She also singles out the handmade pasta options: a squash/wild mushroom/sage gnocchi for vegetarians, and a carbonara that includes house-made pancetta, prosciutto chips, and a 63-degree-cooked egg. “When you break the egg,” she explains, “you make your own sauce.”

But many long-time fans of this happening dinner spot choose the grilled cheese stack as their favorite item. Made on sourdough bread with a three-cheese blend, and served with a sweet-and-spicy dipping sauce, this delectable dish is definitely not the uninventive sandwich you remember from your childhood. And don’t be surprised if, by the time you read this magazine, there also is a new grilled cheese on the menu (although the traditional version will still be available).

Lillard says that one of the things the business is currently working on is creating a little better definition between 47 Scott, and Scott & Co., the bar that’s located in an adjoining room. “The bar is first come first served, more casual,” she says. “It’s more about socializing and interacting.”

Whichever area you choose, however, Lillard observes that the place is known for, “Friendly and approachable service, great and creative food, and a sense of community.” 47 N. Scott Avenue, 624-4747; www.47scott.com

5 Points Market & Restaurant

MUST TRY: THE PANCAKE

Adjacent to Cesar Chavez Park on South Stone is a little gem of a restaurant that brings a new sparkle to breakfast and lunch. The small but comfy space, staffed by folks who really seem to love their jobs, utilizes local food purveyors to offer a menu that co-owner Jasper Ludwig says is “small but diverse.”

Items include everything from a smoked salmon Benedict, to a breakfast salad (with butternut squash, argula and eggs), to a smoked beet sandwich. But those of us who fondly recall weekend mornings spent drizzling real maple syrup over a scrumptious, nearly dessert-like breakfast treat will gravitate to “The Pancake.” 

“It’s pretty basic as far as pancake recipes go, but it’s a good recipe,” says Ludwig. “I guess there’s something nostalgic about a really classic pancake. I think it’s a combination of quality organic ingredients, clarified butter that we brush on while it’s cooking, and putting cinnamon on the plate.”

Buying local is so important to the owners that they even give a shout out to many of their vendors on one wall of the restaurant. And they’ve taken the local connection a step further: “We’ve gone as far as creating our own farm, which we’re in our second season of growing now. That’s allowing us to play with even more rare, interesting heirloom seed varietals,” comments Ludwig.

Though 5 Points, which has interior dining, as well as a small, front patio, is only open for breakfast and lunch, and all the offerings are brunch-style foods, there’s such a span of choices that you can return again and again to sample new things. That goes for the beverage choices, too, which include all varieties of coffee drinks, about 10 hot or iced teas, and fresh juices.

756 S. Stone Avenue, 623-3888; www.5pointstucson.com

About Us

Tucson Lifestyle Magazine is Tucson's only glossy, monthly city magazine, targeting Southern Arizona’s affluent residents. With over 35 years of publishing experience, Tucson Lifestyle is committed to showcasing the people, places, local flavors, and attractions that make our city unique.

General Information

Phone: 520-721-2929 x 102
Address: 7000 E Tanque Verde Rd # 11,
Tucson, AZ 85715

Latest Posts
  • California  Dreaming

    California Dreaming

    Santa Barbara’s distinctive architectural style was the inspiration for this Tucson home. BY ROMI CARRELL WITTMAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY HASKELL Sitting at the end of a quiet street, shaded by a dense canopy of mesquite trees, is a home …
  • A Collection of Colorful Cacti

    A Collection of Colorful Cacti

    People who claim that the desert landscape is boring have never been here in spring when the cacti blossom into a palette of many hues. BY DEBBY LARSEN Cacti are one of nature’s dichotomies; their thorny sculptural spheres, spiraling columns …
  • Amazing April

    Amazing April

    APRIL 6 2019 NAMIWalks Southern Arizona Don your favorite sneakers, grab your friends and join other community-minded folks in NAMIWalks, which raises funds for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Arizona. This 501c3 is a grassroots organization that addresses the …