Author: Daniela Siqueiros

Let’s Roll!

Sarah Burton

With ingredients such as fresh seafood, avocado, mountain yam and cucumber, sushi chefs can create a true work of art. We profile six local eateries where you can admire the culinary craft, and indulge your appetite for Japanese cuisine.

Sushi Cortaro on River

After opening Sushi Cortaro to great success nine years ago, the owners decided to launch a second location in 2017, this one at River and Stone. Fans of the original will be relieved to know the menu is the same at both locations — including the all-you-can-eat option during lunch and dinner — so you can get your fill of rainbow rolls, red snapper nigiri or spicy scallops.

The fresh flavors are no accident, as Ken Lin, manager of the River location, points out: “We carry top-shelf fish, which is what we always hear from our customers,” he says. “They always come in and say how fresh everything is here.”

But if raw fish isn’t your favorite, they also carry plenty of cooked rolls. In fact, according to Lin, their most popular menu items are the deep-fried rolls. Their menu also is filled with other traditional Japanese fare, such as ramen or udon noodles, tempura or teppan dinners, donburi (rice bowls), and katsu (crispy fried cutlet of chicken or pork).

(River and Stone) 75 W. River Road, Ste. 181, 888-1886; (Cortaro) 8225 N. Courtney Page Way, #141, 572-8668; sushicortaro.com

Kukai

On Tucson’s westside, just next door to the Mercado San Agustín, sits the newer MSA Annex, a cluster of modified shipping containers designed by Tucson architect Paul Weiner. Among the boutiques, coffee roaster and eateries is Kukai, a Japanese kitchen where you step up to the window to order, and dine at a scenic spot in the courtyard.

Owner Michael McCormack explains the concept: “After being in Japan with my wife’s family, I realized some of the greatest foods there were made for the working force, sold on busy little streets,” he says. “Traditionally, onigiri was a meal made to carry, and it still is in Japan. I wanted to bring some of the magic of the Japanese food scene to the downtown area while also carrying on the tradition of my business partner Kazuo Senda, a long-time restaurateur here.”

Start with their most popular dishes, Hakata ramen (pork, noodles, ginger and green onion) or the Mt. Fuji Don (rice bowl with spicy tuna, cucumber and avocado). “We’re on a mission to focus on Japanese onigiri, which nobody else in town has done before,” McCormack shares. “We don’t consider ourselves strictly a sushi restaurant, but more a purveyor of delicious and fun Japanese street food.” 267 S. Avenida Del Convento, Ste. 11, 367-5982, eatkukai.com

Sushi Cho

This well-loved spot has been serving up sushi since the early ’90s, with the current owners taking over in 2003, handily maintaining a loyal base of regulars. “We have customers who have been coming here for more than 15 years, and some of our wait staff has even been here that long, as well,” Manager Sarah Du notes. “We know the customers by name and have watched them grow up, go through college, and been there when they celebrate their birthdays, proposals and family gatherings.”

Du points to their always-friendly service for the customer loyalty they enjoy, as well as the quality of fresh fish offered: “Our sushi is comparable to San Francisco, Hawaii and New York,” she exclaims. The restaurant offers other dishes beyond sushi, such as tempura, baked mackerel, tonkatsu and teriyaki, but with more than 40 rolls to choose from, their most popular menu item is the Cho Combo.

Aptly named, the Cho Combo lets you customize your meal, with your choice of a full-sized roll, four pieces of nigiri, miso soup and salad. Other must-tries are green mussels baked on the half shell, barbecued squid and, of course, ice cream (either the green tea or sweet red bean) for dessert. 1830 E. Broadway Blvd., 628-8800

Izumi

When Izumi opened in 2018, their all-you-can-eat menu quickly made an impression on Tucson sushi lovers. Most first-time diners are surprised to find several kinds of ramen, raw oysters on the half shell and crab legs, according to Manager Andy Lin.

“We have a huge selection, more than 80 items available for all-you-can-eat or just ordering from the menu,” Lin explains. “You can order everything from nigiri to teriyaki, to miso salmon to Chilean sea bass.” Look for donburi rice bowls, bento boxes and poke bowls during lunch, several entrées, a full sushi menu, and some playful specialty cocktails (think plum wine spritzer or Japan old fashioned) and desserts — fried banana spring rolls anyone?

Lin shares that although there are so many options, two specific rolls seem to lead the pack in popularity. The signature Izumi roll (two lobster tails in soy paper topped with spicy crab, eel sauce and spicy mayo) is tied for “first place” with the dynamite roll (tempura California roll topped with a dynamite mixture of octopus, crab, shrimp and scallops with spicy mayo). 3655 E. Speedway Blvd., 327-2778, izumioftucson.com

Sushi Zona

For several years now, Sushi Zona (formerly Sushi Yukari) has held its own among Foothills restaurants, thanks to a robust menu of traditional Japanese dishes. Sushi offerings run the gamut of the nigiri — from fatty salmon toro to snow crab, to sea urchin to clam — and all your favorite rolls, like the spider or yellowtail roll.

Of course, no sushi spot would go without signature rolls, and here is no different. Sushi Zona gets creative with the volcano roll (salmon, white fish, crab stick and volcano sauce), king cobra (eel atop a California roll), and the black pepper tuna roll (shrimp tempura, avocado, Japanese pickles, topped with black pepper tuna).

For those who prefer a warm dish, you can find many other things to order, like ramen, udon or soba noodle soups, grilled fish, curry, rice bowls, teriyaki, and sukiyaki served in a nabemono (Japanese hot pot). 5655 E. River Road, #151, 232-1393, sushizona.com

 

Yamato Japanese Restaurant

This Japanese restaurant has been serving authentic sushi to Tucson for roughly 30 years — very quietly. In fact, many locals may have driven by for decades without realizing the wealth of traditional Japanese fare waiting just inside the doors of this spot nestled in a strip mall.

Here you find classic sushi artfully done. Traditionalists will be pleased with the array of nigiri, sashimi, handrolls and rolls, as well as many other non-sushi options. There are several versions of donburi (rice bowls) available, or if noodles are more your thing, choose from several udon or soba soups with additions like sliced beef, fish cakes, seaweed, chicken or tempura.

Whatever your preference, this location doesn’t stray from a straightforward, fresh and simple sushi style. Based on the number of years they’ve held their own in Tucson’s culinary landscape, they clearly have it down to a science. 857 E. Grant Road, 624-3377.

Live help

Retro-Politan Style

In a 60-year-old Tucson neighborhood sits a vintage home that displays so many reasons to love the ’50s.

BY ROMI CARRELL WITTMAN

PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY HASKELL

Steve Hannley’s home in a quiet Casas Adobes neighborhood beautifully embodies mid-century materials and lines, the Tiki trend, as well as elements of Americana unique to Arizona in the 1950s. The result is a whimsical riot of color and nostalgia that practically begs visitors to toss back a fruity drink (with paper umbrella, of course), kick back on the Mad Men-era seating and listen to some LPs.

Walking toward the front door is a bit like stepping into a “Wayback Machine.” Along the path lies classic 1960s landscaping — two-toned rock, large Italian cypress trees and oleander. The bright turquoise front door, which Hannley had custom made, pops against the natural elements.

The retro vibe continues after you step inside the 2,400-square-foot ranch home. The living room presents visitors with a large beamed ceiling and expansive glass windows providing views both east and west. Vintage furniture, art and other décor abound.

“I love to collect,” says Hannley of his mid-century, “atomic”-era collection. “I think it started with my love of The Jetsons when I was a kid.”

Hannley, who runs a small publishing company out of his home office, had lived in central Tucson, but desired something bigger, with a little more land. He extensively researched homes all over the city and found he was drawn to the Northwest side, especially a neighborhood full of funky, 1950s- and 1960s-era homes.

Constructed in 1959, Hannley’s home features classic mid-century lines and materials — wood, flagstone, glass — with a hint of Spanish Colonial influence.

Hannley was a stickler for detail when it came to remodeling and furnishing the home. The pieces, all of them vintage, were sourced from all over the country. As Hannley put it, he “loved the thrill of the hunt.” Though he tried to source some pieces locally, frequent visits to eBay as well as vintage stores all over the country were necessary to complete the collection.

But before he could focus on the furnishings, he wanted to restore the home to its original glory. He started by getting the home’s systems — the HVAC, plumbing and electrical — up to standard. He then restored the interior to its original design. This included replacing all the doors, doorknobs, light fixtures and cabinets.

The dining room, which was added to the home some years after its construction, offers great views of the Santa Catalinas. An original wooden door leads to patio and pool area where visitors can relax on vintage outdoor furniture made of Italian wrought iron and fiberglass.

Seven original paintings from a defunct American restaurant chain line the hallway, while a bedroom displays radios from 1949 through 1965.

What was once the garage is now a home theater, and Hannley lovingly refers to it as his Tiki room. Two imposing chairs, identical to a pair that sat in Elvis’s throne room, sit alongside classic video games like Donkey Kong, Hannley’s extensive record collection and a Llama bar. Custom made neon signs, created to resemble those of Tucson’s past, complete the look.

When asked what’s next on Hannley’s home “to-do” list, he smiles and says, “There’s nothing really left to do, but enjoy it.”

Dogged Determination

2019 COVER DOG SEARCH

DOG PORTRAITS BY

Tom Spitz

THE WINNER

Gordon

“Gordon has webbed feet, and he loves to give hugs!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE RUNNER UP

Scout

“Scout has an affectionate personality, and tassels on her ears!”

The Event

All winners, no losers.

That’s who showed up at the annual Tucson Lifestyle Cover Dog Search, held Feb. 9 at La Encantada.

Every one of the 150 canines was with loving members of their human family, and all were excited for the chance to see and be seen by the celebrity judges, who included Heather Rowe (co-host of KGUN 9’s Tucson Morning Blend), Dan Gibson (Director of Communications for Visit Tucson), and Scott Barker (Tucson Lifestyle’s Editor in Chief). Along with the contest, people and dogs alike were able to meet with vendors who provide services or products for animal companions. Monies raised from entry fees benefited the many programs of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

As for the prize-winning pooch this year, that honor goes to Gordon, a Staffordshire terrier/French bulldog/ English bulldog mix. He was accompanied by his people, Christy and Matt Swinford. Christy explained to the judges, “Gordon and nine other dogs were rescued from abusive and neglectful conditions in Sierra Vista in late 2014. The dogs were all in poor condition, and Gordon was expected to lose his left eye, but luckily he didn’t. Smiling Dog Rescue housed the dogs for nine months until the criminal case was resolved, and we were fortunate to bring him into our family. He is the sweetest, snuggliest little potato, and we love him so much!”

The runner-up was Scout, a golden retriever/shepherd mix, brought to the competition by Lilly Tees, who noted that, “Scout was adopted in October 2016 from Lifeline Oro Valley Animal Rescue. She was born on the streets of South Tucson, one of five in her litter. Her rambunctious nature led to her original name, Anarchy, which we changed. When we brought her home at three months old, she was able to experience running on grass for the first time, and she hasn’t stopped since!”

Glass Act

Tom Philabaum — Tucson’s own glass artist extraordinaire who recently retired from glassblowing — shares 10 of his favorite pieces, and explains why they resonate with him.

A life-long artist, Tom Philabaum was fortunate to study in the country’s first glassblowing program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After graduating, he started Tucson’s first glassblowing studio in 1975. Since 1985, Tom and Dabney Philabaum have been creating, selling and promoting glass art at Philabaum Glass Gallery & Studio near Downtown. Though Tom retired from a 50-plus year career of glassblowing at the end of 2018, he will continue to paint and fuse glass, and the Gallery will stay open, showing glass art from more than 30 artists from all over the country.

REPTILIAN FACETED PAPERWEIGHT*

4”h x 3”w Blown Glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

REPTILIAN*

1978- Present Shown: Reptilian Bag Vase * 15”h x 7”w x 6”

“I began exploring the Reptilian pattern in 1978, as an intriguing process with varying outcomes. It became the most long-lived and recognizable body of work in my glass career. It can still be seen in our Gallery in the form of paperweights, perfume bottles, bags, bowls and vases. I never tired of this series as it took on a life of its own and was always evolving and changing.”

 

 

 

HOMAGE TO MR. HARTLEY*

2018 20”h x 57”w x 1”d Fused glass with paints & metals on wood base

From the Fused Glass Collage Painting Series “Back to painting again! My latest series involves fusing glass with paints and metals. This current triptych draws inspiration from painters Marsden Hartley and Max Beckman, emphasizing black outlined forms and intense, bright colors. I create these fused glass paintings with a mixture of pure intention and happy accidents.”

 

HISTOLOGY BAG VASE

1981 9.5”h x 5”w x 4”d Blown Glass Histology Series

“While in graduate school at the University of Arizona, I began exploring biological themes, and was given images of bugs and cells that had been electromagnetically scanned in a UA laboratory. I first painted these images on the surface of ceramic sculptures. In my glass studio, I created images with glass shards and cane on a hot plate to apply on the surface of blownglass vessels and sculptures. Dabney and I enjoy this bag vase every day in our home.”

 

 

 

 

ARRIBA!

2011 16’ x 12’ Backlit by LED lights Dalle de Verre – 1”-thick cut tiles of glass joined with epoxy resin Lobby of Likins Hall – University of Arizona

“I still find my installation at UA uplifting. Looking up at the 16-foot-high panels of illuminated glass inspires me, and my intention is to inspire the students who live in this residence hall.”

 

SUNRISE*

2010 28”h x 26”x 22”w Blown glass that has been cut, polished & joined with adhesives From the Precarious Rock Series

“My first drive through Texas Canyon clobbered me with the indelible image of precarious rock formations. That inspiration returned to me during my sculptural exploration of shape-making techniques whose consequent was not a vessel. This large semi-transparent sculpture transforms from dark to light, like a sunrise.”

 

 

 

WITCHES’ BALLS

1971 9”h x 5”w Blown Glass Blown at University of Wisconsin Glass Lab

“In 1971, my glass teacher Eriks Rudans told me the story of witches’ balls as they relate to the Salem witch hunts of the 1600s. Glassblowers were inspired to make open-bottomed orbs to hang in windows to magically absorb evil energy. At that time, he cautioned me that one cannot sell “magic.” Regardless, I made hundreds of these mystical, spiritual objects to sell at a craft fair. Just as I finished setting up, a gust of wind destroyed all of the witches’ balls. Lesson learned!”

 

 

 

THE SKEPTICS

1997 13.5”h x 6.75”w Blown and painted glass From the Graal Series

“My excitement in discovering automotive enamels that were compatible with hot glass opened up a new avenue to employ “the narrative.” My love of drawing and painting was renewed. The graal glass technique formed the canvas for my subjects, which included “The Blind Leading The Blind,” “Drinking With The Devil,” and homages to other artists, such as this example dedicated to a painting by James Ensor.”

 

 

 

HANDS ON II*

2007 38”h x 16”w x 7”d Cast Glass From the Kiln-Cast Series.

“I began with a wet clay mold, and rhythmically smacked my hand prints over the entire surface to the beat of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five,” as if I were playing a drum. Making a mold of the resulting clay positive, colored glass was then melted into the negative cavity of the mold. Though everything I make is handmade, this is the only piece where the touch of my hands remains visible.”

 

 

 

SCAVO*
2006
SHOWN – SCAVO ZIG ZAG VASE*
21”h x 7”w Blown glass with scavo treatment From the Scavo Series

“As a ceramic artist, I was drawn to the surface texture of wood ash glazes. Translating this to glass, I discovered the Italian technique of scavo, a chemical attack that alters the glass surface from glossy to rough. I liked that. For me, scavo represents a look of instant antiquity.”

 

 

 

 

SERPENTINE CANASTA

1990 18”h x 9”w Hot Coiled Glass From the Handbuilt Series

“My early interest in ceramic hand-building transferred to glass by making slabs and coils of molten glass, and wrapping them into a basket-like form. With no functional value, this series merely celebrated my exploration of working glass in a non-traditional method. The strength and teamwork necessitated by these complicated pieces taught all of us in the studio the value of rhythm, timing and choreography.”

 

 

 

 

*Currently available for viewing at Philabaum Glass Gallery & Studio

Dine with Your Canine!

In a place like Tucson, with more sunny days than not, and patios aplenty, there are many dining out options that let your pooch tag along. Plan your meals carefully, and there’s no reason Muffin the mini schnauzer can’t enjoy a leisurely brunch with the fam, or Mr. Wiggles the Welsh terrier shouldn’t accompany you to satisfy that taco craving. We’ve collared six restaurants that are beloved by humans and canines alike.

PREP & PASTRY

Both locations of this popular breakfast and lunch spot, with its artful twist on the classics, are well worth the wait you’ll sometimes find on busy days. People drop by every day for the Monte Cristo on brioche French toast, or the Roasted Veggie Benedict, with wilted kale and avocado. But the centrally located original also happens to have a lovely patio that welcomes dogs, offering both their own bowl of water and shady spot to share with their owners.

“We all have dogs and are dog lovers, so we’re happy to give that opportunity to people out and about with their pets,” says Brian Morris, partner and general manager of the Campbell location. In fact, Morris and his dogs Moose (English mastiff) and Gila (Dane mix) provided modeling services for this article.

“We actually would have loved to have a patio at both locations, but unfortunately the layout of our eastside location just didn’t allow room for one,” Morris explains. But if you’re looking for a dinner spot where you can take your dogs, look no further than their sister restaurant, Commoner & Co. “If you’re out for dinner and don’t feel like dropping the dogs off at home, you’re welcome at Commoner,” he says of their Foothills eatery, which has two patios to choose from.

3073 N. Campbell Ave., 326-7737, prepandpastry.com; Commoner & Co., 6960 E. Sunrise Dr. #110, 257-1177, commonertucson.com

THE CORONET

On a bustling corner of Fourth Avenue, just before the downtown underpass, sits one of the most picturesque patios in the area. Here, the rustic European country fare is well matched with the former Hotel Coronado’s 1928 architecture. As if you needed another reason to request outdoor seating, The Coronet is clearly pet friendly.

 

“We love dogs,” owner Sally Kane exclaims. “Our patio is an excellent location for all your furry friends. We are fully shaded and can even provide a serape to lay on if need be.” If Patches should get parched, don’t hesitate to ask for a water bowl. There are two available, one a Thai embossed silver bowl, because fur babies need a bit of glam, too.

Whether you’re enjoying brunch (breakfast galette anyone?) or a small-plate-style supper from the seasonally inspired menu, don’t be surprised if the staff come over to get their pet fix. “It may not happen every time,” Kane adds, “but there’s a good chance a piece of bacon or other goody will find its way out to you!”

402 E. 9th St., 222-9889, cafecoronet.com

GHINI’S FRENCH CAFÉ

A top spot for brunch for most of the 20 years they’ve been open, Ghini’s serves up French-inspired dishes such as Eggs Provençale, crepes, and both Croque Madame and Monsieur. As Owner and Executive Chef Coralie “Chef Ghini” Satta points out, “Ghini’s is Tucson’s first official pet-friendly restaurant. We have been welcoming our four-legged friends since 1992.”

Pets who join their families here can expect a bowl of water, organic dog biscuits — and maybe even a hug. “I was born in France, where it’s very normal to have our dogs with us in restaurants, even indoors,” Satta shares. “Alas, that isn’t allowed in the U.S.”

Make sure to check out the patio for breakfast, lunch, brunch or the special Friday and Saturday night Bistro Dinner menu. As Satta and her staff like to say, they welcome all dogs and well-behaved humans. “Not everyone appreciates that,” Satta says, “but we think it’s funny and a little bit true.”

1803 E. Prince Rd., 326-9095, ghiniscafe.com

SEIS KITCHEN

Because there’s no such thing as too much alfresco dining, both locations of Seis Kitchen offer beautiful patios, but it’s the original location in the Mercado San Agustín where the real magic of the ambience happens. Within the courtyard of the Mercado, near the base of “A” Mountain, Seis Kitchen’s first locale has only patio seating, and pets are 100 percent welcome.

After ordering at the window, and finding a spot in the unique brick-paved courtyard, you and your fluffy partner in culinary adventure can sit back and enjoy the busy scene, which includes live music depending on the day and time. “We love that our guests can bring their fur babies to hang with us,” says Owner Erika Munoz. “We have a super-relaxed, family friendly atmosphere — and pets are part of the family, so we should be able to spend as much time with them as possible!”

Seis (Spanish for six) represents six distinct culinary regions in Mexico, which means you can savor everything from street tacos and tortas to Mexico City-style quesadillas and seafood specials. And both locations offer snacks, as well as water bowls. There’s even a doggie water fountain at the Mercado.

130 S. Avenida del Convento, #130, 622-2002 (Mercado San Agustín); 1765 E. River Rd., #131, 612-7630 (Joesler Village), seiskitchen.com

ECLECTIC CAFÉ

On Tucson’s northeast side, Eclectic Café is a go-to choice for a place to dine alongside four-legged members of the family. Of course their menu is known for offering a little bit of everything, including pasta, traditional Mexican fare, burgers and meal-sized salads. But locals know this also happens to be a pet-friendly haven.

“When people bring in their dogs, we ask if they’d like a bowl of water and we also have dog treats,” shares Owner Regina Ortega- McCarty. “I try to buy the good organic ones, so we’re giving you more than your average dog biscuit.” In fact, as she points out, the patio can be such a hot spot that even though they don’t accept reservations, they recommend calling ahead if you’re bringing in your pooch to see if there’s a wait for the patio. Pups should be leashed and well behaved, for the safety of servers and other canine visitors alike.

“We have many regular pets who come in two to three times a week,” Ortega-McCarty explains. “We have Spike, a female long-hair Chihuahua who comes and enjoys pasta and hot dogs; and Leroy, whose owners tell us that when they get to the corner he starts whining in excitement once he realizes where they’re headed.” In fact, with so many furry-friend diners, she and her husband are planning to add a special photo board to spotlight them all.

7053 E. Tanque Verde Rd., 885-2842, eclecticcafetucson.com

THE CUP CAFÉ

Inside the historic Hotel Congress, Cup Café has long been a gathering point for downtown. Just as long, the patio of this eatery has been a well-known place to relax alongside your pet. “Our patio is one of the best spots to bring your dog in downtown Tucson,” says Marketing Director Dalice Shepard. “Delicious food, great drinks, people watching — all while hanging with your favorite pup — it doesn’t get much better!”

Cup Café is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so no matter whether you’re ready to sample those cast iron-baked eggs you’ve heard so much about, or dig into either a plant-based burger or the traditional version — you and Fido are welcome to come as a team.

While you’re enjoying the patio, you and your canine will get excellent service. “We provide bowls of water for our furry friends, and we have doggie treats at the front desk, too,” Shepard shares. So, no need to leave Miss Pinky the poodle home while you sip your coffee (or local IPA depending on the time of your visit) and soak up the hip and historic surroundings.

311 E. Congress St., 798-1618, hotelcongress.com/dining

 

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

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