Author: tucsonlifestyl

Dining Near U

We’ve all been there: trying to weigh all the options and decide where to stop for a bite to eat before a performance in the UA area. With so many interesting lectures, performances, and sporting events popping up on or around the University of Arizona campus, we’ve narrowed down a few go-to spots you can count on to deliver a timely and delicious meal.

By Sarah Burton | Photography by Thomas Veneklasen

Miss Saigon 

Just across Campell Avenue from campus, in an unassuming strip mall, sits one of the most recognized Vietnamese restaurants in town. It has branched out with additional locations, but as any longtime patron will tell you, the original near UA just has that extra bit of magic.

Pho Tai Chin Bo Vien (Rice Noodle Soup)

Whether you’re a fan of pho (rice noodle soup with beef broth) and its seemingly curative properties, or opt for other specialties, like vermicelli topped with grilled shrimp, fresh greens, and crushed peanuts, the service here is quick and laser precise.  So quick, in fact, you’ll have plenty of time for that order of fresh spring rolls and a boba drink or Thai iced tea.

Of course, if you’re unfamiliar with Vietnamese food and want to ease into your Miss Saigon experience, you always can order from more familiar dishes on the menu like chicken lo mein, Thai-style spicy tum yum hot pot, or fried rice. But once you see those plates for pho piled high with fresh bean sprouts, basil, and jalapeños, chances are your interest will be piqued.

1072 N. Campbell Ave., (520) 320-9511,

The B Line 

Pan-seared Salmon filet on a salad bowl at B-Line Café

The B Line offers a slightly more peaceful but equally tasty option for a meal before you head to the campus. Located on Fourth Avenue on the Modern Streetcar Line, this casual spot is further removed from the bustle.

The menu includes salads, sandwiches, burritos (artfully stuffed with the likes of Mahi Mahi, grilled chicken, sautéed vegetables, carne asada, or beans), tacos, and quesadillas. Pasta dishes include
farfalle tossed with house-made pesto and toasted pine nuts, and pasta alla vodka, with house-made cream sauce and fresh arugula.

Make sure you leave room and time in your visit for a homemade dessert crafted by pastry chef Terri LaChance. Tip: Although everything in the pastry display is delectable, and all-things-chocolate may beckon, the fresh-baked pies (from scratch, like grandma used to make) should not be missed.

621 N. 4th Ave., (520) 882-7575,

No Anchovies   

Another long-standing fixture in the Main Gate Square area, No Anchovies has not only upheld its reputation for creative pizzas and hearty salads, but has grown its business substantially. Once upon a time, this was your must-try locale for a quick slice before class or after a UA game. Long ago, the structure was simply a home built on the outskirts of the campus. The front patio looks out over the busy sidewalks of University Boulevard and makes for great people watching.

But after major remodeling and expansion to 10,000 square feet, No Anchovies now boasts two upstairs balconies, a plethora of unique indoor seating areas both upstairs and down, 60 big-screen TVs, a pool table and two full bars. “If you’re on your way to campus for an event, here you’ll usually find somewhere to sit and pick from the specialty pizzas by-the-slice, sandwiches, salads, or wings,” says General Manager Matt Jones. One thing hasn’t changed, and that is the kitchen’s dedication to quality in serving their fiercely loyal college crowd. “We offer a large selection of fast and fresh options, not just your basic cheese and pepperoni,” Jones points out. “Everything here is made from scratch, from the wing sauce and dressings to the bread we use for sandwiches.”

And don’t forget to check out the 24 beers on tap, many of them local selections.

870 E. University Blvd., (520) 623-3333,

Trident Grill 

The fish and chips from Trident Grill.

A short drive from the UA campus, you’ll find the original location of Trident Grill. There is a little bit of everything, so you can spare your group or date from having to narrow down their options.

Burgers are, of course, what many locals loyally order up at this or any other Trident location. The most popular is the Wildcat burger, stacked with onion rings, bacon, and a special Chef from Hell barbecue sauce. All burgers are made with 100 percent grass-fed beef.

Besides burgers, the menu includes an astonishing range, including hot wings, fried pickles, macaroni and cheese, a shrimp po-boy, chicken salad sandwich, New York strip, fish tacos, gumbo, a paleo bowl, an artisan meat and cheese plate, and oysters on the half shell.

2033 E. Speedway Blvd., (520) 795-5755,

Frog & Firkin   

Right in the hub of activity that is Main Gate Square, Frog & Firkin is an optimal spot to meet up near the UA campus. Although many eateries have cropped up along University Boulevard over the last few years, this particular spot has maintained its popularity for decades. “We’re one of the few places left still providing a relaxed, full-service experience,” points out owner Garrett Raetzman.

After owning Frog & Firkin with his wife Jody for the last 18 years, he’s surely seen the area change and grow. “There’s something to be said for comfort and
consistency, so we pride ourselves in building rapport with customers,” he shares. “The Frog has always been a staple for college students, but I think we appeal to a larger demographic.”

This menu offers stacked salads, loaded sandwiches, half-pound burgers and pizza. They’ve expanded the options over the years to include entrées like steaks and the popular cedar plank salmon, providing something for everyone. With 30 beers on draft, and 150 different bottled and canned beers, they’re able to suit a more sophisticated palate as well as those just discovering beer options.

874 E. University Blvd., (520) 623-7507,

Illegal Pete’s   

A relative newcomer to University Boulevard, Illegal Pete’s started in Colorado in 1995 before branching out to Tucson in 2015. Their brand of fast Mexican-style food includes burritos and tacos, as well as quesadillas and nachos — with several vegetarian and gluten-free options.

“Some of the most popular items on our menu are the bowls, because you can load them up with so much; the smothered burritos (covered with veggie or pork green chile); and of course our queso and guacamole,” says General Manager April Ramirez. “Everything on the menu is made from scratch with high-quality ingredients,” she adds.

This laid-back spot is prime to meet up for a quick meal with friends before a show or game, especially since you can even order your food to go. But, as Ramirez points out, you may want to
make time to enjoy one of the house
margaritas. “We have happy hour and reverse happy hour and, as an added bonus, our patios and balconies are located directly next to the stage for Bear Down Friday pep rallies!”

876 E. University Blvd., (520) 352-1340, tl

Teaming with Talent

If you’re new to town, you may not realize that along with events involving the UA Wildcats, there are other athletic competitions taking place here — even on ice! Meet three local, professional sports teams, whose young players have their eyes on moving up to competing on a national level.

By Betsy Bruce


Though the exact origins of baseball are unknown, it can be traced back to 18th century England. It’s safe to say that the early practitioners of bat-and-ball contests wouldn’t recognize a modern game. But baseball has become iconic in America, as well as loved in countries such as Japan, Cuba and South Korea.

The players of the Pecos League’s Tucson Saguaros, all just cracking their 20s, play for the love of the game. Their manager, 72-year-old Bill Moore, has been involved in independent league baseball for almost half a century. Moore identifies the 1988 Kevin Costner film Bull Durham as his favorite baseball movie because, “It is the most realistic portrait of minor league baseball ever.” If you wonder what he thinks of toiling outside the spotlights of “the Show,” his comment on his career is: “In the big department store of the universe, I work in the toys department … great job.”

Tucson Saguaros photos by Laurie Lefebvre

Home base for the Saguaros right now is TUSD’s Cherry Field and the team’s roster is composed of plucky young men, most fresh from college, who aspire to play in “the bigs.” Indeed Moore has managed an amazing 28 players who’ve made it to the major leagues, including Paul Konerko, captain of the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox and Andre Ethier, the Dodgers’ all-time leader in postseason appearances. “I like an aggressive bunch of guys,” says Moore. “I like to play with speed.” When the Saguaros are having fun on the field, that’s when they’re playing their best.

Pitcher Eric Morell returned to the Saguaros after a perfect 7 and 0 in 2017. The recent LaGrange College (Georgia) graduate majored in exercise science, and though he throws the heat, he says icing the arm post game isn’t necessary so he doesn’t indulge. Morrell pitches with a “bulldog mentality” and has little doubt the Saguaros are championship caliber this season. California native and leftie pitcher Ryan Baca has been playing baseball since he was two years old and says being a southpaw “makes me a little sneakier.” The 2018 marked Baca’s inaugural year playing for Moore. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about him,” says Baca. “This is a guy you can learn a lot from. Dude is awesome.”

Pecos League play starts in mid-May and, according to Moore, will end in mid-August with the Saguaro’s taking part in the League championship. First pitch for weekday home games is at 7 p.m., just when that cooling expanse of shade begins to grow. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Bleachers are in place and lawn chairs are welcome. A food truck will offer burgers off the grill and cold drinks.



For FC Tucson Head Coach Dave Cosgrove, paradise can be found on the green quilt of soccer fields at Kino Complex North. “This is the best facility in our league and it’s why they bring in the pro teams for pre-season training,” he comments. The immaculate fields, densely carpeted, make one imagine a player might be bounced back to his feet upon falling.

Although most of the world calls the sport football, we Americans call it soccer, borrowing slang that originated in England in the 1800s. The story goes that in order to keep Rugby and the other ball game from being confused, it became known as Association Football, with students at Oxford, et al. shortening it to “soc” plus “er.”

In any case, FC stands for Football Club and it takes major skills to make the FC Tucson roster of 18 players who travel. The season runs from early May through July and the team is composed of collegiate stars and newly graduated players who all aim to advance to the professional leagues. Former FC Tucson players now competing in MLS (Major League Soccer) include Aaron Long, a defender for the New York Red Bulls; Aaron Herrera, Real Salt Lake forward; and the 2016 Collegiate Player of the Year Jon Bakero, a forward for the Chicago Fire. “Tucson,” says Cosgrove, who also is the soccer coach for Pima Community College, “is a terrific soccer city.”

FC Tucson photos by Michael Benson

The North Stadium at Kino Sport Complex, just across from Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium on Ajo Way, affords covered seating for 1,800 fans. Games start at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased online and at the gate. The season runs from May through July (longer with championship play). Grilled burgers, hot dogs, nachos and popcorn are served, as well as ice-cold beverages.

In its six years of existence, FC Tucson has had unprecedented success, winning division titles five of those seasons. Under new ownership, the future looks brighter still. Phoenix Rising, the Phoenix-based team aspiring to become an MLS franchise, purchased the team last year, adding cachet and resources. FC Tucson will advance to the professional ULS (United League Soccer) within the next two years. “We play with a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” says Cosgrove. “Fans can expect a total soccer experience.” FC Tucson soccer is relentless and artistic, and when you go, expect to see nose-to-the-pitch, infinitely conditioned athletes working the soft leather ball with feet as articulate as hands doing sign language. And that sign, more often than not, is victory.

Editor’s note: The FC Tucson women’s team recently won the Pac South Conference Championship.



For the last two years there has been a new weather phenomenon in the desert Southwest. October though May, it’s been snowing inside the Tucson Convention Center. Throwing up rooster tails of fresh, fine ice (know in the game as “snow”) are a group of 28 supremely padded, hockey-stick-wielding buddies called the Tucson Roadrunners. They may be the “farm team” for the National

Tucson Roadrunners photos by Kate Dibildox Photography.

Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes (most under contract to the ’Yotes and many called up), but they are so much more than that. They are Tucson — unique, spirited and determined.

The charming “Coyotes and Roadrunners” reference is indeed an homage to the classic Warner Bros. cartoon. “Meep Meep” sounds after the clamor of each Roadrunner goal at the TCC.

Last season’s captain Andrew Campbell hails from Caledonia, Ontario. Tall at 6’3” he rises to 6’6” on blades. Campbell credits chemistry in part for the team’s success. “We have a lot of fun on the ice and outside the rink. It’s a great group of guys.” One of three goalies for the team, 22-year-old Minnesotan Hunter Miska, says he savors the pressure of the position — the last line of defense. His artist father has custom air-brushed the masks of some of the most famous NHL goalies, including Evgeni Nabokov and Miikka Kiprusoff. It’s the one concession to individualism allowed on the ice. Miska’s mask, painted by his father, is adorned with the state of Arizona with a rising sun and mountains on one side, and the Coyotes’ logo on the other, willing his son to someday defend the crease against the very best.

The Stanley Cup of the Roadrunners’ AHL (American Hockey League) is the Calder Cup and in May 2018 the team made it as far as the Pacific Division Final. “We are young and fast,” Miska says.” We outwork other teams.” The thousands of fans who cheer on the Roadrunners are “passionate and rowdy,” pounding the Plexiglass, clanging purple cowbells and snacking on mini doughnuts fresh from a concessioner’s sizzling deep fryer.

The weather calls for snow again this October inside the TCC, and one lucky fan will be chosen to gather it. A second seat has been added atop the Zamboni, the backyard shed-sized machine that snakes around the rink, collecting snow, dispensing fresh water and erasing the scars of the last quarter. Rink-side tickets can be had for $40 to $50, but there is always a seat for just around $10. The Roadrunner 2018-19 season starts in October, and tickets will go on sale this summer. TL

For more information on these three teams, visit;; or

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Letter from the Editor

Go Time!

Photo by Tom Spitz

Go Time!

Many of us in Tucson await the start of performing arts season the way that sports fans eagerly anticipate the first football game of their alma mater. We may not paint our faces and tailgate when we go to the opera, but in our hearts, we’re cheering and leading a wave through the music hall (especially after a Puccini aria!).

As you read this issue, you’ll note that there are more than 100 performing arts groups in Southern Arizona, offering an astounding range of music and dance concerts, plays, operas and multimedia events in 2019-2020. Please take the time to check our groups list (beginning on page 28; more information is available at, read our preview of season highlights (starting on page 22), and follow along in Datebook each issue so you don’t miss out!

Our cover story this month (page 15) is Eric Holtan, who does double — maybe even triple — duty in the arts community. The founder of True Concord Voices & Orchestra, his vision of a group that would regularly perform choral/instrumental masterpieces Go Time! such as Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, has greatly expanded the cultural offerings in Tucson.

Of course, there are other sorts of arts in town, including numerous restaurants where culinary and visual forms of creativity converge. We asked Sarah Burton to visit six locales where you can dine on everything from classic Italian dishes, to Southwestinspired entrées, to old-fashioned comfort food. When you’re partaking of the edibles, peruse the paintings, ceramics, photographs and other works that you can purchase and take home. Read about the places we chose beginning on page 60.

And while you’re out and about this month, don’t ignore the messages that your feet may be sending you. Kimberly Schmitz talked to several professionals in podiatry about when you should seek help for your heels. Let your fingers do the walking to page 64 for the story.

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