Category: Story 3

Foot Notes

Keeping your feet healthy involves preventive care, and knowing when to see a professional.

by Kimberly Schmitz

Think about feet for a moment. They are really quite a marvel. Twenty-six bones, 30 joints, more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, and nearly 7,000 nerve endings all work together to get us where we want to go, test the water, cut a rug, or shut the door when our hands are full. So why is it that so many people dismiss, ignore, self-diagnose or You-Tubetreat foot pain?

Dr. Glesinger
Photo by Thomas Veneklasen

 

 

Tucson native April Ross Glesinger, DPM, of Arizona Podiatry Associates, understands the struggle. She regularly shares with her patients the reason she went into podiatry — her “terrible feet.” She has flat feet, suffers from plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and neuromas (painful nerve bundles), and has worn orthotics most of her life. Dr. Glesinger has dedicated her career to ensuring people are able to lead active, pain-free lives. She shed some light on why many patients hesitate to see a podiatrist when issues arise. “Feet are such a personal issue. Patients tell me all the time that they were afraid to come in because they didn’t want to hear that they needed some painful procedure or would have to wear unflattering ‘old-lady’ shoes.”

Simple, painless and non-invasive solutions are available to treat many foot and lower leg issues to help people return to their favored activities. Often the causes of foot complications are as individual as the patient and may require a specific combination of treatments for resolution. Yet, some conditions, left untreated or treated incorrectly, may become life threatening. Fortunately, Tucson-based podiatric physicians, as well as interdisciplinary teams of practitioners and researchers throughout the country, are dedicated to diagnosing, treating and resolving minor and severe maladies below the knee.

Take The First Step

Dr. Aung, Bob Hitchcock, Design Photography

Undoubtedly, feet take the brunt of daily living, especially here in the desert. Toes get stubbed, Legos are stepped on, and stickers or cactus spines find their way into feet one way or another. Even just a long day of standing or exploring a new desert trail may leave our “dogs” feeling a little more beat up than usual. So how do we know when it’s time to consult a professional with a foot problem?

Barbara Aung, DPM, DABPM, CWS, CPMA, CSFAC, of Aung FootHealth Clinic, suggests people imagine whatever problem they suffer on their feet is happening to their eyes. “If people have a recurring lesion on their eye, they’re not going to perform some procedure they see on an infomercial,” reasons Dr. Aung. “They’re going to go to a professional to have it treated properly. The same should be true with foot issues.” She suggests paying attention to warning signs such as pain, swelling, sores, or any deformation or sudden change in the feet. “That’s your body telling you that something is wrong, and you should see a professional.”

When patients visit a podiatrist they should be prepared to provide as much information about their medical history, lifestyle, and current condition as possible. Prepare a list of questions about your physician’s diagnosis of your foot problems, and ask about available treatment options to create a partnership with a practitioner. Patients also should be open to learn preventive self-care and address problems in other areas of the body that may be manifesting in the feet.

“A good biomechanical evaluation of patients is important,” Dr. Glesinger explains. “We watch patients walk and ask a lot of questions about lifestyle — what surfaces they usually stand on, what kind of shoes they wear, etcetera. Sometimes issues like leg-length discrepancy or shoulder tilt may be affecting the gait and causing problems in the feet. We’ll treat the immediate issue and recommend a good physical therapist to create an exercise regimen to prevent the issue from recurring.”

“We don’t just trim toenails all day. We really are looking at the function of the foot to help people move and walk better. Sometimes with minimal intervention, or otherwise with drastic action,” Dr. Aung adds.

The most common issues podiatrists treat include ingrown toenails, plantar fasciitis, corns, bunions, and diabetes-related ulcers and neuropathy.

Nailed It

Most people can identify an ingrown toenail. Children as well as adults may experience them. It’s a common condition that occurs when the toenail grows into the soft flesh around the nail bed. The imbedded nail causes the surrounding skin to become red, tender, and may even result in an infection. In minor cases, a quick, precise trim of the nail will resolve the issue. However, if the issue is recurrent, or the affected skin is hot, draining, or there are red streaks originating in the affected area, further treatment is required. A podiatrist may remove part of the nail and apply a chemical to prevent that section from regrowing.

Podiatrists also will offer to train their patients on how to trim nails properly to prevent recurrence. Some feet are genetically predisposed to have ingrown nails. In other instances, the condition may be caused by gait mechanics or improperly fitting shoes. Often, by the time adults seek professional treatment for ingrown toenails, they have become a recurrent issue. In these cases, orthotics or physical therapy may be part of a treatment plan.

A Time for Heeling

Plantar fasciitis, most common among women and very active people, is inflammation of the soft tissue, or fascia, that connects the calcaneus (heel bone) to the toes. Symptoms may range from an irritating dull ache in the heel to extreme, debilitating pain when active or at rest.

The pain is caused when ligaments become taut and pull so hard the pressure creates micro-tears and swelling at the anchor point in the heel. Dr. Aung sees many plantar fasciitis cases. She notes the condition usually results from body form and mechanics, and 90 percent of the time, it can be resolved with anti-inflammatory drugs, stretching, icing, and use of orthotics. Although over-the-counter “quick-fix” solutions abound, Dr. Aung explains that patients often come in after they’ve tried many of them to no avail. “Custom-made orthotics are the key,” she states. “Something hard that won’t lose its shape should be created for each foot. One-size-fits-all arch supports or shoes with built-in support may not control the arch enough.”

Slightly more invasive plantar fasciitis treatment may include injections to the affected area. Dr. Aung is currently participating in a clinical trial of a procedure to apply Botox directly to pain receptors to relieve symptoms. More extreme cases of plantar fasciitis may require a minimally invasive surgery. The plantar fasciotomy procedure involves surgically releasing tight fascia tissue through a small incision in the bottom of the foot. Patients may bear weight right after surgery and can fully recover and return to previous activities in several weeks.

Where the Corn(s) Grow

Corns on the feet are hardened layers of skin that develop on pressure points to protect the deeper tissue from friction or pressure. They generally develop on the bottom or side of the foot and have a central core. Improperly fitted shoes and biomechanical imbalances are most often the cause of corns and calluses. Dr. Glesinger vehemently discourages patients from purchasing and applying over-the-counter medicated pads to corns. “People usually spend a lot of money and order the wrong treatment for specific issues,” she states. Often the medication or acid in these remedies is too strong and burns holes in the area that can become a much larger problem. Patients are urged not to pick, cut, or peel corns, but rather to have them treated by a professional.

Treatments may include application of topical medication or precise shaving of the built-up, hardened skin. Per a biomechanical analysis, orthotics use or a change of footwear may be recommended to keep the issue from recurring.

Out of Joint

Bunions are a deformity of the big toe joint causing the toe to lean at an angle toward the outside of the foot. They develop slowly and are not always painful. The condition may become painful if the toe places pressure on, or even dislocates, the adjacent toes. Tight shoes can exacerbate pain in the joint and may contribute to the condition, but bunions generally are structural defects. Treatments range from proper shoe fitting, to orthotics, to joint replacement surgery.

Experts recommend seeking professional care long before bunions become painful. Most over-the-counter fixes, which include toe separators and bunion-adapted shoes, will not hurt or exacerbate the condition, but they won’t repair it, either. Without proper treatment, bunions will get worse, placing pressure on the joint cartilage and even damaging nerves. “If you treat the problem when it’s a smaller one, you don’t have to be so invasive. Orthotics don’t reverse the issue, but they help people function better and keep things from getting worse,” explains Dr. Aung.

Struck a Nerve

Dr. Armstrong Photo by Kris Hanning

Taking excellent care of our feet is important for everyone. However, for people with diabetes, it can be a matter of life or death. Diabetes affects 30 million people in the U.S., and 415 million worldwide. Diabetic foot complications cost more than the five most-costly cancers in the U.S. today. According to David Armstrong, Ph.D., DPM, UA Professor of Surgery and author of more than 240 research papers on the subject, every 1.2 seconds someone in America gets a diabetic foot ulcer or wound. Every 20 seconds someone gets a diabetes-related amputation. After an amputation, 50-75 percent of patients die within five years.

In diabetic patients, a pro-inflammatory state created by high blood sugar and resultant high triglycerides deadens the nerve response in lower legs and feet, often called neuropathy. This condition causes numbness, or “loss of the gift of pain,” as Dr. Armstrong describes it. “These patients literally can wear a hole in their foot. They can’t feel it. It’s akin to walking on a broken leg that you didn’t know was broken.” Injuries sustained to neuropathic limbs can develop devastating infections that can necessitate, in extreme circumstances, amputation of the foot or even the leg.

Experts agree that people with diabetes should include a podiatrist in their treatment team and be examined by them at least annually. Diabetics should always take any foot issue very seriously (whether it is painful or not) and consult a medical professional as soon as one is noted. Regular podiatric care can reduce a patient’s risk of developing complications 20-80 percent according to Dr. Armstrong.

In 2008 Dr. Armstrong established the Southwestern Academic Limb Salvage Alliance, and more recently became the co-director of the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA). He joined the University of Arizona’s Department of Surgery to build an advanced clinic for wound care as a part of an interdisciplinary team there.

“Feet are an anatomic peninsula. This forces us to team up with colleagues in other disciplines to solve problems,” Armstrong observes. “We have the team, and we are building the technology.”

There are currently more than 30 clinical trials SALSA-associated clinicians and researchers are conducting to investigate seemingly futuristic treatments, such as stem cell wound care, spreadable skin graft paste, and in-shoe exoskeletons to offload foot pressure. All are focused on saving limbs and lives.

However, Dr. Armstrong’s most prominent message, aligning with the sentiments of Drs. Glesinger and Aung, is that prevention pays. Don’t wait. Don’t perform a procedure from the Internet to cure foot issues. Collaborate with a podiatric physician to alleviate issues and learn how to keep your feet in optimal condition so they can keep you healthy, active, and moving well through life.

Live help

The Hole Story

By Kimberly Schmitz

Photography by Tom Spitz

Though National Donut Day was celebrated last month, nearly any day is perfect for indulging in these iconic pastries. Here are six locally owned shops that will make your eyes glaze over!

Irene’s Holy Donuts

Carla Elenes at Irene’s Holy Donuts holds up the giant Homer Simpson donut.

A trans-Pacific family owned franchise, Irene’s Holy Donuts is a recent addition to Tucson’s donut scene. Irene and Steve Heiman opened the original location in Kona, Hawaii in 2015. Irene, a former Realtor, sought another path — and received a divine directive. After formulating recipes in her home kitchen and testing them on neighbors, she opened the doors to her calling, making amazing donuts an

More than 300 taste-bud-blowing flavors of donuts rotate on and off the daily menu.

d changing lives. Through the shop she offered second chances to homeless and “forgotten” youth in the Kona Community. Compelled to retire off-island, the couple landed in Tucson and opened a second Holy Donuts on Fourth Avenue. More than 300taste-bud-blowing flavors of donuts rotate on and off the daily menu with 60 or so available by 6:30 a.m. every day. Anything with passion fruit goes fast, but every single delectable donut (approximately 2,000), including to-die-for traditional glazed, horchata, and even a key lime margarita flavor, is sold out every day. After 8:30 a.m. savory Hawaiian delights like beef and chicken skewers, spam and eggs Musubi, and Loco Moco are available for the hip and hungry. Don’t expect things to slow down after sunset at Irene’s. Adjacent to the shop is the Donut Hole, a lively hotspot serving donuts and drinks with a steady menu of local entertainment from open mike to Reggae, and Indie to rock sounds. The Hole is open until 2:30 a.m. weekend nights. Is it a donut shop or a donut-themed nightclub? Who cares? It’s amazing and definitely a one-of-a-kind spot worth a visit.

340 N. 4th Ave.; Facebook.com/HolyDonutsTucson

Le Cave’s Bakery

Each day, thousands of original recipe donuts, empanadas, fruit pies, cookies and cakes are served to locals and visitors from as far away as Australia.

With a new look, location and ownership, this long-time Tucson favorite continues to serve up its iconic, internationally craved donuts and pastries. The bakery’s doors first opened in 1935 and last year it changed hands. New owners and native Tucsonans Naomi and Chris Pershing had more connection with Le Cave’s than originally thought. Not only did the uncle of their new operations manager bake at the original site, but Naomi’s grandmother stopped in regularly with schoolmates from Nogales! Per Grandma’s direct orders, the Pershings won’t change a single ingredient in any of Le Cave’s amazing offerings. Each day, thousands of original recipe donuts, empanadas, fruit pies, cookies and cakes are served to locals and vi

sitors from as far away as Australia. Although the Pershings — former chocolatiers — favor chocolate whipped cream and chocolate frosted donuts, the original frosted, chocolate- glazed and maple-glazed donuts are customer favorites. The popularity of these sweet, centerless wonders, however, is closely rivaled by that of the cherry, pineapple or pumpkin empanadas, or generous slices of Le Cave’s iconic tres leches cake. A cadre of regulars boasts 30- and 40-year traditions of celebrating birthdays with Le Cave’s cakes! Specialty cakes can be ordered 24 to 48 hours in advance or a freshly baked “stock” cake may be personalized on the spot. There’s no special occasion required to experience what aficionados from Mexico to Canada and Australia to Germany are raving about from this 84-year-strong Tucson sweet treat staple.

3950 E. 22nd St.; 624-2561; LeCaves.com

La Estrella Bakery

La Estrella Bakery is a traditional panaderia so authentic it seems to have been plucked from south of the border and planted in South Tucson. It’s had a strong 33-year run with no signs of slowing. Antonio and Martha Franco established a new/old tradition when they opened shop in 1986. Reminiscent of the bakeries that were center points of Mexican communities in eras past, this Old Pueblo favorite also is a bonafide star — the subject of the 2012 documentary Dulce Tucson (Sweet Tucson). Maybe the fanfare drew newcomers, but the phenomenal baked goods and ambrosial menudo brings them back. Certainly, one of the few benefits of being an adult is reaching for the sugar before the spice. So we gravitate toward the temptingly sweet and perfectly prepared donuts at La Estrella. Twists, glazed, and bear claws, oh my! Fruit-filled, long Johns, the list goes on but there’s so much more. Churros, elotes, cookies and sweet-filled chimis round out the offerings. If you’re on a pilgrimage for something sugary, you may feel as if you’ve found the holy grail here, and even stumbled into paradise with an order of La Estrella’s pan de leche (Mexican sweet bread). Both locations boast a steady stream of regulars from near and far. It’s an iconic Tucson bakery for some, a regular household goods stop for others, and a community center for many. Stop in to grab a bite, then return for what you missed out on the first time.

5266 S. 12th Ave., 741-0645, and 120 S. Avenida del Convento, 393-3320; LaEstrellaBakeryIncAZ.com

Alvernon Donut Shop

If you’re in the mood for a bigger-than-your- face bear claw, a colossal cinnamon bun, a delectable apple fritter or just about any other donut flavor you can name, hop into the homey Alvernon Donut Shop. Baker/owner Po will chat you up when he’s not pouring his heart and hundreds of other ingredients into his doughy delights. He says he’ll go crazy if he ever tried to count how many scrumptious treats he sells in a day. But he’ll tell you all day long about his secret ingredient — love. Po was in a California carpenters union when he heard the shop was for sale. He bought it, picked up stakes and moved to Tucson more than 17 years ago. Millions of donuts later, he is still head baker, chief conversationalist, and passionate community supporter. Among many other causes, Po ardently supports the Reid Park Zoo and Gospel Rescue Mission. One dedicated, long-time customer buys three- or four-dozen apple fritters to take home to Texas for friends and family! Don’t overlook the savory options like the ham, cheese and jalapeño croissants or the jalapeño poppers with cream cheese and bacon. Po takes his offerings very seriously and prides himself on the freshness and authenticity of every bite. It’s rumored that Alvernon Donuts also offers the best service in the biz. Hours are roughly 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.

1450 S. Alvernon Way; 326-3307

Donut King

Let’s solve the debate here. It’s Donut King. As explained by the current owner Paul Tith, it used to be King Donut, but when it changed hands in 2006, it became Donut King. Paul managed Donut King for years and just recently took over ownership. He served in the Navy, became a certified aircraft mechanic, then settled into his calling. But hey, does the debate on the name really matter? It will become a distant memory as you wash down any one (or four, no judgment) of the superfluffy, tasty creations from this Tucson gem in a proudly blue-collar neighborhood. This place sports an earlier closing time. But hey, they’ve got their doors open with fresh, warm, tasty treats long before many of us are out of bed. No crazy frills here, just a dizzying array of die-hard donut fan favorites, such as maple bars, chocolate covered, glazed, sprinkles, fruit-filled — you name it. Though it’s best known for its sweets, incredible stuffed croissant sandwiches are available, as well as hot or iced coffee poured to order, or something cold from the cooler. Of the 700 donuts sold every day, the classic glazed are the first to go, so get in early to grab yours and support this family owned and operated business.

150 W. Grant Rd.; 623-7260

Young Donut Shop

From some of the best old-fashioned, glazed, and blueberry-filled to almost sinfully delightful apple fritters and the infamous braided tiger tails, these deep-fried delicacies will have you stashing donut cash for when you’re in the neighborhood

Rummage through your couch cushions or forgotten coat pockets for some cash to pick up a few (or a few dozen) donuts at this humble, eastside joint. They don’t take cards, but the airy, delicious delights are well worth the effort to pay in good old greenbacks. (There’s an ATM inside if you forget.) Young’s, after all, was named the Best Donut Shop in Arizona by media website Thrillist a few years ago. Undaunted by the glory, for nearly a decade sibling team Sophy and Keng Se begins baking before the rooster even considers making a peep, day in and day out to provide donuts to the masses. From some of the best old-fashioned, glazed, and blueberry-filled to almost sinfully delightful apple fritters and the infamous braided tiger tails, these deep-fried delicacies will have you stashing donut cash for when you’re in the neighborhood. Get here early for the best selection, and if you’re travelling from a distance, call ahead. This is a family run shop that closes for holidays. Young’s is known for offering service with a smile and often a little extra something to fill in the blank space in a box or bag. If it’s not your turn for a freebie, rest assured that you won’t be disappointed. The prices are so reasonable you’ll likely buy more than you’d dare to eat in a sitting anyway. Amazing assortment, friendly service, sweet surprises — if that’s not bang for your buck, we don’t know what is!

1043 N. Kolb Rd.; 298-0020

Much to Do … In San Diego!

THROUGHOUT 2019, SAN DIEGO CELEBRATES ITS FOUNDING 250 YEARS AGO as the first settlement of Alta California. Old Town San Diego, which was the original location of the mission and the presidio that started it all, will be the site of various events, including a Founder’s Day Festival, September 14-15.

From the Editors

Petco Park in downtown San Diego. Photo courtesy of San Diego Padres.

Fast forward 200 years from the city’s start, and you wind up in 1969, the year that MLB’s San Diego Padres first took the field. Petco Park, in the heart of downtown, will host games including special promotions all during July, August and September in the run-up to the Fall Classic.

Cosplayers at San Diego Comic-Con. Photo courtesy of San Diego Tourism Authority.

Fans of comic books, movies, and other areas of pop culture will be drawn to the San Diego Convention Center July 18-21 for the 50th annual Comic-Con. What began as a gathering of a small group of collectors has grown over the years to become a major event for film studios to promote their projects, especially those in the fantasy and science fiction fields.

Parade Crowd Flag displayed
at Pride Weekend. Photo courtesy of San Diego Pride.

July also is the month for San Diego Pride Weekend (July 13-15), an event that includes everything from a Spirit of Stonewall Rally, to a Pride of Hillcrest Block Party, to a 5k race, as well as live performances from big-name musical groups and entertainers.

LEGOLAND, site of Red, White and BOOM!
Photo courtesy of LEGOLAND Resort California

You would expect a community with such a vibrant cultural life to have an amazing Fourth of July celebration, and San Diego doesn’t disappoint, with several taking place in the immediate area. The Port of San Diego holds the largest fireworks show in the county, titled Big Bay Boom. If you want to get a water-level view of it, the Maritime Museum, Hornblower and Flagship all offer cruises that will afford spectacular views of the show. Coronado stages not only a parade that lasts a full two hours, but also a family concert in Spreckels Park and fireworks over Glorietta Bay. Up the road in Carlsbad, families can enjoy a variety of activities, including pyrotechnics during “Red, White and BOOM!”

For more information, go to www.sandiego.org.

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

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

Latest Posts
  • September Gardening Calendar

    September Gardening Calendar

    Sunny days still bring the heat, but cooler nights hint of things to come. It’s time to dig out your gardening tools! PLANT Plant citrus while the weather is still warm. Choose varieties that are better adapted to desert conditions. …
  • Bricked & Beautiful

    Bricked & Beautiful

    A little-used yard got a complete re-do to become a great space for entertaining. BY DEBBY LARSEN PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT VACCA The owners of a midcentury-style home wanted to create a landscape that would honor the design aesthetic of the …
  • Inn-spiration

    Inn-spiration

    This midtown house took its design cues from its famous neighbor. BY ROMI CARRELL WITTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY HASKELL This midtown house took its design cues from its famous neighbor. Tucked away on an elegant, pavered street across from the …