Category: TLM

Fins to the Left … Fins to the Right

Despite being located in the desert, the Old Pueblo sports exemplary seafood in restaurants all over town.  Here is a tasty sampling of dishes at some popular spots.

Written by Kimberly Schmitz | Photography by Thomas Veneklasen

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill offers boldly flavored wood-fired steak and seafood in a warm, modestly refined space at La Encantada.  For an appetizer or an excellent accompaniment to a signature martini, dip a chip in the luscious lobster spinach queso, featuring ample lobster, baby spinach, tomatoes, and pepper jack cheese.  As a starter to share or a meal, seafood lovers will enjoy the seared tuna superfoods salad, with seared sushi-grade red tuna over spinach, organic ancient grains, cucumbers, avocado, grilled corn, edamame and radish, tossed with avocado green goddess dressing.  Another good choice is the wood-grilled salmon salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, San Saba Farms

spiced pecans and cilantro-lime vinaigrette.  Bounty of the sea fans also will surely enjoy Firebirds’

signature wood grilled salmon basted in Key lime butter, and fresh vegetables, or the delectable sesame-encrusted salmon served with ginger mustard aioli, and fried spinach.  Diners interested in more turf than surf may enhance any cut of beef on the menu with a half-pound lobster tail or wood-fired shrimp.  Chef Mario Soto presents a new feature menu every few months.  Be sure to ask about the hottest new items.  2985 E. Skyline Drive,577-0747 www.tucson.firebirdsrestaurants.com

This shabby chic hotspot offers up its regional specialties with unexpected twists — and the fish offerings are no exception.

Wood-grilled salmon basted with Key lim butter, from Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.

The Parish’s grilled ruby red trout.


The Parish

Being the only Southern fusion gastropub game in town doesn’t mean The Parish’s coowners Steve Dunn, Bryce Zeakler, and Chef Travis Peters rest on their laurels.  This shabby chic hotspot offers up its regional specialties with unexpected twists — and the fish offerings are no exception.  Whether you’re looking for a simple nosh with a drink or to kick off a full Southern comfort meal in style, the Crawfish Hushpuppies — “sweet and spicy orbs of deepfried perfection”— won’t disappoint.  Guests looking to ride the crustacean train to the last stop will find the Burgundy angel hair pasta with lobster broth-bathed shrimp and crawfish, in saffron red pepper cream sauce an excellent choice.  Also not to be missed is the best seller shrimp and grits made heavenly with Creole barbecue cream sauce, white cheddar grit cake, and served with a side of greens.  Diners seeking a fresh water swimmer will thoroughly enjoy the pecan smoked ruby red trout served with roasted garlic, red onion marmalade, candied pecans and Creole mustard.  Guests may choose to wash down these delicacies with a selection from more than 40 craft beers, an assortment of unique seasonal cocktails or house-infused vodka, rum, tequila, gin or bourbon.

6453 N. Oracle Road, 797-1233www.theparishtucson.com

 

Dante’s Fire

Executive Chef and Owner Ken Foy delivers a no-holds-barred menu born of his East Coast classical training and a passion for regional flavors and ingredients.  His working philosophy of “food made from food” barely offers a glimpse into the gastronomic delights served until the wee hours at Dante’s Fire.

Dip your toes in the Fire’s waters with oysters Rockefeller.  The tasty little mollusks take their final swim in a thick, soupy reduction of Pernod, rendered bacon and heavy cream with spinach and asiago cheese and are topped with candied bacon.  Channel your inner Dante and try tequila-cured salmon gravlax paired with sliced olives, avocado, grapefruit, and Parmesan foam.  The salmon — vacuum sealed with lime, cilantro and tequila — is a modern, Tucson-twist on a Norwegian specialty, also known as “salmon from the grave” because it is traditionally buried to cure.  Diners interested in something sourced closer to home should try the ruby red trout — a sustainable, farm-raised Apache trout replica, pan seared, broiled and properly dressed in pesto and topped with crab meat and asparagus tomato succotash.  Choose a locally crafted beer or find the perfectly paired cocktail for any of these creations on the Pride, Lust, Heresy or Fraud cocktail lists.

2526 E. Grant Road, 382-9255 www.dantesfireaz.com

Wild Garlic Grill

For diners interested in taking an open sea culinary cruise with garlic as the co-captain, Wild Garlic Grill is a solid port stop.  Tucson native Chef Steven Schultz and his wife Maudi Gourdin treat guests like family at the recently relocated Foothills restaurant.  Chef creates a menu with California French accent cuisine, conceived after years of training under French, German, Austrian, and Swiss executive chefs.  For starters, it will be tough to choose between the grilled garlic shrimp with warm Brie, grilled vegetables and roasted corn salsa, in a beurre blanc sauce and the steamed Prince Edward Island mussels in white wine garlic tomato beurre blanc.  Choices don’t get easier for the entrée course, with treasures like herb-basted Alaskan cod fillet, oven-poached in white wine, with garlic, tomato fondue, basil beurre blanc; and San Francisco pier stew with white fish, shrimp, mussels and roasted peppers in a garlic, tomato basil, chardonnay broth.  There also are a slew of daily specials with dizzyingly complex flavor profiles and delectable fresh ingredients.  To accompany any choice, Chef Schultz personally selected over 90 sparkling, white, and red boutique wines from family owned vineyards as mainstays on the wine list.  Plaza Colonial, 2870 E. Skyline Drive, Suite 120, 206-0017 www.wildgarlicgrill.com

JPS Seafood Market and Restaurant

This southside hybrid has a dine-in/take-out menu that includes everything from soups, to tacos, to combo platters.  But if you’re a seafood- seeking foodie preferring to stay in, JPS has just what the home chef ordered.  A family owned and operated importer and distributor of fresh and frozen seafood, JPS specializes in bringing fresh product from Mexico’s Sea of Cortez harbors including Kino Bay, Guaymas, and Puerto Peñasco.  Pick up prepared family sized portions of breaded fish, breaded shrimp, chiles Marlin, with salad and corn tortillas to feed the home or office crew.  Or patrons may don the proverbial chef’s hat and choose a perfect cut of fresh or fresh-frozen trigger fish, cochito, shark, flounder, stingray, swai fish, tilapia, salmon, and shrimp to prepare themselves.  Any selection is sure to please even the most finicky fish fan at the table.  5550 S. 12th Ave., #100, 270-3600 www.jpsseafood.com

Digging Up a Diagnosis

Valley fever can affect people, pets and livestock here in Southern Arizona, and can be hard to diagnose.

The University of Arizona’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence and Banner Health have created a tutorial to help local physicians speed up the process. Here’s what you need to know about this pervasive disease.

By Anne Kellogg | Photography by Kris Hanning

It can come on like the flu but may take weeks or months to run its course.  In rare cases, Valley fever can result in severe lung issues or meningitis.  Its symptoms mimic many other illnesses — such as rheumatism and even cancer — causing patients to undergo painful testing and unneeded treatment with antibiotics or steroids.  John Galgiani, M.D., director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence, professor of medicine in the Divisions of Infectious Diseases at the UA Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix, member of the UA BIO5 Institute and medical director of the Banner — University Medicine Valley Fever Program, has developed a way to assist physicians in the timely diagnosis of this challenging disease.

What is Valley Fever?

Have you experienced a fever, profuse sweating at night, chest pain and cough, muscle and joint aches — especially in the ankles and knees — loss of appetite, and a rash that resembles measles or hives?  You In Health may have thought you had the flu, but these symptoms also are those of Valley fever, which is caused by spores that live in the soil in Southern Arizona.  In addition to areas of our state, Valley fever can occur in semi-arid and arid soils of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas, as well as the states of Sonora and Chihuahua in Mexico, and Central and South America.

The corridor between Tucson and Phoenix is one of the most endemic regions for Valley fever, so the University of Arizona’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence (VFCE) was established by the Arizona Board of Regents in 1996 to promote education, research and care for this disease.  Dr. Galgiani explains that Valley fever is a difficult disease to detect and treat, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Its medical name, coccidioidomycosis, means fungal infection caused by the fungus Coccidioides . The name is often shortened to “Cocci” (pronounced “kok-see”).  This organism grows in the top six inches of soils in areas of low rainfall, high summer temperatures and Moderate winter temperatures.  In susceptible people or animals, infection occurs when a spore is inhaled.

Infection by the spores doesn’t always lead to detectable disease.  In nearly 60 percent of cases, the symptoms are so mild that individuals may not even realize they are infected.  In the remaining cases, symptoms may range from uncomfortable to miserable to even fatal.  It occasionally can develop into a severe, life-threatening form that may involve skin, bones, or other parts of the body, as well as the brain.  Overall statistics for Valley fever show about 150,000 infections per year, with only one-quarter of one percent contracting meningitis (i.e., roughly two cases per thousand), but increased numbers of cases cause a corresponding increase in serious disease.  Serious forms of the infection require anti fungal therapy.

The diagnosis of this disease is complicated because of the way the lungs respond to the inhaled spores.  Initially the infection causes a pneumonia, which sometimes can turn into a lung nodule or even a

The catheterization lab at Tucson Medical Center.

cavity.  Nodules are small, residual patches of infection that generally appear as single lesions (from one, to one and a half inches, in diameter).  If it is documented that the nodule is caused by Valley fever, no other treatment is required.  However, if the original Valley fever infection goes undiagnosed and the nodule is found on a chance X-ray, it looks no different fromfrom a lung cancer, and a physician may suggest biopsy or even removal.  Nodules caused by cocci can remain forever.  Those who had a mild case may have no symptoms or scarring.  Cavities occur in about 5 percent of patients, and may cause the patient to cough blood or have other chest symptoms.  For some patients, the best management is to have the cavity surgically removed.

In Arizona, infection is likely to occur from May to July and again following Monsoon season, from October to the end of December.  Those in occupations that involve disturbing the soil (such as construction, agriculture or archeology), as well as recreational gardeners, may be at greater risk of contracting the disease.

Two-thirds of all U.S. Valley fever infections occur in Arizona.  Roughly 75 percent occur in Maricopa county, with 20 percent or so occurring in Pima County.  According to Arizona Department of Health Statistics, those susceptible to the most serious consequences of Valley fever include people on chemotherapy, on immune suppression medications because of organ transplant, the elderly, or those with immunodeficiency, such as AIDS.

The Benefits of Early Diagnosis

A primary reason for diagnosing early is removing the patient’s fear of the unknown.  Patients suffering from these long-lasting Respiratory symptoms often undergo multiple diagnostic blood tests, chest X-rays, CT scans, PET scans, bronchoscopy, percutaneous fine-needle aspiration, and even thoracotomies.  They often are prescribed multiple courses of antibiotics from their primary care physicians.  In one study, 81 percent of patients with Valley fever pneumonia received at least one course, and 31 percent received multiple courses.  In addition to the cost, it can create antibiotic resistance.  Another issue is doctors prescribing corticosteroids for the rheumatologic complaints (a synonym for Valley fever is “desert rheumatism”).  The anti-inflammatory effects of corticosteroids may create adverse reactions in patients, as well as increasing the chances of Valley fever complications.

Developing the Tutorial

Out of the need to get Valley fever patients treated early and effectively, Dr. Galgiani and his cohorts at the VFCE teamed with Banner Health to help physicians.  “I am quite excited about this — it’s one of the most positive things to come out of the merger between Banner Health and the University of Arizona faculty medical group,” Dr. Galgiani enthuses.  “Banner Health has specific clinical practices that they share with all of their physicians, and the Valley Fever Center for Excellence developed this information for local and national dissemination.  This will help doctors in other states whose patients visited our area and now have respiratory symptoms associated with Valley fever.

“We spent last year in a planning process, where we designed and refined the ABCs of what a primary care physician should do to diagnose Valley fever early and manage it correctly.  This past September we held a webinar on the topic, and we’ll be training Banner physicians all year.  VFCE is a department of the University of Arizona, not part of Banner, so we’ve made all the tools we developed in this process publically available to any doctor who wants to do what we’re doing.”

The new approach for recognizing and treating a new Valley fever infection is centered around the acronym COCCI:

Consider the diagnosis
Order the right tests
Check for risk factors
Check for complications
Initiate management

Physicians are encouraged to consider Valley fever if any of the following indications are present:

  • Respiratory symptoms and at least one of the following:
    • more than one office visit
    • chest X-ray ordered
    • antibiotics prescribed
  • Two of the following have been present for a prolonged period: fever, fatigue and/or arthralgia (joint pain)
  • High numbers of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) found in a blood sample
  • Skin rashes known as erythema nodosum or erythema multiforme

The tutorial and all the other resources created for the clinical practice training can be accessed online at https://vfce.arizona. edu/education/banner-valley-fever-clinical- practice-toolbox.

For more information on the new UA/ Banner clinical practice protocols, see the Valley Fever Clinical Practice Toolbox at the VFCE website, which includes the webinar mentioned earlier.

The protocols were developed with assistance from David Valenzuela, M.D., a Phoenix-area family practice physician, clinical assistant professor at the UA College of Medicine — Phoe

nix and the physician executive who heads Banner Medical Group Primary Care.

As part of the effort, Dr. Galgiani and Fariba Donovan, M.D., Ph.D., another VFCE researcher and faculty physician with the UA Division of Infectious Diseases, are providing small group training sessions for six to 12 clinicians each at 39 Banner Health clinical sites across the State.

They completed about a half dozen sessions by the end of January.

I Want a New Drug…

“There have been no recent breakthroughs or changes in the antifungals that are used in Valley fever,” Dr. Galgiani notes.  “There are a lot of divergent opinions on whether to start patients on fluconazole … it depends on the patient’s clinical presentation.  The antifungal treatments don’t cure it — they can help, but only by suppressing it.  If the patient’s immune system doesn’t ‘step up to the challenge’ when the antifungal drugs are stopped, those who really needed treatment will relapse.”

Researchers at UA have been working on a drug called nikkomycin Z as a new treatment for fungal infections, particularly Cocci.  “It works by blocking an enzyme that is important in making the cell wall,” Dr. Galgiani explains.  “An key part of the cell wall is ‘chitin.’ Chitin is made by an enzyme called chitin synthase, and nikkomycin Z blocks that enzyme.  In that regard it’s similar to penicillin, which acts by blocking formation of the cell wall of a bacterium.”

Because this drug’s most important use would be for Valley fever here in the Southwest, which isn’t a worldwide disease, drug companies haven’t had a strong incentive to develop it.

“We’re trying very hard to get it back into clinical trials, and have been making progress, but the bottom line is that it needs more financial support than we’ve been able to get.  The National Institutes of Health has been very supportive, but they’re not a pharmaceutical company.

They want this drug to go forward, but we haven’t yet gotten the support to do it.  It’s frustrating … we hope to find a pharmaceutical company that would be willing to partner with us.”

When a medication or a vaccine is created for human use, it must go through many clinical trials and intense scrutiny by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).  Drugs for dogs and other veterinary purposes also require FDA approval.  However, veterinary vaccines are cleared by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  “Work on an effective vaccine for the prevention of Valley fever has been ongoing for decades,” says Dr. Galgiani.  “Currently, we have a vaccine candidate that shows excellent protection in mice.  We are proceeding through the steps to bring this Vaccine through USDA approval for use in our canine patients.  That itself would be a wonderful accomplishment.  Just as exciting, if our vaccine candidate is found to protect dogs from Valley fever, that will add to the evidence that a similar vaccine might ultimately be used to protect ourselves.”

Work on the vaccine is being coordinated through the following VFCE research partners: Marc Orbach, Ph.D., Jeffrey Frelinger, Ph.D., and Lisa Shubitz, DVM, at the University of Arizona; Colorado State University’s Richard Bowen, DVM, Ph.D.; and Anivive Lifesciences Inc., a Californiabased biotechnology company that licensed the vaccine in 2017 from the UA through Tech Launch Arizona, the university unit that helps commercialize innovations developed at UA.

Getting the Word Out

In addition to helping physicians diagnose Valley fever earlier, the Valley Fever Center for Excellence (VFCE) at the University of Arizona and the Arizona Department of Health Services (AzDHS) also are trying to educate the public.

For example, a billboard will go up this month in Phoenix with the words ““Pneumonia or flu for weeks? It could be Valley fever. Ask your doctor for the test.”

The campaign is being funded by a grant from IMMY, a Norman, Oklahoma-based firm that specializes in high-quality diagnostic tools for diseases caused by fungi such as Aspergillus, Blastomyces, Candida, Coccidioides, Cryptococcus and Histoplasma.

It’s coordinated through the VFCE; Kenneth Komatsu, M.P.H., state epidemiologist and chief of the Office of Infectious Diseases with the AzDHS Division of Public Health Preparedness; and Rebecca Sunenshine, M.D., a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service, epidemiology field officer for the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and medical director of disease control for Maricopa County Public Health.

Look for the billboard along Interstate 10 or the 202 Loop in Phoenix starting March 4.

Fore a Worthy Cause

From February 27th to March 3rd, PGA TOUR Champions will vie for the coveted Conquistadore Helmet trophy in the Cologuard Classic, and Southern Arizona’s kids will benefit.

By Joan Liess

Defending Cologuard Classic champ Steve Stricker describes Tucson as a “neat place” and a “great town” for good reason.  Stricker visited an aunt in Tucson for years.  “I’d come out to see her, play in some of the mini tour events and try to qualify for the Tucson Open.” Stricker eventually played in seven Tucson Open events from 1992 through 2001, and had some memorable moments.  “In 1994, I had a chance coming down the stretch.  Just needed to make a birdie on the back but finished

second,” he recalls.  “It’s a great feeling to finally put that helmet on.”

He will have stiff competition this year.  “We’re expecting, once again, to be one of the strongest fields on PGA TOUR Champions,” says Executive Director Judy McDermott.  The Conquistadores received commitments from World Golf Hall of Fame members, former champions, Charles Schwab Cup winners, and some of the top-ranked golfers on tour.

Steve Stricker.
Photo by J. Martin Harris.

Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen is just one of those exceptional commitments.  The prolific South African golfer, wine maker and golf course designer just recently turned 50 and will compete on the Catalina Course for the first time.  He did, however, have a previous visit to Tucson.  Goosen played through the quarter finals in the World Golf Championships — Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain in 2010.

The field also includes one of the world’s best known golfers — Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke, making his Tucson debut.  The Ulsterman claims three PGA TOUR victories, including an Open Championship, 15 International wins and a plethora of national team successes.  The fun-loving Clarke has his priorities.  “When I had my choice of being on the golf course for my 50th birthday or being on the beach in the Bahamas, the beach sort of won that battle.”

Baseball hall of famer John Smoltz (Atlanta Braves) traded his pitcher’s glove for a golf glove a few years back.  Now, thanks to a sponsor’s exemption, he’s playing in the Cologuard Classic.  The workhorse right-hander said of his former career, “I literally gave everything I had every single time I went out there.” No doubt that sentiment applies to being on the links, too.

Fans also can count on three-time PGA TOUR Champion Jerry Kelly to be in the hunt for the helmet trophy.  Kelly shared second place with Gene Sauers and Scot Dunlap in 2018.  As a spokesperson for Exact Sciences, the manufacturer of Cologuard, Kelly also is raising the bar on his co

mpetitors when it comes to colon cancer screening.  “My wife is a cancer survivor,” he says.

“Everybody that we know has been touched by cancer in some way.  It feels like an opportunity to make more people aware of colorectal cancer and get them tested.”

Retief Goosen.
Photo by PGA Tour/Getty Images

TournamentSchedule

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 27
Jose Cuervo Pro-Am

Gates open at 7 a.m.

Country duo Chris Lucas and Preston Brust of LOCASH. Photo courtesy LOCASH.

THURSDAY, FEB. 28
Jose Cuervo Pro-Am

Gates open at 7 a.m

FRIDAY, MAR. 1
Cologuard Classic First Round

Gates open at 9 a.m
Opening Ceremony on First Tee 10 a.m.
After-Party Following Play, 19th Hole
Party Pavilion

SATURDAY, MAR. 2
Cologuard Classic Second Round
Dress in Blue Day

Gates open at 9 a.m
LOCASH Concert – Driving Range

SUNDAY, MAR. 3
Cologuard Classic Final Round

Gates open at 9 a.m
Awards Ceremony and Trophy
Presentation on 18th

Tickets and Information:
CologuardClassic.com; (800) 882-7660

Feels Like a Party

Saturday, Mar. 2, After the Last Putt Drops

LOCASH’s new country-rock single, Feels Like a Party, says it all.  This year’s shindig is going to be a rocking good time.  The party site is the big, beautiful Catalina Course Practice Range.

Preston Brust and Chris Lucas are the voices of LOCASH.  The duo has soldout concerts and tasted the top of the chart as Nashville’s quickest-rising singer-songwriters.  Georgia-born country singer Craig Campbell opens the show after the last putt drops.  Special guests include our men and women in uniform.  Get tickets on CologuardClassic.com.


John Daly with spectator. Photo by Chris Mooney.

Play Along

It’s typical to experience first-tee nerves when you’re playing a round with a PGA TOUR Champion legend.  The good news is you don’t have to play like a pro to have an unforgettable experience at the Jose Cuervo Pro-Am.

The evening before the first Pro-Am, amateurs and pros get to know each other at a pairings party.  This two-day golf event matches amateur players with a different PGA TOUR Champion each day.  Yes, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a guaranteed good deed — the real winners are local kids.

Proceeds from the Jose Cuervo Pro-Am and the tournament benefit youth athletic programs and charities.  “Since 1962, the Tucson Conquistadores have been raising money for youth sports in Southern Arizona,” says Conquistadores President Rob Draper.  “Tournament proceeds also will benefit the First Tee of Tucson, which uses the game of golf to prepare kids for life,” he adds.  “Now in our 57th year, the Conquistadores have raised more than $35 million.”

Proceeds from the Jose Cuervo Pro-Am and the tournament benefit youth athletic programs and charities.  “Since 1962, the Tucson Conquistadores have been raising money for youth sports in Southern Arizona,” says Conquistadores President Rob Draper.  “Tournament proceeds also will benefit the First Tee of Tucson, which uses the game of golf to prepare kids for life,” he adds.  “Now in our 57th year, the Conquistadores have raised more than $35 million.”

Smile, You’re on TV

Considering that the Cologuard Classic is a world-wide televised event, looking and acting your best is a smart move.  Fans know to plan for the weather, wear comfortable walking shoes and not leave home without sunscreen and sunglasses.  Fortunately for fans and players alike, navigating the Catalina course at Omni Tucson National Resort is a breeze.

The fan-friendly setup throughout the venue is a result of the Tucson Conquistadores’ 53 years of experience staging golf events, 35 of which were held at Omni Tucson National.  “Generations of Conquistadores have invested their time and talents to make this tournament the best it can be,” says Tournament Chairman Clint Buckelew.  “Our guys roll up their sleeves and get the job done.” Buckelew also praises the contributions of volunteers.  “This event requires service in more than 20 different areas on and off the course,” he observes.  “We couldn’t be successful without them.”

Special Events

Dress in Blue Day

SATURDAY, MAR. 2

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  Players, announcers and fans will wear blue to shine a spotlight on colon cancer, a disease that claims the lives of more than 50,000 Americans each year.  The first 10,000 fans will receive a free colon cancer awareness star pin.

50-50 Hole-In-One Challenge

SATURDAY, MAR. 2

Age 50 is when colon cancer screening is commonly recommended to begin.  The Cologuard Classic is marking that milestone with a special charitable connection.  If one of the pros makes a hole in one on the 16th hole on Saturday, $50,000 will be donated to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and $50,000 to The First Tee of Tucson.

Celebrity Foursome

SATURDAY, MAR. 2

Golf fans are in for a big surprise.  The last group on the final nine holes on Saturday won’t be PGA TOUR Champions players.  Instead, a celebrity foursome will play a 9-hole scramble and meet you at the finish line.

Dining – Hungry for Amore

Reforma’s Chocolate Layer Cake.
Reforma’s Chocolate Layer Cake.

 

Candlelight, an intimate ambience, an exquisitely prepared dinner and possibly even a decadent dessert are the ingredients for a romantic dining out experience. Here are six tried-and-true local restaurants sure to inspire love.

BY SARAH BURTON
PHOTOGRAPHY BY THOMAS VENEKLASEN

Reforma Modern Mexican. Mezcal + Tequila

Whether you choose a spot on the picturesque patio overlooking St. Philip’s Plaza and its fountain, or a cozy place within the walls of Reforma’s urban chic interior, you’re in for a departure from your usual Sonoran-style Mexican eateries. Besides the difference in surroundings, the menu itself is inspired by the fresh flavors of central Mexico. While you look over the menu, Owner Grant Krueger recommends you take advantage of what he says is possibly one of the largest tequila selections in the state: “Start with a handselected tequila flight and let the servers take you through some of the finest agave spirits in the world.” From there, he opines that sharing is the way to go, so opt for the guacamole trio to start — an assortment of traditional sweet and spicy variations. And since romance often is synonymous with chocolate, why not go with the chicken mole, featuring deep flavors of chocolate and poblano. To ensure a delicious end to your special dinner with your sweetheart, linger over an order of the house-made churros

4340 N. Campbell Ave., Ste. 101, (520) 867-4134, reformatucson.com

 

Warm Griddled Lemon Cake with Berries and Cream at GOLD.
Warm Griddled Lemon Cake with Berries and Cream at GOLD.

GOLD

High in the foothills, part of the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa property, sits a stately dining room with nearly panoramic views. You’re off to a good start here, before you’ve even glanced at the contemporary menu, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking both the city below and surrounding mountains — even better if the weather allows for a seat on the terrace. GOLD’s menu is made up of seasonally inspired modern American cuisine, with nods to the Southwest whenever possible. No matter what season, you can expect plenty of seafood options, as well as classics like steak, lamb and slow-roasted chicken. Whatever you order here, you can be assured an artful and well-balanced culinary experience. There’s a reason why the restaurant has won the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond Award for numerous years. “GOLD has been a romantic culinary destination for decades,” says Executive Chef Todd Sicolo. “I enjoy pairing the timeless, breathtaking views of Tucson with creatively reimagined dishes featuring regional products straight from our local partners.”

245 E. Ina Rd., (520) 297-1151, www.westwardlook.com/dining/gold

The Pan-Roasted Diver Scallops at GOLD.
The Pan-Roasted Diver
Scallops at GOLD.

Kingfisher Bar & Grill

A longtime local favorite, Kingfisher has maintained its stellar reputation for carefully balanced classic dishes and an inspired menu for 25 years. Well known for seafood, the restaurant kicks off its menu with the likes of oysters, housesmoked ruby trout, steamed mussels and shrimp cakes. Once you get to entrées, look for even more seafood dishes, such as grilled sea bass or the macadamia nut crusted Hawaiian fish. Similarly tempting are standouts like baby back ribs, chicken pot pie or steak. Not sure what to order? That’s fine by Chef Jim Murphy: “I think romance is about slowing down and being thoughtful with one another — spending time savoring life together. “I would start with a half bottle of Veuve Cliquot alongside grilled and chilled shrimp, baked oysters Rockefeller, and a golden beet and heirloom tomato salad,” he says. For an entrée he points to sautéed Onaga long tail snapper, while suggesting that you leave room for banana-datepecan cake with candied pecans.

2564 E. Grant Rd., (520) 323-7739, kingfishertucson.com

Jonathan’s Cork

For roughly 25 years, Tucsonans have counted on Jonathan’s Cork for their special occasion dinners out. And the décor, a homey throwback to the ’70s filled with dark wood and Southwestern art, accentuates that feeling of longstanding tradition. “We have several small, private rooms with their own fireplaces,” Chef Jonathan Landeen points out. If that’s not enough to set the scene for a special occasion meal, the menu boasts traditional starters like shrimp on ice, oysters and escargot, as well as classic entrées such as roast duck, steak, or ribs. More unusual offerings include bison, ostrich and venison. So, what would Chef Landeen recommend for a romantic meal? “I would share crab cakes, the grilled romaine salad, salmon or prime rib, and ostrich for the more adventurous,” he says. And since no meal is really complete without dessert, “I would finish the meal by sharing a bread pudding.”

6320 E. Tanque Verde Rd., (520) 296-1631, jonathanscork.com

Caffe Torino

It’s not difficult to make an eveningmemorable when you’re dining on the cuisineof Northern Italy. Caffe Torino truly brings authenticity to each dish offered by Owners Ollie Shouse and Daniela Borella, with a menu full of recipes passed down for generations by Borella’s family. “When guests come in from Italy, they tell us, ‘This tastes like home,’” shares Tony Frank, entertainment and social media director for Caffe Torino. Think beyond the spaghetti kiss, à la Lady and the Tramp, with more complex and heady dishes like the Tagliata al Gorgonzola (flat iron steak served with creamy Gorgonzola sauce) or the Scottadito di agnello (grilled lamb chops with citrus pesto). There’s definitely something for every palate, as well as all of the classics you’d expect, such as gnocchi, cioppino, lasagna, and eggplant Parmesan. Even with so many rich and textured flavors to choose from, nothing will conjure romance quite as much as dining on the patio under the stars. “We’re a small, intimate restaurant with a great romantic atmosphere,” says Frank. “Candlelit tables, low lighting, impeccable Italian food and an amazing wine list — not to mention jazz on the weekends.”

10325 N. La Canada Dr. (Oro Valley), (520) 297-3777; 5605 E. River Rd., Ste. 121 (Foothills), (520) 300-6860, caffetorinotucson.com

Harvest on River’s Triple Chocolate Cake.
Harvest on River’s Triple Chocolate Cake.
Harvest on River’s Wild-Caught Salmon.
Harvest on River’s Wild-Caught Salmon.

Harvest on River

With any special occasion, having a great view or unique atmosphere can take it to the next level. Harvest on River, tucked into the second floor of a shopping center with a patio overlooking the city, is a great locale for a quiet dinner with your special someone. When Reza Shapouri and his wife Lisa took over ownership of Harvest in Oro Valley in 2011, they kept the focus on what the restaurant is known for: local and seasonally inspired fare. The same is true at this newer location in the Catalina Foothills, which the Shapouris opened in 2015 in partnership with Executive Chef Michael Veres. The menu offers everything from roasted cauliflower tacos and vegan gnocchi to burgers and short ribs. With a little bit of everything, and a menu perfect for sharing, Shapouri points out they see their fair share of date nights. “We have a great wine selection, house-made cocktails, and you can’t forget our fantastic desserts — like the triple chocolate cake made in house by my wife, our pastry chef.”

5605 E. River Rd., Ste. 201, (520) 529-7180, harvestonriver.com

A Matter of the Heart


Many factors can play into a heart attack, including genetic predisposition, lifestyle, and excessive stress. Here is one local woman’s firsthand account of the path that led her to a heart attack, and the road back.

Before

I had a heart attack on Feb. 9, 2018. It scared the you-know-what out of me, but it also annoyed me no end! I was so busy — doing things for everybody and being everywhere. My days were planned to the max with no wiggle room for delays. I was irritable with stress and now peeved because things didn’t go my way. How inconvenient! I was in the middle of a late-life career path — teaching writing, publishing a book, running a writer’s group, and tons of other social stuff. My to-do list was a mile long, and I liked my busy lifestyle. But something wasn’t right. I was ridiculously tired to the point of fatigue. I couldn’t get through the day without lying down, and if I didn’t get an afternoon rest, I was uncharacteristically cranky in the evening. I was getting up at 5:30 in the morning to tackle that to-do list, thinking I was just sleeping poorly. I blamed everything from my pillow to the full moon. Unbeknownst to me, that nagging pain in my collarbone and the occasional lightheadedness were common signs of heart attacks in women. Women experience a heart attack differently than men. Men typically have the “Hollywood” attacks we see in movies. You know the kind: pain in the left arm, clutching the chest, collapsing. But I had none of those. However, the day before my heart attack, I had nine symptoms in total and still refused to go to the emergency room — fatigue, cold sweats, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, pain in my collarbone, cold/numb fingers and toes, shortness of breath, dizziness, and feeling faint. I believed I could be just having an anxiety attack. I was too busy and “didn’t have time” to have a major health issue interrupt my full schedule. On Thursday, Feb. 8, I was the spotlight speaker at one of my networking groups. This meant I had 10 minutes to stand before the group and give a presentation. That morning my fingers and toes were icy cold. I was tired and hadn’t been sleeping well, but I chalked it up to one of any number of things: a poor dinner choice the night before, a case of nerves, or maybe sleep apnea. My collarbone ached like someone was pinching it. As I wrote my speech notes onto blue note cards, I felt like I’d been holding my breath. While loading the supplies into my SUV, I noticed I was winded even from that effort. At the restaurant, I took an end seat so I could get up easily to do my presentation. When it was my turn to speak, I stood at the front and grasped the microphone for dear life. I talked easily for 10 minutes, though I realized I was getting short of breath. Then my heart started pounding, because (I thought) I was probably holding my breath — until it pounded faster, and I mean really pounded. It took everything I had to appear calm and composed. Then I started feeling lightheaded to the point of dizziness. At the end of my time, I took a few questions and sat down just before the room started to spin. Immediately, sweat formed at my hairline and trickled down my forehead like a menopausal hot flash. I dabbed at my forehead with a napkin, desperate to be “fine.” A friend noticed that all the color had drained from my face. She brought me water and the waiter gave me a Sprite. They wanted to call 911, but I resisted, saying, “NO! I’m fine, just feeling a bit woozy….” I sensed I might pass out, and wanted to lie down, but there was nowhere I could do that. So, I just kept saying, “I’m fine. Honest, I’m fine.” Finally, after lots of water and napkins to mop up the cold sweat pouring from my scalp, I felt somewhat recovered. Knowing I couldn’t drive in this condition, I called my husband Tomas to come and take me home. Once there, I lay on the couch, very still, and Googled my symptoms. Voila! It’s an anxiety attack. That explained everything! Somehow that made me feel better, even though I couldn’t imagine what I might have been anxious about — but anxiety had to be it. On Friday, Feb. 9, I awoke with a head full of plans and a long to-do list. In the shower, raising my arms to wash my hair seemed like such an effort. I was quickly out of breath. So, with a towel wrapped around my head, I put on my robe and lay down on the bed until my breathing returned to normal.

Before her heart attack, Susan was a featured speaker at many networking events.
Before her heart attack, Susan was a
featured speaker at many networking events.

Blow-drying my hair caused the same effect. Holding a brush in one hand and the blow-dryer in the other with my arms above my head was a challenge. I was again exhausted and short of breath. Back to bed I went, lying down for the second time that morning — and it wasn’t even eight o’clock. I thought, This is unacceptable. I have too much to do to be lying down every five minutes! Knowing something wasn’t right, I was determined to push through and prepare for my writing class the next morning. So, I charged off to shop for groceries. I knew exactly where to find all my favorite foods for the class, but in the cookie aisle, it hit me. I reached for a pack of gourmet cookies and they fell to the floor. As I bent down to retrieve them, I suddenly knew I’d faint if I leaned all the way down. I left the cookies on the floor and retreated to the register to check out. My legs felt so heavy, I could barely move. Thinking a jolt of caffeine and sugar would pick me up, I grabbed a cold soda from the case and gulped it down. I slowly loaded the two bags of groceries into the back of my SUV as if I were moving through syrup. I was short of breath again and recognized the pain in my collarbone as constant. After I got home, I finally gave in and called my primary care doctor. “Sorry, he’s out of town,” said the nurse who answered the phone. “Is someone covering for him? Who can I see?” I begged. Her answer was short and sweet. I could either call my cardiologist or go to the hospital emergency room. “I can’t go to the ER. I have too much to do!” I wailed. Her reply would haunt me for weeks, months, even longer: “You can’t do anything if you’re dead.” Thankfully, I had a cardiologist to call. The receptionist found my file (it had been 10 years since my last visit) and said the doctor could work me in that day. I called Tomas and we drove there together. After I was hooked up to an EKG, the tech shook his head as he watched the needle move. Cardiologist Timothy Marshall, M.D., entered the room, stared at the EKG machine, and I knew something was up. “Susan, you’re having a heart attack right now,” Dr. Marshall said. What? It can’t be. I thought he would just give me blood pressure pills and send me on my way. Terrified, I looked over at my husband who appeared terrified, too. The doctor said we had to go to the ER — now. Then things happened fast. The tech gave me a baby aspirin and had me place a nitroglycerine tab under my tongue. I heard Dr. Marshall on the phone swiftly making arrangements for me. Oh, God, I prayed silently.

After

Day One

Susan shows off the defibrillator life vest she wore for six weeks following her heart attack.
Susan shows off the defibrillator life vest she wore for six weeks following her heart attack.

Tomas dropped me off at Tucson Medical Center’s ER entrance, which was only four blocks from the doctor’s office. I was whisked inside and placed on a gurney. I winced as the attendant peeled off my brand-new black leggings and my underwear. I was allowed to take off my top and bra myself, and the hospital gown went on so quickly, nobody could see my nakedness. The medics swarmed around me. Doctors, nurses, techs, all said their names and what they would do to me. Calmly, they took some blood, put in a needle for an IV, and asked about my health history, my medications, and my nail polish. Yes, my nail polish. They wanted to remove it so they could clip a heart monitor onto my finger. They said the polish would interfere, but I knew it wouldn’t come off because it’s made of shellac. I tried to explain this but to no avail. Instead, they attached a heart monitor to my ear. I felt a breeze on my face from the speed of the moving gurney. They rolled me to the Cath Lab, explaining every movement and location along the way. But having received anesthesia, soon I didn’t care. Surrounded by nurses, equipment, and blinking monitors, the doctor threaded a tiny wire with a balloon on the end through the catheter tube in my groin. From there, he inserted a stent in my right coronary artery. It was 95 percent blocked and resistant to opening, but with the stent in place, my blood flow improved to 60 percent. Less than 20 minutes had passed since I walked into the ER. When I woke up from the anesthesia, I found myself in a private room with nurses, techs, and orderlies coming in and out. Tomas was there and so was my son Tim. I was starving, but I couldn’t eat until another round of tests were run. That night was a blur of fitful sleep, bad dreams, a dinner tray at 10 p.m. and a constant struggle to get comfortable.


Day Two

The early morning ushered in more nurses drawing blood, bringing pills,and taking my vitals. My breathing was still labored, and my collarbone pain had moved to my chest. Three doctors visited and determined I wasn’t better, so they ordered a few tests. They gave me something for the pain and to get the fluid off my lungs, then sent me off for a chest x-ray. After that, I was wheeled out on yet another gurney for an echocardiogram, a test that uses ultrasound to evaluate one’s heart muscle and heart valves. Hours later, the hospital’s cardiologist Dr. Thomas Waggoner told me he was taking me back to the Cath Lab to fix another artery with a stent. I trusted him. I knew something had to be done because I felt so bad — constant chest pain, shortness of breath, fitful sleeping and non-stop sweating. And I saw how the nurses frowned with concern when they took my blood pressure and peered at my monitors. After receiving a second stent, I improved dramatically. The second stent opened up the left circumflex artery, improving the blood flow along with oxygen to my body. My test results improved. Everyone noticed! This fix marked the beginning of a slow recovery as my heart began to grow stronger.

Day Three

My brain was on overload trying to take in every face, test result, and procedure explanation. I had three cardiologists, four nurses, a dietician, a pharmacist, a physiologist, and a hospitalist who managed my case. One nurse was a counselor who had a soothing voice and wore a fuzzy cardigan. Dr. Juan Pena, my hospitalist, visited me every day. He’d squat down to look me in the eye, hold my hand, and ask if I knew what happened to me. His soft voice calmed me. He made sure I knew I’d had a heart attack and then stent surgery procedures. Whatever the circumstance, he took care to explain the details to me. Sarah, the nurse with the fuzzy cardigan, told me, “Because you almost died, you’ll find yourself feeling depressed. Just expect this to happen at some time.” A kid in blue scrubs (a cardiac rehab intern) said he’d walk me down the hall to see how far I could go. This excited me! I wanted to prove I was strong enough to be released. He offered his arm, and we started our walk. Yet I could only make it a few steps out the door of my room before I was so winded that I had to stop. My ankles felt wobbly, my legs weak.

Susan and her husband happily walking through the park.
Now, I make it a priority to fill my heart with memories
of love, joy, and togetherness with those I hold dear. I
try extra hard to say how much I appreciate them and
make an effort to spend time together.

Then came Debbie, whose job it was to explain how to use a defibrillator life vest. She opened a color brochure describing a contraption I was supposed to wear 24/7 for the next six weeks. The vest, like a fabric sports bra with metal paddles in the back, would shock my heart if I should have a heart attack while wearing it. It’s also full of sensors to monitor everything about my heart and transmit the data to a far-away location via modem. Because it was a Sunday, though, I wouldn’t get the actual vest until Monday. A dietician wearing red scrubs was sweet as she launched into long explanations of what I should be eating for the rest of my life. I was especially intrigued with her visual of the desired salt intake. “Just make a little mound about the size of a dime in the palm of your hand,” she said. “That’s how much salt you can have in a day. Not just from the salt shaker but from everything you eat.” Then she showed me how to read labels on food products, especially the sodium content. At one point in our conversation, my eyelids drooped as I cradled the stack of brochures she’d brought. “This is a lot to take in!” I declared. Before I drifted off, I heard Tomas and my doctor talking about the “ejection fraction” or EF numbers. EF is a measure of how well the left ventricle is pumping blood to the right ventricle, and my EF was low at 15 (with a normal heart putting out 35 to 55 EF). This explained the need for wearing a defibrillator vest. That afternoon, I ordered heart-healthy chicken soup for dinner, but it tasted like dish water. So I ate the saltine crackers, I craved salt so badly! I dozed off again and heard the clicking of heels come into my room. I opened my eyes and saw my best friend bearing a vase of flowers. ”Happy birthday,” she said. “I told you not to come!” I blurted. “I had to see you with my own eyes to make sure you’re okay,” she replied. That’s when I started to cry. I didn’t want anyone to see me so debilitated — oxygen tube, catheter bag, tubes and needles in both arms, bruises on every visible surface. I wanted to tell her I almost died and how scared I was, but my breathing was so labored, I couldn’t get out any more words. We simply hugged.


Day Four

Finally, Monday morning came and so did a flurry of activity. A young man in gray scrubs went through my discharge papers. One by one, he explained what they meant so I could knowledgeably sign the papers. Most important was getting the long list of drugs, their names, dosages, and what they would do for me. It felt like a barrage of instructions: Do this, do that, make an appointment for this doctor, that blood test. Then a chipper nurse dressed in brown corduroy came in with a lot of enthusiasm and a defibrillator life vest. She showed me how to put it together by inserting the paddles into the slots and the round sensors with their skinny black cords. I noticed a two-and-a-half-pound battery pack was attached with a cord on the side. “Put on the life vest and get me out of here!” I wanted to shout. But no, I’d have to prove to her I could put it together as she did. The vest already was complicated, and it came with a long list of things to do every day. I knew that no slacking off was allowed; wearing this vest was serious, life-saving stuff! The kid in scrubs came to walk me again. This time, I made it farther than before. I wanted to jump for joy, but my arm wouldn’t let go of his.

Day Five

My First Night Home

Tomas and I decided I should sleep in the guest room and keep the walker nearby. I would need it when I got up to go to the bathroom — I wasn’t strong enough to make it there on my own. That night, I had a nightmare, awoke with a start, and begin to hyperventilate. My breath wouldn’t come — I was terrified. I made my way to the family room, got into the recliner, and covered up with an afghan. I realized I could breathe better sitting up. While in that chair, I had a long talk with God thanking him for sparing my life. I asked Him to help me breathe better right now! Then I asked Him what I did to deserve this and what I could do to repay Him for saving me. Over the next few months, I followed my doctor’s orders strictly. That meant attending cardiac rehab three times a week, eating heart-healthy meals, and taking my meds faithfully. The hardest order was eliminating stress from my life. Weeks passed and gradually I regained my strength. My ejection fraction or EF rose to 55, which meant getting released from the defibrillator life vest. In the meantime, I cancelled my writing groups, gave up teaching classes, and reimbursed my students for money they’d paid. I also stopped networking and posting on Facebook, plus I quit being annoyed at interruptions. Thankfully, I began feeling like a normal human being. I learned to drop the “too busy” persona and practiced my new mantra: “JUST BE.”

Six Months Later

Grief, Guilt, and Gratitude

When I had my heart attack, I almost died. I mean, I could have died, but I didn’t. Faced with my mortality in this drastic and incontrovertible way, I realized it was possible I might live a shorter life than I’d anticipated. I suffered grief for the life I’d lost. No, I didn’t die, but my old life was gone for good. I grieved over what I might have missed with my husband, my children, my grandkids, my sisters and my friends. And I grieved for all I will miss in the future when I do die. Now, I make it a priority to fill my heart with memories of love, joy, and togetherness with those I hold dear. I try extra hard to say how much I appreciate them and make an effort to spend time together. Then there is the guilt, which can take on many faces. My counselor told me these feelings are normal. That brings me to gratitude. Today, I’m so grateful God gave me a reality check and a second chance. I discovered that my busy schedule was not the most important thing in my life. I thought stress was anything that caused me great upset or anxiety. But I learned from a soft-spoken cardiac nurse that stress is more than that. “Basically,” she said, “it’s taking on too much. Doing too many things without enough time. Many women take time to take care of everybody else before they even think about caring for themselves.” “Hmmm,” I thought, “she’s describing me to a T!” I had to face facts: my stress was selfinduced. The old me always said yes to everything, never realizing it was causing stress. But I’m not that person anymore. I now can say no to things that will get done without me. I have to pull back. I know my strength doesn’t have to come from a laundry list of accomplishments. I can relax. I am very lucky I didn’t die. But my life as I used to live it? That’s over.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

The most common symptom is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it is not always severe or even the most prominent symptom. And, sometimes, women may have a heart attack without chest pain. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

These symptoms can be more subtle than the obvious crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks. Women may describe their chest pain as pressure or a tightness. This may be because women tend to have blockages not only in their main arteries but also in the smaller arteries that supply blood to the heart — a condition called small vessel heart disease or coronary microvascular disease.

Susan Smith is a heart attack survivor, writer, speaker, and Mayo Clinictrained WomenHeart Champion. She is writing a book titled “My Inconvenient Heart Attack.”

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.

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