SAVOR a Tucson Culinary Experience.

We recently attended SAVOR at the Tucson Botanical Gardens in you guessed it Tucson, this event is hosted by Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA).  We love the idea of local restaurants coming together for community not competition, and sharing what they’re proud of.  For $65 you get access to over 75 local restaurants and alcohol including wine and beer, and hello, it’s Tucson so Tequila.  It was so much fun we plan on coming back every year! Since we’re in Phoenix, it was a fun day trip, and next year we’ll probably turn it into a little staycation, and if you’re Tucson local you need to add this to your culinary wish list!

785a4027Property Mixoligist, Aaron Defeo featured these cocktails left to right, Pecan Sour and Hot Mess and .  The Hot Mess was definitely hot, a combination of Ketel One Oranje Vodka, Apricot, Lemon Honey Syrup, Basil, Fresh Lime and the kicker Firewater Bitters.  For a mid morning cocktail, the Pecan Sour was a bit calmer featuring Crown Royal Vanilla, Amontillado Sherry, Green Valley Pecan Vanilla Orgeat, Lemon and AZ bitters.

785a4028 PY Steakhouse Sous Chef, Gabrielle Thomas prepared these Cow’s Milk Cheese Pot de Creme deligts to pair perfectly with the cocktails above.  They were our first food stop at the event and a great start, think greek yogurt and honey but the creme was sweeter.  785a4034 Next up was Boca, a tacos and tequila restaurant by executive chef Maria J. Mazon. These cups of caramelized heaved featured pulled pork and cabbage, the pork melted in our mouths while the crunch of the edible cup created a crunchy texture and sweetened the spice from the pork.  785a4035Then, we stopped at Brother John’s for  a Southern Belle Cocktail featuring Whisky, Strawberry and Pineapple and some BBQ Ribs (below).785a4037
Baby Back Ribs, Smoked Brisket and Burnt End Pit Beans, yeah everything was amazing.785a4046We also found some Kombucha From the Fermented Tea Company.  I loved the Orange kombucha and they did have prickly pear too, 785a4051Always a fan of chimichangas and this mini did not disappoint from Crossroads Mexican Restaurant.785a4055Tucson really does Mexican food well and the pork tacos were no exception, this one is from Seis Kitchen and Catering785a4061The vegetarian bitches appreciated these butternut squash bruschetta from aka Deli and Bakeshop.  They also had some wonderful pastries so I would highly suggest checking them out for lunch, catering and dessert!785a4062This Lasagna from Dominick’s Real Italian was filling and delicious but that Tiramisu might have been our favorite. 785a4067Always on the hunt for more breweries, here’s an extremely hoppy IPA was a refreshing brew from Dragoon Brewing Co.785a4072For the vegetarians out there, here’s the best thing we tried without meat. Tohono Chul Garden Bistro had veggies over crispy cheese (think a chip, but made of cheese, so gluten free) and little “caviar” bubbles of veggie delight.  Some of us *might* have gone back for seconds. They were that good.785a4078From Epazote, Tucson El Conquistador a tropical style shrimp salad with sweet wonton chip.  785a4081The 1912 Brewing Company had some of the best names for their brews this one was the “Tart of Dankness” this collaboration with Ermanos  Craft Beer and Wine came in with an alcohol volume of 5%.785a4085Of course we stood in line to get the last drops of the Queen Ceviche Organic Hibiscus Margarita made with Blanco Tequila. 785a4089 This Salmon on toast from Omni Hotels & Resorts has us thinking about all the Tucson get aways.785a4092Sticky Toffee Pudding from Wildflower Tucson featured McClendon’s Medjool dates, roasted pear and vanilla cardamom yogurt.  It was also beautifully presented in the mini bowls.  Can’t wait to make it back down to Tucson to dine in for a real meal at this refreshing restaurant. 785a4096Bacon Wrapped Jidori Chichen Torchon from Wildflower, featuring local Hayden Flour Mills Grits and smoked cheddar, charred Cipollini onion, Brussels sprouts and natural jus.785a4097And then probably the best prickly pear spirits we’ve ever enjoyed from Three Wells.785a4100Dakota Restaurant had crispy coconut crusted shrimp over shredded cabbage.785a4102And tucked into another nook was some organic cotton candy, obviously I chose the Grapefruit but hey Aztec Chocolate sounds cool too.785a4106Finally, ended the afternoon with some Prickly Pear lemon bars from Mama’s Hawaiian Bar B Cue.  We could not have ate more if we tried, which we did.

Thank you so much SAACA for inviting us down to check out this epic Tucson culinary event, we’re so excited to check out these restaurants more in depth next time we’re in town.

For more information about SAACA’s culinary and cultural events like them on Facebook and Instagram.

And you all know what the next exciting food festival in Phoenix is right?

DEVOUR! Saturday tickets are sold out but you can still attend Sunday (last time we checked) and some of the culinary classic week events like palette to palate.

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