Tucson, not Tuxon, or Tuscon, or Tacson
And it is pronounced "Tuson"
View from White Stallion Ranch, Tucson, Arizona
Of course our first Blog about a place had to be of our hometown, Tucson, Arizona. We can write many things about #Tucson but we do not want to be repetitive, so if you want to get to know more about our City, we suggest to go to the website Visit Tucson and if you prefer information in Spanish, no hay problema visite la pagina de Vamos a Tucson.
Food and Gastronomy
When people asked us about the food and gastronomy of Tucson, of course we talked about the thousands of years of harvesting, from pods of mesquite trees, to cactus fruits, including that of the iconic Saguaro. Years later, Spaniards brought other crops such as fruit trees, grapes, and of course the Sonoran White Wheat (please read our blog post about it here)
If there is something unique about Tucson is its diversity. With a population in the metro area of about 1 million, Tucson is home not only to our Native Tribes: Tohono O'odham and Pascua-Yaqui, but also those born here (referred as "native Tucsonans") and others that have immigrated from different countries and made this our home.
So what is the food and gastronomy about? That is a good question. One day we were talking to Chef Janos Wilder of the Restaurant Downton Kitchen and he shared something that really describes the Tucson cuisine. He shared that in a TV show, he was showcasing different recipes, from a Tiki Masala from India; to a Gaspacho from Spain and an Italian Pasta. When he was asked if that was "international cuisine" he said that it was actually American food and of course Tucson food.
Defining the Tucson food and gastronomy we are blessed to have multiple in ethnicities in our community so you will find Indian Fried Bread at Cafe Santa Rosa; a Po-Boy at The Parish and a Guilin Spicy & Sour at Noodleholics.
Gastronomy Appropriation or Appreciation?
I am going to be very honest here, when I just moved to Tucson in 1994, people told me about the Mexican Food in Tucson. And yes, it was really good, but I had a mental debate, since I remember that I landed at the Tucson Airport and went through U.S. Customs & Immigration, so I was in U.S. soil! So how come there was good Mexican food here, and why people told me everywhere that the main cuisine of Tucson was #MexicanFood.
One day, I was having a conversation with Chef Pati Jinich (please read our blog post about her here) about the Mexican food in Tucson and all of a sudden it hit me! Tucson has been part of the United States since 1848, but was Mexico since the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs in 1521. So in numbers Tucson was part of Mexico for 327 years and has been part of the U.S. for 172. I am not sure if my logic makes sense, but to me it now tells me that the Mexican Food in Tucson is not gastronomy appropriation or appreciation, is simply our local food (and it is really good).
Some of our Favorite Places/Dishes to order in Tucson
Tacos Apson - Once you arrive place your order at the counter or the outside window, but make sure to order a Lorenza. This is a simple tostada with some beans, melted cheese (no yellow cheese here) and carne asada. Squeeze some lime juice, salt and green salsa.
Ruiz Hotdogs - This is one of the many "Sonoran Hotdog" stands in Tucson (soon we will write about this amazing dish). We like the "dogos" at this place that are done "chipilon" style. What is this? well, is your traditional Sonoran Hotdog: a fluffy bread, with a bacon wrapped sausage, diced tomatoes, whole pinto beans, mayo, jalapeno sauce and here comes the "chipilon" the bun is toasted with butter. Great with its sidekick, a chile guero and a Coca Cola from Mexico.