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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

#12: 12 New Restaurants in Tucson

#12 on my list of 33 things before I turn 33 was to try 12 new restaurants in Tucson.

Mission Accomplished! 

This is almost entirely thanks to my new job downtown. An area where I did not spend a lot of time before now. 

Here we go: 

1. Proper 
A lot of my co-workers and a few friends have gone and the reviews have been mixed. I enjoyed what I got and thought the service was good, but I heard from others that their dinner was not filling or that they just were not impressed.  I recommend the Criollo Burger. Also, I loved the atmosphere and decor. 

Good grief. Don't stop to discuss, just GO THERE! It's not about the food. It's about the winning 
charm of Mercado San Agustin. Also, totally solid Mexican food for when you are wanting to just grab a burrito and go. 

North is a Fox Restaurant Concept restaurant, and I am always a fan of Fox Restaurant's. I went to North for a girls' night and they accidentally gave us a free pitcher of sangria, so yeah, total winner in my book. 

My mouth starts watering just thinking about the Sonoran Burger at Monkey Burger. I could go for one right now. Actually, I could always go for one. And the fries! And chips! And fried pickles! Heck to the yes! (Can you tell I am a fan?) Also, Slider Monday. Jus' Sayin' 

I have only been to the market and not the kitchen. You can just grab and go and it is right across the street from my office so we are constantly making Maynard's runs. Excellent breakfast burritos and the Cuban sandwich they consistently sell out of at lunch time? I die! Also, don't buy the Spicy Garlic Pretzels. That addiction will ruin you. 

Now that I have become better acquainted with Downtown Tucson, I am starting to think it is going to become a must stop locale when I have visitors in town. I usually send visitors to 4th street and tell them not to bother with downtown. How wrong I have been. I think Hotel Congress is the perfect mashup of Tucson's Wild West and hipster paradise personality. Cup Cafe is no exception. The penny floor is fun and the food is tasty. And one of the few places where I would order a salad and not feel bitter or disappointed about it. Depot Salad for the win. 

Sparkroot makes different flavored lemonades from scratch every day. When my day feels boring and I need the element of surprise, I run down to Sparkroot to find out what the lemonade flavor of the day is.  Hibiscus, Blueberry Mint, Basil, Cucumber, Honey, and more!  I also love their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They are grown up, sophisticated versions of the classic PB&J. It's childhood revisited. 

So while my salad and my brew house pretzels did not taste bad, the service was awful. And I have heard reports that this was not a one time fluke. And I am not a beer drinker, which makes the appeal of TCB very slim for me. 

The food here was surprisingly good for a place that you go to just to enjoy the whole tea party, lady-like ambience of the place. Dress up and sip your tea with your pinkie up. 

Good muffins. Good bagels. Nothing spectacular but a solid choice when you need to grab a bite in the morning. 

So this is a horrible place for conversation and big groups. It's tiny, crowded, loud, and vibrant. It's the exact sort of delicious and different hole in the wall kind of restaurant that I love to discover. I think the picture sort of says it all: 

12. Elliott's on Congress
Elliott's on Congress had good food and I am intrigued by all their flavored vodkas, but the service is not so great. 

BONUS: EXO Roasting Company 
Cooler than cool atmosphere, friendly and helpful staff, good coffee! 

DOUBLE BONUS: La Estrella Bakery
You had me at bakery. And it is also at Mercado San Agustin, which as previously discussed, is wonderful. 

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