It’s no surprise that Tucson is the UNESCO World City of Gastronomy. I mean, we have 23 miles of tantalizing Mexican food in our city. And for the second year in a row, SAACA has fit 23 miles worth of Mexican food into one ballroom at the JV Marriott Starr Pass. It’s been well over a week since the event took place, but I cannot stop thinking about the tamales, chile con carne, beans, tortillas, and baked goods that I encountered at the Tucson 23 Mexican Food Festival.
I mean no disrespect to my grandmother (who makes the world’s best food), but attending the Tucson 23 event made me feel like I was at home with her doting on me. Between the green corn tamales from Perfecto’s Mexican Restaurant with their sweet, moist masa, and the duck confit tacos with pineapple salsa fresca and duck cracklins from Elvira’s Restaurant, and the non-traditional, tasty chicharrones from El Merendero, it was a complete surprise that I didn’t waddle out of the event. Tucson staples such as La Estrella Bakery and El Charro were present, serving their ever-delicious goods such as La Estrella’s mini chimichanga with apricot filling: crispy on the outside and delectable on the inside. Charro Steak even brought samples of their entry into the Blended Burger Project, topped with Tucson-born bacon mushrooms! Chef Carlotta explained that these bacon mushrooms from the Sonoran Mushroom Company are extremely easy to prepare – just sautée and serve! Come to the Tucson 23 Mexican Food Festivalfor the food, stay for the knowledge.
I’m always excited to see what the Pima Community College Culinary Arts program brings to an event, and they never cease to impress. Pima presented an “Abuelitas Dulce Arroz”, which essentially combined four Mexican comfort desserts into one: arroz con leche, crème brulee, Abuelita chocolate ganache, and galletitas (sweet-biscuits). Restaurant Sinaloa brought their michelada and ceviche game while Queen Ceviche brought their refreshingly tasty hibiscus Margarita.
And we can’t forget about the tequila! Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine Tequila pairings went together like beans and rice:
Silver tequila taste with mango
Reposado tequila taste with cheese
Añejo tequila taste with chocolate
For a full list of the participants of the Tucson 23 Mexican Food Festival click here. If you’re hungry and can’t decide where to eat, throw a dart anywhere on the list; you can’t go wrong.
If you weren’t able to make it to this event, stay tuned for SAACA’s next endeavor: The Southern Arizona Salsa, Tequila, & Taco Challenge on Sunday, September 3rd. For more information click here.