“Our most memorable meal was inspired by a visit to the farmers’ market in Palermo, Sicily, where, while seated at a simple card table in a tent, we were served fresh grilled fish that tasted like they had just reached into the Mediterranean that day to catch it, with roasted seasonal vegetables and greens, sautéed with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. This experience inspired us to renovate our kitchen with a ceiling-to-floor glass mosaic wall (we were in Italy investigating mosaics) and prepare farmers’-market fresh-simple suppers as a mainstay of our lifestyle. Every time we eat a similar meal, which is weekly, we are transported back to Italy and the wonderful memories we made there.”
Aureleo Rosano & Angela Rose
“Our most memorable meal included wonderful food but was even more remarkable for its rich sense of community. Noche En Blanco, held in late October in Tucson, is based on similar events held in cities around the world. You must be invited to the event by a table host. The location is unknown until an hour or so before coming together and everything must be brought by those attending: tables, chairs, candelabra, lanterns, flowers, food, musical instruments. Everything—and everyone—must be in white.
“It was exciting to see so many people streaming toward the location, with chairs, food, and flowers in tow. As darkness fell, we sipped on Chardonnay made from grapes grown by our host’s father (Stu Miller Vineyard). The entree was a pan bagnat filled with chicken, Greek olives, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, provolone, and anchovies. Delicate white asparagus tucked into soft tortillas, fruit salad with fresh pineapple and blackberries, Mexican pan dulces, and macaroons completed the meal.
“What we so loved about this event was not only the meal itself, but also the anticipation and mystery of surprise and how it pulled us into community. There was a strong sense of ‘This is Tucson and we are Tucson.'”
Rocky & Wendy Brittain
“We like to think all of our meals are memorable, but a very special dinner was once had at a favorite Tucson restaurant, Taqueria Pico de Gallo. It was Randy’s 50th birthday. About three dozen close friends and family joined us, all wearing hats by request. Nacho Delgado, Pico de Gallo’s owner, put a sign on the door that said the restaurant was closed for the evening. A bar was then put up in the back, the tables were all decorated with smiley-faced helium balloons, and the music of Mozart blared over the sound system. Guests were free to order any and everything they liked from Pico de Gallo’s delicious menu. Later in the evening, the lovely Mozart abruptly changed to lively waila (chicken scratch) music, and giant-headed puppets, who’d secretly entered the restaurant from a back entrance, danced among the surprised guests. It was a thrilling, fun, and memorable evening!”
Jim Cook & Randy Spalding
“We went to high school together but fell out of touch pretty soon after we graduated. We later reconnected on Facebook, decided to meet, and saw each other in person for the first time in over 15 years at Don Pedro’s restaurant. We had a great time over plates of lomo saltado, ceviche mixto, and Don Pedro’s great hot sauces. Five years later, we’ve changed—we’re now married and have a son—and so has Don Pedro’s—they’re now a food truck—and we’re happy we can continue to get their great food. Even better, we can share the lomo saltado with our little one!”
Floyd Thompson & Marisa Grijalva (with Floyd Thompson IV)
James lived in the apartments behind Sushi on Oracle for a few months before it opened in 2001; he had just returned from living in Japan for seven months. He would walk there often to enjoy the food and talk with Yoshi, the owner. When Florencia moved to Tucson a year later, it was the first place we ate after unloading the moving truck. We would frequent the place for years to come and we still believe they still have the best sushi in Tucson, especially the shrimp tempura roll, and some of the best miso soup to be found anywhere. Plus it’s a family owned place with great food and friendly service.
Florencia & James DeRoussel
“Our most memorable meal was one we didn’t actually eat, though we hear good things about it. Monte and I were married at The Downtown Clifton, which I recently opened with a partner. The Coronet catered. There is no kitchen at the hotel, so Sally Kane and her staff had to prep, cook, and plate in one of the hotel rooms. (Kudos to our manager, Nick DeLisle, for converting Room 2 from a hotel room to a kitchen and back again all in the span of eight hours!)
“Feeding us was no easy task, as Monte is an adventurous eater, and I eat like a child, strictly no vegetables, but we knew Sally was the perfect choice. I met and fell in love with Sally shortly after I met (again) and fell in love with Monte and she’s been feeding us both, in her home and in her restaurant, ever since. We heightened the challenge by requesting 1970s-flavored appetizers. Sally came up with Swedish meatballs, cheese-stuffed Peppadew peppers, chicken wings, mini cheeseballs, roasted vegetable platters, shrimp skewers, and endive boats, but she also took the time to make a special plate of seared salmon and greens for my daughter who, weirdly, prefers that to meat balls. There were oceans of rum punch and a tower of herb-scented orange cake. Except for the punch, we had none of it. Not one bite. So, if anyone out there reading this was at our wedding, can you let us know how the cake was?”
Moniqua Lane & Monte Workman