Food tours are starting to become pretty popular in many cities around the world. Though, some are probably worth experiencing many can be severely over-priced and not what you were expecting.
Food tours are starting to become pretty popular in many cities around the world. Though, some are probably worth experiencing many can be severely over-priced and not what you were expecting. I personally have never been on a legit food tour before. But, I’m sure I will eventually try one out. I was thinking about paying for a food tour while visiting Tucson, Arizona. Then I thought… Why not do my own?
I enlisted a friend of mine who has lived in the Tucson area for a while, with helping me find some awesome places to eat at in the downtown area. We ultimately decided on four places for our mini food tour: HUB Restaurant & Creamery, REILLY Craft Pizza & Drink, Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar, and Street Taco and Beer Co.. Unfortunately, Street Taco and Beer Co. was closed (Black Friday), when we got there. So, we just ended up stopping at three restaurants in the end. We also had another friend join us on our food tour who I had not seen in almost 8 years.
For our food tour we decided to do appetizers/starters only at each restaurant.
HUB Restaurant & Creamery
The HUB has a very relaxed atmosphere; with a restaurant on one side and a bar on the other. Everyone there is very friendly and the service was great. We did not have a reservation and we arrived at dinner time which is usually busy for any restaurant, but they had one reserved booth available and they gave it to us. I was actually expecting to wait awhile because they were so busy. So, for future reference I would call and reserve a table just in case.
They have several different starters you can choose from and all of them sounded great. We decided on the Cheese Board and Prime Fries. The Cheese Board ($12) consist of Mozzarella, smoked gouda, havarti horseradish, cashews, walnuts, apple bourbon bacon jam, and crostini’s. But, if there is something you might not care for on the cheese board you can get double of something else. For example: we do not like horseradish, so we decided on double mozzarella. The Prime Fries ($13) consist of prime rib, caramelized onions, and cheese sauce on top of French fries. Just a heads up! These fries are very filling. Both of these items are delicious and paired nicely with one another.
REILLY Craft Pizza & Drink
Reilly’s has a very friendly welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant itself has a unique style with a chill vibe. It’s a restaurant with a beer garden, and an underground bar. Again this is a place that also recommends reservations (we did not have one), but they seated us right away. The service we received was amazing! Our awesome server was Jimmy and he was very knowledgeable about the menu and made some great recommendations.
We tried the marinated olives, local oyster mushrooms with brown butter herbs (not pictured), and the Chefs board with cured meats/cheese and condiments. Hands down the marinated olives ($5) were my absolute favorite. If you know me you know I love olives. There were a generous amount of green and red olives mixed in what I believe was Italian dressing. The local oyster mushrooms with brown butter herbs ($9) were good but not my favorite. I feel this dish needs some more added flavor to it. The Chefs board with cured meats/cheese and condiments ($16) was pretty tasty. I think most of all, I loved the presentation of this dish.
Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar
If you are looking for a laid back place in downtown Tucson to go to then Ermanos is the place for you. Ermanos offers a variety of beer, wine, and live music. The overall vibe of the place was pretty good. Our waitress was nice, attentive, and knowledgeable about the menu. But, you could definitely tell many employees did not want to be there. So, that kind of throws things off a little bit when going into any business. Overall though it was a great experience.
When we got to Ermanos we were all in the mood for way more filling foods, since most of the dishes we had been ordering were very light. The apps we chose were nachos, sliders, and avo fries. The nachos ($11) were my favorite at this restaurant and I actually wasn’t sure if I would even like them. See, these nachos come with smoked gouda, black beans, pico, cotija, jalapeños, house made tomatillo salsa, guacamole and sour cream and I’m not a fan of black beans or guacamole. But, to my surprise they were amazing! Everything blended so well together I did not taste the black beans or guacamole at all.
The sliders ($12) were tasty; you receive three sliders and can choose what kind you want. There are three choices to choose from BLT, Zip burger, and Old pueblo burger. Two of us chose the old pueblo and one chose the zip. I tried a piece of the zip burger and it was good, definitely has an earthy taste to it and the old pueblo was spicy just the way I like it. The avo fries ($8) I can’t say much on because they are panko crusted avocado slices and I don’t care for avocados. However, my friends said they were pretty good. So, I’ll take their word for it.
Our own mini food tour was awesome and I think I’m going to continue doing these on future travels. Though, as I stated earlier I will still try out a legit food tour, eventually. So, if you ever find yourself in the Tucson, Arizona area. Make sure you visit these three restaurants. Though, there are so many others that are fantastic as well; I just decided to pick ones I had never been to before. If you haven’t already you should do your own mini food tour on your next trip.
“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.” – Mark KurlanskyContinue reading →