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Tucson Great Eats and Food Shopping

There is an AJ's pretty close to where you are staying (at La Encantada shopping center). They have always been very helpful when I've called to check for availability of specific ingredients.

AJ's Fine Foods
NW Corner of Skyline & Campbell
2805 E. Skyline Drive, 85718

If you're looking for something casual, and heading to La Encantada for shopping anyway, Blanco Tacos has a fun margarita/cocktail menu, good salsa, and great views from the patio. If you like Italian, I've heard good things about North since they revamped their menu, and it's located in the same shopping center.

Enjoy your visit!

Oct 12, 2013
wild onion in Southwest

BBQ in Tucson, AZ?

My favorite so far, having tried the Hog Pit, Brushfire, and a couple other places, is Mr. K's down on Park ave. at Valencia (it used to be a little further north on Park). This is the original Mr. K's (in spite of the fact that the other, completely unaffiliated, restaurant calls itself "the original Mr. K's" - I believe there is a family feud involved). Don't go for the ambiance, though the same could be said of a lot of bbq joints. There isn't a website, but here's the info: 6302 S Park Ave, Tucson, AZ (520) 792-9484 ‎

Mar 14, 2013
wild onion in Southwest

The Best of Tucson

yes, to zemam's (i've eaten there happily multiple times, and have found the food to be much more flavorful than at cafe desta). it is BYO, so pick up an IPA on your way over. ^_^

i would skip chinese in tucson unless you absolutely can't live without it. have only eaten at seoul kitchen once, but for korean, i'd point you to takamatsu (you can do cook-your-own korean bbq).

yoshimatsu is great for home cooking type japanese food - haven't tried their sushi. there are a surprising number of good sushi places in town (compared to other asian). my three favorites are bushi (swan and speedway), yamato (soft shell crab roll is great, and i usually am not one for fancy rolls), and sushi on oracle. with any of those places, you would be well-served (literally ^_^) to sit at the bar rather than at a table.

i'm not sure how other tucsonans feel, but i'll put a plug in for saffron (indian) up on oracle. we eat frequently at gandhi, sher-e punjab, and curry leaf (used to be amrutha) because we love even less-than-spectacular indian, and though saffron is a little pricier (with decor to match), everything i've had there on several trips has been tasty.

hope you enjoy your trip, and please check back in to let us know how much of your list you made it through!

Jan 18, 2012
wild onion in Southwest

Spring Rolls in Tucson?

Have you tried the spring rolls at Miss Saigon (on Campbell @ Speedway - they open at 10:30 a.m. on weekdays)? I'm sure you can have them leave out the pork. They also have a plain shrimp paste version I haven't tried.
They're not earth-shattering, but might do in a pinch, and it's an easy drive from there to the airport.

Jan 06, 2012
wild onion in Southwest

Road trip in New Mexico - Where must we eat?

If you're spending a day or two in Albuquerque, and interested in New Mexican food, Padilla's and Barelas are two fantastic mom & pop places (highly recommend the carne adovada with red chile at both places, and Padilla's has yummy sopapillas). I've had 4 meals at Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe and enjoyed them all. Having lived in Houston for 4 years and now being a Tucson resident, I would encourage you to try the New Mexican version of Mexican cuisine - it always makes me wish I lived there. Happy eating!

Cafe Pasqual's
121 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Jul 02, 2011
wild onion in Southwest

Tucson - Vila Thai

I have never been, because my husband (who teaches at the university and has tried most of the places on University blvd) refuses to go again - I guess what you've heard about the horrible service (both the staff and the manager, in my husband's case) is true. With the heat wave (or is it here to stay?) no AC might be a deal breaker as well.

Do you have a favorite Thai place in town? I've tried Bai Thong, Bangkok Cafe and Karuna's Thai (which I liked, but would certainly categorize as a dive), but would love other recommendations.

Bangkok Cafe
2511 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85716

Bai Thong
4853 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85712

Karuna's Thai Plate
1917 E Grant Rd, Tucson, AZ 85719

Apr 18, 2011
wild onion in Southwest

Japanese (non-sushi) in Grand Rapids?

Greetings Great Lakes 'hounds! My home board right now is the Southwest, but I grew up in the Lansing area and am back visiting family. My mother will be taking the oath of U.S. citizenship in Grand Rapids tomorrow, and, in a nod to the citizenship she'll be giving up, wanted to find a nice Japanese restaurant (less interested in sushi than in regular cuisine) while we're in town. Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!

Nov 16, 2010
wild onion in Great Lakes

47 Scott - Tucson

Thanks for the recommendation! Between this restaurant and Downtown Kitchen, it looks like there are a couple of great new options that are open late. Do you know if the kitchen stays open until closing (website says the restaurant is open "until the bar closes", but doesn't say whether they serve food that late)?

Nov 11, 2010
wild onion in Southwest

Excellent BBQ in Tucson

thanks for the recommendation! sounds like we'll have to do a bbq field trip and hit both places on the NW side (maybe with biosphere 2 in between?).

Jun 30, 2010
wild onion in Southwest

Excellent BBQ in Tucson

Could I jump in and ask if any of you have tried The Hog Pit (on Tanque Verde)? It was recommended to us by a friend who lived in Kansas City for quite a few years as the best place in town (and after living in Texas for 4 years and sampling some of Memphis's finest, I still prefer K.C. bbq to any other). I'm not sure she's tried Catalina yet, though, so I'll look forward to giving that a try as well.

Jun 29, 2010
wild onion in Southwest

Sapori Enoteca/Birreria

I am returning to Honolulu for a visit after having moved away this past year, and noticed that there's a new restaurant (run by Chef Donato) where Elua/L'Uraku used to be. Has anyone tried it? Looks like they do small plates, still with an emphasis on wine pairings. Would love to hear a review, if anyone's been. Thanks!

Jun 04, 2010
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New Orleans Hounds Need Recs for Tucson This Weekend

El Charro is an institution, known especially for their carne seca. We were there a couple of weeks ago with an out-of-town guest - my husband's carne asada burro was pretty good, and I like their red salsa, but the place isn't on our regular rotation. If you can only try one or two Mexican places while you're here, I'd recommend Poca Cosa and Guadalajara Grill. If you try the latter for dinner rather than lunch, I might suggest that you ask for their regular (lunchtime) salsa, rather than get the table-side salsa (which tastes a little too much like canned tomatoes for my taste), or ask for both, so you can get the experience.

I forgot to mention in my other post that you might try Harvest, which is up near where you're staying. It's a little out of the way for us, but has been well-received.

Jun 02, 2010
wild onion in Southwest

New Orleans Hounds Need Recs for Tucson This Weekend

Hi - I've lived in Tucson less than a year, but I'll list a few of my favorites so far (and if you do a quick search for Tucson recs, the same restaurants tend to come up). Up towards Oro Valley, Jax Kitchen is great (, and Wildflower is popular (haven't tried it yet). For Mexican, we like Guadalajara Grill ( - try the halibut in chipotle cream sauce or tilapia in poblano sauce) and Cafe Poca Cosa ( - closed Sun. and Mon.). For breakfast, I highly recommend Ghini's ( - they also have a nice lunch menu and a bakery. If you're here on a Friday, try the walnut fig bread.

Perhaps some others can be more helpful about places in Oro Valley. Have a good trip!

Cafe Poca Cosa
110 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ 85701

Jax Kitchen
7286 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85704

1803 E Prince Rd, Tucson, AZ 85719

Jun 01, 2010
wild onion in Southwest

Honolulu - dried lily flower

Help! I've got a friend who's looking for dried lily flowers. No luck at Don Quijote or Palama. We'll try Chinatown in a few days, but has anyone seen or bought them at a particular store around town? Thanks in advance!

Dec 21, 2008
wild onion in Hawaii

Eastern Paradise - Honolulu (Chinese/Korean fare)

FWIW, I've talked to several Koreans who prefer the restaurant down the street (On Dong), so it might be worth trying. It's on King right near Kaheka. I've not been to Eastern Paradise, so I can't compare, but I did really enjoy the jjajangmyun at On Dong. The ggan pung gi was also very tasty.

On Dong Chinese Restaurant
1499 S. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 947-9444

Dec 21, 2008
wild onion in Hawaii

Japanese Favorites on Oahu

Have you been to any of the many izakayas (they've been likened to Japanese tapas bars) in town? Three that I can recommend are Izakaya Nonbei (off of Kapahulu on Olu st.), Izakaya Gaku (King st.) and Tokkuri-tei (Kapahulu). There are plenty of places in the US to get sushi and teppanyaki, but I'd say Honolulu does izakaya fare better than most places, and there is something for everyone on the menu.

Regarding teppanyaki, I've never actually eaten it in Japan (aside from okonomiyaki and monja). If the wikipedia entry is to be believed, it started in Japan but was a bigger hit with the foreigners than the locals.

Oct 28, 2008
wild onion in Hawaii

Padovani's Chocolates now open

For any fancy chocolate fans out there, I happened to walk by the store at the Dole Cannery (2nd floor) and noticed that they appeared to be open for business, so I stopped in. Turns out they've been open for a couple of weeks now. Flavors on their menu include cinnamon pistachio, orange pekoe, blueberry, cassis, marzipan, amarula, and apple banana ganaches (among many others), as well as more standard flavors. The chocolates are touted as hand-poured using only natural ingredients. This is the first non-Godiva chocolatier I've heard of since moving here, so I hope they're successful.

Oct 16, 2008
wild onion in Hawaii

Birthday Cakes on Oahu?

Is this for a local style huge 1st birthday bash? If you're thinking sheet cake, Foodland supermarket makes a much better cake than Costco, and is worth the extra cost (people will eat the Costco cake, but will come back for seconds with the Foodland one). If you're looking for a regular round cake, you might also try Saint-Germain bakery (they sell many cakes by the slice so you can figure out which flavor you want before ordering).

Oct 11, 2008
wild onion in Hawaii

NYC visiting Oahu: Critique my chow-list please!

You will not feel like a leper! I've been to Mei Sum by myself several times. Last time, I ordered four dishes plus a vegetable (granted, there were leftovers), and there was another single woman seated near me. And Mei Sum serves dim sum till 8:45pm, I think. I'm sure there are carts during normal dim sum hours, but if you go during the week/later in the day, you just place an order for what you want. I highly recommend both the chive and spinach dumplings.

Not sure whether it's available in NYC, but I'd definitely try misoyaki butterfish while you're here. I like the butterfish at Yanagi Sushi and California Rock'n Sushi in town, but I'm sure there are many other good options. Happy eating!

Sep 23, 2008
wild onion in Hawaii

Huli Huli Chicken

I'm pretty sure they're only there on Saturdays. You get 1/2 a chicken, 2 musubi, chips/kimchee and a drink for $6. For the OP, the good huli huli chicken I've had on the north shore was only sold on weekends (and unfortunately, I usually go during the week to avoid the crowds). Haven't been there in a while, but they were set up on the "mountain" side of the main street through Haleiwa, in a parking lot.

Aug 15, 2008
wild onion in Hawaii

Xiaolongbao on Oahu...?

I haven't had the xiaolongbao at Shanghai Bistro, so I can't compare, but the ones at Kirin (the dim sum place at the Ala Moana Shopping Center, not the Chinese restaurant on Beretania) taste good - they don't hold their soup very well, however. The ones at the Chinese place in Kaneohe (Joyful Garden) were awful. Haven't found any that come close to those in Shanghai. Good luck, and please post if you find a place you can recommend.

Jul 07, 2008
wild onion in Hawaii

Best Lu'au on the North Shore of Oahu

I moved to Oahu four years ago and have had many people visit me, so I've been to Paradise Cove, Germaine's (twice) and the PCC (also twice). These are my observations: Paradise Cove seemed a little more laid back than Germaine's (which had a college kids on spring break vibe both times I was there). The kalua pork was also better, but I wouldn't attend any of the luaus for a great food experience. Both were beach-side and had great sunsets. PCC has the largest (and for me, most-entertaining) show, which is separate from the dinner. There's no alcohol at the PCC, but I generally feel better about going there because it's run by BYU (and is a non-profit), with revenue going to fund the education of the students who work at the PCC. It's definitely not intimate, though, with both the dining area and auditorium packed for the dinner and show. Good luck deciding!

May 23, 2008
wild onion in Hawaii

japanese curry, oahu

"Kare raisu" is definitely Japanese comfort food - the kind of thing that Japanese boy scouts take on camping trips and that is served every other week for school lunch. I've only been to Curry House once, but I thought it was pretty standard (the beef curry, at least). As meleyna mentioned, it's really easy to make at home (recipe is on the box). I think that House and S&B (Golden Curry) are the two big brands, and you can choose mild or hot. Even a fancy Ohmi beef version I had in Japan tasted pretty much like any other Japanese curry. Try it out and please let us know if there's a brand you end up liking.

Oahu Restaurants--Anyone tried these?

I've only tried Momomo and Tsukuneya from your list, but I liked both. Even if you aren't into tsukune, a trip to Tsukuneya is worth it for their homemade "zaru" tofu (better than any other I've had in Hawaii). You could get the tofu there and head across University Ave. to Imanas-tei for the rest of your meal.

Gazebo -- Napili Bay, Maui. What happen to the original macadamia nut pancake topping?

If you will be on Oahu at all (specifically in Kailua), you should stop by Boots & Kimo's. I was told by a girl who worked there that Kimo brought his mac nut pancake recipe with him when he left the Gazebo restaurant on Maui and started up on Oahu.
Boots & Kimo's Homestyle Kitchen
131 Hekili St, Kailua, HI 96734-2866
Phone: (808) 263-7929 Hours: Tue-Fri 7am-2pm, Sat-Sun 6:30am-2:30pm

Feb 22, 2008
wild onion in Hawaii


I haven't been there in a few years, but the pasteles at the Pastele Shop were pretty good. Here's a link that lists their menu and address: