An outsider to Tucson’s hipster culture and spicy southwest cuisine would tell you that this isn’t much of a town to eat in, unless you wanted Mexican food, which, of course, you often did. Mexican restaurants always have been and always will be a staple and piece of this place, just like the wet August monsoons.
However, a native Tucsonan would be quick to tell you otherwise.
Yes, Tucson has El Guero Canelo—its claim-to-fame, blue ribbon Sonoran dog, which was featured on foodie Adam Richman’s hit series Man V. Food. But that doesn’t even reflect the quality and richness of Tucson’s historic southwest culture and cuisine.
The foods of the American southwest are fiery and bold, evolving in a harsh land with many cultural influences, including Native American, Spanish and European. Its spices reak of arrogance, but only because the desert’s agriculture allows it to be that way.
It’s a style of cuisine that’s delecaible yet pungent. Satisfying yet straightforward. It is to be eaten for pure pleasure, not analysis.
The boom of Tex–Mex dishes have brought a unique style and opened up the horizons for future cooks. The array of ingredients have multiplied tenfold, and so have the tastes. to the cook’s ingredient selections needed to produce the final product.
An empty stomach and a tongue ready to catch fire are necessities before prepping for your first meal. Tucson’s cuisine isn’t for the light-hearted. Remember, I forewarned you.
One local hole-in-the-wall restaurant that reflects the community and culture of Tucson is The Tucson Tamale Company. More times than not, tamales are one of those food items that people tend to second-guess or write off. “It is like happiness wrapped in a corn husk,” regular goer James Hollander said.”I would go here every day if I could.”