Tearing It Up In Tucson – Part One
As Arizona’s #1 beer and wine blogger I’m no stranger to committing light fraud to score free booze from overly generous local brewers and winemakers. But somehow I managed to also con my way into getting invited to the soft opening of Culinary Dropout’s new Tucson location. Apparently this place is a big deal out in the greater Phoenix area but I’ve never made it to any of their locations because I eat all of my meals from unlicensed taco carts run by my Cousin Chico.
I accepted the invite and walked in to the bright, colorful, hipster chic restaurant with a raging hangover, John McClane style. I immediately looked at the menu for something greasy and savory. I started off with the smoked salmon avocado toast that came with a sunny side up egg on top. I figured it would be a great way to start off Leakfast, which is what I call the meal between lunch and breakfast. The portion was big enough to make a meal in and of itself so if you’re a skinny person this may be more than an appetizer for you.
Culinary Dropout had 18 beer taps and 12 of them were Arizona brews. Since I was in Tucson I ordered the Roadrunner Red from the local Dillinger Brewing Company. It’s a German-style Altbier with a malty flavor and lightly bitter kick that paired well with the diverse mix of the smoky salmon, runny egg and avocado sheen. No flavor overpowered the other and it was a blessing for my hangover. Plus the avocado was perfectly green so I was lucky enough to catch it in the FOUR SECOND WINDOW before it turned brown. Man, what a stupid food product.
I needed something hefty for my entrée so I got an item that was exclusive to the Tucson location: the green chili pork stew. It came with yet another egg in the bowl as well as cornbread. Honestly, I felt like the egg didn’t add much to the concoction. The essential addition was the cornbread. Its sweetness paired surprisingly well with the spiciness of the Hatch green chilis. Every meaty, soupy spoonful got me ever closer to getting myself right. This entrée is highly recommended.
For pre-dessert I had a banana cream pie. I’m genetically pre-disposed to diabetes and cocaine addiction thanks to my father so I try to stay away from both sweets and cocaine for the most part. But this pie was excellent and I ended up shoving most of it into my gross fat face. It came with a layer of dulce de leche underneath that matched the light, airy sweetness with a dark, burnt caramel taste. And it was excellent.
For my real dessert I had the Smashed Irishman cocktail. It was made with Jameson whiskey, honey and mint. It was only lightly sweet and very refreshing thanks to the mint. Perfect for a Tucson fall, which, like most of Arizona is still hot as hell. This drink was the final nail in the coffin for my hangover.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my server was very knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating. I had several stupid questions like, “Can I pay with foodstamps?” and “What’s a vegetable?” and “How drunk do I have to be to order off the kids’ menu without it being weird?” But through it all the Culinary Dropout staff answered all my questions with patience and they made sure I left with the best experience possible.
My Tucson adventure was off to a good start. Next on the agenda was the grand opening of Arizona’s newest microbrewery so STAY TUNED!