One of the many things to love about Tanque Verde Ranch is the splendid food. The main dining venue was the Dining Room which was the perfect setting for the meals at Tanque Verde Ranch! Every morning the room was flooded with warm light, and the heavy, wooden, carved Spanish tables which were adorned by miniture cactus gardens or flowers was so inviting. One side of the Dining Room overlooked the beautiful pool area. The ceiling was really eye-catching because of the huge lodge-pole pine beams and wattle & daub (see accompanying picture).
Breakfasts in the Dining Room began with a waitress taking your order for your choice of pancakes, French Toast, any-style eggs, potatoes, bacon & sausage dishes, tea or coffee, followed by a trip to the buffet for fruit, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads, pastries, hot & cold cereals, juices, etc. (Some of the apples made their way to the corrals where they were greatly appreciated by the horses! Sssshhhh - don't tell the wranglers!)
Lunch was also served in the Dining Room however, the lunch is served buffet style. The selection of food was simply enormous. All types of wonderful salads and crudites, a complete bread table, at least 3 hot entrees and 3 hot side dishes, 1 or 2 soup selections, and the desserts were just over the top!!
If you thought that you would have a small dinner after that big lunch, forget it! Dinner once again was a large salad buffet, then a choice of 5 - 6 entrees, followed by another bread & dessert buffet table! All of the entrees were so appealing that it was difficult making a choice! During the week I sampled seared Ahi Tuna, fried shrimp, pasta and chicken dishes and everything was delicious. (Some of the cut carrots made their way to the corral for night-time horse snacks--Sssshhh--don't tell!!)
Favorite Dish: My favorite breakfast was blueberry pancakes and passionfruit juice. My son raved about the French Toast!
At lunch I could barely move past the salads which were so varied and wonderful. My favorite was the seafood salad, but I admit I usually had to try a hot entree as well!
Dinner favorites were the fried, jumbo shrimp with grilled vegetables.
All of the desserts were great but my favorites were the pecan pie and the creme brulee!!
The Ranch, much to our delight, arranged a fantastic Easter Sunday Brunch! The Dining Room tables were adorned with flowers and the buffet area itself was even more eye-popping than usual! For me, it was reminiscent of the gala buffet nights on cruises. Ice carvings, animals and birds sculpted out of fruit and vegetables, more flower displays and more amazing culinary dishes than anyone could possibly want or need!
There were at least 5 - 6 salad choices (including seafood salad); 3 - 4 hot entrees in addition to a ham & roast beef carving table; 3 -4 hot side dishes; at least 2 soup choices, followed by a full array of baked breads & rolls and 2 full dessert tables. Vegetarians had been taken into consideration as well, and I am sure they had no difficulty finding many wonderful dishes to suit their palates.
Obviously Tanque Verde Ranch's Easter Sunday Brunch Buffet has become popular with the local crowd too because it is open to the public as well. Tickets are sold for this brunch and we noticed many well-dressed, local guests took advantage of the privilege to enjoy this magnificent meal.
The menu choices during our stay were all wonderful, but the Easter Sunday Brunch was something to behold. I especially appreciated the enormous effort the ranch made to make the day even more special than a typical day, and that's saying something! Oh, and if it was somehow possible not to get enough to eat at brunch, there was dinner. Menu choices that evening were: Southwestern Veal chop; Broiled Filet of Salmon in Cilantro Lime Butter; Brie and Appled Stuffed Chicken Breast; Prime Rib Tanque Verde; and Five-Cheese Lasagna!
Thanks Tanque Verde Ranch chefs!!
While Tucson is infamous for its plethora of Sonoran-style Mexican restaurants serving up tasty "on the border" food, La Parrilla Suiza offers something a little different. Its Mexico City-style menu offers chilango (native to Mexico city) cuisine featuring pastel de elote (similar to corn masa topped with melted cheese and serrano chiles), chilaquile (chips covered in cheese and tomato sauce), and several kinds of mole (a spicy sauce made from chocolate). The desert menu is equally exotic, and includes the caramel-covered sopapillas (fried ice cream).
La Parrilla Suiza offers many of the same plates as other Mexican restaurants (burritos, fijitas, and tacos) as well as something extra seen nowhere else in Tucson, making it a pleasent alternative to the dozens of other places with identical menus.
Opened in 1922, El Charro Mexican Restaurant is the oldest family-owned Mexican restaurant. Situated on a quite back street in downtown Tucson, this very large adobe (sun-dried mud brick) building features rooms brilliantly decorated in the Sonoran-style. Sombreros hang on the brightly colored walls, next to old pictures of tough-looking charros (Mexican cowboys). Shrines of the Virgin de Guadeloupe stand atop hand-carved furnature, and a gathering of festive skeletons (in celebration of the Mexican holiday of El Dia de los Muertos) seem to be waiting around every corner. Enjoy a fine meal on the spacious outside patio, in the cozy cafe, in one of the many fiesta-flavored rooms, or even in the basement!
Several of the dishes at El Charro is just as exciting. The divine carne seca platter (dried beef) is actually prepared on the rooftop of the restaurant! Many of El Charro’s entrees are commonly found on menus across town, including burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, and tacos. It is the artful crafting of each meal that places this Sonoran-style favorite one step above the rest.
The Maya Quetzal was my first time eating at a Guatemalan Restaurant. They had a variety of chicken, pork, and beef dishes along with some appetizers and soups. I had the Longaniza which is a pork sausage stuffed with ground pork, onions, jalapenos, mint and other spices. It was pretty tasty, and was served with rice, refried beans and a salad. The refried beans were not what you are used to getting with your Mexican Food. They were made with black beans, and had a stronger taste. They serve alcohol. The decor in the restaurant consisted of paintings, photos and handicrafts from Guatemala. Worth a visit.
Favorite Dish: I had the Longaniza which is a pork sausage stuffed with ground pork, onions, jalapenos, mint and other spices. It was pretty tasty, and was served with rice, refried beans and a salad. The refried beans were not what you are used to getting with your Mexican Food. They were made with black beans, and had a stronger taste.
Athens Greek Restaurant is a small, intimate bistro situated on the corner of 4th Avenue and 6th Street. Pictures of Athens and the Greek Islands adorn the walls, illuminated by candles on the tables. The menu features typical Greek Cuisine, including spanakopita, gyros, lamb, and several different pasta dishes, in large and savory portions. For dessert, Athens boasts a heavenly BakLava, drizzled with honey. This quite restaurant is popular among Tucsonans, and weekend reservations are recommended.
A favorite of hungry college students, Brooklyn Pizza Company serves up piping hot pizza and garlic knots in a small, sometimes crowded place situated on 4th Avenue. With local artwork and pictures of New York City hanging on the brightly colored walls, Brooklyn Pizza has a wonderfully upbeat and happening atmosphere. Watch the trollies pass by as you scarf down a sun-dried tomato and garlic pizza slice topped with a hint of basil, or dip garlic knots into freshly made sauce as you watch the chefs tossing the dough. Live on the wild side and enjoy a few odd toppings, such as potato, broccoli, or Jalapenos. If the outstanding pizza does not convert you, try the gelato or pocolatte. You will not leave Brooklyn Pizza disappointed.
Located on Tucson's northside, Maria Bonita serves good Mexican cooking in a fiesta-style atmosphere. Here you can find the essential chicken enchilada or carne seca burrito for a good price, but Maria Bonita's most delicious dish has to be the Chile Relleno. Other entrees include a wide assortment of seafood and soups (including a tasty tortilla soup) and well-prepared salads.
Gavi serves up a variety of delicious southern Italian dishes in an atmosphere saturated by the soccer paraphernalia that covers the walls. The servers are attentive, knowledgable, and helpful. Gavi's menu boasts every kind of pasta variation known to man, as well as seafood, chicken, pork, and veal. Be forewarned, there are several courses and portions are large. Should you save room for desert, the cannoli comes highly recommended.
Time market sells a wide variety of imported goods, including chocolate, wine, cheese, and olives among others, and features a small deli and a pizza place called Gatsby Pizza. Gatsby offers delightful stone-fired gourmet pizzas and delicious toppings on a pesto or marinara base. Try a Mediterranean pizza, topped with shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, feta cheese and olives over a savory pesto sauce. Should you be in the mood for a more southwestern selection, experiment with toppings like blackbeans, chilis, or salsa. Time market offers a covered outside patio in addition to several inside tables.
Maloney's is one of the best places to go on 4th Avenue for fun, music, and to meet people. They serve sandwiches, sliders, quesadillas, and burgers; but mostly people come here to drink and meet new people. Very popular hangout for U of A students.
Favorite Dish: Try the Fiji Chicken Sandwich a blackened chicken breast with an avocado slice, tomato, onion, bean sprouts, muenster cheese, and jalapeno mustard, for $8.95.
O'Malley's is a bar and grill located on the corner of 4th Avenue and 8th Street. They serve all types of drinks including Jose Cuervo Margaritas on tap, and typical bar and grill food. I only had a drink so I cannot testify as to the quality of the food. The decor is sports and alcohol related. They have big screen TVs tuned to sports (and strangely enough Dr. Phil). They also have 4 nice pool tables. The staff was friendly and the girl behind the bar was cute. I paid $1.75 for a large glass of Sprite. Popular hangout for U of A students.
Favorite Dish: I did not eat here; just drank and met new people.
I know most people do not need tips on chain restaurants, because they can apply to many different regions of the US, but while staying in Tucson, I decided for a late night dinner.
Boston Market was a store I had completely forgotten about, so I decided to go re-introduce myself. It was a delicious choice.
I had the chicken, with spinach and sweet potatoes, all of which were excellent. And the best part... it was only 8 dollars!
The Casbah Tea House serves teas and coffees from around the world along with vegetarian fare with a Mediterranean flavor. They also have cookies, cake and ice cream. Try the Hummus with Pita Bread for $4. They occasionally even have belly dancing. Popular hangout for U of A students.
Favorite Dish: Try the Hummus with Pita Bread for $4.
There is little seating capacity and limited ambience in this restaurant near the university. The food, however, is very good. The food is Vietnamese, and includes a vegetarian section for those feeling health conscious. Since it is near the university, there are a lot of students coming here. Take out from Miss Saigon is also very popular. Miss Saigon serves lunch and dinner and is open from 10:30 AM to 9:30 PM Monday through Saturday and 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM on Sunday. They also serve a drink like a smoothie along with beer and wine. Even when the place is crowded, the service is quick and friendly. I ate here again on my last visit, and had a dish called Com Bi Cha Tn. It had some pork slices, shredded pork and something called a Vietnamese Meat Loaf. It was all very good. I recommend this restaurant.
Favorite Dish: I had the Chicken Breast and Catfish with egg noodles soup which was quite good. $6.99 for a large bowl. Next visit I had Com Bi Cha Tn. It too, was very good.
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