At Ticoz Resto-Bar, the chefs draw from traditional Central American, South American, and Mexican recipes to whip up modern interpretations of authentic dishes such as tamales and enchiladas. Their menu includes grilled chicken doused in sherry chipotle sauce, street-style corn and flour tacos, and the cheesy housemade corn chips of Nachos Montana, named for the state's cheese-covered founder. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends, Ticoz Resto-Bar treats the brunch crowd to a lineup that the Phoenix New Times named the Best Latin Brunch of 2011. Behind the bar, Justin Bolotnik crafts signature cocktails and martinis to complement the menu's innovative Latin flavors. Meals and merriment unfold in an intimate lounge outfitted with dark woods, earth tones, and scarlet chairs and booths. Candles and a string of overhead lights illuminate a relaxing outdoor patio warmed by a space heater.
Donna DiFiore's metaphorical journey into the restaurant business began with an actual journey. When her friend Elissa told her she was going on a road trip across the country from her hometown in chilly Massachusetts, Donna agreed to join—unaware that she was about discover her life's calling and a new home.
When the women stopped in Tucson, Donna didn't want to leave. As she explained to reporters from Tucson Weekly, "I arrived here—it was Halloween Eve in '76—and everybody was wearing shorts, and it was just gorgeous." Donna took a job at a local eatery, working the floor, serving customers, and eventually rising to the head of the restaurant.
Thirty-eight years later, Donna continues to captain Delectables, which has become a bit of an iconic gathering spot for old and young alike. Returning visitors linger over glasses of wine at the rustic wooden bar, reminiscing over the crème brûlée and live jazz they enjoyed from that very same spot years ago. University students bask beneath the lush foliage of the outdoor patio, awaiting meals of Mexican enchiladas, Italian pastas, and French bistro specialties. Chefs bustle about the kitchen seven days a week, beginning each day by whipping up hearty egg breakfasts before moving onto internationally inspired lunches and dinners. Late in the night on Friday and Saturday, they simmer up an after-dark menu of eclectic nibbles and entrees.
The restaurant is housed in a historical, renovated Harley-Davidson showroom and abounds with unusual knickknacks and antiques, from a cash register from an old hotel in Santa Cruz to a walk-in refrigerator from 1898. Many of the wares and coffee mugs were created by local artists, and the mesquite planks that serve as plates were carved by local craftsmen. The airy space plays hosts to special events throughout the week, including live music from local artists, poetry slams with local poets, and boxing matches between local librarians.
Hidden behind an unassuming A-frame exterior, The Original Blue Adobe Grille surprises guests with colorful decor and a variety of innovative twists on New Mexican cuisine. From appetizers such as green chile lobster dip to entrees such as the Blue Adobe burger cooked over a pecan-wood grill, the restaurant's surprising eats earned them a mention in Jane and Michael Stern's survey of American cuisine, 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late. Other menu favorites include shrimp enchiladas stuffed into blue corn tortillas and rims of salt served with margaritas to wash it down. Composed of a blue peaked roof and white stucco siding, The Original Blue Adobe Grille's outside belies its more exciting interior, where stained glass windows and colorful chandeliers illuminate a room filled with reds, oranges, and pinks—a spectrum reflected in the handwritten chalkboard menu announcing the daily specials.
The six teachers at Cutting Edge Quilts combine their individual quilting savvy to lead students through a wide range of classes. Amid myriad fabrics and ample creative space, the studio's long-arm quilting machine lets students sew their quilt top, batting, and backing together in a more-time-efficient manner than by using traditional machines or bribing a silkworm. Various quilting groups meet regularly, focusing on different techniques such as hand-sewing and scraps as they take advantage of the studio's gargantuan collection of threads, kits, and specialty fabrics such as Batik and Moda.
Following Baja Fresh’s ethos set in 1990 as a healthy take on fast food, never-frozen meats sizzle atop the grill before they're tucked into made-to-order tacos and burritos. Grilled corn and flour tortillas embrace fish, carnitas, chicken, and steak, and smoky queso fundido sidles onto nachos and into burritos. Between bites, chips scoop up salsa made from farm-fresh produce rather than poured out of a can or fabricated in a space-age replicator. A complimentary salsa bar ensures no mouthful goes unspiced, and guests can scoop up their favorites as they await their dine-in, takeout, or catering orders.
The bride stood under the photographer’s lights, resplendent in her wedding gown, as her family looked on from a distance. As she and her photographer, M. Chen, prepared for the shoot, she was handed a package—a prewedding gift from her soon-to-be husband. When she lifted the lid, she immediately burst into tears. Inside laid a photo of a great dane puppy—the dog she’d always wanted, which her husband planned to give her on their wedding day. As she ran to hug her mother, Mr. Chen ran after, shooting image after image, capturing the exact moment she fell into her mother’s arms. These quick reflexes have been honed through his nearly 30 years as a sports photographer and professional fly swatter, and he draws on photojournalistic techniques to compose a traditional portrait or snap once-in-a-lifetime, candid moments.
Regardless of specific approaches, he consistently draws from the landscape style of Ansel Adams and the dramatic lighting techniques of Monte Zucker. His work as a photojournalist and private portrait photographer has earned him more than 300 publications in the glossy pages of New York Daily News, Popular Photography, ESPN Magazine, and Professional Photographers of America magazine. When not snapping on-location engagement shoots, family portraits, or boudoir sessions, he passes on his technique through traveling photography seminars, hands-on workshops, and by gently tapping the heads of his students. Though formerly designed only for professional-level photographers, these classes instill confidence and camera basics in beginners. As he frequently finds new class examples and takes feedback from his students, Mr. Chen frequently fine-tunes the curriculum after each seminar.