Wine Depot opens its cellar doors just once a week, at which point vinophiles can pour inside to peruse rare, handcrafted, Old World German wines in more than 30 varietals. Wine Depot's oldest supplier boasts a start date of 1464, back when grapes were new to the planet and thought they'd never experience the fate of raisins. The specialty store's mammoth cellar maintains a proper storage temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring all 20,000-plus bottles ($14–$600, $20–$30 on average) stay tasty and fresh. Sips range from crisp, mineral-forward pinot grigios to richly tannic cabernet franc, and semisweet and dry rieslings lend classic German tastes to atypical German breakfasts made of pizza puffs. To aid patrons in decision making, the experienced staffers at Wine Depot host a schedule of free weekly wine tastings, each offering samples of five handcrafted wines.
Dante's Fire takes its name from the tale of a fiery inferno, but for Tucson foodies, a trip to the restaurant could be downright heavenly. "This is a small plate lover's paradise," wrote one 10Best contributor of the spot's mostly tapas-style menu. Creative flavor pairings shine in dishes such as chilled corn bisque with preserved tomatoes, crab salad, and basil oil, and the charcuterie plate, which features drunken apricots and house-made bread alongside artisanal meats and cheeses. Chef Ken Foy rounds out the menu with heartier entrees such as brie-topped burgers and truffled chicken marsala.
The cocktail list here is similarly creative. Drink options range from the Tamarind Tiger, made with jalapeño tequila, tamarind syrup, and Averna, to a refreshing martini topped with cucumber foam. For a memorable dessert, try the Foie Pops Deux—an unusual treat made with chocolate streusel, Fireball-vanilla mangoes, coffee reduction, and local honey from the most avant garde beehive in town.
Raising their jokes on a steady diet of worldly observation and offbeat experiences, Laffs' seasoned yuckwranglers re-release laughter into its natural habitat during their weekly standup spectacles. Guffaw-seeking guests are strapped into a pair of preferred seats before being buffeted by buffoonery as Laffs buses in an invigorative mix of nationally recognized comedians and promising local talent. Join in jesterly jabs during performances from pedigreed jokesters, including Joey Medina of the Original Latin Kings of Comedy (February 18–19) and Last Comic Standing competitor Dave Landau (March 4–5), or snicker intently through Kevin Jordan's tales of life as an L.A. police officer during the city's tumultuously delicious 2003 waffle riots (February 25–26). Check out the schedule for a full list of available show times.
Set just minutes from the University of Arizona campus, Trident Grill's comfortable, red-bricked neighborhood confines holster an extensive menu of East Coast–influenced fare and athletic dramatics. Scarf down starters such as the Maryland blue crab cakes ($9) or a bacon-infused bowl of New England clam chowder ($4.50 regular, $7 bread bowl). Trident's waffle-cut fries can quarterback complex hunger defense patterns either alone ($5) or flanked by seafood in the house-specialty fish-and-chips platter ($10). Unlike haughty Legoland restaurateurs, Trident lets diners build a real-life edible burger fortified with a choice of cheese or veggies ($7, $1 extra per ingredient).
R-Place Bar & Grill serves up burgers, seafood, salads, and sweets within family-friendly casual confines. Diners can engage in light levities with homemade soup or salad before initiating carnivorous conversations with half-pound specialty burgers such as the Horsey, topped with melted swiss, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and spicy atomic horseradish ($6.99). A Friday-night all-you-can-eat fish fry from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., with hand-battered cod, fries, and slaw ($7.99), satisfies growling stomachs along with the Saturday-night Steak Stampede, allowing meat mavens either a top sirloin ($10.95) or a T-bone ($12.95). A Brownie Blast tops the eponymous chocolate treat with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, chilling belly-dwelling gnomes like a cool zephyr ($4). With breakfast served until noon, R-Place's TVs appease sports fans all day, and more hands-on types can wage friendly battles at the eatery's dartboards and pool tables with coffee creamer chips or pure pride on the line.