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mermaidcamp

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Livin’ La Vida Local

October 31, 2016

Day of the Dead in Tucson

Day of the Dead in Tucson

Localoop

Localoop

My city is the best place to live, or to be dead. Tucson celebrates Dia de los Muertos in a very big way.  I love the festive, colorful death party that is our own home-grown version of the Mexican All Souls Day.  My own parents are in the cemetery not very far from downtown, so I am sure they will take part again this year.  My hound dog now joins her grandparents in the festivities.  She is scattered at the pet cemetery across town, but space and time are no longer an issue for her, and she loves to party.  They will be in the ghostly part of the procession.

My friends joke with me about my extreme localism.  My business jurisdiction (where I spend my money) is as tight as I can make it. I am a true believer in supporting the small business efforts of my neighborhood establishments.  I love to discover local providers of all kinds.  This week I discovered two new ways to fulfill my dream of finding and frequenting local enterprises.  At TenWest I met Aaron Gopp, creator of a new app, Localoop.  He is enthusiastic about his new service, locating businesses that meet a strict locally owned and operated criteria for people like me.  It was a lucky break that he stopped to chat at our table.  His directory was created for my very picky and specific needs. It will also help businesses discover and reach potential clients in the area.   I have downloaded it and already have found a couple of places near home of which I was unaware.  As he develops this I look forward to the guidance it will provide to consumers as well as to businesses.  My neighborhood could use some economic development.

While I was out biking around town with my homies I stopped at the Local First Arizona booth.  Aaron credits this group with helping him and giving him good guidelines to follow for defining what is local.  This non-profit foundation exists to support local small business.  It has membership and benefits, like a chamber of commerce.  They have created a system of locating local food sources called Good Food Finder AZ.com  This page lists local providers, restaurants, farms, markets, and aggregators.  There is even information about local food assistance programs. This is a major service to society.  Both the food finding and the local looping will make me very happy, and upgrade the economy around me.  Do you like to shop local, gentle reader?  What are your best ways to discover new places in your area?

Ermanos for Gourmet Tasting

November 22, 2015 2 Comments

We tried a new brunch place yesterday and have found a new favorite business in Tucson. Ermanos on 4th Avenue serves brunch on the weekend, which is when we like to go out to eat.  We arrived early before the crowds which was lucky because I convinced the chef to make me an off the menu food sampler.  She created a wonderful cauliflower creamed soup that had butter but no cream in the ingredients.  This rich and luscious starter was accented with an herbal oil, green and brightly basil scented.  I was really surprised when she told me there were no potatoes or cream in the smooth rich dish.  She happily shared her recipe so I can knock it off at home. This is one main reason I dine in restaurants (finding new recipes to make), so I am especially pleased when there is no resistance to sharing recipes.  Chef Claire was gracious s well as creative in her approach.  She took very good care of me and my tastebuds.

cauliflower soup

cauliflower soup

My tasting board included black eyed pea hummus to die for, some perfect home style corn tortilla chips adorned with fresh pico de gallo, a seasoned cubed pear, and some fried avocado with sauce.  The flavors were very exciting, each bite a contrasting taste sensation.  I enjoyed this flight of food while sipping my flight of wine.  It was an explosion of tasty  thrills.

vegetarian ceviche

vegetarian ceviche

bites with flights

bites with flights

The hip, cool setting and the vast selection of wine, beer and fresh food on the menu attracted us in the first place.  They feature local musicians often, and hold special events for beer releases, etc.  They run the kind of local business we like to support.  The reason we have instantly become loyal customers is the exceptional service.  Our server Alberto Noeggerath is knowledgeable and very helpful.  Since I rarely drink wine these days I was happy to put myself in his capable hands when selecting three reds to taste in my flight.  I also tasted a cava sparkling that rounded out the flavor party at my place setting.  All the wines were to my liking, but the zinfandel from Wilcox that came highly recommended was the star of the flight.  I would almost order a glass of that next time if it were not for the fun of flighting.  The option of tasting and trying new gastronomy with attentive, happy help from the staff makes Ermanos a great dining destination for us.  We plan to return often in the future.

Regular customers were arriving as we finished, and we spoke to a couple who were as enthusiastic as we are about the place.  We are big fans who recommend Ermanos for party time, gourmet time, or homestyle, homegrown down home downtown Tucson time.  This place is perfect for everyone who likes eating and drinking.

Bob loves beer, and I love dining.  We both love fabulous service.

chef Claire Ferguson

chef Claire Ferguson

server Alberto Noeggerath

server Alberto Noeggerath

Bob ate biscuits and gravy and four beers in a flight.

biscuits and gravy

biscuits and gravy

beer and wine flights

beer and wine flights

We had to try the beer float for dessert.  Loved it!

beer float

beer float

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