Thursday, February 28, 2013

Food Truck RoundUP at Steinfeld Warehouse

Saturday, 2/23, as part of the 2nd Tucson Rodeo Weekend, there was a Cowboy Arts and Crafts (and beer, tequila tasting) at the Steinfeld Warehouse adjacent to the Tucson Food Truck Round Up.  The Warehouse has recently been renovated and this 1907 building is a site to behold and experience.

Outside, near the railroad tracks and with the occasional Southern Pacific rolling back for atmospheric noise, the Food Trucks gathered and we loved the rustic-urban setting.  We enjoyed some favorites I have written about before from The Chef's Kitchen and Pin-Up Pastries, but a new one to rave about is Kadooks! .  Here is what Mark and I shared and were well-fed by the entree of their Costa Rican Cole Slaw Pork Sandwich.  I don't usually like cole slaw but this was delicious--a bit sweet and crunchy and the chefs told me it was made of purple and green cabbage with a touch of sugar and made "pink" by the vinegar.  The pork strips were thick and tasty and the toasted Belillo roll held everything neatly together.  At a cost of $7.00, the sandwich is a munchful bargain.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wild Garlic Grill Photos of Food

It was a well-timed (with two younger friends) and welcome (after about 3 weeks of my bland stomach and post-stomach virus food) to enjoy a terrific meal and a reasonable price in a setting that is so Tucson "funk".  The restaurant is in a former drive-in food location and still has that "just come in" feel in the parking lot.  But as soon as the door swings open, you are inside a comfortably classy interior with open kitchen, adjacent bar, inside table and patio seating.  The ceiling is redone with mesquite (I think) poles and the colorful walls have local and decorative art.  Tables are set with sheets of white paper, linen napkins and very cozy fabric-covered chairs.

I will share several photos because, truly, the photos are worth more words.

Here's the first of a salad that Mark and I easily shared--a great example of a healthy and carefully presented salad.

One of the friends ordered the fish stew which she said "I would recommend to my family in China."  High praise. 
The other friend chose the chicken with pepper garnish sandwich and not a morsel was left on his plate.
Mark and I have learned to share the meal, and although he had the bigger half of the Santa Fe-spiced pork ribs, I had the larger portion of the potato salad.  The grilled vegetables included kale (Mark's choice pick) and tasty green beans that popped in my mouth as I munched on them.
Although we had the Gilroy garlic swiss cheese fondue, with grilled chunks of sourdough, as an appetizer, we still had some of the fondue remaining and so asked for more bread.  It came freshly baked with warm butter layered on top. (Sorry, I thought we had the fondue picture as well, but I guess not--so you'll have to believe me that it was fantastic!)
We don't leave without dessert--again, shared between the two of us.  Here is the key lime pie, nicely tart, served with fresh berries.
So, don't be fooled by the industrial location on 1st Avenue--go to the Wild Garlic Grill and be prepared to savor the selections.

Open 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo: BrightSpot

A friend of ours was in this race, so Mark went up to the site Saturday night and took in the Epic Rides experience.  The race was covered by Channel 13 and, in their story, they said the Old Pueblo not hosts the 3rd largest in the United States.  Mark said about 3,800 attended, with 1,800 riders--the rest, like Mark, were cheering them on from noon-noon, some staying over night in RVs, trucks or lounging on their battered sofas!  Food vendors, medical assistance, collections for the Food Bank were other activities as part of this event.  Check out for more information.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pima Public Library in Downtown Tucson: BrightSpot

Libraries have always been a "brightspot" in my life. When I was growing up in Elgin, Illinois, I went to the library every Saturday, during rain, snow, sleet and even summer days. In adolescence, I often left the children's section to investigate adult literature that I didn't, for a time, check out, but read, silently to myself. In Tucson, different branches of our public library system have been frequent stops for meetings and research more than book checkouts and, of course, while at the UA, I spent hours at the campus library. More recently, I have been involved in the public library's Prime Time Family Literacy Program, funded through the Arizona Humanities Council and that led me to start my volunteer time as a Reading Partner this past year. Here's a shot of the lobby at the Downtown Library where a class on origami made these hanging birds that gently blow back and forth as the library doors open and close.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Second try on Happiness Data links

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tucson democracy is alive

Yesterday I went to not one, but two, public political meetings. The first was held at Ward III and the purpose was to get feedback from neighborhood leadership about the draft City of Tucson General Plan/Plan Tucson. The room was full with over thirty folks and there was a shared and expressed appreciation for the effort of City staff to involve the public in this process. However, there was also expressed reticence, and also some direct opposition, to support the draft plan. In particular, one neighborhood person emphasized how the new element to the Plan, Governance and Participation, has to be acknowledged as key to building trust with the Tucson community. To date, the staff reported, over 750 comments have been generated on the Plan, with more expected to come as the Plan moves to public hearings and to a public vote, currently still scheduled for November, 2013. The second meeting was held in an urgent care/community room in the Catalina foothills. It was a joint meeting convenend by State District 9 Senator Steve Farley, and Representatives Ethan Orr and Victoria Steele. The tone, they stressed, was to be civil, respectful of differences and also acknowledge areas of shared purpose. Steve Farley said, and the two others agreed: "We need to think more pragmatically about government instead of hating it." In general, I would say that tone was consistently demonstrated by them and, for the most part, by the participants during the Q and A period. I noted that almost half of the Q and A time focused on two issues: healthcare/Medicaid and mental health legislation. The legislators agreed that there is a strong possibility of passing a "mental health first aid bill" that would "train the trainers" to identify potential mentally ill behaviors before those behaviors become a public danger and that, while it may be contentious, support for the Governor's decision to accept the Affordable Health Care Act, will probably also pass. If not, they explained, there will be a significant hit to the state's economy. I am glad to be able to express here a cautious optimism about the "state of" local and state politics and hope that this week's State of Union speech by Pres. Obama will further demonstrate pragmatic policies for our Nation's future.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

One Can A Week revisited BrightSpot

A few BrightSpots posts ago, I featured the Miles Neighborhood One Can a Week program.  Here's an updated link for it, that I encourage you to look at:

My husband/photographer and I visited with Peter again yesterday and talked with him in more detail about the program.  We found out some interesting facts worth sharing:

1.  Peter was inspired to create One Can... after a 12/08 post-Obama election house party meeting that was held at our house. 

2.  Since that time, his efforts have generated a 50% participation rate in his neighborhood that, in addition to generating regular contributions to fight hunger in Tucson via the Community Food Bank, has also tightened the fabric of his neighbborhood, building community among neighbors as the project moves "door to door" throughout the residents' homes.  The inclusionary attibutes of One Can... has further deepened the sense of community prosperity in his neighborhood.

3.  His program has drawn national attention from Pres. Obama's 2013 Inaugral Committee, The Huffington Post, National Public Radio, and Feeding America.

4.  In addition to other neighborhoods, such as Old Fort Lowell in Tucson, and other Arizona communities adapting the effort, the One Can... has been adapted to communities in North Carolina and Georgia.

More connections for One Can a Week, the Community Food Bank, the Mayor's Fight Against Hunger in Tucson and other positive grassroots actions going on in Tucson can be found on the One Can... link, so "go to it" and help Tucson develop more One Can... efforts throughout the region.