Summer Guide: Trek to Tucson

06/04/2009

Summer Guide: Trek to Tucson

Article Excerpt from the Phoenix New Times by Eric Manch

Tucson is cool. That's "cool" in the literal sense — Tucson is a bit higher in elevation than the Valley and tends not to push the mercury level quite as high (it's generally 5 to 10 degrees cooler) — and in the figurative sense. Home to more than just the Sonoran Desert Museum and a world-class college basketball program, Tucson is packed with quirky destinations and it's less than two hours from the Valley.

The Tucson Tamale Company (2545 E. Broadway Blvd., 520-305-4760, www.tucsontamalecompany.com) opened last year in an old strip mall on Broadway, near the old Pima County Democratic Party headquarters. It has quickly earned a reputation as the best purveyor of masa-filled corn husks in southern Arizona. This isn't a typical tamale joint. It's more a dedicated tamale factory with some tables and charming, locally made art lining the walls. Think of a Mexican restaurant designed with the exacting eye of an engineer (in fact, the proprietor is a former IT professional). Both meat and vegan options are available. The menu changes constantly, but the Arizona, with slow-roasted sirloin and chipotle, and the Wisconsin, with four types of cheese, are consistent favorites.