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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Head to Head: SAACA’s Savor Food and Wine Festival proves Tucson lives up to its food expectations

    Maya James/Maya Papaya Pictures
    People walk around the stalls of the Savor Food and Wine Festival in Tucson on Saturday, Feb. 6. The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance hosted a menu and alcohol-tasting event.

    On Dec. 11, 2015, Tucson became the first City of Gastronomy in the U.S. and one of 47 cities in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Creative Cities Network. On Feb. 6, the third annual Savor Food and Wine Festival, presented by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, Local First Arizona and the Tucson Botanical Gardens, proved that Tucson lives up to its title. Tucson serves its community with top-notch food that would satisfy the taste of even the most picky foodies. Two Daily Wildcat food connoisseurs attended the event to suggest to readers their take on where, what and how to eat Tucson food by creating menus that feature highlights from Savor.

    Kincaid Rabb


    Tucson Country Club: Chicken and Cheese Risotto and Duck Confit

    Wildflower: Pork Belly with Cauliflower Risotto

    Tucson Country Club: Ginger Margarita


    North Italia: Short Rib Radiatori

    Hannah’s Hill Vineyard and Winery: Petite Sirah


    The Living Room: Mixed Berry Crepe

    Hops and Vines: Hawaiian Sangria

    Jamelia Rizatayeva


    North Italia: Tuscan Kale


    Bob’s Steak and Chop House: Pecan wood-grilled flank steak on a Wagyu Beef Rillette with Sorrel

    Greens & Bora Bora sea salt

    Tavolino: Penne al Funghi


    Tazzina Di Gelato: Whiskey Vanilla gelato


    Arizona Hops and Vines: Hawaiian Sangria

    Hannah’s Hill Vineyard and Winery: Nog 2011 Petite Sirah

    Jamelia Rizatayeva: I greatly appreciated the high level of the event’s organization. Everything was thought through to provide the attendees the best foodie experience. For example, everyone got an over-the-neck wine glass rubber holder that would prevent anyone overly excited about the abundance of alcohol from smashing the glass. There were also people standing by the trash bins and directing the guests to which bin was for recycling, compost and trash.

    KINCAID RABB: The atmosphere of Savor was sublime and sensational. Each station at the festival provided a different experience to add to the palete of flavors and textures. There were also booths dedicated to informing Savor’s attendees about Local First Arizona, the history of Tucson’s restaurants and the future offerings of both the Tucson Botanical Gardens and the SAACA. As Kate Marquez, executive director of SAACA said, “The most spectacular thing about Savor is enjoying the food in such a beautiful environment,” and having now experienced Savor, I have to say that I fully agree.

    JR: My choice of an appetizer falls on the Tuscan kale salad from North Italia. I liked the interplay of fruit and pistachios in it. Given that my favorite main course out of all was a grilled flank steak, a light appetizer with fruit seemed like a wise choice, as it did not overwhelm you straight at the beginning and left room for the meat.

    The flank beef steak from Bob’s Steak and Chop House is rich-flavored and would go well with the fruity red wine from Hannah’s Hill Vineyard and Winery; although I would not drink too much of it, as it is a bit on the stronger side.

    I would finish off the dinner with some whiskey vanilla gelato from Tazzina Di Gelato and would supplement it with Hawaiian sangria from Arizona Hops and Vines. That sangria, if introduced to a wide public, could replace mimosas for brunch. It is refreshing and gives you just a bit of lightheadedness so that you can still function properly throughout the day.

    KR: As for the appetizer, I would have to say that my choice was tied by The Tucson Country Club’s complementary triple pairing of Ginger Margarita, Chicken and Cheese Risotto and Duck Confit Salad and Wildflower’s scrumptious Braised Pork Belly with Cauliflower Risotto.

    For the entrée, my choice would be the Short Rib Radiatori from North Italia, which was infused with the right combination of sleek and crunch. I paired it with the Petite Sirah from Hannah’s Hill Vineyard and Winery.

    For dessert, I would have to give it to the Mixed Berry Crepe, from the Living Room, which melted in my mouth and was the perfect combination of warm and chilled. I likewise would pair my dessert with Arizona Hops and Vines’ Hawaiian Sangria, which transported me to a Hawaiian resort with hints of pineapple and sunset.

    Follow Kincaid Rabb and Jamelia Rizatayeva on Twitter.

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