For nine years, Bluefin Seafood Bistro at Casas Adobes Plaza has been serving up New Orleans specialties to mark Mardi Gras. The menu runs from Friday through Fat Tuesday.

Greg Bryan / Arizona Daily Star 2008
Taco Giro coming
to northwest side

Taco Giro Mexican Food will open its third Tucson location next month, this one on the northwest side in the former home of Roma Caffe on West Ina Road.

Roma Caffe closed in May 2010 after 27 years in business, its owners saying they were the victims of a souring economy as well an increase in competition from neighboring restaurants.

Taco Giro’s owners could not be reached for comment, but the restaurant at 4140 W. Ina Road apparently will follow the other two locations — 5754 E. 22nd St. and 610 N. Grande Ave. — and serve alcohol. The restaurant’s owners have a liquor license pending with the Arizona Department of Liquor.

The restaurant’s owners were not available for comment and no other details were available.

Taco Giro is a full-service Mexican restaurant with a sizable menu of Mexican standards, grilled fare and seafood.

3 chances to eat, drink and make a difference

Several Tucson restaurants are hosting fundraising events for community groups this week.

Jonathan’s Cork, 6320 E. Tanque Verde Road, will “Cowboy Up” for TRAK — Therapeutic Riding for Animals & Kids. A barbecue buffet anchors an afternoon of fun that includes a petting zoo for the kids, live music and auctions. From 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday; $35 adults, $15 for kids; 298-9808.

McMahon’s Prime SteakHouse, 2959 N. Swan Road, will be the setting for a wine tasting event for the Oncology Foundation that will include wine tastings, performance by the band Day Job and light appetizers. $35 per person or $300 for a group of 10 includes four glasses of wine, souvenir wine glass and light appetizers. Proceeds provide supportive and integrative therapies to cancer patients throughout the Tucson area. Reserve a spot today for the April 25 event by calling 870-6060.

CataVinos Wine Shoppe, 3063 N. Alvernon Way. CataVinos Wine Shoppe hosts a “St. PAW-Tricks Day” benefit for the PAWSitively CATS No-Kill Shelter. Enjoy a flight of six wines with appetizers for $20, $10 of which goes to the cats. Also looking for donations of Friskies paté canned food and scoopable litter. 4-6 p.m. March 16. 323-3063.

Breakfast for supper in Tucson Mountains

Most churches fire up the griddles and ladle on the batter at the crack of dawn.

Church of the Painted Hills at 3295 W. Speedway is doing it as the sun sets.

The church is hosting its annual all-you-can-eat pancake supper from 5 to 7 p.m. March 11. That’s pancakes with syrup, sausage patties, apple sauce and coffee and tea.

The cost is $6 for adults, $4 for kids under 12. Details: Call 624-5715.

Kingfisher, Bluefin celebrate Mardi Gras

During the Lenten season, you starve.

But before Lent, you feast.

And on Tuesday, commonly referred to as Fat Tuesday, Kingfisher Bar & Grill and Bluefin Seafood Bistro will put on a spread befitting the occasion.

It’s a tradition that has been alive and thriving for 20 years at Kingfisher and for Bluefin’s nine years — it opened in 2005. And it’s one that, judging by the menu, chef/owners Jim Murphy and Jeff Azersky seem to relish.

Both restaurants are mixing Mardi Gras cocktails including Booze Hurricanes and Sazaracs and serving Louisiana beers Dixie Lager and Abita Turbodog. The menus include classic New Orleans specialties from baked oysters to seafood gumbo, with Cajun red beans and rice and jambalaya rounding out a menu that includes beignets and bread pudding with a warm whiskey custard sauce for dessert.

Here’s the bonus: Murphy and Azersky aren’t waiting until Fat Tuesday; they are rolling out select items from this menu beginning Friday and leading right through Tuesday. Dinner service is from 5 to 9 p.m. at Bluefin, 7053 N. Oracle Road. It’s from 5 to 11 p.m. at Kingfisher, 2564 E. Grant Road.

In Sonoita, A wine
that thinks it’s beer

Arizona Hops and Vines in Sonoita is rolling out one of its most inventive vintages — a hopped-up wine that is served carbonated in a beer bottle or sans the carbonation in a corked wine bottle.

Is it wine? Is it beer?

Hence its cheeky name Drag Queen.

What better way to celebrate this intriguing little beverage than to host an event with real life drag queens.

And what if you asked them, in full drag queen finery complete with high heels, to race on foot? Yep, that’s a party aptly dubbed Drag Races.

This is the second year sisters Shannon Zouzoulas and Megan Haller, the creative forces behind Arizona Hops and Vines, have hosted the event.

The fun starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and the race begins at 2 p.m. at Arizona Hops and Vine, 3450 Arizona 82, Sonoita. The cost is $20 and that includes six drink tickets and a souvenir Hops and Vines glass.

If you want to run the race, show up in drag and you’ll get a free glass of Drag Queen before the race and one after.

Drag Races also includes a DJ, wine and beer from Gilbert’s AZ Wilderness Brewing Co. and a home brewing contest hosted by the Buffalo Club.

Potential new brewery taps into Kickstarter

A Kickstarter campaign will launch on Saturday in the hopes of bringing more craft-beer production to Tucson’s east side.

Business partners Tony Williams and Chuck Boyer are asking for $20,000 in an effort to open BlackRock Brewers in the East 22nd/South Pantano Road area, according to Williams.

The only other brewery east of Alvernon Way is Sentinel Peak at 4746 E. Grant Road.

The vision is to have a 15-barrel system that will produce six regular beers and several seasonal options throughout the year.

Gene Sandoval, a former brewmaster for Mr. Beer, will head the brewing duties for BlackRock.

Boyer and Williams are IT professionals. Williams owns Williams Technical Services and Boyer is the IT director for the town of Oro Valley.

The name of the business, BlackRock Brewers, is not only an homage to Tucson — whose name origin has long been thought to derive from the local tribal translation, “at the foot of black mountain” — but also a reference to the Internet acronym, BRB, or “Be Right Back.”

“One of our tag lines is, ‘BRB, grabbing a beer,’” Williams said.

The $20,000 will go toward upgrading its current test system and toward the purchase of fermenters, brite tanks and kegs. It also will provide the means for attracting future investors through festivals, samples and merchandise.

Find out more about BlackRock Brewers and its impending Kickstarter campaign at online.

Cathalena E. Burch and Gerald M. Gay

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.