The spicy tantanmen ramen is a winter special at Raijin Ramen. It features a porky tonkatsu broth that's rounded out with rich sesame paste. 

Yeah yeah yeah, you're from Chicago where it hurts to be a human in the winter. It's like November and people are still wearing shorts here, but that doesn't mean we can't get excited about spicy soups and short ribs and cheesy macaroni! (Don't take this away from us.)

So here's a big list of all the things I like to eat in Tucson, while wearing a turtleneck. And yes of course we included the posole from Birrieria Guadalajara. Who are we, savages?



Green chile and pickled red onions give this tots plate a Southwestern twist. 

Breakfast tots at Tallboys: You can definitely eat breakfast these tots any time of year (or any time of day for that matter), but they taste best when you don't want to go back outside. Perfectly fried tots are smothered with a creamy chipotle sauce, bacon, pesto and a runny egg on top. It'll take you down for awhile, but it's worth it. website: / address: 600 N. Fourth Ave.

Cast iron baked eggs at The Cup Cafe: Once you've had this bubbly skillet with melted Gruyere, diced ham and leeks, you'll never be able to order anything else. Even in the summer. / website: / address: 311 Congress St.

French toast at Prep & Pastry: Get the classic with thick eggy brioche bread, or mix it up with one of the specialty flavors including green chile and espresso ganache. / website: / addresses: 3073 N. Campbell Ave. and 6450 E. Grant Road, Suite 160

The pancake at 5 Points Market & Restaurant: This simple but very large pancake takes up an entire plate. You can add toppings like blueberries, toasted walnuts and bananas for an extra fee. If you're not feelin' sweet, you can also go for the huevos rancheros. / website: / address: 756 S. Stone Ave.

Dutch baby pancake at Teaspoon: This German-style sweet pancake is filled with apples and dusted with powdered sugar, then set in a hot cast iron pan so it comes out bubbly. / website: / address: 7053 N. Oracle Road

Comfort food

Enchilada combo platter at Rosa's Mexican Food: Everyone has their favorite, but this is mine. The beans are silken fat goodness, and the enchiladas are covered with this perfect gooey layer of cheese that's been crisped on the top. The avocado enchiladas are also fantastic, but I usually opt for the variety of having chicken, sour cream and cheese. / website: / address: 1750 E. Fort Lowell Road

Lasagna at Roma Imports: This Italian deli keeps meat lasagnas in its freezer section. Super cheesy and rich, they're worlds better than the stuff you get at Safeway. / website: / address: 627 S. Vine Ave.

Poutine fries at Union Public House: Cheddar cheese curds and housemade gravy give this dish an extra oomph. It's on the appetizer menu, but we can imagine eating this for dinner with a side of beer. / website: / address: 4340 N. Campbell Ave., Suite 103

Hunter's stew at Polish Cottage: I can't think of anything more comforting than a hearty plate of stewed cabbage topped with a giant sausage. / website: / address: 4520 E. Broadway

Special beef dish with mushrooms at Chef Alisah's: This creamy beef stew features sliced mushrooms in a punchy sauce that might remind you of Stroganoff. / website: / address: 5931 N. Oracle Road, Suite 117


Posole from Birrieria Guadalajara: There's no contest. This homey southside shop makes the best Mexican soups in town, and even though they make a mean bowl of menudo, most people get the spicy posole. It's just so good, there's no other way to describe it. The porky chile broth makes sitting outside in the winter seem dreamy. / website: / address: 304 E. 22nd St.

Tantanmen winter ramen at Raijin Ramen: It's very similar to the ramen house's hearty tonkotsu broth, but the tantanmen has a nutty sesame flavor with a black pepper backbone. There are also three spice levels that take it from a medium to a "whoa!" / website: / address: 2955 E Speedway

Butternut squash soup from Beyond Bread: Get it in a bread bowl. That's all you need to know. / website: / addresses: 3026 N. Campbell Ave. and 6260 E. Speedway

Bun Bo Hue from Dao's Tai Pan's: This spicy Vietnamese soup has a red chile broth and will make you forget that you used to have pho when it's cold. / website: / addresses: 1127, 4206 N. First Ave. and 446 N. Wilmot Road

Cheesy goodness


Caldo de queso is one of the best foods ever to come out of Sonora, according to Mexican food historian Gustavo Arellano. Perhaps he's eaten the bowl at El Indio ...

Caldo de queso at El Indio: I took this out of the soups category and put it in cheesy goodness because, dang! Look at this thing! Whoever gave Sonoran food a bad rap obviously hasn't tried our famous cheese and potato soup, which you can find on menus across town but none as good as El Indio. What else can I say? Get some tortillas and go to town! / website: / address: 3355 S. Sixth Ave.

Chorizo mac and cheese at Commoner and Co.: This mac and cheese dish feels uniquely Southwestern, with the addition of chorizo and chile bread crumbs. Gahhh. / website: / address: 6960 E. Sunrise Drive

Grilled cheese special at Ten55 Brewery: Barrio bread plus whatever the heck the chef wants that day? Hint: It's always melty and gooey and delicious. / website: / address: 110 E. Congress St.

Queso fundido at BK Tacos: This iconic taqueria has my favorite melted cheesy plate in town. You can add chiles, chorizo, mushrooms, etc. as well as all the salsas from the bar. Mmmm, queso. / website: / addresses: 2680 N. First Ave. and 1212, 5118 S. 12th Ave.


You can find the Star's digital food writer Andi Berlin at a taqueria near you, taking tiny bites and furiously scribbling into an old notepad.