Huarache alert! It's that time in Tucson to break out the sandals and eat some yummy food outside. And I don't mean the sandals on your feet, I mean the sandal-shaped masa creation on the menu at El Antojo Poblano.
If you've ever had a huarache before, you know they're worth seeking out. This iconic food of Central Mexico makes an appearance in Tucson every once in awhile, but always seems to disappear quickly. That's why I'm so jazzed that it popped up again, now at an awesome food truck on St. Mary's. If you need a reason to do Tumamoc, here it is!
In other restaurant news, a Fourth Avenue business is bringing Hawaiian doughnuts and #malasadas to Tucson. Irene's Holy Donuts is still in the soft opening stages and working out its hours, but the treats got high marks when I brought some back to the This is Tucson office.
It's getting hotter and things are beginning to slow down, but check out the list of upcoming restaurants at the bottom. There are some cool concepts I'm really excited for!
El Antojo Poblano
1114 W. St. Mary's Road, 520-406-5905
Nope, it's not Poblano hot sauce. 😉 El Antojo Poblano actually refers to the city and state of Puebla, just southeast of Mexico City. This stunning colonial site is home to some of the best Mexican foods you've probably never eaten, like huaraches, cemitas (pictured) and delicate molote pockets of fried corn masa. You can find masterful versions of all of the above at this colorful new food truck, which parks in a vacant lot at St. Mary's near I-10. If you enjoy the Central Mexican flavors of Seis but are looking for something a little different, definitely hit this place up. I can't recommend it enough!
Hours: Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., closed Sunday
Hop Street Lounge
7215 E. 22nd St., Suite 101, 520-274-7904
More craft beer options on the East Side. Hop Street Lounge is a casual alternative to the nearby Arizona Beer House, with a 35-strong taplist of brews from California, Colorado and more. We stopped by for happy hour this week and found they had a chill vibe with plenty of seating and competitive cornhole tournaments playing on the flatscreen TVs. The bottle shop game was really strong, with more than 600 bottles and cans. Food trucks are only on weekends, but luckily for us, we had cheese!
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 2-10 p.m., Thursday-Saturday noon to midnight, Sunday noon to 10 p.m.
Irene's Holy Donuts
Irene's Holy Donuts is an ambitious new shop on Fourth Avenue in the former home of Cans Deli. It's actually the second location — the first is in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii — so expect Island flavors like a pineapple macadamia nut fritter. Irene's is still figuring out their hours but we were able to snag some donuts to-go before they ran out this week. The dough had a heartier sweet bread quality to it, rather than just being thin and airy. Next time we're going back for the Hawaiian malasadas. If you're interested in this trendy island treat, here's a primer.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to midnight or 1 a.m.
Purple Penguin Candy Emporium
3392 E. 22nd St., 520-207-7017
Purple Penguin Candy Emporium is a fun new shop that recently opened across the street from Reid Park. The owner is a retired antique dealer, and has filled the space with vintage cash registers, candy cranes and all manner of funky old stuff. They specialize in throwback candies from the 60s to the 90s and had some rare finds like Astro Pops, Chuckles, Charleston Chews and more. But the fun ones were the novelty candies like the softball-sized jawbreaker and the two-foot long gummy worm. Cool place to take your kids, or your adults!
Hours: Tuesday-Friday noon to 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Monday
1058 N. Campbell Ave., 520-600-4223
This Boulder, Colorado-based smoothie shop recently opened in the former Desert Dream Ice Cream on Speedway and Campbell. Rush Bowls offers a range of frozen yogurt, granola and acaí bowls and even has something for your dog, according to the website. I'm intrigued about the avocado bowl in the "adventure bowls" section of the menu. It has avocado, banana, mango and pineapple juice topped with granola and honey.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
On the horizon:
— Crema Coffee is holding its grand opening at 3725 W. Ina Road in Marana today, April 4
— Holy Smokin' Butts BBQ just brought in its barbecue pits and is currently installing the roof on its second location at 6940 E. Broadway, according to this Facebook post
— Following the closing of Harvest on River, the owners plan to open a new pizza concept at the Oro Valley Marketplace, writes Cathalena E. Burch in The Star
— The family behind El Charro plans to open another fine dining concept CharroVida early May in Casas Adobes Plaza, writes Cathalena E. Burch in The Star