Tag: Local

Time(less) Market

 

timeThe modern streetcar whistled by as I pulled up to the vintage building on University around lunchtime and there was nary a parking spot to be found. I located an area off the beaten path behind a church and trekked to the market for a daily special that has never disappointed.

I have never looked at a menu in Time Market as I am always drawn in by either their sandwich or pizza of the day. Today was no different as I was immediately drawn to the pork belly bánh mi. This Vietnamese Po’ Boy in it’s most basic form is the French baguette bread layered with a protein, a collection of vegetables and a spread—simple yet divine.

I placed my order and nestled in between two businessmen at the bar and patiently waited for my sandwich.

This place was hectic!

As I looked around, I noticed there was something for everybody here. Aside from the restaurant, there is a dedicated coffee station serving their in-house roasted coffee beans which can now be found down the road a bit at Exo Roast Company. Time Market offers up several other roasts but rest assured, they are all sourced through fair or direct trade.

Hustle & bustle on University

Hustle & bustle on University

Directly in front of me was the bar, offering up not just three or four draft offerings, but a mind-boggling 12! The selection of 12 craft beers was staggering with handles spanning from local Tucson breweries to Michigan and California to Illinois.

Fret not, my fellow oenophiles, if it is wine that you are looking for, Time Market offers an extensive list of wines by the bottle and glass. Wine and beer are also available in the grocery aisles for you to enjoy at home.

The grocery aisle, you may be wondering…yes, it is a market after all. Not as extensive as your local Trader Joe’s or even Johnny Gibson’s, but the grocery portion of the market reaches a definite niche. These hard-to-obtain items are a like finding a needle in the rough (you see what I did there?) Their selection of chocolates, spices, hot sauces, olive oils and beverages are worth the trip alone.

I ventured over to the back of the market to their wall of refrigerated beverages and took at least 10 minutes to select a bottle of iced tea. From boxed water to kombucha and chia drinks, the selection was almost too much to deal with.

Pork Belly Bahn Mi

Pork Belly Bahn Mi

Now time for the sandwich!

The in-house made baguette was crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and packed with antibiotic and growth hormone-free Beeler Haluka pork belly braised in Chinese five spice and turmeric. How good is this pork? Beeler Farms treats their pigs better than most people treat their children. Heluka is a Native American term meaning “full of sun” and is entirely focused on the pig’s comfort, welfare and genetics.

This version of the sandwich had the standard vegetables including pickled daikon radishes and carrots along with cilantro, cucumber and jalapeño peppers to kick it up a notch. It was finished with a small dollop and a squeeze of lime juice to add acidity ensuring the perfect bite, every bite.

The bánh mi is a timeless classic, first being introduced to Vietnam by the colonial French in the late 1800s. The market, much like the sandwich is timeless reaching every age range and demographic. From college students to business meetings to “fragrant” hipsters and even families. The place was packed for lunch on a sunny Thursday afternoon and I’m sure it will be like that for a long, long time.

Real Italian Food in an Unreal Place

dominicksDominick’s Real Italian opened in June, 2014 in a strip mall in northwest Tucson and has quietly become the little secret with big flavors. Tucked in between a UPS Store and a Karate Studio, Dominick’s Real Italian is like a slice of old Italy set in the backdrop of the Tortolita Mountains.

The intimate trattoria is unassuming and does brisk business not only in the restaurant but also through carryout and delivery. The news and reviews for the neighborhood restaurant have been outstanding so I decided to give the place a shot with some out of town friends.

I walked in with 3 others and quickly found a booth along the east wall. We were greeted promptly and the server struck up a conversation with us as if he were welcoming friends into his own home.

Crispy, crunchy, delicious

Crispy, crunchy, delicious – bruschetta

He explained the menu and offered wine, beer and appetizers. We ordered a bottle of cabernet and eight-piece bruschetta. Within minutes, we had four glasses of water, our bottle of wine and a basket of complimentary garlic knots.

The knots were twisty slices of heaven and incredibly addictive while the bruschetta was near perfection with plump, juicy tomatoes, fresh basil and drizzled with oil and vinegar on lightly toasted crostini. The breadth of the menu spanned everything from salads to seafood and pasta dishes.

I asked everybody to order something different so that I could get a good sampling of the menu. My wife ordered the Shrimp Fra Diavolo while I ventured into tying the Chicken Scarpiello. Our guest had the lasagna and a meat-lovers pizza.

Our pasta dishes came with our choice of pasta, which was odd to me, but I liked having the choice so I went with linguine and my wife chose the thinner spaghettini. The meals also came with a soup or salad included—I could tell this was going to be a challenge to taste everything and still leave room for their homemade desserts.

Garlic knots, pasta & wine - oh my!

Garlic knots, pasta & wine – oh my!

The chicken was amazing with a nice sear, the sausage was crisp and the sauce was the winner. A scratch-made white wine butter sauce with generous spices made this plate a winner. The shrimp dish was on point with a spicy marinara that perfectly complemented the plump gulf shrimp.

The server recommended the lasagna and said it was the best that he has ever had and although my guests wanted the pizza, they just had to try the lasagna to see where it ranked in their ‘best ever’ rankings. One word—amazing. It was evident, once again, the difference that fresh, scratch-made cooking makes in this old world Italian eatery. The hand-stretched pizza came out piled with pepperoni, Italian sausage, meatballs, Canadian bacon and capicola. The sauce was powerful, the cheese was rich and the crust was the perfect blend of crunch and cushion.

After sampling the feast fit for Roman gods and royalty, then came the tiramisu—game over. I tracked down the owner and spoke with her a bit to find out a little bit more about Dominick’s. Lyndsey Fisher named the place after her grandfather as she was looking to create an old school Italian vibe and he was the epitome of old school Italian charm in her mind.

Heaven

Heaven is available in Tucson

When asked about Dominick’s identity, she said that there were no standard regional influences other than they specialized in pasta dishes and seafood. In the kitchen, Fisher has experts in Bryan Benton who came over from Tohono Chul Park perfecting the dishes and master pizzaiolo Jon Harrington from Grimaldi’s fame dishing up the glorious pies.

“We are truly a family-owned, neighborhood restaurant,” Fisher said. “We make real Italian food in the old school, traditional way with recipes passed down through generations.”

If you are up in the northwest part of Tucson and love Italian food, head to Dominick’s and find out for yourself why this eatery is called “real Italian.”

 

DETAILS:

Address: 8330 N. Thornydale Rd.

Phone: (520) 744-2002

Open: 11am-9pm daily