Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Tucson restaurants: Bushi, Union Public House, JaxKitchen

.... flatbread with basturma @ Taxim, Chicago, IL
Image by ehfisher via Flickr

3 days: 3 Tucson restaurants

With guests from L.A., we went out to eat three days in a row. Here’s a recap of eating Tucson restaurants.

Friday after wine tasting at CataVinos Wine Shoppe, we went to dinner at Bushi. Bushi used to be Kampai Sushi. I had never been in Kampai but recently tasted Bushi’s margarita and the World Margarita Championship so wanted to give it a try. Bushi is also in the same parking lot as Sunflower Market so it’s convenient.

We arrived and were told it was still Happy Hour. Who can argue with that? We both enjoyed $5 margaritas (apple ginger). They were a tad sweet but we liquored up as there was no skimping on the alcohol. I also ordered Bushi’s version of ceviche. The fish variety worked as did the chopped mango with cilantro and grated Japanese radish.

We also ate grilled shrimp skewers with pineapple and a chasu green onion pizza. Bushi graciously served complimentary edamame and miso soup. We both loved the “pizza” which did not have cheese or red sauce but a tasty way to present its ingredients. The pizza was served last and by the time, were full so took it home to eat for breakfast another day. Ah, the joy of leftovers.

I was glad to see Bushi restaurant busy.

On Saturday, late lunch was eaten at Union Public House, the new restaurant which now sits in the former Acacia at St. Philip’s Plaza. By the way UPH looks nothing like Acacia did. My friend called it a glorified sports bar and perhaps but there is no sports bar in Tucson that serves food as good as this. If you discriminate against sports bar food, wipe the slate of your mind clean now. I definitely want to go back and try more menu items especially the pork chop “lollipops.”

We each ate a salad — mine was of pickled vegetables, lettuce, prosciutto. I also ate a small plate of perfectly grilled seasonal vegetables and we shared a flat bread with goat cheese, crimini mushrooms, and prosciutto and took some this home for leftovers.

UPH has happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. which I will definitely try soon. I think UPH is going to be highly successful in this location.

Union Public House has a huge U.S. flag on the wall — with 48 stars.

Sunday it was JaxKitchen day because I had a Groupon that was going to expire. We arrived at 5 pm (yes, we had a reservation) and by the time we left a bit after 6 pm people were waiting for tables. On Sunday you can get any bottle of wine for half price — what a deal! However, with a Groupon, you cannot take advantage of that which makes sense because I was already getting $30 worth of food for $15.

My friend ordered the drink of the day which was strawberry infused vodka with peach lemonade. Wow! And I had the margarita that won the World Margarita Championship a few years back. Both drinks were served in Mason jars.

We also shared the entree of the day — summer crab rolls, a two-beet salad, and Kobe meatloaf with mashed potatoes and caramalized onions. Complimentary potato chips and bread with salt and olive oil were there to tempt us for beginning nosh. Everything aroused my tastebuds.

What I like is they split everything in the kitchen (per our request) and don’t charge a fee to do so. Thank you!

We opted to skip dessert although the offerings tempted — a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, a caramel apple pie, and one other which escapes me now.

You see the day before was the Greyhound fundraiser and my visiting friend bid and won on the live dessert auction so we were eating a luscious lemony cake all weekend. The cake was made by Sue Scheff from Sous Chef Distinctive Catering. On Saturday night, we invited some friends over for cake and wine. Then we ate cake on Sunday night and cake for Monday breakfast. Fortunately, I was able to give part of it away too. I didn’t want any cake in my house after Monday. However, the longer it stayed, the more the luscious lemon marinated.

Back to CataVinos Wine Shoppe, after the tasting I bought a bottle of Santa Julia, late harvest Torrontes Tardio from Mendoza, Argentina. It was a sensual dessert wine with a honey aftertaste — perfect when paired with the luscious lemony cake.

Okay — I’m back to eating limited carbs.

  1. I just went to Union and although the food was good and it had a decent drink selection, the smoking on the patio was really bad. There is this great patio but the owners allow smoking (cigarette and cigar). It was so bad I could still taste the cigar after my 20 minute drive home. I’m sure you could smell it in the restuarant area. I’m very dissappointed and we won’t be back. Instead, we’ll go across the parking lot to Vivachi Pizza which is incredible and very customer centric.

  2. When I was there it was an off hour, we ate inside, and didn’t smell any cigarette or cigar smoke.
    There is some kind of regulation where smoking has to be so many feet from the entrance but of course you were sitting on patio in the smoking zone.
    Thanks for your comment.

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