Maynard’s Kitchen: Tucson Food Orgasm

About a week after I arrived in Tucson, several friends forwarded me this New York Times article: “36  Hours in Tucson“. What luck! What timing!

Our days here are mostly filled with work and riding and eating, a little culture never hurt anybody so I packed up my favorite only boyfriend and headed downtown for some good eatin’.

We went to Maynard’s Kitchen for a stone-baked pizza and a good cocktail (I peeped the cocktail menu online and almost fell over.)

10 minutes after sitting down, pizza quickly turned into “pizza and side” which quickly turned into “pizza and sides and dessert”. It’s just how we roll. Truthfully, I wanted to taste everything on the damn menu, but my stomach and my purse strings were not in agreement.

Cocktail Delight

First up: that cocktail I mentioned. A chocolate martini. But not just a chocolate martini (which can be overly sweet and seriously boring unless done well) – a Lampone Cioccolato. “Rich chocolate vodka shaken hard with Van Gogh liqueur and Chambord served up with a ripe raspberry.”

Normally, I’m a bourbon kind of lady. I like to taste my alcohol. I like it strong. But the Lampone Cioccolato caught my eye.

Van Gogh liqueur is stunning, but the real deal-sealer here is the Chambord, which balances an otherwise boring, sweet drink with a really intriguing hint of berry. I’ve had a chocolate like this once before at Three Doors Down just off Hawthorne in Portland. Delicious.

The Menu Takes Over

We ordered the San Marzano pizza – detailed below. Meat lovers, baby.

I was charmed by the presence of crayons and butcher paper in a fairly upscale setting.

While we were deciding on pizza, I couldn’t resist the siren song of the mouth-watering sides that were offered: Baked Ziti, French Gnocci, and Chard. We ordered one of each to arrive before the pizza.

But the real surprise were the oysters. Fresh Kumamotos and three other varieties that I neglected to record. (You had me at Kumamoto!) Why not kick the whole thing off with a little saltwater aphrodisiac?

Maynard’s is set next to the train station so decorations and design details gave a nod to trains, dining cars and a more gentile time gone by.

Hello, Rita Hayward.

Since we were on a roll, we ordered a bottle of Maryhill Cabernet to go with dinner. Washington, represent! That shit gets two thumbs up.

And then the sides came.

And it was all over.

ALL. OVER.

Holy sweet jeebus, the sides!

French gnocci with orange brown butter and dried figs.

These were different than any gnocci I’ve had – good so that there was a bit of an “outer shell”.
Crunchy and delightful outside, softer inside.

The figs were POW POW POW amazing.

Next up: Baked Ziti with fontina, goat cheese, smoked housemade mozzarella, parmesan and garlic bread crumbs.

Mind blowing.
Really.

The ziti was our favorite part of our meal.
It was the cheesiest, smokiest, crispiest, baked “pasta boat” I’ve ever had.

CHEESE. So much cheeeeeeeeese!

If I go back, I’m order this and nothing else.
And to hell with splitting – Sal can get his own.

(Note: no photos of the Swiss Chard with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts, though it was delicious.)

Time for pizza.
Meaty, flavorful, delicious.
Not the most incredible crust I’ve ever had, but then, we’re a little picky about crust.
The meat was 100% top-notch.
(Maynard’s Kitchen is the restaurant equivalent of Maynard’s Market, which is a high-quality meat-buying join right next door)

We let the food digest, drew with green crayons, and ogled Rita Hayworth for a while before getting sucked into the dessert menu.
(Go ahead, twist our arms.)

Banana and bourbon bread pudding (see, I knew I’d slip the bourbon in there somewhere)
Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.
Super moist and stupid delicious.

Seriously impressive menu, amazing wait staff (I’m a sucker for meticulous service), and a dark, cozy, romantic atmosphere perfect for Friday date night. Or any date night, for that matter.

We’ll be back – and when we go I’m planning to try the Braised Lamb Shank or the Acorn Squash baked with multi-grain risotto, dried fruit, toasted seeds, and swiss chard… or the Cassoulet… or polenta with marscapone and fresh herbs.

Or all of the above.

Stay tuned.

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6 comments

  1. Can you say hott double date?

  2. Just wondering what lens and/or camera combination for the menu shots?

  3. Oh my god!!! The food looks amazing. I wish I could be their to eat all of it!!!

  4. Hey Kelleh,
    All photos were shot with my 5d and 2.8/50mm Sigma Macro lens. I was trying to stay somewhat inconspicuous so I shot without flash with the ISO cranked to the highest the 5d will muster (3200).
    RO!
    RO MY GOD, RO. You would have died, lady. Wish you were here! Come in late feb and you can lay by the pool!

  5. Terrie Courian

    I’m so impressed with your article in the Sunday paper and like your personality. I had to check out your blog for the pecan salmaon. Haven’t tried it yet. My husband bikes and I love to cook. (I would love to ride my bike more…bad back, etc.) I love reading about your dinner experience. You take great pictures. I look forward to cehcking out the rest of your blog:)

    • Terry – welcome and thank you! I hope you enjoy the rest of the content here… I look forward to hearing more from you!

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