Tucson: NoRTH

*Note: This is a continuing series on dining in Tucson, where I live. My hope is to prevent visitors from asking, “What is there to eat here?”

Photo via official restaurant page: bit.ly/RzfiLM
Photo via official restaurant page: bit.ly/RzfiLM. I would take my own photos, but I’m too busy stuffing my face. This is The Pig pizza, another winner.

NoRTH is where my boyfriend and I go when we’re feeling fancy; it’s perfect for Date Night. It’s a little more pricey (entrée’s average about $22), but the nighttime views of Tucson below make it worth the splurge. NoRTH markets itself as a modern take on traditional Italian cooking, which is a little hard to define—there’s classic Italian appetizers, such as arancini and calamari; there’s pizzas, pastas and salads, as well as entrées.

Possibly the best meal I’ve ever eaten, in Tucson, was at NoRTH: Pork tenderloin served over creamy white polenta. It wasn’t easy to forget. The pork was perfectly colored, the polenta was swirled with a dark balsamic sauce that was just, ugh. It was so good. This is a pretty major statement, but if I knew that I was near the end of my life, I would order that damn pork tenderloin.

Unfortunately, it’s been substituted with a different version of pork tenderloin that I have yet to try (wrapped in prosciutto, mmm mmm mmmm). For now, I order the spicy shrimp pasta.

My recommendations: Now, LET ME TELL YA about the Salted Caramel Budino. It’s spectacular. Salted caramel’s overdone? Don’t care! It’s like a warm hug, with a pudding consistency, topped with course-ground salt that balances the sweetness. I don’t even LIKE dessert and I loooove this thing.

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Downtown Phoenix

Before I lived in Mesa, I lived in downtown Phoenix; I was forced to by Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. One girl at my orientation discovered this and was so appalled she immediately changed her major. My dorms were brand spanking new, which was nice, but the security measures (identification necessary to enter, no more than five people in a room at a time including two roommates), prevented a lot of “the dorm experience”. Not to mention, ASU students living in my dorm were asked to call a security escort when walking to the parking lot and back. My parents bought me pepper spray and wished me luck.

I wasn’t living in the slums, but downtown Phoenix is much different from the main ASU campus in Tempe. Downtown Phoenix is hip, unique and urban. The tall skyscrapers are contrasted by small, independent shops and restaurants. Homeless people (hence the security measures) and residents from all over the Valley flock here for the atmosphere. Bars, restaurants and shops keep people who come to the main attractions – huge concerts, the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Diamondbacks – interested in downtown Phoenix’s appeal. Continue reading “Downtown Phoenix”