Holidaze 2020: Food and Christmas spirits

Support local restaurants and eateries as you buy gifts

While we’re not encouraged to attend big Christmas parties this year, you may find yourself in need of some Christmas spirits (or Christmas wine or Christmas beer). Find fresh seasonal releases or traditional favorites at Tap & Bottle’s two locations (403 N. Sixth Ave. and 7254 N. Oracle Road). Store hours are limited but they do offer curbside pickup and even delivery a few days a week. If you happen to be shopping around the MSA Annex (located at 267 South Avenida del Convento), stop by Tap & Bottle’s other establishment, Westbound, for craft beer and bottles of wine. Likewise, midtown’s Plaza Liquors (2642 N. Campbell Ave.) has a wide array of beer, wine and liquors to make the season bright. 

Who doesn’t love a warm cup of coffee on a cold winter day? Consider picking up a bag of fresh beans at one of Tucson’s fine local roasters, including EXO Coffee (403 N. Sixth Ave.), which offers a wide variety of beans both local and international. Tucson Coffee Roasters (250 S Craycroft Road) sells coffee beans by the  bag, ranging from decaf to espresso, Guatemalan, Preuvian, Colombian and even house blends. Raging Sage (2458 N. Campbell Ave.) is a self-described “micro-roastery” that has coffee down to a science, offering specialty roasts from dark to light, French to Vienna.

With all the cooking we do around the holidays, sometimes it’s nice to just dial up a pizza joint and order a pie. If you’re on the northwest side, there’s no better place to call than Rosati’s (2944 W. Ina Road), which offers pizza pie, salads, sandwiches and more, so there’s something to delight every appetite. If you’re central, there’s no better place than Rocco’s Little Chicago to pick up a classic deep dish pie. In downtown and want even more options, consider Fourth Avenue institution Caruso’s, which offers a wide range of Italian favorites for takeout if you don’t want to dine in.

It’s too late to get Thanksgiving tamales at Tucson Tamale Company (they sold out last week), but you can still purchase some of their other tamales for the holiday season. Whether you’re looking for traditional green corn or beef tamales or something more exotic (the New Delhi features curry, peas and carrots), Tucson Tamale has what you need and can ship anywhere in the United States, packed in dry ice. Give your East Coast relatives a little taste of Tucson! Two locations: 7159 E. Tanque Verde Road and 7286 N. Oracle Road.

The Cup Cafe, housed inside Hotel Congress, (311 East Congress Street) has a wide variety of specials this holiday season. Not only are they cooking up some take-home Thanksgiving dinners, they’re also putting their merchandise on sale. The Cup’s Thanksgiving Dinner to-go feeds four-six people, and includes roasted turkey breast; a mixed greens salad of roasted squash, pecans, pomegranate, parmesan and mustard vinaigrette; sweet potato brulee; cranberry sauce; a whole pumpkin pie; and a bottle of red wine from Maynards Market. Hotel Congress itself is selling custom-branded jackets, ball caps, tote bags, and T-shirts. For information, visit hotelcongress.com.

For your loved ones with a more refined palette, REVEL Wine Bar (416 East Ninth Street) has a rotating menu of special vinos from all across the globe. Whether you’re looking for sparkling whites from Italy, reds from Argentina, or even some from California and Arizona, REVEL is the place to go. And if it’s too much for you to pick a flavor for someone else, REVEL also hosts a wine club. Purchase a membership as a gift, either for beginners or those experienced with “adventurous palettes.” Club members get complimentary tastings, wine pick-ups, discounts in-store, and access to exclusive member events. Visit reveltucson.com

Most Tucsonans know of the beloved local sandwich chain Beyond Bread, but their Speedway & Wilmot location holds a special kitchen. The Back Dough (6260 E. Speedway Blvd.) is literally in the back of a Beyond Bread, and offers a wide variety of homemade fruit, cream and pot pies all made from scratch. Even better, many of the pies come in small options, so nobody has to share! Whether you’re looking to buy a classic strawberry pie, a Boston cream,  or key lime – or something more adventurous like a strawberry margarita pie or shrimp quiche, Back Dough is the place. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. beyondbread.com/backdough.

There is no better time to break bread with friends and loved ones than the holiday season and there is no better place to get bread locally than celebrated gluten factory Barrio Bread. Seriously, baker Don Guerra produces some of the finest baked goods to ever come out of an oven. EVER. With more than two-dozen different choices, Beyond Bread is sure to satisfy even the most discriminant bread lover or carb-counter. Guerra’ shop is located at 18 S. Eastbourne Avenue in the Village on Broadway shopping center. 

Everybody has that hard-to-please chocolate-lover in their friend list, so why not give them what they really want—Monsoon Chocolate. Tucson’s favorite confectionary is constantly producing award-winning world class chocolates that not only melt in your hand, but will melt your mind by how good it is. Monsoon Chocolate is located at 234 E. 22nd St. 

If the stuffing for the holiday turkey requires some alligator stuffing, the place to go is Dickman’s Deli (6472 N. Oracle Road and 7955 E. Broadway Blvd.). They have all manner of exotic meat (though we’d stay away from reindeer if you’re still hoping Santa will get you a little something), along with some of the best cuts of steak, chicken, pork and seafood in town. 

For the tea drinker in your life, The Scented Leaf (943 E. University Blvd. #165 and 308 E. Congress St.) offers drinks from all over the world. To really get into the season, they’re selling a “Fall collection” of teas, as well as a fruity collection, and classics collection. But if they think tea bags are old-hat, Scented Leaf also sells cold-brew tea packs, loose leaf, and gift cards. For more information, visit


Is Christmas morning really complete with a fruit-filled Kringle? Our sweet tooth says no. Pick up a kringle with raspberry, blueberry, chocolate, cinnamon apple or several other flavors at Mona’s Danish Bakery (4777 E. Sunrise Drive), where you’ll find plenty of other cakes and pastries to make your party complete. If you’re looking for something more kosher for your Hanukkah celebration, consider a visit to Nadine’s (4553 E. Broadway Blvd.), where you’ll find plenty of cakes, pies and other pastries along with challah bread and other traditional Jewish treats.


—By Austin Counts, Jeff Gardner and Jim Nintzel



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