Hunger Games: 15 places to cure your 4/20 munchies

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
Courtesy Photo

Fun fact: Scientists with the society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior conducted a 2018 study that showed that dosing lab mice with cannabis vapor triggered hunger hormones and shifted portions of the brain to “hungry mode.”

But you don’t have to be a scientist to know that weed enhances your appetite. You just need to dose yourself with cannabis vapor and—trust us on this one—your stomach is gonna start grumbling and food is going to taste realllllly good.

Given that stoner holiday 4/20 is right around the corner, we picked out some of our favorite spots to satisfy that weed-sparked appetite.

Tanna’s Botannas. All you need to know is right there on the sign: Fire snacks. When you’re in a munchies mood, what more could you want than some spicy, savory snacks of the Southwestern style? Tanna’s crafts up some unique munchies by combining classic candies with a roasty kick. We’re talking spicy gushers, spicy mango pieces, spicy Sour Patch Kids, and even spicy Starburst. And if those don’t sound up your alley, Tanna’s also sells spicy rim dip, so you can take their flavors to whatever food or drink you desire. Sometimes the munchies mean you’re looking for a classic snack, but other times, you’re looking for a wild combination of flavors that you’ve never had before. And in those situations, Tanna’s Botannas is the place to go. 4426 S. Sixth Ave. (520) 445-5875. tannasbotannas.com

Arte Bella. We all know weed makes you more creative and hungry, so wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place to combine the two? Fourth Ave’s Arte Bella capitalizes on the combo by being “Tucson’s original puff and paint.” Here, you can grab food and drinks while participating in a variety of painting classes, all with a 4/20 twist. Just imagine how vibrant and creative those acrylics and watercolors will turn out when you have a bit of extra inspiration in you; you can vape and dab inside the venue, and you can light fire to flower products on their patio. And if you forget anything, there’s a smoke shop just next door. But don’t let all that distract from their food, including quesadillas, nachos, bowls, desserts, plus happy hour specials and a Taco Tuesday. There are a lot of options on Fourth Ave., but Arte Bella stands out with a special combination. 340 N. Fourth Ave. (520) 526-2588. artebellaon4th.com

Caruso’s. One of Tucson’s oldest family restaurants is also one of its tastiest. Italian food, cheese and big servings all go hand in hand, and we have a hard time thinking of something that sounds more appealing when the munchies hit. There are plenty of options for good dining at Fourth Ave’s Caruso’s, but we’re especially drawn to their specialty lasagne, made with homemade noodles, layered with a cheese-meat sauce, and “baked in a blanket of cheese.” Options for these range from chicken to meatball to vegetarian. All we can say is thank you for continuing to do what you do, Caruso’s. 434 N. Fourth Ave. (520) 624-5765. carusositalian.com

Frog & Firkin. A standout among the University Boulevard scene, Frog & Firkin has almost everything we could hope for in a pub, especially when it comes to the food. Make the place one stop on a University tour, or select it as your destination all its own, either way, there is plenty here to satisfy some cravings. We appreciate how the food feels equal parts fancy and indulgent, such as their steak salad with grilled tenderloin and bleu cheese crumbles, their nacho platter overflowing with toppings, multiple selections of specialty fries, and about a dozen burgers to choose from. But if there’s one thing on the Frog & Firkin menu we want to shout out as a munchies delicacy, it’s their “Amazeballs Truffle Mac & Cheese,’’ with four different cheeses, truffle oil, bacon and butter crumbs. Just another reason we Firkin love this place. 874 E. University Blvd. (520) 623-7507. frogandfirkin.com.

Little Love Burger. A newcomer to the Congress restaurant scene, the gang at Little Love Burger has already made a name for themselves thanks to their natural angus beef (or vegetarian) burgers covered in specialty toppings. Their selections range from the classic to a BBQ burger with swiss and cheddar and bacon, to the overflowing chili and mustard burger. They even give you the option to craft your own burger by selecting any of their toppings, for the picky stoner. On a recent trip in, we were head-over-heels about their “All Spiced Up” burger, which comes topped with pepper jack, jalapeno, slaw, black pepper bacon, tomato and spicy ketchup. It takes a special burger joint to fill the hole that Diablo Burger left in our hearts, but Little Love Burger definitely fits the bill. 312 E. Congress St. (520) 849-5908. littleloveburger.com

Scented Leaf. Maybe you’re feeling a bit more mellow when the munchies hit, and you don’t exactly want to dive into a pile of greasy food. For the more reflective in the audience, either of Scented Leaf’s locations may do the trick. With more of a flavor focus after you indulge, fancy teas taste all the more refreshing and multi-layered. Dig into the Scented Leaf’s loose-leaf teas from around the world and experience some wild flavor combinations! If a simple mint tea isn’t quite your thing, they also have Banana Chocolate Cake tea, Blueberry Bliss, Pomegranate Razz, Spicy Pear and much more. 943 E. University Blvd. suite 165, and 308 E. Congress St. (520) 624-2930.
thescentedleaf.com

Tumerico. Even if you’re not among the “meat is murder” crowd, you’re going to love this Latin-inspired vegetarian eatery with plenty of Vegan options and generous portions that include “all the powers”: beans, rice and veggies. The jackfruit carnitas will fool you into thinking you’re eating pork, although you should listen when they warn you it’s gonna be spicy. Plus, you can add CBD to your drinks. Soooo good. 2526 E. Sixth St. (520) 240-6947. 402 E. Fourth Ave. (520) 392-0224. tumerico.com

The Screamery. I scream, you scream, we all scream for the Sreamery’s ice cream. With all the standard flavors plus exotic options such as Ooey Gooey Buttercake and Sweet Cream Honeycomb, you’e going to find the cold sweetness your tongue is seeking. Or enjoy a shake, banana split or ice cream nachos. 50 S. Houghton Road. (520) 721-5299. 2545 E. Speedway Blvd. (520) 777-3080. 250 E. Congress St. (520) 207-7486. 5920 W. Arizona Pavilions Drive. (520) 328-8145. thescreamery.com

Tucson Tamale Company. If you haven’t tried a vegetable curry tamale from Tucson Tamale Company, you’ve missed out on one of the finest food fusions in Southern Arizona. When Tucson Tamale owners Shari and Todd Martin decided to experiment with what a tamale could be, they created some astounding options wrapped up in a cork husk. There’s a reason these guys sell millions of these tamales every year—because they’re great! 7286 N. Oracle Road. (520) 403-1888. 7159 E. Tanque Verde Road. (520) 298-8404. tucsontamale.com

Dessert Case at Hotel Congress. If your sweet tooth is activated by cannabis, you’ll want to gaze into the revolving dessert case at Hotel Congress, where house-baked delights twirl all day long. Whether you’re looking for a slice of pie or cake, a tart of some kind or just a cookie, you’ll find something here to activate your taste buds. Of course, the entrees aren’t bad, either. 311 E. Congress St. (520) 622-8848.
Hotelcongress.com

Amy’s Donuts. If you’re really looking for a sugar rush to accompany that head rush, Amy’s Donuts will deliver. With options such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Pebbles, and Cookie Monster, you know these donuts are fresh baked for the freshly baked. 101 E. Fort Lowell Road. (520) 647-2481. amysdonuts.com

Lindy’s on 4th. Sometimes, you want a cheeseburger. Sometimes you want mac ’n’ cheese. And sometimes, you want both! Luckily, Lindy’s has both in a single meal, the mac ’n’ cheeseburger. This calorie-packed sandwich is the kind of decadence you deserve as a treat once in a while. If you’re celebrating 4/20, forget about that summer workout routine treat yo’self to a little piece of joy. I mean, it’s just one day! We also recommend a side of tater tots for a crunchy texture. 500 N. Fourth Ave. (520) 207-6970. Lo4th.com

ANELLO Pizzeria. Say you’re high. You end up in downtown Tucson. You’re not really sure if you should be out in public, but you know you’re looking for a pizza, as it’s a classic way to combat the munchies. ANELLO’s limited menu makes it easy for readers to choose their toppings and they excel at what they make. If you’re craving something sweet afterward, ANELLO’s offers delicious tarts like their blue corn lemon and pecan honey tarts. 222 E. Sixth St. annelo.space

Nico’s Burritos. The munchies can hit at any time, so thank goodness we have Nico’s, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can’t go wrong with a bacon, egg, potato and cheese breakfast burrito, with the green salsa and a large horchata. We’re not advising you to drive while high, but there is a drive-thru window if you don’t feel like being out in public. And everything on the menu is under $12. Multiple locations. ordernicosmexicanfood.com

Cheba Hut. Is any list of spots to stave off the munchies complete without Cheba Hut? This is where the subs are toasted and so are you. These guys lean into that stoner culture, with loaded not’chos and krispy fruity pebble bars wrapped in marshmallow gooeyness. Enjoy a “Cottonmouth Cure” such as Kool-Aid. Open until 10 p.m., with a full bar, seating for days, and the option for online or pick-up ordering. Cheba Hut is the ultimate stoner fantasy. 446 N Campbell Ave. (520) 495-4719. chebahut.com


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