Mama's Hawaiian Barbecue
The term "Hawaiian barbecue" sounds like an island-themed cookout, but it's really a style of cooking started by Hawaiian plantation workers forced to live off rice, canned meat and few vegetables. A scoop of macaroni salad was added at some point, and the meals eventually popped up at restaurants in Hawaii and on the mainland. The unique cuisine now has a home in Tucson, with the recent opening of Mama's Hawaiian Barbecue at 850 E. Speedway Blvd. Expect meats ranging from teriyaki chicken to a hamburger patty topped with a fried egg, all served with one scoop each of rice and macaroni salad. Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.; 792-2350.
Give it up for injera, the crepe-like bread on which Ethiopian food is served. Its spongy texture makes it the perfect utensil for sopping up flavorful sauces, while serving as both a part of dinner and a plate. Sources tell us the injera at the brand-new Ethiopian restaurant Café Desta, at 758 S. Stone Ave., is excellent, and that the spicy lamb and other dishes are causing a stir. The restaurant is owned by Brooke and Telahoun Molla, who also own Café Lalibela in Tempe. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily. Prices range from $6.35 to $13.25; 622-2615.
Frogs Organic Bakery
Did a French pastry chef really open a restaurant in Oro Valley and call it Frogs Organic Bakery? Is this an attempt to pre-empt anti-French sentiment with humor? Or is owner Jean-Luc Labat using the most foul of French tricks—charm—to fool us into trying the cuisine Française he learned working as a pastry chef at some of France's finest hotels? Whatever the case, the restaurant is using top-notch ingredients to create some delicious-sounding baked items, sandwiches and desserts. It's located in Casas Adobes Plaza at Oracle and Ina roads; frogsorganicbakery.com.
Hotel Congress hosts its third annual Whiskey Weekend on Friday and through Sunday, Dec. 17-19. It starts with a tasting featuring more than 20 top-shelf whiskies, hobnobbing with whiskey experts, and specials on whiskey cocktails from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday, Dec. 17; $25, which includes tastes of 10 different whiskies. A whiskey-paired dinner goes down from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 18, at Maynards Market and Kitchen (400 N. Toole Ave.), and specials on whiskey drinks run through the weekend; www.hotelcongress.com.