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Chris Bianco finally opens his doors downtown

TUCSON IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

Many of our own local restaurants were the focal point of an article on The Food Network's site titled "Welcome to Tucson: 10 Must-Try Mexican-Inspired Dishes" by sprinkles guru and person-who-makes-food-look-beautiful Jackie Alpers. Taqueria Pico De Gallo was the star, having both its Solo-cupped fruit pico de gallo and delicious fish tacos featured. Some other obvious choices made the cut, such as El Charro's carne seca, the Sonoran dogs from BK/Guero Canelo, and Lindy's burgers. Also getting some shine were the wonderful biscuits and ancho/sausage gravy from Proper, Downtown Kitchen's "shrimp with a sense of place," Cup Cafe's bloody mary, Tostilocos from Jasons (the only thing on the list I have yet to try) and chicharrones at Penca. Check out the full article here: foodnetwork.com/restaurants/photos/welcome-to-tucson--10-must-try-mexican-inspired-dishes.html

I LOVE IT WHEN CHEFS GO ON VACATION

... because they always come back inspired. Chef Albert Hall of Acacia Real Food & Cocktails just returned from an extended vacation in the Pacific Northwest and is cranking out some recipes he concocted from the Nirvana region. The second annual Tastes of the Pacific Northwest dinner will take place on Thursday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. and features seven courses with an optional wine pairing from the locales of Oregon and Washington. Chef Hall also wants to take diners to the beach every Friday in August beginning at 5 p.m. for a traditional "clambake" feast featuring a weekly selection of seafood including clams, mussels, shrimp, and crab as well as smoked sausage, corn and red potatoes steamed in Old Bay, fresh herbs, white wine, lemon and seaweed. For more info, check out Acacia's website: www.acaciatucson.com.

THE CHAMP IS HERE

Chris Bianco is opening his James Beard Award winning, line-creating, habit-forming, bad-ass pizza joint, Pizzeria Bianco officially on July 24. The location, in case you didn't know, is nestled between HUB and Playground at 272 E. Congress. The star-mingling pie maestro chose Tucson for his newest location and has been the talk of the food town ever since. Pizzeria Bianco took its sweet time to open so that us Tucsonans could be met with perfection once they did. Hours for now are Tuesday through Saturday, 4 to 9 p.m., with expanded hours promised in the fall. Get on down there and give it a try, just don't be in a hurry!

PARTY BUS

Another long awaited event for Tucson has arrived. The streetcar will be in operation starting this weekend. Along the route of our beloved and/or hated trolley, local restaurants and bars will be offering specials, and holding events to celebrate the anticipated and/or loathed addition to our mass transit system. Check out the Fourth Avenue, Downtown, University and Mercado San Agustín areas for specials and parties along the Streetcar route. Also, see our City Week section for more details.

More by C.J. Hamm

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