For the past few years, the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance has held a culinary event that brings hundreds of Southern Arizona residents together to enjoy good food, drinks, music and dancing. Upon entry, patrons were each given a bag of tortilla chips. Chefs and mixologists lined up along the walkways of the first and second floors of the La Encantada shopping center, allowing patrons to enjoy samples of different types of salsa and alcoholic drinks.
There were many varieties of salsa, some mild, some hot, and while there are plenty with traditional tomato and chili salsas, the fruity salsa stuck out for me, especially those with ingredients I hadn’t normally seen in salsa such as prickly pear, nopales, apples, and even blueberries.
Now the drinks were spectacular. I was careful in choosing which alcoholic beverages I wanted to sample and particularly enjoyed the more unique and carefully concocted drinks the mixologists put together. I’m not much of a tequila fan. I prefer vodka or rum since we’re on the subject, but these drinks were smooth and delicious.
One of my favorites was “A Fistful of Rupees” from the Tequila Factory (pictured above), which not only contained spices, but coconut milk. It reminded me of a spiked eggnog since it tasted like a dessert without being overly sweet. There was also the “Gila Monster” from the Gringo Grill and Cantina Restaurant, which was a prickly pear margarita with a hint of cilantro (pictured below). Another favorite was the Patron Cafe and 1921 Tequila Creme Liqueur Salted Caramel Milkshake, coupled with a Cinnamon Sugar Cronut, from the Tucson Country Club.
Looks like I focused more on the tequila than the salsa. But that’s okay because now I’ve got a list of restaurants to go to.