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Culinary Experience

Get an inside look at the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the U.S.

Best of the Barrio Culinary Tour

Offered By Gray Line Tucson

When considering the many culinary options in the heavily Hispanic region of South Tucson, Gray Line chose to offer family-owned establishments that are truly eager to share their passion with you. The tour begins at La Estrella Bakery, where the aroma at the threshold will beckon you to delve deeper into the kitchens of this little bakery. Here, you not only discover fresh pastries and how they're made, but you also learn about the various Mexican traditions they are used for.  It's essentially a lesson in Hispanic culture and the reason behind the many holidays and celebrations, of which food is such a large part. After this gustatory delight, the tour takes you to several different types of Mexican restaurants focusing on tacos, burritos, ceviche, fish, and Sonoran hot dogs and finishes with a sweet raspado, a combination of shaved ice, ice cream, and fresh hand-cut fruit.

Attendees: 1 min./52 max.

Length: 4 hours 

Contact: Gary Price, Sales Manager

Gray Line 

(520) 622-8811 ext. 3115  


Desert Flavors at Tohono Chul

A Taste Of Sonoran Desert Native Foods

Many are familiar with the sweet, red fruits of the saguaro or prickly pear, but have you tasted the carob-like flavor of a ripe mesquite pod or put a zing in your mouth by biting into the "mother of all chiles"? Join the ethnobotanists at Tohono Chul Park and experience a taste of the desert. This tour begins with a presentation about the plants traditionally and currently used by the native peoples of the Southwest. After a visit to the park's ethnobotanical garden, the group may apply what was learned and practice some hands-on plant preparation. Finally, a meal of local plants is served.

Attendees: 10 min./30 max.

Length: 3 hours 

Sample Menu: 

  • Starters: Tepary Bean Paté with Mesquite Crackers, Sonoran Salad with Nopales (prickly pear pads), Cholla Buds and Prickly Pear Vinaigrette.
  • Breads: Blue Corn and Pepper/Cumin.
  • Entrées: Buffalo Chile Posole or Tepary Bean/Green Chile Posole (Vegetarian).
  • Desserts: Mesquite Baklava or Chocolate/Dulce de Leche Mesquite Brownies.

Contact: Jo Falls, Director of Public Programs

Tohono Chul Park 

7366 N. Paseo del Norte, Tucson, AZ 85704 

(520) 742-6455 ext. 228


Cooking Demonstration at Tucson Botanical Gardens

Four Seasons Cooking Techniques

Join Tucson's top chefs at the Tucson Botanical Gardens for a tasty cooking demonstration using fresh ingredients from the garden to make delicious and delectable meals. Perhaps a savory sauce with homegrown herbs or a hot-and-spicy appetizer laced with colorful fresh chiles. This incredible culinary experience begins with a tour of the "Garden of the Season" giving insight into the unique growing process behind each ingredient. Afterward, sit back and enjoy the cooking demonstration and the meal inspired by the garden you just visited.

Attendees: 15 min./40 max.

Length: 2 hours

Reservations: Must be made at least a month in advance, at which time a 50% deposit is due. If the group cancels less than two weeks in advance, the deposit will not be refunded. The remaining balance is due the day of the tour.

Sample Menu: Choose from ham sandwich with fontina cheese, apples, and Dijon mustard served with a  side-salad; roasted red pepper hummus plate with grilled vegetables, pita bread, and side salad; fruit salad served on field greens with honey-lime dressing and candied pistachios; gazpacho with focaccia bread and a side salad.

Contact: Yarina Hynd

Tucson Botanical Gardens 

2150 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85712 

(520) 326-9686 ext. 23


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