Sunday, January 31, 2010

It Always Helps…

to have a Plan B.

When the day started with rain, we thought we would have to go with Plan B for the entire day.

But then this beautiful rainbow appeared.

Neither of us had ever seen both ends of one rainbow. Fortunately, the camera was close by, so I was able to get these shots. Before I could move to a better position, the rainbow disappeared.

So, it was back to our original plan for the day.

The plan was to attend an event in downtown Tucson that began at 3:00 p.m. and to have lunch beforehand, but when we arrived at the Plan A restaurant, we learned that it would be a half-hour to forty-five-minute wait for a table. Time for Plan B.

Just across the street in the Historic Train Depot was Maynards Market & Kitchen, a member of the loose consortium of forty-two Tucson restaurants known as Tucson Originals. Quoting from their web site: “Local, independently-operated restaurants provide the soul and distinctive flavours of food that help define a sense of place. We create unique menu items that are original to Tucson and southern Arizona.

We are your neighbors! We’re truly a part of your community. We’re quick to donate our time, our facilities, our food and our staff to help local fundraising projects. We work to keep our local economy strong and reinvest for the future.

The restaurant business is our passion. Our restaurants vary from white tablecloth and upscale casual to sandwich shops and pizza parlors. We live our business, breathe it, work in it and play in it. We love the art of presentation and the look of surprise on your face when our plates come to your table. We strive for perfection in every recipe, every dish and every table setting. We feel it’s our duty to support sustainable agriculture and incorporate the freshest local ingredients into our offerings.”

Since our experiences at El Charro and Frankie’s Cheesesteaks (both members) had been successful, it was across the street to Maynards we went.

The Market features over forty local vendors that bring quality products from across Arizona to the Historic Train Depot. The Kitchen lives two lives. By day, the restaurant is an order at the counter, take your number on a stick, find a table, and sit and wait for your food and beverages to arrive kind of place. By night, Maynards becomes an upscale, sit down, full service restaurant and bar. At lunch, one can sit at a large community table in the market, sit on the outdoor patio, or, as we did, sit in the enclosed sun porch.

The lunch menu is basic and includes: the signature soup, a Butternut Squash Veloute with apple and hazelnut crème fresh; a spinach and frisee salad with red onions, blue cheese fritters, and a warm bacon dressing; a Caesar with shaved Parmesan Reggiano, lemon, and white anchovies; and a fresh fruit salad with yogurt and honey-glazed walnuts.

The calzone with homemade fennel sausage, San Marzano tomato sauce, goat cheese, and spinach sounded good, but since they were sitting on the counter under a warming lamp, I took a pass.

Chuck’s selection was the Cuban sandwich with pork, smoked ham, Gruyere cheese, grilled onions, hot jalapenos, dill pickles, cilantro, lime, garlic mayo, and Dijon mustard on an Amoroso’s roll. This was a Cuban kicked up notches. Since the pickles were of the dill variety they were instantly removed from his sandwich and onto his plate. (Just as swiftly the pickles were removed from Chuck’s plate to mine.) The Amoroso’s roll, when pressed, became the perfect roll for a Cuban. The crust developed a delicate crispness and the roll’s interior had just the right degree of chew. This was a good Cuban sandwich, and had he not had an exceptional Cuban at Café a la C’Art a few weeks earlier, might have been better received.

I chose the New York pastrami sandwich on rye with artisan kraut, Gruyere cheese and 1,000 Island Dressing. This was a unique rye bread. I am accustomed to an oblong slice rather than square. And I couldn’t detect any caraway seed. The kraut had just the right amount of “sour” – not bland but certainly not dull. The pastrami was first class – sliced thin and with just the right amount of fat to moisten the meat when heated. And I could really taste the brining spices – especially the pepper and coriander.

We both received a small serving of kettle chips (yawn) and a small serving of red grapes. My plate also came with three small cornichon.

One of the featured beverages that day was a green ginger peach iced tea. This was good but no match for the pineapple basil tea at Café a la C’art.

All in all, this was a satisfying lunch and I would return to Maynards Market & Kitchen. We give our dining experience a 4.00 Addie rating.

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