Cooks Out of the Kitchen—Local Restaurant Reviews

Judi Friedman and Jerry Lankin

We’re two SaddleBrooke foodies forever seeking great places to eat!

We’ll review two restaurants each month for taste and presentation, service, price, value, and ambiance. If you have a favorite eatery and would like to spread the word, please send us an email at [email protected].

Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers (CB & CB)

7315 Oracle Road, 520-476-4206

If you like good, large burgers and lots of sports on many TVs, this place is for you! We arrived to find the restaurant jumping. They have a large indoor dining area and also a good-sized outdoor patio (we ate inside), and they were both full. We did have to wait a while for a table so that the kitchen could catch up with all of the orders. We sat and waited while we looked around. We were then promptly served water, given silverware, and had a look at a very large and varied menu. The menu is so much more than burgers. There are many beer options (draft, bottle, and can), cocktails, and hard ciders as well. In addition to burgers, they serve breakfast, drumettes, sliders, hot dogs, sandwiches, and salads. We ordered the 1000 Island Burger (the regular one weighs half a pound, making it perfect for us to share). They have at least 17 different combinations, an opportunity to order a full-pound burger, and an option to customize your burger and toppings. Fries come with your order, but you can substitute different sides for a fee, should you so choose. The burger was delivered and cooked to our liking, and the fries were also good. We also ordered a Caesar salad as our starter, which was cold and crisp when it was served. They have more than 50 TVs that play all sorts of sports (baseball, basketball, college football, soccer, etc.), which adds to the energy of the place. It is noisy inside the dining area where we ate, so we can’t speak to the noise level on their outside patio.

Taste & Presentation *****

Service ***

Price Range $$

Value ****

Ambiance **

CB & CB is recommended.

The Grill at Hacienda del Sol

5501 N. Hacienda del Sol (east of La Paloma on Sunrise Blvd.), 520-529-3500, reservations required

The Grill at Hacienda del Sol is among the top half-dozen extraordinary dining experiences in Tucson. It is situated on the grounds of the Hacienda del Sol Hotel Resort & Spa overlooking the city. We decided to have dinner there in celebration of Judi’s birthday, and we were not disappointed. Entry to the restaurant passes through one of the most well-appointed gardens in the city. Mature and well-tended, it contains some of the most interesting flora and statuary that we have seen in Tucson. We were early for our reservation and decided to have drinks at the bar before dinner. We each had an Aperol Spritz, a newly discovered drink for us while we were in Venice recently. It just goes to show, you’re never too old to discover new things.

The service at the Hacienda is very attentive, and after being seated in a well-appointed room (Southwest meets elegant), we were presented with menus and a wine list, and delivered several varieties of very delicious, warm bread and butter. Dinner started with sharing a wonderful Caesar salad. Judi ordered the chanterelle mushroom, lobster, and scallop risotto with a lemon basil beurre blanc sauce, garnished with salsify relish, rocket greens, and, of course, Parmigiana Reggiano cheese. It was perfectly cooked, and the seafood portion was generous beyond expectation, with lots to take home. Jerry’s main course was a cedar-brined Tomahawk pork chop, done to a turn (medium rare), served with a gratin of potatoes and an additional side of braised mushrooms. This main course was cooked, presented, and served flawlessly. The wine list is extensive, and we each ordered a glass to complement our food.

Dessert was a pumpkin cheesecake on a decorated plate, with the appropriate birthday candle to celebrate the occasion. We could not have enjoyed the meal more.

Taste & Presentation *****

Service *****

Price Range $$$$$

Value *****

Ambiance *****

Hacienda del Sol is highly recommended.