If you want to know what makes Arizona such a special place to visit, ask a local—and that’s just what we did. Join us as we explore this beautiful and exciting State with three individuals who live, work, play, and create here. Arizona is filled with many wonderful things just waiting to be experienced and enjoyed. From unique local businesses to art galleries, museums, theatre, scenic tours, farm-to-fork restaurants, and spectacular adventures in nature, there is truly something for everyone in this fascinating part of the USA.
CHEF MARIA MAZON
Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?
Well, that can take days! I’m a wife of a firefighter and a mother to the coolest 11-year-old boy ever. I’m a chef and restaurant owner of BOCA Tacos y Tequila (www.bocatacos.com). I have been doing it for 10 years (even though it feels like 100). I was born in Tucson, Arizona, but raised in Navojoa, Sonora. I’m the middle child (that explains a ton). I love to cook! I can’t imagine doing anything else. I have an amazing team at work and at home, and also I love wine.
How long have you been living Tucson?
Well, I was born here but raised in Sonora. I came back for high school at 15, and now I’m 38, so you do the math!
If you moved from somewhere else, what influenced your decision?
The food! Honestly, Tucson is beautiful beyond words. Yes we get a brutal summer, but that is only three months out of the year—nothing a trip to Mount Lemmon can’t cure. Tucson is the biggest little city I know. We are kind, fun, and love the desert.
What are some of your favorite places to go for a cocktail and/or dinner?
Besides BOCA Tacos y Tequila, and my own home, my wife and I love Kingfisher (www.kingfishertucson.com), Anello (www.anello.space), Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (www.reillypizza.com), Penca (www.pencarestaurante.com), Saffron Indian Bistro (www.tucsonindianrestaurant.com), and Cafe Desta (www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-desta-tucson).
What cultural attractions are a must see for visitors to Tucson?
We have the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (www.desertmuseum.org) of course, Mission San Xavier del Bac (www.sanxaviermission.org), Mount Lemmon (www.skithelemmon.com), and Sabino Canyon (www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coronado/recarea/?recid=75425) to name a few.
A friend is coming to Tucson for the first time… Please describe the perfect weekend.
Wow! Start with a good breakfast at Baja Café (www.bajacafetucson.com), Prep & Pastry (www.prepandpastry.com), and definitely the brunch at Ventana Canyon (www.loewshotels.com/ventana-canyon/dining). Then it’s time to explore Fourth Avenue (www.fourthavenue.org), baby! The next morning, start with a nice hike at Sabino Canyon then cool off with a cold beer at Borderlands (www.borderlandsbrewing.com) or Pueblo Vida (www.pueblovidabrewing.com)—two of my absolute favorite breweries—and eat your way through my beautiful city!
What are the best places to truly enjoy the natural beauty of the area?
Tumamoc Hill (www.tumamoc.arizona.edu/walk-hill), also Gates Pass (www.visittucson.org/business/gates-pass), and any of the amazing area gardens like Mission Garden (www.tucsonsbirthplace.org) or the Tucson Botanical Garden (www.tucsonbotanical.org).
What is your favorite time of year in Tucson and why?
The Fall (from October to May, LOL), because of the beautiful weather, and it’s our busy season.
What’s one souvenir to bring back for friends or family?
That is a hard one! Barrio Bread (www.barriobread.com), and any Tucson beer for sure. Also, Whiskey Del Bac (www.whiskeydelbac.com), and some local succulents (www.tucsoncactus.org).
Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave Tucson without…
Eating At BOCA Tacos y Tequila and enjoying our sunsets!