Where to Dine
One doesn’t typically think of Tucson as a buzzing culinary scene, but the city was actually crowned UNESCO’s Capital of Gastronomy, a first for the United States. Foodies will find a plethora of interesting options ranging from traditional Mexican fare to homegrown delicacies, including cholla buds from the jumping cactus. “The needles are burned off and you eat the cactus like you would an avocado. It has an interesting flavor, almost like asparagus,” Morrison said. Not feeling adventurous? She also recommends sipping on prickly pear lemonade (a “vibrant, fuchsia-colored beverage”), enjoying some prickly pear jellies (a sweet treat served at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain), or ordering the mole sauce at Cafe Poca Cosa (a favorite spot among locals). For incredible views without leaving the hotel, Morrison suggests finding a spot on the patio at CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar for breakfast and retreating to Turquesa Latin Grill near the pool for lunch. Ask for a hand-crafted margarita and a side of crudité with Green Goddess dip (Morrison’s favorite mid-afternoon snack).
Where to Find Inspiration
The Mercado District offers a mix of local shops and eateries, making it an ideal stop to regroup and refuel. “It felt like old Tucson meeting new Tucson,” said Morrison. “There were men in cowboy hats, people line dancing, and a Mexican food stand, but at the same time, there was a cute accessory store with modern jewelry and amazing hats from Columbia. It was a really nice mix of things that were local but not touristy.”
Serenaded by Grammy-nominated cellist and composer who explores the connection between music and travel for The Ritz-Carlton, Tina Guo, Morrison created a painting that captured her experience in Arizona. “Every time I hear Tina play, I’m moved to tears,” said the painter. “There’s something about her music that transports you, and I strive to do that with my art as well.” For daily inspiration, sketch to the sounds of a local flutist who plays every evening at sunset, a signature of The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. “He’s up in the canyon, so the music bounces off the mountain,” said Morrison.