Rio Nuevo

Mercado San Agustín

Yesterday evening went to a new restaurant, Agustín Brasserie in the Mercado San Agustín, for a friend’s birthday party.  Quite nice, and full despite it being the “off season”.   (Photo of my pheasant.)  An agreeable wine list.

Interior design by the same person who had done the totally amazing Amangiri Resort Hotel & Spa in Canyon Point, Utah (where rates vary from $1000 to $3600 per night).

I had not been to the Mercado before, even though the farmer’s market that I used to visit occasionally when it was next to The School for the Deaf and the Blind relocated there.

Mercado San Agustín is part of the controversial Rio Nuevo project (shown here), approved by voters in 1999, to revitalize downtown Tucson and connect it, over the freeway and the Santa Cruz River, to the west side of town (where I live).
Two years ago there was an audit and the shit hit the fan.  This from over a year ago:

Rio Nuevo, some say it’s a black eye for the city of Tucson.  230 million dollars spent over 10 years and critics say there’s little to show for all that dough.  Just last month, the FBI seized all financial records from the city and the Rio Nuevo district and the state legislature has taken control of the projects.

Here’s the master plan for the section of Rio Nuevo that the Mercado is in (the top brown building.)

The twenty houses that have been built so far in the 100-lot Mercado District at Menlo Park, to the south and west of the Mercado, are quite good-looking.

Kissing bug

Got bitten by a kissing bug last night.  2:20 am.  As soon as I felt the bite I turned on the light and found the offender on the side of the mattress.  I smashed it; it is one of it few animals that I will kill.  I am allergic to the bite – no anaphylactic shock, just incredible itching on my palms and the soles of my feet.  The first time I was bitten it was so bad that my husband rushed me to the emergency room.  Now I know to take an antihistamine and put ice packs on my hands and feet.  No going back to sleep until the itch subsided, an hour and a half later, but BBC news is on at that time, luckily, so I listened to it and played solitaire.  (Couldn’t concentrate on a book.)  Good thing I didn’t have to go to work today.

I found this photo on the internet, and clicked on its article.  You must read the whole thing – gory details!

Researchers in the Arizona Research Laboratories Division of Neurobiology at the University of Arizona are currently studying kissing bugs as part of an ongoing research project. 

Carolina Reisenman is interested in which species of kissing bugs are in southern Arizona, how they are distributed across the region and if they harbor Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, and whether it can be transmitted to humans and pets.

Chagas disease is caused by T. cruzi and is potentially fatal, and is a growing concern to health officials in Latin America, though only a handful of cases have been reported in the southeastern United States.

Molecular Gastronomy

My son’s birthday is coming up, and I thought that a three-month subscription to a beer club would be fun.  Not in Canada (except, for some reason, in Ontario).  “Unfortunately, due at least partly to BC’s antiquated liquor distribution regulations, there is no beer club in operating in BC,” was my answer from John of the B.C. Beer Guide.

So I kept searching.  He loves to cook (he was the one who got Mom’s pasta-machine and has impressed me with some great meals) so I decided on a Molecular Gastronomy Kit.   Create foams, gels, spheres and emulsifications in your own kitchen: it’s cutting-edge culinary science in a box!

Across America gels, foams and dehydrated pieces of food are sweeping the tabletops of restaurant goers. These culinary tricks, known as molecular gastronomy, are being incorporated into old favorites, giving food a trendy edge in the 21st century… the culinary technique recently brought into the mainstream by popular TV shows like Bravo’s Top Chef.

Here is a photo of Arugula Spaghetti with Balsamic Vinegar Pearls.   All of the explanations of the trendy haute cuisine of molecular gastronomy on the internet are incredibly long-winded, but you get the idea from this video for the kit that I ordered for him:


Before I left yesterday evening, I went to find the cat to put her inside.  She was in the garden closet, which she gets into by the dog door, off the laundry room.  And something larger than a lizard was trying to scramble up the wall behind stacked tools.  I tossed the cat into the house and found an energetic young rabbit, obviously barely harmed.  I put it just outside the fence, thinking of Farmer McGregor’s cat in the Peter Rabbit book.

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4 Responses to “Rio Nuevo”

  1. Jim Says:

    Mary has the same reaction; I only get a burning sensation. Cellar spiders catch them in webs. They seem to have a powerful chemical defense against lizards, birds and mammals. Mice and rats are their primary host here. By carefully checking the bedroom immediately upon turning on the light, we have captured the vast majority of them. I have a collection of over 100 entombed in glass jar.

    • notesfromthewest Says:

      When we were living in a rental house while building the Bridge House next door, I found about a scorpion a week there. My son froze them in a jar. After he moved out I would add a frozen scorpion to each letter I’d send him. (Back in the day before email!)
      The house in the Foothills had packrats, and therefore more kissing bugs. I thought the packrats too cute to kill, but after taking me to the hospital for the kissing bug bite, my husband poisoned the packrats and cleaned out the woodpile. (One female packrat running away with three babies clinging to her tits.)

  2. Jim Says:

    These Mexican Bed Bugs, like the snakes, scorpions and centipedes are not the what now make Tucson so such a dangerous place to live: Tucson, AZ Arizona murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers statistics.

    • notesfromthewest Says:

      At least crime went down a lot from 2000 to 2010! Yes, in the 40 years I’ve lived in Tucson I’ve been burglarized twice (and stung by a scorpion twice), and lost some of my jewelry when staying with a friend and she was burglarized. But I grew up in Detroit, which at that time was, I think, the murder capital of the US.

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