Located just down the block from the University of Arizona is a charming little area of shops and restaurants where one can comfortably take a stroll as the sun goes down.
Gentle Ben's is a brewery with lower level and second story dining areas. The dimly lit brewery had tealights at every table, creating a very intimate environment perfect for catching up with old friends and family (but makes for poor photo quality).
I tried the Tuscon Blonde which was a light beer of pale golden color with little head. It was a very tame beer with a light fruitiness, but otherwise did not have much else to it.
Whoa, this spinach and artichoke dip was awesome. Now, I haven't had that many encounters with spinach and artichoke dip, probably because the few times I have had it have only been mediocre, but I'm going to start ordering it more often based on my experience at Gentle Ben's. The appetizer was colossal, the large portion of spinach and artichoke dip was served in a warm, soft sourdough bread bowl and the crust was able to retain its tender crispiness. This is the first spinach and artichoke dip I have seen that included black olives, which were sprinkled on top. This incredibly creamy spinach and artichoke dip topped with tomatoes, black olives, and chives was made with parmesan cheese, cream cheese, Tuscon Blonde Ale, and onions and had chunks of spinach, artichoke. It was fantastic with the warm tortilla chips and the chunks of soft sourdough bread. Not only is the presentation bursting of dip, tortillas, and bread, but it was full of flavor.
I had the Grilled Veggie Quesadilla made with jack and cheddar cheeses. The vegetables in this quesadilla included mushrooms, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, zucchini, and onions and the quesadilla was topped with black olives, tomatoes, and green onions. The flour tortilla was grilled to a nice crisp and the chipotle salsa provided nice heat and flavor, but the quesadilla wasn't particularly spectacular. I longed for a thin, chewy flour tortilla handmade with lard, but there certainly was not one to be found on my plate. I was expecting a lot more from this dish, both in size and especially in flavor, than was actually presented to me, so I was disappointed with my entree.
Stepping outside of the restaurant after dinner, we were surprised to be greeted by the elusive Old Pueblo Trolley that runs down University and Fourth streets.
865 E. University Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85719