Best Specialty Shop

Rum Runner Wine & Cheese Co.

READERS' PICK: Elegant without being pretentious, The Rum Runner offers Tucson's best selection of gourmet and specialty items. It features a wide variety of wines, liquors, beers, imported cheeses, infused oils and flavored vinegars, fancy condiments, exotic spices, breads, crackers, and wine and bar accessories. The staff is knowledgeable and can help you pick the perfect bottle of wine, and there is also a featured selection of wines of exceptional value. Whether you're looking for the days of wine and roses, or yo' ho and a bottle of rum, the Rum Runner has something to suit every taste, and every budget as well.

B-SIDE: Caravan Import Foods, 2817 N. Country Club Road. What specialty food store in Tucson is the meeting place of Yo Yo Ma and Duke Ellington? Who knows what inspired Duke Ellington to compose "Caravan," but this shop evokes the image of camels carrying loads of delicacies along the Silk Route to the Middle East. The number and diversity of foods is hard to imagine. Go there on Fridays and choose from the seemingly endless varieties of flatbreads. Do you want a huge Afghan bread or a regular or whole wheat lavosh? In the bulk containers are a dozen different nuts, dried fruits, olives and dates. There is Syrian cheese and Bulgarian feta cheese. Fresh local lamb is available every week. Go there to search for your elusive food dreams. When visions of sugar plums dance in your head, go to the Caravan. Perhaps a miniature apricot steeped in sugar would be the perfect dessert tonight.

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