Is it presumptuous to just tell the world right now that Tucson Weekly is going to declare its newest staff writer, Heather Hoch, our cocktail queen? No. In fact, we're hoping this Phoenix transplant, who came to us from the Phoenix New Times, falls completely in love with our city and its food and drink and more that she decides a few more titles are in order. So, bow down, OK, no, we're not going to go that far. But here's a little from Hoch and your chance to get to know what makes her love what she's doing for the Tucson Weekly.
How did you decide you wanted to be a writer and do your mother and father approve of this profession (and living in Tucson?)
I've wanted to write ever since I took a newspaper class my freshman year of high school. My mom and dad have always been very supportive of anything I decided I wanted to do, be it horseback riding lessons, guitar lessons, or tap dancing lessons (the list goes on and on)— journalism was the one thing that stuck. I'm sure they're bummed that I moved out of the Valley, but at least this time my dad didn't play The Beatles' "She's Leaving Home," which he did do when I moved out at 18. My mom asked me the day I moved to mail a copy of a Tucson Weekly article that I will write, which she'll likely frame and put on the wall. They're good like that.
Which came first for you, food or music?
I've always wanted to write about music. I recently found a high school newspaper article that I wrote titled "Local Band the Format is Sweeping the Nation" as I was packing up to move here. Local music has always been huge for me, hopefully my headline writing has improved since a bit. I found a love of food writing when I interned for the Phoenix New Times' Chow Bella blog at 19. It was totally unexpected, but I'm obsessed with all of the passion and camaraderie in the food and beverage industry. It makes me excited to write each and every article.
What's your favorite comfort food of all time (and why)?
Cheese fries. I spent my first 10 years in the Chicago area and Portillo's cheese fries mean pretty much everything to me.
Your favorite cocktail?
It changes all of the time, but right now I love the Vieux Carré. Everything from the cocktail's New Orleans history to it's balanced, flavorful, and complex spirituous composition just blows me away every time. I prefer mine with Rittenhouse bonded rye and Carpano Antica. Can't go wrong with a gin and tonic, though.
Your favorite band?
I could never pick. My top five favorite albums is a little easier. In no particular order, they would be Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," The Beatles' "White Album," of Montreal's "Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?," David Bowie's "Hunky Dory," and Queen's "A Night at the Opera." I have to say, though, St. Vincent's Annie Clark is a hero of mine. She can shred. Enough said.
Tell us what you think of Tucson, but remember, we're sensitive.
I'm not trying to suck up, but so far, I am kind of in love with this city. There's so much going on here and people are really working hard to make the city great, whether that's involved concert promoters, locally-obsessed chefs and bartenders, or activists and nonprofit workers. Keep it up, TuTu! (I swear that's the last time I'll call Tucson that.)