Tucson native, Aric Mussman, along with his brother, Joshua Mussman, are co-owners of the "new Tucson classic" restaurants, Vero Amore and Noble Hops. Aric prides himself on bringing hand crafted food and drink to Tucson's diners, as well as being owners of Tucson's only certified authentic Neapolitan Pizza oven. Let's take a look at his take on the food game.
What was the first dish you had that changed your perspective on food?
Sushi. I was 10 or 11 the first time I ever had it and the experience was incredible. The textures and flavors and freshness and everything was just so unique and beautiful. Definitely a culinary moment that I'll never forget.
What are you eating these days?
Anything and everything. I truly love all different types of food and my cravings change daily. Last night, I had Thai food for dinner. Today, I had Mexican for lunch; for dinner tonight, maybe Mediterranean or Italian. I also eat sushi at least two to three times a week.
What was the first dish you remember cooking?
When I was real young, like six or seven, I was visiting my grandma in Chicago and she taught me how to make cinnamon toast. I don't know if that really counts as a dish, but I loved making it and ended up making an entire loaf of bread worth.
What concept, ingredient or food trend does everyone seem to love, but you just can't stomach?
I'm probably gonna get scoffed at for saying this, but chicken and waffles. I love them both separately, but mixing them together just doesn't do it for me. Maple syrup on fried chicken is just strange and when the plate comes out it just doesn't look right.
What chef, with us or passed on, would you most like to cook or eat dinner with?
Thomas Keller. He's an absolute genius and in my opinion one of the best chefs of our lifetime. I had plans to go to French Laundry and even had a connection to get a reservation anytime I wanted. Turns out they close for a few weeks a year and it just so happened that's when I was there. It still makes me sad to think about ...
What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to eat?
I travel a lot and have been fortunate enough to eat in some amazing places. Vancouver is definitely a favorite, Hong Kong is one of the most fun cities to go around restaurant hopping, Barcelona has the best bacon ever and I love the tapas bars out there. Las Vegas is a closer favorite though and has tons of great restaurants!
Speaking in junk food terms, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Ranch fries and pizza pretzels from eegee's. I'm a born and raised Tucson boy and I get eegee's cravings a lot!
Top three Tucson restaurants?
I always hate answering this question because I'm friends with lots of restaurant owners and I never wanna hurt anyone's feelings! I'll say Noble Hops, Vero Amore on Swan and Vero Amore in Dove Mountain, in no particular order.
With a figurative electric chair in your immediate future, what is your last meal?
I've actually thought about this question a lot, is that weird? I think I'd have to go with my mom's homemade spaghetti and meat sauce. I crave it all the time and just thinking about it right now makes me want some. I think I'm gonna call her ...