Best of Our Valley Issue 2019: Tucson

Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain
By Alyssa Tidwell

Best College Party Bar: Frog & Firkin

On University Boulevard just a quick walk from the University of Arizona campus is the British-style pub Frog & Firkin. What looks like a loud and bustling college bar on the outside (and it is), has so much more to offer beneath the exterior. On top of an extensive beer menu with all the IPAs and lagers one could hope for, Frog & Firkin has the tastiest burgers. They come with all normal accruements one might prefer on their burger, but even one bite with nothing but patty and pretzel bun will still rock your world.

Best Dentist: Dr. David G. Burros

Dr. David G. Burros of Southern Arizona Endodontics is known for his humor and easy-going nature, able to help patients feel at ease whether going in for a routine check-up or getting the dreaded root canal. He even did a root canal for a 690-pound polar bear in 2005 (seriously, it happened). And his top credentials in endodontics make him a consistent choice for Tucsonans.

Best Golf Course: Omni Tucson National Resort

Omni Tucson National Resort offers golfers two completely different experiences. The Catalina Course is a traditional, tree-lined parkland-style course with seven sparkling lakes, towering trees, saguaros and stunning views of the Santa Catalina Mountains. This course is challenging for even the best of golfers, with water hazards in play on eight holes and significant bunkering around the greens and landing areas. For the more casual player, the Sonoran Course is a high-desert design that features considerable elevation changes from tee to green, providing both shot value and camera-worthy views of the Santa Catalina Mountains and surrounding desert areas.

Omni Tucson National Resort

Best Lawyer: Kevin Rowe

Throughout the years, Kevin Rowe, one of the founders of the law offices of Lerner and Rowe, P.C., has helped thousands of individuals involved in accidents achieve security, well-being and sense of peace during a stressful time. His distinguishing characteristics of compassion, dedication and drive set him apart from other attorneys, and his continuous legal achievements include the securing of hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and awards for injured victims. Outside of his legal profession, Rowe also founded the nonprofit organization Lerner and Rowe Gives Back, which has donated millions to local charities that endeavor to better the lives of struggling individuals and families, as well as animals. Also a 2018 winner!

Kevin Rowe

Best Resort or Hotel: The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa

The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa is a luxurious resort destination on 250 acres in the high Sonoran Desert in Tucson. Located in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, guests can take in spectacular mountain, city and golf course views. The “5-Pool Oasis” features five refreshing pools, a 177-ft. water slide and a swim-up bar. Dining options include Azul Restaurant & Lounge and Contigo Latin Kitchen, among others. The resort offers 487 guest rooms including 25 suites, a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature course and an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa.

The Red Door Salon & Spa and Azul Restaurant and Lounge, located in the Westin La Paloma resort, was named Tucson’s Best Spa and Best Resort Restaurant, respectively. 

The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa

AFM Fave! Best Resort or Hotel: The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, located in the picturesque town of Marana just northwest of Tucson, is a Forbes Five Star/AAA Five Diamond resort offering sweeping views of the stunning Tortolita Mountain range. Among the amenities featured at the recently renovated resort are a destination spa, adventure programming, world-class hiking and a close proximity to Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf. The structure of the resort building itself strives to remain as close as possible to natural Arizona geology and aesthetic, with stone and metal as its primary elements, as well as interiors featuring natural quartzite floors, raw steel fixtures, copper accents and historical artifacts, like geodes and quartz crystal. 

Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain

AFM Fave! Best Spa: Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort

Canyon Ranch: where the Sonoran Desert and natural serenity meet trailblazing professionals and modern sensibilities. People come from all over the globe to escape their daily routines and enjoy a healthy dose of purpose and pleasure at the Tucson destination. Canyon Ranch offers its guests inspired cuisine and cooking demos, mind-body classes, spa treatments that are revelations and a medley of opportunities to get outdoors, whether taking a hike through nearby Sabino Canyon, playing tennis or hitting the High Ropes Course Challenge (say hi to the red-tailed hawks!). If any ounce of stress survives all of that, guests can check out the bliss-inducing Meditation Garden at the Spirituality Center.

Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort

Best Shopping Center: La Encantada

La Encantada provides a luxury shopping experience in a tranquil environment, set in the Catalina Foothills. A Tucson hot spot for fashionistas, La Encantada offers exclusive retailers like Sundance, Johnny Was, Michael Kors, Kendra Scott, lululemon and many more. And for those who’ve embraced the art of treating themselves, visitors can also dine at one of the many top-quality restaurants including Firebirds Woodfired Grill and North Italia, or stop for a libation at The Living Room Wine Cafe and Lounge. Also a 2018 winner!  

La Encantada

Best Tucson-Based Fashion Designer: Dorota Zglobicka

Life’s too short to wear boring clothes—that’s the ideology behind founder Dorota Zglobicka’s fashion brand, Theo Doro, meaning “divine gift” in Greek. From the elegant and playful, to the rebellious and edgy, Zglobicka creates outfits for people who want to dress boldly every day, not just on special occasions. The brand, which Zglobicka describes as a rebellion fairyland where everybody is magical, has showcased at numerous fashion shows and exhibitions nationwide including New York Fashion Week, San Diego Fashion Week and Phoenix Fashion Week, as well as Border Fashion Week in Nogales.

Dorota Zglobicka 

Best Tucson Lifestyle Instagram: Adaleta, Avedić, @adaatude

Adaleta Avdić was born in Bosnia in the early 1990’s and came to the U.S. as a refugee when she was 5 years old. Avdić has been working since she was 16 and graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in psychology and a minor in business writing. Taking that writing degree to a new level, Avdić established her blog in 2013 as part of a senior class college project. She is known globally as @adaatude on social media and is often sought after by major brands to be their ambassadors. An accomplished social media influencer, she covers a variety of topics including beauty, travel, lifestyle and fashion.


Best Wedding Venue: Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa

Couples getting ready to tie the knot can have an enchanted Southwestern wedding at Westward Look Wydham Grand Resort & Spa, nestled at the base of the Catalina Mountains surrounded by swaying palm trees and desert flora and fauna. With creative event planning and impeccable catering services, wedding receptions are elegant and easy. The venue allows for all manner of wedding styles, from the small and intimate, to the expansive and grandiose with buffet options or a plated sit-down dinner for hundreds in one of the many spaces including the Sonoran Rooftop & Ballroom, Santa Catalina Ballroom and the Palm Room, as well as outdoor spots.

Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa

Favorite Couple Tucson: tie between Dr. Gulshan & Neelam Sethi and Angela & Michael Kapp

Since Dr. Gulshan and Neelam Sethi moved to Tucson in 1988, they have made a difference by sharing customs of their culture, supporting various causes important to them, volunteering and bringing their community together at events. They founded two fundraising events: Bollywood at the Fox for The FOX Theatre and FAME (Family Arts and Music Experience) at the Children’s Museum Tucson, as well as being instrumental in the establishment of The India Society of Southern Arizona. Power couple Angela and Michael Kapp love each other and Tucson. Angela, a global digital retail expert, shuttles between Tucson and Asia, Europe and throughout the U.S. as she helps companies scale in the real and cyber worlds. Michael, head coach for the University of Arizona Women’s Lacrosse team, continues his great work developing student athletes. The couple can be found roaming around Tucson supporting their favorite institutions: UApresents, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson, the Tucson Museum of Art and many others.

Angela & Michael Kapp are also a 2018 winner!

Angela and Michael Kapp

Most Fashionable Tucson Woman: Neelam Sethi

Neelam Sethi has always believed that great style never goes out of fashion and no matter where in the world one comes from, Sethi feels that sharing the customs of one’s heritage with others fosters better understanding, tolerance and acceptance. Since Sethi came to the United States from India in 1971, she has proudly worn her exquisite Indian fashions, beautiful flowing saris made from luxurious fabrics in vibrant colors. Nowadays, Sethi is known in her Tucson community as an example of grace, philanthropy and style.

Most Fashionable Tucson Man: Richard Oseran

Third-generation Arizona native Richard Oseran practiced law for a number of years, arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court. Nowadays, he’s a sharp-minded entrepreneur with an affinity for personal style, amping up the downtown Tucson scene. Owner of the iconic Hotel Congress since 1985, Oseran and his wife, Shana, have been instrumental in the early 21st-century revitalization of Tucson’s downtown area. The historic hotel and bar recently celebrated its centennial milestone.

Richard Oseran

Most Influential Tucson Man: Lute Olson

With University of Arizona students—especially those in the Zona Zoo section—chanting a loud, resounding “Lute” during Wildcat basketball games, former UA men’s basketball coach Lute Olson is a Tucson celebrity. Regarded as one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time, his record is phenomenal, leading UA to four NCAA Final Four appearances and one NCAA Championship in 1997, among dozens of other accolades. To this day, not a single UA student, alumnus or Tucson citizen doesn’t know his name, and at 84, he’s still an immensely prominent figure in the community.

Most Influential Tucson Woman: Randi Dorman

Randi Dorman, three-time winner for “Most Influential Tucson Woman,” is a Tucson celebrity, having made a splash in the southern Arizona city in multiple industries. Over the years, Dorman has served as president of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson and is currently a chairwoman of the Downtown Tucson Partnership as well as a prominent real estate developer and a runner, singer, hiker and foodie in her spare time. Perhaps most noteworthy of all is Dorman’s recent announcement of her candidacy for Mayor of Tucson. Also a 2018 winner!

Randi Dorman

Fast Favorites           

Best Lunch Spot: BOCA Tacos y Tequila,

Best Boutique: Grand Central Clothing,

Best Breakfast/Brunch Spot: Prep & Pastry,

Best Ranch Escape: Tanque Verde Ranch,

Favorite UA It Girl: Brielle Schumpe, @brielle_schumpe.

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