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  • XO from AZ

Celebrating the Amazing People and Places of Arizona




Arizona is a state brimming with talent, creativity, and a rich tapestry of cultures. From the bustling cities to the charming small towns, there are countless stories of individuals who have made significant contributions to their communities and beyond. In this blog, we shine a spotlight on some of the remarkable people and places throughout Arizona, beginning with a sake maker in Holbrook, a James Beard Award-winning baker in Tucson, and an award-winning chef in Phoenix.

Atsuo Sakurai: The Sake Maker in Holbrook


Nestled in the quiet town of Holbrook, Atsuo Sakurai has brought a taste of Japan to the Arizona desert. Sakurai, who hails from Japan, moved to Arizona after marrying an American woman. With a passion for sake brewing, he established Arizona Sake, producing some of the finest sake outside of Japan. His dedication to the craft has not gone unnoticed; Arizona Sake has won several awards, including the prestigious top prize at the Tokyo Sake Competition.


Sakurai’s sake is a true labor of love, brewed with high-quality ingredients and a meticulous process. The sake has a delicate, nuanced flavor that reflects Sakurai’s expertise and the unique environment of Arizona. Visitors to Holbrook can stop by Arizona Sake to learn about the brewing process and sample the award-winning sake, making it a must-visit destination for sake enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.





Don Guerra: The James Beard Award-Winning Baker in Tucson


In the vibrant city of Tucson, Don Guerra has revolutionized the local baking scene with his exceptional bread. Guerra, the founder of Barrio Bread, has garnered national acclaim for his artisanal bread, earning him the prestigious James Beard Award. His passion for baking and commitment to using locally sourced ingredients have made Barrio Bread a beloved institution in Tucson.


Guerra’s bread is known for its incredible flavor, texture, and quality, achieved through traditional baking methods and a deep understanding of his craft. He sources heritage grains from Arizona farms, supporting local agriculture and creating a product that is uniquely tied to the region. Visitors to Tucson can stop by Barrio Bread to taste Guerra’s creations and experience the community-centric atmosphere of his bakery.




Doug Robson: The Award-Winning Chef 


As the chef and owner of two acclaimed restaurants, Gallo Blanco and Otro Café, Robson has made a name for himself with his innovative take on Mexican cuisine. His restaurants, located in Phoenix, have earned numerous accolades, and his contributions to the culinary world are celebrated statewide.


Robson’s culinary journey began in Bisbee, where he developed a love for food and cooking. His dishes are a reflection of his heritage and his passion for fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Robson’s inventive menus feature a blend of traditional Mexican flavors and modern twists, creating a dining experience that is both familiar and exciting. A visit to Gallo Blanco or Otro Café is a must for food lovers seeking to taste the best of Arizona’s culinary scene.

 Exploring Arizona’s Unique Places


Beyond the talented individuals, Arizona is home to many unique places that offer a glimpse into the state’s diverse culture and history.


- Sedona: Known for its stunning red rock formations and vibrant arts community, Sedona is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and art lovers. Visitors can explore the numerous hiking trails, visit local galleries, and enjoy the spiritual energy that Sedona is famous for.


- Jerome: This historic mining town, perched on Cleopatra Hill, has transformed into an eclectic artist colony. Jerome’s winding streets are filled with galleries, boutiques, and historic landmarks, offering a unique blend of history and creativity.


- Tubac: As one of Arizona’s oldest communities, Tubac is a hub for artists and artisans. The town’s rich history is reflected in its charming shops and galleries, where visitors can find handmade crafts, jewelry, and artwork.


Arizona’s amazing people and places are what make the state truly special. From the innovative sake maker in Holbrook to the award-winning baker in Tucson and the talented chef from Bisbee, these individuals contribute to Arizona’s rich cultural tapestry. Their stories, along with the unique destinations across the state, invite you to explore and experience the diverse and vibrant spirit of Arizona.


At XO from Arizona, we celebrate the incredible people and places that make our state extraordinary. Discover the talent, creativity, and beauty that define Arizona, and see why there’s so much to love about this remarkable state.

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