Good food is always made better if it’s found in a strange place. You know, like the Cheetos you find in the couch cushion. No, but seriously, like BBQ at a gas station. Such is Tom’s Thumb in Scottsdale. And while it may be more of a restaurant that happens to have a gas station attached than the other way around, that shouldn’t take away from the fact that this is literally a gas station and BBQ place.
It’s easy to get stuck in a bubble no matter where you live or work. It doesn’t matter if neighborhoods and towns are separated by rivers, mountains or arbitrary delineations, it is almost inevitable to find a comfort zone and stick with it. But when you have a meat blog, you owe it to the world to get out of that bubble, and I did so with a journey to Mesa to check out Worth Takeaway.
My lack of any sort of need for dessert has been pretty well-chronicled on this blog by now. Yet, there is one dessert that I have a hard time passing up and that dessert is pie. So, when I found out that Arizona’s best pies were on the way to Prescott before taking a quick trip to, uh, Prescott, I knew we had to make a stop at Rock Springs Cafe in Black Canyon City.
Phoenix may not seem like a pizza town, but it unquestionably has some great stuff. There’s Pizzeria Bianco, of course, but also a number of other pizza places that have made Phoenix their second homes. Call them snowbird pizzas if you want. Humble Pie is one that has seen success in the area with a few locations. I headed to the one at Desert Ridge to see what it was all about.
Farm to table is a popular concept and a strong rebuke against processed foods. Of course, factory farms are still called farms, but the point is there, nonetheless. But what do you call a meal at an actual farm? I’m thinking “table on farm,” and remember, you heard it here first. So, when I paid a visit to Pond Hill Farm on the outskirts of Harbor Springs, Michigan, it was quite a delight to eat food around animals that could probably be classified as pre-food.
At 8 miles around, Mackinac Island is known for a few things. A beautiful hotel, horses, bikes and even some food. That food is fudge, so I’ll not bother with writing about how Murray’s Fudge is the best, but the island is not without other restaurants catering to the throngs of tourists that make their way and need something to eat. On this visit, we left the main drag and found Ice House BBQ.
In my ceaseless quest to find the best breakfast in breakfast heaven (Arizona), I found myself at the creatively named Breakfast Kitchen Bar in Scottsdale. Yay for sarcasm. But while the name wasn’t creative, the menu had a few things I had never seen before, one of them being the Breakfast Pizza.
Anyone who knows me knows that I hate mornings. Yet, I love breakfast food with all of its bacon and eggy goodness. It’s a conundrum that I am coming to terms with in the Phoenix area, which I believe to have the highest per capita breakfast restaurants. My latest was Snooze in Scottsdale, which is inappropriately named as far as I’m concerned, but the line of people waiting to eat there didn’t seem to mind.
Arizona State University is home to about 90,000 students, and while they don’t all go to the main campus in Tempe, that is unbelievably massive. So, I figured they had to have some good ethnic food because when you throw out such a wide net the students can’t all be white. Thus, when given the option of a couple of different ramen spots, I picked Umami in Tempe because I thought it had a better chance of being good than one in another area. Plus, school was out for summer and that always helps.
Perhaps one of the most underrated songs of the 90s was “Ecstasy” by Rusted Root. And while none of the lyrics are really related to eating at a breakfast spot called Eggstasy in Scottsdale, I nonetheless found myself unable to get the song out of my head for the duration of my meal there, and also it is stuck in there now, as I write. But I digress, what matters is the food, and actually the service for once.