I love me some fusion. And you know what? Fusion doesn’t have to just be a combination of different ethnic foods, but also a combination of meals. Take Smitty’s in Idaho Falls, for example. It wasn’t just content with being a pancake restaurant, but also chose to be a steakhouse.
When I left LA to move to Phoenix I had one major concern. No, it wasn’t the heat in the summer, it was the lack of ramen. You see, LA spoils you with a lot of Asian food, but ramen is easily one of the best of them. People go through life only knowing ramen from a dry cup and I feel terrible for those people, but is it better to have ramen and lost it than to never have had ramen at all? Lost or not, ramen has returned to my life in the form of Ramen Hood in Scottsdale. I headed out for the grand opening to see if it would fulfill my needs.
I’m going to say something unpopular. Bloody Marys are the worst. Tomatoes suck, celery sucks and there’s just something weird about spicy drinks. But I must say that I am glad that Hash Kitchen has made the big bucks off of having an incredible Bloody Mary bar. Why? Because it has enabled them to expand out to Chandler for their latest Grand Opening. And because I got to snag a bunch of the meats and cheeses from the Bloody Mary bar to decorate my beer. It may be frowned upon normally, but at the Grand Opening anything goes. As expected, the bacon was the best.
Sometimes burgers build up a reputation. Whether by winning awards or word of mouth, it happens. This happened to Aioli Burger in both ways. Yeah, it won some burger battles, but also people told me about it and that doesn’t happen as much in Phoenix as it did in LA and Pittsburgh, so I figured it had to be real. Plus, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I got a taste of Aioli Burger at the Scottsdale Culinary Fest earlier this year. Basically, the hype was real.
Tex-Mex is its own category of food. It seems weird because it gives the impression that Texans just somehow bastardized real Mexican food and had the audacity to put Tex before the Mex, but when you remember that Texas was once a part of Mexico, it begins to lose its weirdness. There is probably no place in the state of Texas where the former Mexican history is at the forefront of thought than in San Antonio, home of the Alamo (remember it). And in San Antonio is Mi Tierra, an old school Tex-Mex place with a full on panaderia to boot.
As the world’s foremost meat blogger (according to myself), I am generally of the notion that vegetables need to be avoided and subbed in for meat or animal products at almost all times. Yet, when I was given the opportunity to head to The Counter in Phoenix and try out the Impossible Burger, I could not pass it up. But here’s where it gets weird, you see, the Impossible Burger is completely vegan.
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.