Scottsdale goes on forever. I mean, like, you drive north and north and north and you think you’re in Flagstaff but you’r still not even at the end of Scottsdale. Somewhere up there is Local Bistro, which recently was named one of the 25 Best Burgers in Phoenix. Thus, while the menu had some intriguing options, I knew the burger had to be mine.
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.
Indian Fry Bread has a tragic, complicated history. Yet, it has also grown beyond that to shine a somewhat positive light on the Native Americans of the Southwest as the bread has made its way beyond the reservations. The Fry Bread Truck is proudly sling the bread around the Valley of the Sun with some interesting twists.
Kosher restaurants are a conundrum for me. I want to embrace them because of my Jewish heritage, but I also really want to mix dairy and meat, or throw in some bacon. But, Kosher restaurants have figured out a way to make the food palatable and I went to Kitchen18 in Scottsdale to find out just how palatable they could be.
Everybody just looooves the Fox Restaurant Group in Phoenix. But can there ever be too many Fox restaurants? I headed to The Greene House in Scottsdale’s Kierland Commons in my continuing quest to find out. The Greene House is a modern American restaurant showcasing things like salads, sandwiches, fish and chicken. As in most similar situations, my eyes went right for the burger.
Boston is definitely known as a melting pot of a city. But I didn’t know the same could be said for Salem, a town much better known for witches than food.. That was, of course, until I made my way to Village Tavern. I figured it would be like a typical village tavern, but this one had a little something hidden up its sleeve.
Last week the Phoenix area hit 100 degrees for the first time this year and it was the fourth earliest date on record. Thus, one would think that the season for outdoor events would be coming to an end. One would be wrong, as this past weekend brought in the Scottsdale Culinary Fest and the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, an outdoor Taste of Chicago-esque festival showcasing food from all over the area and of all types.
Some were household names with tons of locations around the Valley of the Sun, like Grimaldi’s and Zoe’s, but others seemed a bit more special and I sought them out (along with some booze, of course).
The Italiano – Aioli Burger
I’d been hearing murmurings of how great this place was for a while now, and its victory at Burger Battle 2018 further cemented my desire to get there. This burger wasn’t perfect, nor would I expect it to be in such a situation, but the combination of mozzarella, bacon, basil garlic aioli, balsamic reduction and a discarded tomato made me more eager to seek out the real deal.
Old Town Scottsdale is basically the touristy mecca of Scottsdale. And while touristy doesn’t often translate into delicious food, there are a few gems among those crowded streets. On the outside, Farm + Craft seemed like such a place with a great open concept and an “order at the counter” or “order at your table” that seemed to depend on the whim of the workers that day.
In my mind, you can’t have a good microbrewery without good food. It just can’t work. Therefore, I headed to Arizona Wilderness in Gilbert, a brewery with a rustic theme getting a lot of regional traction, to see if it could churn out food on par with the its beer reputation. But of course, I had to start of off with a beer before diving into the menu.
Burgers and brews go together like Forrest and Jenny, which is why my eyes generally shoot to the burger menu when I check out a brewery. It’s also why they always have burgers on the menu or, well, I question judgment. I did not have to question any judgment about burgers when I paid a visit to Four Peaks in Tempe, at least not at first.