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.
The Super Bowl is set! And while everyone is pumped to see the Patriots again, and the Eagles again (but not nearly as again), it is important to realize that for most people the Super Bowl is about food and commercials. So, food, right? Lil’ smokies might sound good for another year, but sometimes it’s smart to just hit up a bar. I was just given an opportunity to check out the goods* at B2 Burgers and Brews, which is looking forward to hosting a bunch of people with some pretty exciting specials.
Americanized spins on Asian food scares me. There. I said it. Maybe it makes me seem like a spoiled brat, but I need the real authentic stuff. So, with much trepidation I made my way to Ling & Louie’s in Scottsdale. But, what makes Ling & Louie’s different is that they own up to the fact that they know they are not authentic and fully embrace making food that is more of a fun spin on Asian-inspired than any real attempt of authenticity.
It’s not hard to appreciate a burger. And like many fine restaurants before it, The Herb Box in Scottsdale’s DC Ranch made the wise decision to include a burger on its menu surrounded by dishes like steak and free-range chicken. Often, the burger represents a cheaper alternative, but with the burger running $17 at The Herb Box one could hardly be called cheap for ordering it.
Sometimes a burger comes along with an innovation worth screaming from the mountain tops. Or, at least from a meat blog. This time, that burger can be found at Paradise Valley Burger Co., which is in Paradise Valley, which is some sort of a hybrid of a neighborhood thingy in Phoenix. The spot can be found in mini mall reminiscent more of Los Angeles than your typical Phoenix and is divey enough to have been visited by Guy Fieri.
There is no denying that much of my heart belongs in the state of Wisconsin, where I spent many summers of my life. So when Michigan loses a football game to Wisconsin, I may hate it, but I’m also weirdly more okay with it than I am with losing to just about any other team. But what does this have to do with food? Well, Wisconsin produced a fast food place called Culver’s, which is actually in Phoenix. So afters years of not being in Wisconsin, I revisited the Scottsdale location of Culver’s to see if it could bring me back to my days in Wisconsin.