The Unvegan

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Burgers and Dumplings at Village Tavern
Scottsdale Culinary Fest 2018
Breakfast in a Brew Box
Finz to the Left, Finz to the Right

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Scottsdale Culinary Fest 2018

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.

Hand Cut and Half Off

Best steak ever?

Steaks aren’t cheap. At least, that’s the tale we’ve all been told. But what if I told you that the beautiful ribeye steak to the left there was only $18? Well, it’s the truth. Because Tuesdays in Scottsdale are apparently not the most popular nights to go out, so Hand Cut Burgers Burgers and Chophouse offers its steaks for half off. Thus, on a night that I had been intending to order a burger, I found myself ordering that ribeye instead.

Scramble-ing for Texture

All the right stuff.

Once again, I found myself at one of the Phoenix area’s seemingly endless supply of breakfast/brunch spots. This time it was a place called Scramble in Scottsdale. Scramble is one of those places where you order at the counter, which is all good and well until there’s only one person at the counter with a line out the door and a bunch of empty tables inside. But I digress, as even with that wait to order it probably took just as long to get my food as it would have if I had sat down and ordered at the table.

Stone and Vine and Gnocchi

Tates.

I’m a sucker for gnocchi. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know this. You also know that I will even forego meat to get some delicious gnocchi. Thus, I was happy to find that Stone and Vine in Scottsdale had itself some gnocchi on the menu. It was called Gnocchi Pomodoro, which obviously means that it had tomato in some way (in this case sauce), but also came with fresh mozzarella.

Sticky Fingers at Farm + Craft

Don’t lay a finger on my sweet potatoes.

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.

Into the Arizona Wilderness

Flying Wild.

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.

Rockin’ Taco Rumble 2018

Get them votes.

Tacos, tacos and more tacos. That was the premise of the Rockin’ Taco Rumble in Downtown Phoenix on March 2nd, 2018. $45 got you unlimited tacos, six drinks and a wooden nickel to vote for your favorite taco. It took place at Events on Jackson, which was a pretty cool venue, but what was much less cool was the fact that some spots were already running out of tacos by the time I arrived and the lines were crazy long. Nevertheless, I persisted and was able to identify some favorites.

A Fried Greek Lunch at Pitta Souvli

But why the tomatoes?

It is a very rare occasion in which I make a meal out of fries. It is even more rare that this happens at a Greek restaurant. Yet, when Pitta Souvli in Chandler offered up a special called Chipotle Gorgonzola Cheese Gyro Fries, I couldn’t resist. There was just one problem: nowhere in the description of the fries were tomatoes mentioned. And yet, as you can tell by the picture to the left, there were obviously tomatoes involved.

A Kick in the Gyro at Saba’s Mediterranean Kitchen

More like Sabuffalo’s, right?

I grew up spoiled when it came to Greek food. I mean, Detroit even has a Greektown and I’m not sure you can say the same for any other city anywhere. Recently, though, I found myself picking up some Greek food from Saba’s Mediterranean Kitchen in Phoenix and and was intrigued not just by the classic stuff, but by the unique twists I found there.