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.
I generally try to avoid fancy restaurants. Really, they just aren’t my thing. But special occasions call for special eats, and so I found myself at Citizen Public House in Old Town Scottsdale in need of some food. And then, like a week later I found myself back there again. No joke, it was crazy.
Sauce has been a staple in the Phoenix area for a good amount of years now. And it’s a good thing that it’s established itself, as other fast casual pizza spots have been sweeping the nation. And while Sauce is about more than just pizza (they have pasta and salads too), it’s the pizza that drew me, and presumably almost everyone else in.
There are certain aspects of the Phoenix area that are tough to get used to. Not in the sense that they are bad in any way, just that they are different. You see, I spent much of my life thinking that good food is a pretty rare find in a strip mall or as a standalone building in the parking lot of a strip mall. But, when a city is basically all strip malls, the good food simply has to be there. Thus, while my expectations of BBQ spots are generally a bit less pristine than a strip mall, I couldn’t pass up the chance to check out Naked BBQ in Scottsdale.
We can all agree that Phoenix is not LA. Good, now that that’s settled, Phoenix does appear to get an event or two on occasion, and the first since I made the big move was the 8th Annual Arizona Taco Festival, which converged at the Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. While the place is better-known for MLB spring training, the vast field was put to good use in hosting dozens of vendors pushing mostly tacos, but also drinks, desserts and the occasional t-shirt.
Creating Jewish deli meat is like a perfect combination of art and science. Some delis have found the ideal balance, while others are more content to satisfy the science part of it all and move on from there. I paid a visit to Chompie’s in Scottsdale to see how it would measure up against my admittedly high standards for Kosher-style delis.
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.
Green hatch chiles may be known as a New Mexican thing, but they are unquestionably popular in the Phoenix area as well. Case in point – Jalapeno Inferno. Despite the name, the restaurant is totally willing to bring in other peppers and the deliver on this with their annual Hatch Chile Harvest, in which they bring in hatch chiles from New Mexico and incorporate them into some special dishes until they run out. Unlike the green chiles in a can, these carry some burn.
Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more breakfast spots in Scottsdale for me to visit, I give you First Watch. Now, First Watch actually has locations in 17 states, so it’s not entirely special to Scottsdale. And from what I had been told, it was not entirely special no matter which location you went to. Yet, that didn’t stop me from finding the one thing on the menu that seemed unique and unvegan.
In the short time I’ve spent living in Phoenix, I’ve had me a few burgers, but I until heading to Rehab Burger Therapy, I had not yet made my way to a place specializing in those delicious ground beef and bun combinations. I arrived in Old Town Scottsdale thinking I was going to go to town on some meat on meat action, but my meal took an unexpected turn.