You probably wouldn’t expect Phoenix to be the most Italian of cities. After all, there is not Little Italy and the Mafia is more of an East Coast thing. Yet, Phoenix definitely has some homegrown Italian favorites and Babbo is one of these. Babbo invited me out to its Scottsdale location for a hosted dinner and I took them up on the chance to check it out.
There’s really very little in life that can compare to a true apples to apples comparison. Or, if you’re in Lockhart, Texas, a meat to meat comparison. You see, Lockhart is the BBQ capital of Texas and literally after finishing up the brisket (or shoulder clod depending on who you are asking) at Kreuz Market, I headed right around the corner to Black’s BBQ, which a member of my family said was even better. In few moments, I would quickly decide whether he was foolish or praiseworthy.
There are five pillars in the religion of Islam. One of these is the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca. Being unvegan has no such pillars, but if there had to be a Mecca, it would probably be Lockhart, Texas. Sure, there are holy unvegan sites scattered around the globe, but BBQ is arguable the most unvegan food, Texas is arguably the best state to eat BBQ in and Lockhart is arguably the BBQ capital of Texas. But, determining the actual Kaaba worth circling around (aka best BBQ restaurant) was my most important task and it began at Kreuz Market.
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.
Aside from the deadly temperatures, one major thing I was worried about in moving to Phoenix was how I was going to get my Asian food fix. No, not sushi and orange chicken, but the real stuff. I heard about a place in Mesa called Mekong Plaza, which was supposed to have a bunch of good, real Asian restaurants and as luck would have it, it turned out to be between work and home. So, I paid a visit to Taiwan Food Express to see what they had to offer.
When you need breakfast or brunch in Encino, where do you go? Well, when the opportunity presented itself to me I found myself at Claudine, which is like a bakery and restaurant in one. You order at a counter, and seats are hard to come by on the weekend, but I managed to snag a table right out from under an old lady. To be fair, all she needed was 2 seats and we needed 6 so I found another table for her. Sheesh.
LA isn’t an easy place to have sustained success. And I’m not just talking about the entertainment industry, I’m talking about food. You see, one day you can’t get a reservation at a place and the next it’s being replaced by a hot new thing. Yet, there are exceptions, like In-n-Out. But also Bestia, an Italian spot downtown that still requires reservations months out.
I will be the first to admit that I had a West Side bias when I made the move to Pasadena. I figured I would spend a whole lot of time on that side of town for meals out, but over and over again Pasadena has impressed me. Perhaps most impressive of all is the pizza scene, with The Luggage Room and Pizza of Venice already tackled by yours truly, I finally set my sights on Pie Life Pizza.
While the Twin Cities are certainly renowned for the Jucy (or Juicy) Lucy, they are not without other culinary creations. I stumbled upon one of these accidentally when ordering from Broadway Pizza. You see, this is a pizza and sandwich place, but one item on the menu was a combination of the two, calling itself the Pizza Sandwich. My curiosity got the best of me and I ordered it.