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Great Eats: Phoenix

The Greater Phoenix area, which includes Scottsdale, is a true foodtopia: home to more than 600 restaurants, 64 wineries, and Le Cordon Bleu accredited Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Phoenix is an up-and-comer with a strong adaptive reuse program, meaning lots of great restaurants located in former houses, banks, and even a carnie union. Both cities have excellent farmer’s markets and offer a plethora of restaurants ranging from fine dining (including at top notch resorts) to some of the best tacos, pizzas, and burgers in the southwest.

Carmel’s Breakfast House
Just ten minutes from Phoenix International Airport is local hotspot, Carmel’s Breakfast House, named one of Phoenix’s best new restaurants. It’s hard to miss this former little 1940’s house with the vintage VW yellowy-orange CARMEL’s BREAKFAST HOUSE van parked out front. Less than two years ago, TV sportscaster Patrick Flanigan chucked his daytime job to open a breakfast house, naming it after his mother, Carmel. Here, Chef Miguel Pliego creates the best panini sandwiches, open-faced tartines and mouth-watering brown butter scones in Phoenix. Bicycles and dogs are welcome, and diners can eat indoors or al fresco.

4233 East Camelback Road (Phoenix)
480-626-0020
carmelsbreakfast.com

Nobou at Teeter House
Nobou Fukuda, a James Beard and Best New Chef award-winner, has created a foodie-worshipper 5-star Japanese gem where Western sensibility meets traditional Japanese sushi. The warm and homey bungalow is located in a turn-of-the-century historic building in downtown Phoenix' Heritage Square. For lunch, Chef Fukuda serves up offerings such as warm duck salad and a panko-fried fried soft shell club sandwich. Nights are reserved for the chef’s legendary multicourse omakase (chef’s choice) dinner, considered the best on this side of the Land of the Rising Sun.

622 East Adams Street (Phoenix)
602-254-0600
nobuofukuda.com

Tuck Shop
Architect D.J. Fernandes disdains pretentious chefs and thinks the Phoenix food scene tends to be late on culinary trends, so he’s created his own neighborhood comfort spot named after UK snack stands where one “tucks in” to the food. Favorite starters include beer-battered cheese curds and many dishes are meant to be shared, such catfish and crawfish. Located in a former home in the Coronado Historic District, this hidden gem was originally a savings and loan and later became the meeting hall for the local carnie union. Most patrons are neighborhood foodies who come for a weekly fix.

2245 North 12th Street (Phoenix)
602-354-2980
www.tuckinphx.com

PROOF
Facing Pinnacle Peak in the posh Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, this funky year-old hotspot is called an “American canteen,” but the only thing canteen-ish is the casual dress code (even the waiters wear denim and checkered shirts). The home-style hangout is ideal for friends and families with games and table shuffleboard. The ambience sizzles and so does the food and wine (with choices from throughout the USA), and more than 50 microbrews. The décor is Wild West, but no cowboy ever had it so good. Lip-smacking favorites includes ceviche, fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles with bacon and drenched in bourbon syrup, and shrimp and oyster po’boys.  Desserts include the famous Triple Layer Chocolate Toffee Crumble Cake.

10600 East Crescent Moon Drive (Scottsdale)
480-515-5700
proofcanteen.com

Arizona Food Tour: A Taste of Old Town Scottsdale
Here’s a way to have your cake and eat it too: join a guided food tour in Old Town, the same streets the frontier cowboys stomped on in the early 1900s. During a three-hour lunch or dinner tour you’ll sample the fare and libations of many top restaurants. The Rusty Spur, Scottsdale’s last real cowboy saloon, offers live music with the tasting. Malee’s Thai Bistro offers quintessential Tom Ka Gai soup made with fresh lemongrass; sample Chef Matt Carter’s cutting-edge American fare at The House Brasserie’s; try wine tastings at Su Vino Winery or sample the products at Outrageous Olive Oils and Vinegars; head to Iron Chef and James Beard Awardee Chef Garces’ Distrito for guac and tacos (voted best place to take a foodie); and finish up at AZ 88 for Golden Gate butter rum cake with vanilla ice cream and butterscotch and fresh-baked Key Lime Tart.

Old Town, Scottsdale (meeting location depends on tour)
480-293-4096
arizonafoodtours.com

 

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