Devour Culinary Classic 2019

The 10th annual Devour Culinary Classic took place over the weekend of February 23-24 in the spectacular setting of the Desert Botanical Gardens. A celebration of the Valley’s culinary scene, this is the largest culinary festival in Phoenix, and one not to be missed. The event is hosted by Devour Phoenix, a coalition of independent, local restaurants whose aim is to promote the local dining scene and to encourage the use of local agriculture.

Tickets for Devour Phoenix range in price from $105 – $205 and include all food and drink, a commemorative wine glass and lanyard, plus full access to one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the US. If you missed it (and don’t want to miss it again), find information on the botanical garden and the culinary classic by clicking here and here.

So you may be wondering how I managed my way through a culinary festival on my plant-based diet. Well, I cheated. Big time. And it was super fun. I think, in a way, I appreciated everything more. Plus, I could honestly tell you which ones were worth the cheat LOL. I am also always on the look out for, not only the latest greatest thing to do in the Valley, but also rediscovering old gems. For example, take Different Pointe of View at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs, whose ravioli dish is the featured image. While I have been to the resort many times, I have never been to the restaurant, and shame on me. It sits perched atop a mountain in the Moon Valley area of town. Their website boasts that in its 35 year history, Different Pointe of View is the “longest consecutively awarded AAA four-diamond restaurant in the Valley”. I am not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds impressive. So you have good food and an amazing view…it is on my list!

I have compiled a photo montage of some of the judges, as well as my, favorites! And please note, these photos and award categories are from Sunday only. Happy Eating! xoM

Brett Vibber and his crew from Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine in Cave Creek were in a great mood as they won the Best of Devour, Excellence in Distinction Award with their Top Knot Farms Guinea Fowl Confit with Navajo Steamed Corn.
Chef Doug Robson from Gallo Blanco won the Excellence in Taste award with his Mole Negro Taco de Pollo with Habanero Relish on a blue corn tortilla. And you gotta love his ten-gallon hat, and he hails from my home town of San Antonio.
It is small wonder that Different Pointe of View won Excellence in Presentation with these Squid Ink Crawfish Raviolis with Collard Greens. They were just as delicious as they look.
The Parlor Pizzeria won Excellence in Sustainability with the Split Pea Arancini that were pretty tasty, with and without the bees.
Clever Koi won Excellence in Innovation with their Char Siu Pastor (see the trompo in the background!!) with KimChi Pineapple Fried Rice.
On the sweet side, Chef Helen Yung from Sweet Republic rocked it with her Cannoli Cones, ricotta ice cream topped with dark chocolate and pistachio bits. Of all the things I tried at Devour this was most worth the cheat. That should be a category…Most Worth the Cheating of the Diet.
Mesquite Flour Tiramisu from Che Ah Chi at the Enchantment Resort would win my vote for Most Beautiful Color, if there were such a category.
Arizona Corn and Honey Panna Cotta with Spiced Walnuts and Lemon Butter Sponge Cake from District American Kitchen wowed with this presentation…the bees were literally the icing on the cake.
Chef Malone at The Dressing Room served up these beautiful and delicious Endives topped with Local Crow’s Dairy Peppercorn Feta, Charred Lemon and Honey.
The Larder + The Delta received Best New Restaurant from Phoenix Magazine this year, and no wonder as it churns out creative dishes such as this Aged Ham with Smoked Tomato Jam and Pimento Cheese.
Octopus Tostada with grilled and chilled octopus, aguachile, avocado, cilantro and red onion from the Joy Ride Taco House was refreshing and light.
Yes, you can officially call me a veg head, cause this was my favorite of the classic: Blue Sky Farms Breakfast Radish with pea tendril, herbed butter, citrus vinaigrette and pistachio from Restaurant Progress. So fresh and elegant! Another restaurant to add to my “Must Visit” list for sure!

Devour Phoenix operates under the umbrella of an organization called Local First Arizona. I encourage you to follow the link to the Local First Arizona website here and consider becoming a Localist and be the first to hear when tickets for Devour Phoenix go on sale. Plus, they hold interesting events throughout the year, such as tours of Taliesin West, Tovrea Castle and Roosevelt Row, just to name a few. Local First Arizona promotes a great mix of the culture, history and food that makes Arizona stand out among our Southwestern neighbors.

All photos by Marci Symington for texAZtaste.com.

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8 Comments

  • Betsy Roudi

    Loved your Devour recap. Next year I will go with you again as it was such a fun experience.

    • TexazTaste

      Assuming you are not off skiing in some exotic locale LOL! Yes, I would love to realize our dream and make it a YPO event. xoxo

  • the #1 Itinerary

    Great post

  • ThaiCaliente

    Wow everything looks Amazing! I definitely need to go next year!

  • Marci's huge fan, John!

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) A little “cheating” ain’t the end of the world. XOXO, John

    • TexazTaste

      I love that you can quote Emerson and use the word “ain’t”! You’re the best! xoxo

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