A Phoenix food writer, Dana Vollmer with cocktailsandcactus.com, encouraged a group of local food writers to come up with a restaurant “bucket list” for 2017. These would include a list of places in AZ we would like to visit, whether they have been open for some time or are set to open. I was up for the challenge, and had so much fun writing it, that I had to post it myself. I look forward to visiting each one, and now that I have written this down, it means I need to follow through. Therefore (drum roll please), in no particular order, here are my choices:
- Café Monarch. I have heard so much about this charming place in Old Town Scottsdale and what Chef/Owner Gus Lewkowicz is doing with his prix fixe menu, which changes weekly. Rumor has it in 2017, he plans to move Café Monarch to a new location nearby and turn the existing structure into a casual brunch spot. 6934 E 1st Ave #102, Scottsdale
- Turquoise Room at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ. I would love to stop in here after touring the nearby Hopi Reservation to dine in the last great Railroad Hotel from 1929. James Beard nominated chef John Sharpe produces meals inspired by native Arizona cuisine and is touted as the best restaurant in the Four Corners area. Also, I have to get a pic of me standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…just sayin’. 303 E 2nd St, Winslow
- Nobuo at Teeter House. Nobuo Fukuda is a James Beard Award-winning chef who at his first restaurant, Sea Saw (now closed), experimented with the concept of pairing Japanese tapas-style dishes with wine. The multi-course omakase meal at Nobuo at Teeter House is legendary in Phoenix and requires a two-week advance reservation so Chef Nobuo can procure all the seafood from near and far. 622 E Adams St, Phoenix
- Vincent’s on Camelback. James Beard award winning Chef Vincent Guerithault put the Phoenix food scene on the map with this iconic restaurant in 1986, introducing Phoenicians to duck tamales and smoked salmon quesadillas. A few years ago, my husband and I were invited to dinner there were we dined on goose confit. It was one of the most divine dishes I have had, and we have sworn to go back, but the catch is apparently Vincent serves the goose only during the holidays. 3930 E. Camelback, Phoenix.
- La Santisima. My husband farms tomatoes in Mexico and we have traveled extensively throughout the country, which has left us little time to explore the Mexican food scene in Phoenix. But, I would like to change that and start by checking out La Santisima. This self-proclaimed “gourmet taco shop” has two locations, with offerings of Oaxacan specialities such as Black Mole Chicken Shark tacos and Mayan specialities such as cochinita pibil, a personal favorite. 1919 N. 16th Street, Phoenix and 5932 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale.
- Ghost Ranch. Chef Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis fame plans to open this Southwest concept alongside his Mesa Public Market Cafe in the early part of this year. We both share a love of Southwest cuisine, and I am intrigued with his idea of developing a menu based on the healthier side, such as steamed chile rellenos stuffed with mushrooms in a goat cheese sauce. See my posts about Aaron here: https://www.texaztaste.com/harvest-dinner/ https://www.texaztaste.com/its-a-sunday-affair/ .
- Penca. We will be traveling to Tucson with the kids for a couple of swim meets and Penca is high on my list. Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, owner/chef Patricia Schwabe along with her husband, Ron, serve up simple but innovative dishes from Central Mexico. They also just opened a popular bar downtown in an old mortuary called The Owl’s Nest. 50 East Broadway Blvd, Tucson.
- Hana Japanese Eatery. I have been hearing about this small, Japanese eatery on 7th Street for a long time. Not only is the sushi said to be the best in Phoenix, but the ramen dishes, specifically the shio ramen and the miso ramen, are purported to be world class. 5524 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ
- Elote. When I moved to Arizona from Texas, one of my first trips was to Sedona. Since then I have been hooked. Escaping to Sedona for a weekend of hiking and reflection is a way of recharging. Sitting on the patio of Elote, overlooking the majestic red rocks of Sedona, drinking margaritas and eating the signature elote dish (fire roasted corn with spicy mayo, lime and cotija cheese) is the perfect end to the day. Check out my post from 2014 https://www.texaztaste.com/sedona/. Arabella Hotel Sedona, 771 AZ-179, Sedona
- The Farm’s Morning Glory Cafe. I envision a hike in the South Mountain preserve with the kids and Hubby, followed by brunch outdoors under the shade of mesquite trees at this AZ eatery. Morning Glory Benedict, (or maybe the Farm Monte Cristo?), strong coffee and perhaps a mimosa would be on my list. Also a plus, it is pet friendly. 6106 S 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ
In addition, I have some fun travels coming up this year. In a week, we leave for the Savoie region of France to indulge in some amazing cheeses and wine. Next, in March, we plan on driving to Canyon de Chelly with the kids for spring break. As well, there is the Aspen Food & Wine Classic in June, an Alaska trip in July, and much more. So stick around! xoM