My Lucky Seven

Tastes of 2004 that stuck to the ribs

However, Coyoacán's ne plus ultra is its nopal Hidalgo, grilled prickly pear covered in Monterey cheese, mushrooms and chorizo. Slightly sour and of the same viscosity as boiled okra, it offers a unique combination of flavors and textures. I'll have it every time I go.

Coyoacán, 9014 South Central Avenue, Phoenix, 602-323-9010.

7. Bacon burger and root beer float at the Welcome Diner: I tell you, I literally think I get a buzz from downing one of chef Peter Deyo's hamburgers with bacon, along with at least one if not two floats made from Mary Coyle vanilla ice cream and Sparky's microbrewed root beer.

Deyo mixes the beef in his burgers with pepper and sea salt, then bastes them lovingly with seasoned jus for full effect. I know many go gaga over the Depression-era diner Deyo's in, but I'm all about what the man creates behind the counter. If he was cooking alfresco over a flaming barrel, I'd be on it like a bonnet, people.

Welcome Diner, 924 East Roosevelt Street, Phoenix, 602-495-1111.

Very close runners-up: Eggplant cheesecake at Zest; surf and turf roll at Blue Wasabi; butterfish at Eddie V's; catfish at Bobby C's; the Big Ass Burger at Roaring Fork; the flan at Havana Café; the arnavut ciger, or cubed, fried calves' liver, at Efes Turkish Cuisine; anything at Cherry Blossom; Korean barbecue and sushi at Takamatsu; beer and burgers at Delux; and all the sushi at Hiro Sushi.


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