BEST VEGGIES Phoenix 2005 - Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar
It's strange. When we were kids, our moms practically had to cake sugar onto vegetables to get us to eat them. But as our palates have progressed, there's nothing we like more than well-prepared veggies of all kinds. Hence our fondness for James Porter's Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar, which sits in the same cul-de-sac as Sushi on Shea and Radda. Porter's menu is expansive, with numerous items usually ignored by the competition. In the veggie realm, these include such delights as hearts of palm, sunchokes in aged sherry, Carolina okra, braised rosemary salsify (pronounced "salsifee"), and the braised fennel with tarragon. Of course, Tapino is more than just veggies. Not only is there an excellent wine list, Porter also satisfies us with an array of bruschetta and tapas-like plates such as Kobe beef tips in chimichurri sauce, and Moroccan lamb skewers with mint cucumber raita. Still, it's his veggies we salivate over while remembering our last visit to Tapino.