10 Best Things I Ate in October

Sharing my favorite eats of the month from new restaurants, reviewed restaurants, and places I've popped into just because. It's not a countdown, it's a collection. And I hope it inspires. Enjoy.

Pork Stomach and Black Pepper Clay Pot
Pork Stomach and Black Pepper Clay Pot
All photos by Laura Hahnefeld.

Pork Stomach and Black Pepper Clay Pot at New Hong Kong

"I can't believe I'm on my second bowl," remarked one of my dining companions at this family-owned Chinese restaurant in Central Phoenix that's alive with authentic, flavorful Cantonese fare. She was speaking of the clay pot dish packed with chewy spirals of pork stomach, scallions, and peppercorns ($9.95). Made courtesy of Jian Yu, who was a chef in his hometown of Kaiping, a city in the Guangdong province in southern China, for over 32 years, this version of Chinese comfort food with an offal twist arrives at the table steaming, shaking, and full of highly satisfying flavors. Even the most timid toward bits 'n' bobbles will ask for seconds.

Grilled Rainbow Trout at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

Chef Stephen Jones' version of pozole at this urban gathering place (located on the second floor of the Hotel Palomar at CityScape in downtown Phoenix) may be the best dish (for now) on the menu -- but the grilled rainbow trout ($15) comes dangerously close. Tender, mild, and with a delicately crispy skin, the fish is near perfect; especially topped with sweet corn and over a tasty basil sauce.

Al Pastor Montada at El Chiltepin

Mix traditional Mexican eats with Americanized Mexican snack foods and you've got an addictive creation served up exclusively at this offbeat spot on the city's south side. A variation of the tlayuda, or Mexican pizza, the Al Pastor Montada ($5.50) features melted mozzarella cheese between two crispy tortillas topped with more melted mozzarella, sweet and tender pieces of al pastor, bits of salty bacon, and jalapeños.

Combo Wot Plate at Gojo Ethiopian Restaurant

Thanks to Zufan Alemu, owner and chef of this months-old Ethiopian restaurant on East Thomas Road, Phoenicians now have another spot to score the spicy vegetable and meat dishes for which the country is known. Take a friend along and share a combo wot plate ($13.99) with samplings of stellar creations such as doro wat, featuring chicken simmered in spices, spicy ground peas (mitten shiro), and crunchy spiced cabbage (tikil gomen) atop spongy injera bread.

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