Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
It could be said that no meal makes us feel more sociable, cheery, and worry-free than brunch. Add the current Valley weather and you've got even more reason to get out of bed, park yourself on an outdoor patio, and linger over a Bloody Mary or two.
What's the ultimate Arizona brunch? I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs that question and received answers ranging from fantasy brunch trips in the state, to places in town, to dishes described in detail.
Michael O'Dowd Chef and Partner, Renegade by MOD, Wicked Six Bar & Grill by MOD
Cool outdoor weather on the desert with all local ingredients accented with great friends. Quail eggs on brioche with seared foie gras with lemon-peppered purslane as an example.
Michael Rusconi Chef and Owner, Rusconi's American Kitchen
Brunch on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon that I cook for my wife and daughter or a small gathering of our friends. Champagne would have to be involved. Maybe sitting out on one of the great resort patios we have in town like the Royal Palms, The Phoenician, Lon's at the Hermosa Inn, or something a little more old school like El Chorro. Lots of roasted pork would be involved. I love roast pork for brunch.
Aaron Eckburg Owner, Go Lb. Salt
A lazy Sunday morning brunch at home. Eggs Benedict with green chile Hollandaise, bacon, and jalapeño hash on the side (the bacon and Canadian bacon are both homemade, of course) and accompanied by a fresh-squeezed red grapefruit mimosa -- followed by a nap!
Justin Beckett Chef and Owner, Beckett's Table
A road trip to Sedona when the leaves are changing colors. Maybe a nice spot next to Oak Creek. Picnic blanket, fresh fruits, Nutella, crumpets, real good OJ, and maybe The Most Interesting Man in the World's omelet bar.
Chef Massimo De Francesca, Taggia at FireSky Resort & Spa, Kimpton Hotel
An entire Sunday morning (usually my one day off) that seamlessly transforms to afternoon without even noticing. A morning hike with dogs through "the lost dog trail," a quick swim in the pool, then a visit to chef Michael Cairns' Prado restaurant for some great food and to soak up some rays on the patio sipping whatever is best to sip on that day.
Aaron May, Chef and Restaurateur
A hot dog and a Bloody Mary at the Buffet Bar and Crock Pot in Tucson.
Heather Bryan General Manager, Zuzu
Outside on a beautifully sunny day. Begin with bubbles, finish with bubbles, and in-between -- bubbles. Of course, the food is of the utmost importance. Crab eggs Benedict and some delicious scones would do the trick.
Chef Maurice Gordon, The Westin Phoenix Downtown
A nice patio seat with great mountain views is a must in Arizona in October. Food-wise, a Southwest breakfast skillet and a freshly made Bloody Mary with atomic horseradish would make a great Sunday brunch.
DJ Fernandes Owner, Tuck Shop, Vovomeena, Astor House
I like to go to that setup they have at Vincent Market Bistro on Sundays with the girls. Everything is always well executed and it's inexpensive. Nothing out of the ordinary -- cheese plate, egg in a hole, quiche, etc. If I have one more dining experience in this town that's expensive and underwhelming, I might jump off a bridge.
Michael Brown Chef and Owner, Jamburritos Cajun Grille Express
Fresh cut fruit, eggs Benedict, smoked Andouille sausage, seafood boudin, gumbo balls, fresh crispy hash browns, creme brulée, and Bananas Foster with fresh whipped cream.
Farah Khalid Chef and Owner, Curry Corner
Omelets (seafood, Mediterranean, and spinach) fresh juices, and thick buttered toast. A favorite for our family always.
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Chef Admir Alibasic, Ben & Jack's Steakhouse, Scottsdale
A poached lobster omelet with mushrooms and cheese. Also, being from New York, all-you-can drink champagne and mimosas wouldn't hurt.
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