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.
For non-celebrants or those interested in an unconventional Christmas meal (turkey burners included), several restaurants throughout the Valley -- those serving up dishes like rice and noodles, sushi, and pizza -- are happy to accommodate.
Here, Valley chefs share their 14 favorite spots in town for a decidedly different take on Christmas dinner.
Chef Matt Taylor, Market Street Kitchen
Royal Thai Grill (Mesa) or Texaz Grill (Phoenix) for some liver and onions or chicken fried steak.
Steve Freidkin Owner, Texaz Grill
Super Dragon (Phoenix) on Christmas Day. It's a little-known ancient Jewish tradition.
Sadhana Raj, Chef and Owner, 24 Carrots Natural Café & Urban Juicery
Los Taquitos (Phoenix): Vegan vegetable bombero burrito, griddled crisp with a side of guac. I love my food spicy, and these guys get it right. And you can sneak it into that holiday movie -- not that I would ever do such a thing.
Josh Hebert Chef and Owner, Posh
Chef Rich Hinojosa, The Wigwam
When I've had my fill of traditional holiday fare, I love a bottle of red wine and a great pizza from Grazie (Scottsdale). Well, who am I kidding? I love a bottle of red and a pizza from Grazie anytime.
Christopher Collins, Owner, Grassroots Kitchen & Tap
Taking the lead from A Christmas Story, my favorite holiday movie, I would chose Desert Jade (Phoenix). Nothing says "we burnt the Christmas ham" like a family dinner at our longtime favorite Chinese spot.
Chef Joey Maggiore, Cuttlefish Ocean Kitchen
Our favorite holiday restaurant would be Soi 4 Bangkok Eatery (Scottsdale). Who doesn't want Thai or Chinese for Christmas?
Christopher Gross Chef and Owner, Christopher's Restaurant & Crush Lounge
China Chili (Phoenix).
Charles Wiley Chef and Food and Beverage Director, ZuZu
I'm almost afraid to say this because I don't want it to catch on, but it's a sure bet that RA Sushi at the Kierland Commons will be quiet on the holidays. Hamachi and dengaku tofu is appropriate anytime.
Rick Phillips Owner, Bootleggers
Without a doubt, Wahsun (Phoenix). Nothing says the holidays to a New Yorker like Chinese food.
Steven Micheletti CEO, Taco Guild
I love Crudo (Phoenix). The chef-owner [Cullen Campbell] is creative and his partner [Campbell's wife, Maureen] works the front of the house. They have imbued their staff with a sense of family that is palpably experienced. You feel like you're dining in their home. That's what a true holiday meal is all about -- a sense of home, warmth, and togetherness.
Michael Siggins Chef and Owner, Pasta Brioni
With all the heavy holiday meals, usually sushi is a nice break. Zushi (Mesa) is great.
Romeo Taus Chef and Owner, Romeo's Euro Cafe
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Umami (Tempe): Soju, tonkotsu shoyu ramen, and chicken katsu.
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