23: Hot Pressed Tuna at La Grande Orange

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We're working up our appetites for our huge Best of Phoenix issue, out September 30, with daily servings of Chow Bella's 100 Favorite Dishes from across the Valley -- in no particular order

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Visit our sister blog, Jackalope Ranch, for a companion series on 100 Creatives who make Phoenix a little more interesting for all of us. We'll be posting the next 22 picks daily through the rest of the summer.

Number 23: Hot pressed tuna at La Grande Orange

Rain or shine, happy or sad, hungry or not really, I've eaten the hot pressed tuna at La Grande Orange -- with an Orangina to drink, almost always -- probably a hundred times over the years. I've gone out of my way to get one of these when the craving struck hard.

You see, I've always had a weakness for a good tuna melt. Everywhere I've ever lived, I've sought out my favorite versions of classic sandwiches (such as Reubens and Cubans), and after moving to Phoenix over a decade ago, I had fun tasting around town. The tuna melt at LGO absolutely rocked from the get-go, and so far I haven't found another to top it.

What do I enjoy about it? The tuna salad itself is distinctive, with little white raisins mixed in, and a distinctive tangyness that I could never replicate at home. There's always a generous amount of melted cheddar, and the slight sweetness of wheat bread becomes even tastier when it's sizzled up like a panini. The result is a sandwich that's crispy on the outside and oozy on the inside. Usually, there's a serving of fruit on the side to make me feel a little less guilty about what I'm going to devour in minutes.

As long as they don't change it, I'll be eating one of these routinely, for the rest of my life.

The Favorite Dishes, so far: 24: Chilaquiles at La Tolteca 25: Pho Tai Nam at Da Vang 26: Olive-Oil Poached Arctic Char at Kai 27: Pulled Pork at Joe's Real BBQ 28: Falafel Sandwich at Haji-Baba 29: Payt-N-Bake Chicken at Caffe Boa 30: Thai BBQ Chicken at Thai E-San 31: Sweet and Spicy Burger at The Grind 32: Kimchi Chigae at Ewha Korean Restaurant 33: Red Chile Beef at Verde 34: Garlic Shrimp at Hope Kee 35: Antipasto Platter at Pizzeria Bianco 36: Beef Fried Noodles at China Magic Noodle House 37: Grilled Calamari at Andreoli Italian Grocer 38: Spicy Miso Ramen at Sushi Ken 39: Fish 'n Chips at Rula Bula 40: Corn Pancakes with Crab at The Mission 41: Santa Lucia Pasta at Marcellino Ristorante 42: Smoked Truffle-Infused Filet Mignon at Christopher's 43: Pollo Colonial at Iruna 44: Mozzarella Carozza at Aiello's Fine Italian Dining 45: Mofongo at El Coquito 46: Sticky Toffee Pudding at St. Francis 47: Steak Frites at Metro Brasserie 48: Black Cod with Acini de Pepe at Cafe Bink 49: Steak & Egg Sliders at Lon's 50: Taco Monterrey at Pepe's Taco Villa 51: Toro Tartare at Sushi Roku 52: Fish Tacos at Barrio Cafe 53: Reuben at Matt's Big Breakfast 54: Short Ribs at J&G Steakhouse 55: Mole Poblano at Los Sombreros 56: Chicken Fried Steak at Texaz Grill 57: Carne Asada on a Potato Pancake at The Vig 58: White Flannel Hash at Orange Table 59: Butterfish Tataki at Roka Akor 60: Eggs Maximilian at Harlow's Cafe 61: Chickpea Ceviche at Bombay Spice 62: Spiced Skirt Steak at Tuck Shop 63: Rib Eye Philly at SanTan Brewing Company 64: Albacore With Black Truffle at Crudo 65: Slice at Jimmy & Joe's Pizzeria 66: Lee's Combination at Lee's Sandwiches 67: Duck Curry at Sala Thai 68: Chicken Kabab at Med Fresh Grill 69: Cheese Course at Sweet Republic 70: La Potence at Le Chalet 71: Brisket at Bryan's Black Mountain Barbecue 72: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup at The Roosevelt 73: Coq Au Vin at Vincent's Market Bistro 74: Cochinita Pibil Tacos at La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop 75: Char Siu Bao at Phoenix Palace 76: Huevos Rancheros at Gallo Blanco Cafe 77: Italian Stallion at La Piazza Al Forno 78: Bourekas at Spices Mediterranean Kitchen 79: Warm Maine Lobster Salad at Modern Steak 80: Escargots En Croute at Petite Maison 81: Salumi at Quiessence 82: Okonomiyaki at Hana Japanese Eatery 83: Croissants at Essence Bakery Cafe 84: Coronado Coney at The Main Ingredient 85: Green Chili at Rito's Mexican Takeout 86: Soup Gyoza at Sens Asian Tapas & Sake Bar 87: Pop Cho and Sweet Ginger at The Breadfruit 88: La Jawab Kadahi Gosht at The Dhaba 89: Chicken & Waffles from Lo-Lo's 90: Burrata at Humble Pie 91: Bruleed Foie Gras Torchon at Posh 92: Moroccan Nomad Stew at Chakra 4 93: Peking Duck at Gourmet House of Hong Kong 94: Mozzarella Sandwich at Pane Bianco 95: Egg White Omelette at Fez 96: Machaca From Los Dos Molinos 97: Shish Taook from Baiz Market 98: Pasties From Cornish Pasty Co. 99: Clams in Black Bean Sauce From Asian Cafe Express 100: Bruschetta From Postino

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