5 Best Things I Ate and Drank in October

Baby octopus from Forge Pizza
Baby octopus from Forge Pizza
Lauren Saria

Though we're already charging into the month of November, I have to admit I'm still reeling from the drama of last last month. Saying good-bye to some well-loved spots -- including Noca, The Local, and soon, Petite Maison -- made October seem at times like a never-ending slew of bad news. Looking back, however, it was also a month of some really great eats. This list of top food and drinks includes some new finds from favorite spots and a selection from one of the many new restaurants to open last month.

I hope you get to try some of it for yourself soon.

See also: 10 Best Things I Ate and Drank in September

Baby Octopus from Forge Pizza

There are plenty of places with octopus on the menu right now and a handful of them do it quite well (like here and here). Forge Pizza, an admittedly "unpretentious" pizza shop, isn't exactly the kind of restaurant you'd expect to fall into the later category and yet you'd be mistaken to skip the restaurant's octopus starter. It's available on the dinner menu and features baby tendrils of tender octopus over a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes. An Old Bay aioli makes a perfect complement, along with breadcrumbs for texture and some baby arugula.

5 Best Things I Ate and Drank in October
Lauren Saria

Southern Bread Pudding from Tarbell's

Unless you live in the surrounding neighborhood it's probably been a while since you enjoyed a meal at Tarbell's, which, to be honest, is sort of a shame. Classic restaurants like this often get understandably overlooked in favor of newer, trendier spots but in the case of Tarbell's you have a longstanding restaurant that's still serving great food. The seasonal, fresh dinner entrees are probably worth the extra pennies but no matter what you do, don't skip dessert. Tarbell's is still dishing out Southern Bread Pudding, an excellent example of the classic, simple dessert. The custard-like bread pudding, made with leftover housemade bread, is just sweet enough to justify the generous amount of fragrant Kentucky bourbon sauce that gets scooped on top. The portion is definitely meant for sharing but I won't judge if you keep it all for yourself.

 

5 Best Things I Ate and Drank in October
Lauren Saria

Cuff Posole from Cuff

Chef Tom Harvey's menu at Cuff in Glendale may seem conventional at first glance, but look at little closer and you'll see the chef's inventive stamp on American cuisine. The best example of Harvey's approachable but creative streak may be the Cuff Posole, a dish he actually created long before he opened this charming spot. Instead of pieces of pork, the stew contains roasted pork pot stickers, which maintain their crunch and texture in an instantly likeably way. Hominy, cilantro, and coijita cheese round out the flavors of the tomato-chiptole broth in which the crispy dumplings rest. The dish is already becoming something of the chef and restaurant's signature and after one try, I'm thinking you'll understand why.

See also: Tom Harvey of Cuff in Glendale: "I Loved the Industry Long Before I Loved to Cook"

5 Best Things I Ate and Drank in October
Lauren Saria

Lumpia Shanghai from Casa Filipina

If you're willing to drive to the west side of town you can find some pretty good Filipino cuisine at Casa Filipina. Sure, Filipino food isn't the most approachable of ethnic eats, but in this Cafe Review I gave first time diners a few tips on where to start. One of my favorite Filipino dishes is also one of the most basic and familiar. Lumpia shanghai are pretty much just Filipino-style egg rolls that are rolled tighter and thinner than their other Asian counterparts. The flavorful filling of pork and spices make this a deeply satisfying starter and with a side of sweet-sour chile sauce, you're likely to be fighting over the last one with your dinner companions.

5 Best Things I Ate and Drank in October
Lauren Saria

Cinnamon Whiskey from Crudo

Self-respect and not wanting to drink anti-freeze should probably be reason enough to make us all quit drinking Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. But don't worry, that doesn't mean you have to give up on the undeniably enjoyable combination of flavors. If you head to Bar Crudo you might be able to convince mixologist Micah Olson to mix up a shot of his own take on cinnamon whiskey, one that doesn't include any crazy artificial sweeteners or otherwise scary chemicals. We're not sure what he puts in it and frankly, we don't really care. It's so perfectly sweet that you'll want to savor each sip and never, ever, ever let Fireball pass your lips again.

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Forge Wood-Fired Pizza - Closed

2502 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85016

www.theforgepizza.com

miles
Tarbell's

3213 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85018

602-955-8100

www.tarbells.com

miles
Cuff

5819 W. Glendale Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85301

623-847-8890

www.cuffdowntown.com

miles
Casa Filipina Bakeshop

3531 W. Thunderbird Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85053-5543

602-942-1258

www.casafilipina.com

miles
Bar Crudo

3603 N. Indian School Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85018

602-358-8666

www.crudoaz.com


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