Honey Bear's BBQ vs. Monti's La Casa Vieja
We thought we'd let word-of-mouth lead us to excellent peach cobbler in Tempe. A week later, we're unsure whether we found the best in town, but we had fun hunting.
In One Corner: Honey Bear's BBQ
7670 South Priest Drive, Tempe
The peach cobbler at Honey Bear's BBQ is only $2.99. You order it at the counter and it's served on a tray 90 seconds later.
"It melts in your mouth," our friend says after his first bite.
The cobbler is warm but not too hot. The peaches are soft and the crust is gooey, not flaky -- all signs pointing in the right direction.
"It's good," he adds. "It's comfort food."
But after a half-dozen bites, we start to feel weary of so much sweetness. It's cloying. The cobbler tastes like a warmed Hostess Fruit Pie smashed into a Styrofoam cup. If that's your thing, then rock on, but we can't finish the dessert without either a glass of milk or coffee -- neither of which we've ordered. We leave it half-eaten.
In the Other Corner: Monti's La Casa Vieja
100 S. Mill Ave, Tempe
We all know Monti's, at the north end of Mill Avenue, is a Tempe institution. It's a cavernous, wood-paneled restaurant, decorated with black and white photos of historic Tempe.
"I feel like I'm dining with my forefathers," our friend says after we're seating in a red Naugahyde booth.
The "peach cobbler for two" is serious business here. Or at least that's how it's priced: $8.99 without ice cream and $9.99 a la mode. Since the cobbler at Honey Bear's didn't come with ice cream, we order the $8.99 dessert. Somehow this is not understood by our waitress, who gave us ice cream anyway.
The cobbler comes with a generous helping of whipped cream and is dusted with cinnamon. It smells homey and welcoming.
"In some ways, it's very similar to the other cobbler," says our friend. "The difference is presentation."
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It's true. The addition of whipped cream, ice cream and cinnamon makes this the supreme cobbler. And the fact the cobbler isn't served on a plastic tray helps, too.
But we quickly sober up when the check comes. Including the tax, tip and a ludicrously priced $2.59 glass of milk, the total is nearly $15.00! It makes us reconsider the cobbler back at Honey Bear's BBQ in a new light.
The Verdict: Monti's
Head to Monti's if you have the time and money and want a superior tasting cobbler, but go to Honey Bear's for something easy breezy and cheap.