Best of TASTE. Chandler's Culinary Festival Awards Announced
The Luau BBQ Pork with Hawaiian Jalapeno Slaw sandwich, served by Yoli's Cafe, was our pick - and everyone else's! - for "Best of TASTE."
The survey results are in from TASTE. Chandler's Culinary Festival and the winner is no surprise: The overall Best of TASTE. award went to Yoli's Cafe. In our coverage of the festival last week, we picked this relative newcomer as our hands-down favorite - and TASTE. testers agreed.
Yoli's Cafe in Chandler serves breakfast and lunch on Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu is extensive, offering a range of popular American fare (burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, and wings) with the occasional Hawaiian twist on an old favorite, like the Hawaiian French Toast. They won over festival-goers with their Luau BBQ Pork with Hawaiian Jalapeno Slaw, a sandwich layered with contrasting flavors and textures working in sync, from spicy to sweet and tender to crunchy.
But Yoli's Cafe - which also nabbed the prize in the "Casual Cafe" category - wasn't the only participating restaurant to receive high praise. Voters rated the restaurants on a scale of 1 to 3 for Taste, Originality, and Presentation. AJ's Cafe and Coach & Willie's both received honorable mentions for superior flavor and presentation (AJ's Cafe's recognition for presentation comes as no surprise, though The Keg would be our close second). Other TASTE. category award-winners included:
Find out what other restaurants took home top honors after the jump.
We can bet The Keg scored high marks for Presentation with their pretty trio of samples, but none of the offerings were particularly approachable (as opposed to everything at the BJ's table, which was way too approachable).
American: The Keg. Their plate was a little too high-brow for our tastes (we were surprised it wasn't topped with a wisp of foam, to be honest), but the presentation was impeccable.
Asian: Shimogamo. Their fresh sushi beat out The Sushi Room's and proved a fan favorite on the surveys.
Dessert: Paletas Betty. These Mexican fruit ice-pops, called "paletas," were an understandable crowd favorite - both because of the hot weather that weekend and the flavor.
Italian: NYPD Pizza. We were pleasantly surprised by the White Spinach and Cheese Pizza available for sampling, a nice respite from Pepperoni.
Mexican: Dos Gringos. The booth was colorfully and enthusiastically decorated with sombreros and twinkly lights, and the Shrimp Ceviche and Green Chile Chicken Dip were gone by early afternoon.
Oooey, Gooey, and Doughy (Disney's rejected Duck trio), the mini Chicken Shepherd's Pies from Irish Republic were one of our favorite tastes to linger over.
Irish Republic (the re-branding of Murphy's Law). This Irish pub served a Chicken Shepherd's Pie that we fondly recall as a warm and gooey treat, but survey respondents selected their Spicy Meatball Bangers as the real dish to remember.
Winery: Kokopelli Winery & Bistro. A family tradition that dates back to bathtub winemaking during Prohibition, this winery holds a special place in Chandler residents' hearts.
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