From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious. Oh, and while you're here, be sure to check out our list of 100 Creatives.
Next, meet a woman who's making metro Phoenix feel like Maine one lobster roll at a time.
78. Diana Santospago of The Maine Lobster Lady food truck
There's good and bad news, folks. The bad news is she's gone. The good news is she'll be back.
We're talking about The Maine Lobster Lady or Diana Santospago, who's best known around the Valley as the woman whose food truck slings some of the best seafood you can get in the middle of the desert. It's no coincidence though, since Santospago's roots are firmly planted in Maine's lobster-fishing industry. She's spent many a season on her life partner's Maine lobster boat, the Shockwave, giving her an intimate knowledge of the industry from trap to table.
Santospago has been involved in the food industry since age 12, and owned an island inn that was also a restaurant before deciding to take her show on the road in the form of a food truck. These days, The Maine Lobster Lady food truck is a family-run business that brings authentic Maine eats to desert-dwelling diners who might not otherwise ever have the opportunity to enjoy the bounty of the Maine coast. During the summers, however, she takes the truck back east, so you'll have to wait until the fall to get your next — or first — fix.
Today, Santospago shares her favorite place for barbecue in Phoenix and the hardest thing about owning a food truck.
My go-to place for barbecue in Phoenix is Q-Up BBQ food truck. Gangstah!
The best kept secret in Phoenix is The Maine Lobster Lady's whereabouts.
The proper way to enjoy a Maine lobster is steamed in a couple inches of sea water inside of a beat-up old pot set over a wood fire built between a few rocks at the shore. Crack it open on the rocks, savor it while soaking in the sweet smell of the salt air, the sound of the waves on the shore, and the sun sinking into the ocean.
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Phoenix could use more made-from-scratch-with-love food and less franchise and fast food.
The hardest thing about owning a food truck is preparing scratch-made food in large quantities in a small space.
The 2016 Tastemakers so far:
100. Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
98. Debby Wolvos of DW Photography
97. Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant
96. Bo Mostow of Uptown Farmers Market
95. Julian Wright of Pedal Haus Brewery
94. Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta
93. Eric Glomski of Page Spring Cellars
92. Richard Bock of Giuseppe's on 28th
91. Walter Sterling of Ocotillo
90. Daniel Sevilla of Angry Crab Shack
89. Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco and Otro Cafe
88. LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market
87. Jason Calhoon of The Shop Beer Co. and Side Kick Cold Brew
86. Tim and Kim Cobb of United Lunchadores Street Gourmet
85. Micah Olson of Bar Crudo and Okra Cookhouse and Cocktails
84. Paola Embry of Christopher's + Crush and The Wrigley Mansion
83. Jared Porter of The Clever Koi
82. Diane Corieri of Evening Entertainment Group
81. Erich Schultz of Steadfast Farm Shares His Go-To Place For Beer That Tastes "Like Arizona"
80. Jeff and Leah Huss of Huss Brewing Company
79. Aaron Pool of Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup