Welcome to The Essentials, our catalog of indispensable and quintessential Phoenix food and drink. From now until May, we'll be sharing 50 dishes, drinks, and food experiences that make up the culinary backbone (and personality) of metro Phoenix. This list is highly eclectic, mixing classics with newer and lesser-known favorites. But all The Essentials have one thing in common: We think they're required eating (and drinking) in metro Phoenix.
11: Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies at Super Chunk
Super Chunk, the Old Town Scottsdale sweets and sandwich shop, has gotten its share of national love lately. The shop got shout-outs in the Washington Post and Paste Magazine this spring, and has been featured recently on The Cooking Channel and The Travel Channel, among others.
Permit us to join in the love-fest.
Super Chunk, operated by culinary power couple Sergio and Country Veldador, has been open for more than three years, establishing itself fairly quickly as one of the Valley's leading purveyors of all things sweet, sticky, crunchy, chocolatey, and chewy. And the shop is constantly concocting new treats, so no matter how many times you visit, chances are there will be a new reason to ruin your diet.
One of the newer treats behind the pastry counter this season is a sour lemon sandwich shortbread cookie, filled with a mauve-colored hibiscus buttercream. If you have a weakness for Lemonhead candies, you should probably stop in and try it.
The shop is also responsible for producing many classics in the modern Phoenix cookie oeuvre (is oeuvre too fancy a word to use when discussing cookies? But don't cookies merit the very best words?). There is, for example, the Cowpuncher, a cocoa-colored treat infused with Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, and a little cayenne. The punch comes from a candied jalapeño, baked right into the dough.
Then there's the mesquite chocolate chip cookie, beautifully chunky and gritty, with an earthy sweetness that you just can't get from conventional white flour. The Super Chunk chocolate chip cookie is made using Arizona mesquite flour, and if you've ever chewed on a late-summer mesquite pod, or enjoyed some mesquite flour pancakes, you know that sunburnt sweetness well.
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For the chocolate, the shop uses couverture, which is regarded as one of the highest-grade chocolates available. Altogether, it makes for a dense, vaguely crunchy, halfway chewy, gorgeously sweet chocolate chip cookie that more than likely you'll only find in Arizona.
The Essentials so far:
50: Tequila Sunrise at the Arizona Biltmore.
49: "Dragon" Dumpling Burger at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.
48: Dizzy Fig Empanada at Republica Empanada.
47: Linguine Carbonara at Avanti.
46: The Food Court at Mercado de los Cielos.
45: Chicken Feta Salad at George’s Kitchen.
44: Spinach & Cheese Chimi Burro at Mi Patio Mexican Restaurant.
43: Dinner at Rustler's Rooste.
42: Gyro Omelet at Mel's Diner.
41: Zipps Wings at Zipps Sports Grill.
40: Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa.
39: Asian Nachos at Moto.
38: Olive Oil Tasting at Queen Creek Olive Oil Mill.
37: Baby Back Ribs at Don & Charlie's.
36: Limoncello at Cibo.
35: Chili Salt Chicken Wings at Asian Café Express.
34: Smoked Prime Rib at Texaz.
33: Steak Salad at Feeney's.
32: Tasting Menu at Kai Restaurant.
31: Toffee Banofi Sundae at Sweet Republic.
30: Big Jim at Welcome Diner.
29: Sonoran Hot Dog at El Caprichoso.
28: Sashimi at Nobuo at Teeter House.
27: Oysters at Casey Moore's Oyster House.
26: Spring rolls at Da Vang.
25: Bruschetta and wine at Postino.
24: Hot green chili fry bread at Fry Bread House.
23: The Big One at The Chuckbox.
22: Cahuamanta Stew at Cahuamanta El Yaqui.
21: Dim Sum at Great Wall Cuisine.
20: Fried chicken at The Horny Toad.
19: George & Dragon’s Famous Fish & Chips.
18: Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches at Pho 43rd Express.
17: Cerreta Candy Co. Factory Tour & Candy Sampling in Downtown Glendale.
16: Steak Dinner at The Stockyards.
15: Margarita + Guacamole del Barrio at Barrio Cafe.
14: BBQ Plate at Joe's Real BBQ.
13: Fried Chicken & Pork Chops from Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe.
12: Breakfast Burrito at Yucca Tap Room.