This list has two functions.
The first is to let potential tourists in on what it means to be a Phoenician; food-wise. Now, this is not the millionth generic list that will tell you to go to Pizzeria Bianco, Matt's Big Breakfast or Lux. Yawnsville!
Nope, this list will tell you about those Phoenician food experiences that we citizens depend on. These are the every day indulgences that have become staples of our urban existence.
Now, the second function is way more fun. This list will also shame anyone who has ever left the Valley of the Sun. And we're using a most effective weapon: your stomach.
If you happen to be one of those people who lived in Phoenix, hated it and spent years bitching about how much this place sucks until all of your friends wanted to punch you in the face before you finally got the stones to move away, read on and feel the pain of longing.
5. Meditteranean Platter at Pita Jungle
There was a time when Pita Jungle was just a sweet little restaurant with ridiculously hot waitresses in Tempe. Now the restaurant has expanded to 10 (soon to be 11) valley locations. That's a lot of ridiculously hot waitresses. There's no denying, Pita Jungle has become a Phoenix staple. And so is their Mediterranean platter. This huge plate is covered in glistening swaths of fluffy and fresh hummus and baba ganoush. The falafel patties are fried just right, the pita is hot, the tabbouleh is tangy and that big old hunk of feta in the middle is to die for. Oh, did I mention your waitress is ridiculously hot?
4. No Harm Chicken Parm at Green
Now, if you've moved to the Midwest or the South, first off, my God! What the hell were you thinking? And second, I hope you like meat, meat and more meat because you just aren't going to find the vegetarian or vegan cuisine that you can find in the West. Now, I know you might be thinking that a real chicken parmesean sandwich must taste better that this. I tell you, you are wrong. It's just as good (actually, better, in my opinion) than it's meaty equivalent for the same price. Not to mention, you'll never find a disgusting vein or scary piece of cartilage in this delicious morsel. Seriously, the no harm chicken parm is a dang tasty hunk of...whatever it is that's in there.
3. Pumpkin Porter at Four Peaks
"Hey, that's not food!" Oh, alright, it's not. But Pumpkin Porter is one of the finest things you can put in your mouth (refrain from any dong jokes here, please). And you can only taste the Pumpkin Porter in the Valley. This just-heavy-enough perfect mix of bitter and sweet brew is available every fall. Four Peaks makes it extra special by keeping the supply just a tad low, leaving us all wanting more by the end of the season. Yes, there's nothing better than sitting on the Four Peaks patio, sharing a pitcher of Pumpkin Porter with your friends while everyone is bundled up in hats and scarves for the 70 degree weather. Of course, if you leave the Valley for good, you're faced with never being able to look forward to fall again because, chances are, if you're not in Phoenix the onset of fall means the beginning of at least six months of miserable, bitter cold. No pumpkin porter and no patio times? What were you thinking leaving this place?
2. Tortillas from Carolina's
There's just no way a list like this could exist without a mention of the most lard-o-licious, melt in your mouth, wrap-anything-in-it-and-life-
1. The Drunken Drive-Thru at Berto's
Whether it's Rali's, Erin's, Los's or Fili's, this is, hands down, the most culturally significant food habit unique to Phoenicians. Anyone who has lived here has certainly had their share of drunken nights. This is how the addiction starts. Not to alcohol, mind you, but to the late-night Berto's drive thru. Phoenix drinkers need lots of food after 2 a.m. to soak up all the booze and the Berto's run has become a freakin' Phoenix phenomenon. Next time you're wasted and starving in your (probably freezing) city, just remember that while you're shivering the subway, breathing homeless people's tooth decay, us Phoenicians are warm and safe in our taxi cabs with steaming hot burritos in hand.
So there you have it. If you want to live like a Phoenician when you visit, you have your checklist. And if you ever were a Phoenician, just admit it: you miss this place.
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