When your name is Pie Snob (right down to your personalized license plate), you'd better deliver. Not a problem for Traci Wilbur. At the urging of her pie-lovin' pals, Wilbur started Pie Snob a year ago in a small building behind her Arcadia home. With her recipes and a motto ("Life's too short to eat bad pie!") Wilbur whips up more than 20 kinds of handcrafted pastry art, including apple (her best-seller), nutty-good pecan, decadent chocolate cream, and Wilbur's seasonal favorite, lemonade nectarine. Pie addicts with patience can order direct from the website or get a taste pronto at D'licious Dishes or Bertha's Café.
Scott's Generations
We don't know whether candy storeowner Louis Auster, the inventor of the chocolate egg cream, ever visited the Valley. But if he did — that is, if he also lived in the early 21st century, rather than the late 19th century — it's likely he'd head straight for Scott's Generations to find out what this ultra-Bronx deli has done with his little brainchild.What he'd find is that this local eatery has made a masterpiece of this delicious mix of chocolate syrup, milk, and seltzer. The chocolate egg cream at Scott's Generations is so perfect that it screams "Brooklyn!"
Chicago Hamburger Co.
Courtesy of Chicago Hamburger Co.
The long-neck spoon? Yeah, you're gonna need that. Featuring creamy scoopfuls of vanilla ice cream, milk, and chunks of fresh banana (most barely making the journey through the straw), the banana shake at the Chicago Hamburger Company is a tackle-worthy treat. Hungry dessert monkeys can order it with extra bananas or they can go combo, mixing homemade banana bliss with chocolate or strawberry, a staff favorite. A small will run you around $4 and a large one is $5. Both require the accompanying spoon to capture every last banana-licious bite.
Yogurtology
Over the past year, self-serve frozen yogurt has eclipsed gelato as the cold treat of choice here in Phoenix. We love the tart varieties. We adore the abundance of toppings. But there's one yogurt in town that's like crack to our heat-addled brains, and that's Yogurtology's oatmeal cookie flavor. Sure, the cheesecake and red velvet varieties are tasty, but the Oatmeal Cookie makes every other flavor taste vanilla in comparison. Made with real oatmeal cookies and a host of other secret ingredients the owner won't reveal, it's rich and creamy with an earthy, sweet flavor that tastes exactly like the fresh-baked cookies Grandma made in our childhood. Forget the gummy bears and Oreos. This flavor doesn't need any dressing up to taste like a million bucks.
Sweet Republic
Courtesy of Sweet Republic
If you still have not tasted Sweet Republic ice cream, we instruct you to put this issue of "Best of Phoenix" down and proceed immediately to 91st Street and Shea in Scottsdale, or to a Whole Foods, and shove some of this stuff down your gullet. Your butt might grow, but you will thank us, because — screw our Valley boundaries — this is the best ice cream we've ever tasted, anywhere. The salted butter caramel is insanely rich, the perfect sweet/salty fix, and we've never tasted anything quite like the mint chip. If you're looking for hip, funky flavors, like blue cheese, they've got those, too. Really, you can't go wrong. As long as you go.
Lee's Cream Liqueur
Jackie Mercandetti
Why didn't we think of this? Ice cream and alcohol, together at last — and served out of a super-sweet Neopolitan-hued little shop on Stetson Drive in what's become the heart of good eating in Scottsdale. The friendly woman who waited on us said the late-night crowd at Lee's is kickin', which isn't surprising, but she cautioned that you can't really get drunk from a scoop or two of this ice cream. Which is good, because we scarfed our vanilla almond — spiked with tequila — and hopped behind the wheel, high on sugar, if nothing else, and ready to spread the word about our favorite new treat.
We all know those nights. Is it worth it to get showered, dressed, deal with the 110-degree heat, traffic, and parking to go out and get the favorite appetizer we're craving, or do we stay in our PJs and settle for the Ritz crackers and string cheese we've already got?Delicious Deliveries solves the conundrum. Simply sign on to their site, enter your ZIP code for participating nearby restaurants, order online, add a tip, and, for an amazingly small fee, enjoy your favorite restaurant meal delivered directly to your door. One night not long ago, we dined on Parmesan zucchini sticks and ahi tuna salad, all for the ridiculously low delivery fee of $6. With a free red velvet cupcake thrown in! Become a friend of DD on Facebook and learn of specials (like free delivery) throughout the week.
The Greene House
Courtesy of The Greene House
After an intense day of power shopping, we need a nice glass of wine. We need to be well fed. And most of the time, that's an experience we can find only if we plunk our shopping bags in the trunk of the car and go far, far away from the mall. But not at Kierland Commons, where The Greene House's vibrant, California-inspired atmosphere and delicious eats are all we need for that mental getaway. You'd never think you're sitting in the middle of so much retail at this airy bungalow, which seems like it ought to be right next to the Pacific. Likewise, dishes like sea scallops with caramelized cauliflower, King salmon on a bed of butter lettuce with marble potato and caper-mustard vinaigrette, and sweet corn cannelloni with baby tomatoes are all edible antidotes to sale-rack fatigue.
Mining Camp Restaurant & Trading Post
Jackie Mercandetti
Tucked at the base of the Superstition Mountains, the Mining Camp Restaurant has been around since 1961. It really looks like a shack where miners would go for lunch; even the interior is modeled after an old mining camp cook's shanty. The place serves food that will please the youngest of the group right along with the old-timers, including slabs of grilled meat, potatoes, beans and fresh-baked goods, including a very large brownie called the Kahlua. And here's the real cherry on top: Kids under 4 eat free — after the restaurant reopens for the season on November 1.
The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix
Courtesy of Bistro 24
We used to think that afternoon tea was strictly for blue-haired old ladies and British expats pining for their homeland — that is, until we partook of tea service at the Ritz. It has all the relaxation benefits of a spa treatment, without the creepy touchy-feely stuff. For $35 (plus tax and gratuity), you get tea sandwiches, an assortment of bite-size desserts, and sweet cranberry white chocolate and buttermilk scones with fresh Devonshire cream that's so good you'd lick the last drop off your fingers if it weren't for the stink-eye you'd get from other guests. But what sets the Ritz's high tea apart from tea services at other swanky hotels is tea maître d' Jeffrey Hattrick, a host who knows when to entertain you with a quick story, inquire if you're ready for the next course, or just leave you the heck alone while you sip another cup of his delicious Winter custom blend.

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