Stacy's Smoke Dem Bones Pit Stop
Sarah Whitmire
Stacy Phipps, owner and chef of Stacy's Smokehouse, makes some crowd-pleasing 'cue — no wonder he recently opened a second location in Scottsdale. What makes it so drool-worthy? In part, the signature sauce. Rich and sugary sweet, we like it slathered on ribs, beef brisket, and rib tips, the tender smoked meat flavor coming courtesy of almond and hickory woods. Good thing there's homemade cornbread for soppin' once you've crushed the 'cue. We'd better hope that Phipps has plans to bottle and sell his signature sauce in the near future so we can savor it anytime.
Matt's Big Breakfast
Matt's Big Breakfast
Okay, you're right: Guy Fieri did not go to Matt's Big Breakfast for a salad. But, hey, we know way more about this town than that bleached-blond douchebag, and we're here to tell you that the thing to get at Matt's (particularly if you're not a fan of breakfast-for-lunch or your doctor's cut you off from burgers cooked in butter) is the Cobb. This is the best Cobb salad we've ever had: Fresh romaine is tossed in a giant white bowl, then drowned in hunks of tomato, blue cheese, chicken, scrambled egg, and bacon (because, yes, Matt's bacon is so thick it slices into hunks) and tossed in your choice of dressing. We prefer the non-traditional balsamic, but go for ranch if you're feeling rich. If the Food Network ever does a show featuring just salads, we bet they'll be back at Matt's door.
Pane Bianco
Heather Hoch
Chris Bianco, owner of Pizzeria Bianco and Pane Bianco, has spent years putting good food on the table. Now, he's putting it in cans — big, honkin' yellow cans. The James Beard Award-winning chef has teamed up with California cannery expert Rob DiNapoli to create Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes. Organically grown, harvested, and hand-selected on a family farm in Yolo, California, the plum-shaped beauties are steam-peeled before being packed into their jumbo 102-ounce homes with organic basil and a touch of sea salt. Offload one from the artisanal product shelves at Pane Bianco and use it to make everything from marinara sauce to salsa, then display the empty container — its label, like its contents, is artistic goodness.
FnB Restaurant
Debby Wolvos
Chef Charleen Badman is such a good girl when it comes to making us want to eat our vegetables. Last year, her leeks put Scottsdale on the culinary map and in the pages of Bon Appetit magazine. She has a way with spinach and, this spring, got an entire school to eat cauliflower. Over the past year, weve gobbled her fried green tomatoes, spicy broccoli, and her famed leeks, and her latest menu features dishes including corn, okra, and half of a grilled eggplant. We cant wait.
Tryst Cafe
"You'd better eat your vegetables." How many times have you heard that in your life? Yeah, too many to count. We happen to love the green stuff, but we sure do know plenty of folks who aren't crazy about veggies. Of course, most of those people might change their minds after trying Tryst Cafe's beer-battered green beans. Even after a dip in the fryer, these babies (locally grown and organic, like most of Tryst's food) keep their snappy crispness and brilliant green color. The light beer batter is flavorful and crunchy and, most important, used sparingly enough that you see plenty of the bean and you don't feel weighted down with the grease-and-batter overload you get with so many deep-fried appetizers. The plate of beans comes with a quartet of dipping sauces, but you know what? You don't really need these accessories. In fact, the time it takes to choose a sauce and then dip your bean in it is time lost in the scramble to eat as many of these treats as possible before your friends beat you to it.
Four Peaks Brewing Company
New Times Archives
We can't think of another beer more anticipated then Four Peaks' seasonal Pumpkin Porter. In fact, we know people who actually plan their Arizona vacations around its release. Every year, we count down the days 'til the outstanding blend of sweet pumpkins, roasted malt, and a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg shows up on the towering blackboard of beers at this popular Tempe brew house. Not only does it taste amazing, but it has the power to turn just about everybody in town into lovers of craft beer. The Pumpkin Porter shows up right around Halloween and, to our dismay, disappears much more early than we would like.
Flancer's Cafe
Lauren Saria
Instead of chancing an errant thorn in the thumb, let Flancer's Café in Gilbert take the ouch out of harvesting and preparing prickly pear fruit. The sweet, red fruit has a flavor almost like kiwi-strawberry and goes great with chicken. Try Flancer's crispy sweet-and-spicy chicken wings doused in sticky prickly pear sauce. Or snag a Caesar salad with a twist: a sweet and tangy prickly pear-glazed chicken breast to balance the salty Cesar dressing. The same prickly pear-marinated chicken breast also makes a mean sandwich slathered with green chile mayonnaise. If you haven't overdosed on prickly pear yet, order fresh squeezed prickly pear lemonade spiked with vodka to wash it all down.
Casa Reynoso
Natalie Miranda
It's a staple of dining in the Valley, and when it's done well, it makes you thrilled to be a resident of the Southwest. At Casa Reynoso, the pork chile verde is done just right, whether it's in a burrito, on a plate of cheese enchiladas, in a chimichanga, or simply served in a steaming bowl with a side of fresh flour tortillas. This old-school joint has been around for decades, part of an empire of Mexican restaurants that became famous in the Globe-Miami area (many locals say these cities east of the Valley are among the best places in Arizona to get Southwest-inspired Mexican grub). Sizable chunks of pork, slices of jalapeño, and an aromatic blend of spices in a green sauce (not too spicy, but not too mild, either) are what has made the homey, traditional Casa Reynoso a longtime destination for generations of Tempe residents.
Churn
David B. Moore
We've tried several of the ice cream flavors at this sweet new little shop adjacent to hip gastropub Windsor, but the peanut butter ice cream is truly a transcendent experience. We don't know what they put in this ice cream — and don't tell us, or we'd be making it at home and consuming it by the gallon. Better it require a trip across town and interaction with another human being to get our fix. Rich, creamy, flavorful — it's your best peanut butter dream come true. Order it in a pretzel cone and try not to swoon in public. Or weep.
Sweet Republic
Courtesy of Sweet Republic
Like it or not (and we like it), the bacon trend isn't going away anytime soon. Helen Yung and Jan Wichayanuparp, owners of Sweet Republic, one of the best ice cream shops in the Valley and, according to Bon Appetit magazine, the entire U.S. of A., have a fondness for the meat candy as well. Made in small batches and available when it's available, Sweet Republic's "I Heart Bacon" is a cool creation made with addictive bits of caramelized smoked bacon and crazy-fresh ingredients. And if snagging a scoop or picking up a pint isn't an option that day, a bag of Sweet Republic's chocolate bacon brittle is a satisfying substitute.

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