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.
602-688-2483
We're salted caramel fanatics. There's something magical about how a pinch of sea salt adds new dimensions to our sweet and tacky caramel favorites. Bite Me Brownie realizes the harmony of this pairing and offers up one of the best choco-caramel nibbles we've had in ages. Crispy, crunchy chocolate brownie batter is topped with a luscious caramel spread and a sprinkling of fancy sea salt. Every bite is the ideal combination of sweet, salty chocolate. Plus, each brownie comes in its own cute little tin. Portion control and freshness all wrapped up in a ready-to-go container.
El Coquito
Like many of our favorite finds in the Valley, El Coquito is located in a nondescript strip mall, which masks the soulful Puerto Rican food within. Indulge all you want, but make sure to leave room for a bit of something sweet to end it right. At El Coquito, the vanilla flan is that perfect end, a light and eggy custard surrounded by a dark caramel sauce that's not too sweet and has a slightly burnt, nutty flavor. We suggest you pair the flan with the house café con leche, which will truly help push you into sugar-high territory. If you were smart enough to BYOB, you could even add a nip of something special to your coffee to accentuate an already delightful flan.
LaMar's Donuts
Dunkin and the Kreme are well and good, but when we're looking for more than just a fried lump of dough, we look to LaMar's. At LaMar's, they have perfected doughnut artistry with gigantic 'nuts that are bready, soft, and doughy, with a slight crisp and a liberal coating of glaze. Apple fritters, chocolate iced crullers, raspberry-filled Bismarcks, glazed cake doughnuts, buttermilk bars, or the original glazed — whatever your donut of choice is, they've got it. Our favorite is the maple bar, a perfectly sweetened pillow of dough coated in the best maple glaze outside Vermont. We also recommend the cinnamon bun, a pastry so huge you should split it with someone else. That way you can justify a second doughnut (fairly) guilt-free. Variety is the spice of life, after all!

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