Best Nopales Dish 2015 | Queso Fundido at Asi Es La Vida | La Vida | Phoenix

Imagine this: cheese, chorizo, and cactus. We know what you're thinking. Who would dare to put cactus in something you eat, right? Well, a lot of people, actually. It's more commonly called nopales and is a staple in Mexican food, especially that of central Mexico. If you look carefully, you can find it on the menus of many Mexican restaurants around the city, but our favorite use has to be in the queso fundido at Asi Es La Vida. It acts almost as a green chile in the cheesy dip and it mingles well with the spicy chorizo and hearty mushrooms. Grab a chip, take a dip, and prepare to be a convert. And we promise there won't be a spine in sight.

Readers Choice: Barrio Cafe

The agave spirit revolution is coming, as the smoky mezcal variant rightfully becomes more and more familiar to tequila drinkers, leaving room for plenty more curiosity for what's next. "What is next?" is a question best fielded by Travis Nass at the Last Drop Bar at the Hermosa Inn, in Paradise Valley. Here, Nass explores categories of agave spirits previously unknown to anyone even fairly well-versed with the territory, with spirits like sotol, distilled from baked, mature Desert Spoon plants in Chihuahua — essentially, a single-varietal spirit. Try his El Ultimo, which mixes sotol with green chartreuse and Chareau, an aloe vera liqueur.

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