Best Restaurant to Trick Yourself Into Eating Healthier 2019 | Green New American Vegetarian | Food & Drink | Phoenix

Best Restaurant to Trick Yourself Into Eating Healthier

Green New American Vegetarian

Courtesy of Green

Here's a common complaint about many vegan food items from one flesh-loving carnivore: A lot of it tastes like soy and old tube socks. But then, Green opened up in Phoenix and Tempe, spreading the gospel of proper vegan cuisine to the steak-obsessed masses. Chef Damon Brasch had the magical idea to blend a multitude of cooking styles, yielding tasty comfort food from vegetarian or vegan ingredients that's both familiar and daring. There are the West Coast Fries, better than any spuds from In-N-Out; barbecue wings worthy of any sports bar; and, hands down, the best crab puffs in the entire Valley. But Green does more than simply trick the taste buds into eating better — the menu shows the true versatility of spinach, chickpeas, and cabbage when prepared with a lot of care and a dash of excitement. Were it not for actual burgers or wings, Green could make a vegan/vegetarian out of almost anyone.

Food allergies and sensitivities definitely make eating out more challenging; for those who require gluten-free food, options can be limited and not always tasty. But in Jewel's Cafe, the gluten-sensitive among us have a place where everything on the menu is safe to eat, and it's all delicious. Jewel's does breakfast, brunch, and lunch; highlights include the award-winning Nashville hot chicken sandwich, the chicken and waffles, and the chorizo burrito. The baked goods here also are incredible; on any given day you might find red velvet cheesecake bars, chocolate chip scones, or peanut butter bacon brownies. What we're saying is, Jewel's isn't a great gluten-free eatery — it's a great place to eat that happens to be gluten-free.

If only there was somewhere you could buy a single-origin cappuccino, and a sunflower seed brownie, and a dehydrated chicken breast for your cat, and a new apron for your mother-in-law, all in one convenient stop. Oh, wait. There is such a place — the Uptown Farmers Market on the North Phoenix Baptist Church grounds at Central Avenue and Bethany Home Road. Uptown is home to Caffio Espresso, and Lee's Aprons, and Practical Art, and the Flying Bakery. While you're there, you can scoop up some locally grown kale from any number of Arizona farmers, as well as a jar of apothecary bone broth and some of the tastiest pickles in town. Uptown Farmers Market isn't the biggest local outdoor bazaar, but it's fast becoming the most popular place to buy quail eggs, kettle corn, and bok choy on a Saturday or Wednesday morning. Home to the Iconic Cocktail Company and tahini brownies from Blissful Bakery, Uptown is barely four years old and yet already has made USA Today's list of markets worth traveling to visit. Go find out why — and get there early. There's a lot of parking, but even more savvy outdoor shoppers (and indoors on Wednesdays all summer).

In a world of antibiotic injections and CAFOs, Arcadia Meat Market sources beef, pork, chicken, and lamb raised right. Nick Addante and his crew have learned a lot since opening about a year and a half ago. Arcadia offers some 30 cuts of grass-fed beef from Arizona animals, 18 cuts of lamb, and some of the most sublime bone broth you'll ever put hot to your lips. Addante also carries local beers and heady cheeses. The range of cuts of meat and prepared foods make for some hard choices. Choose from sausages or liver pâté with cherries and pickled mustard seeds, BLTs or spicy beef jerky — or don't choose and get them all. There are some beautiful cuts of meat here. Beef heart. Carne asada. Pork belly. Phoenix is lucky to have such a quality new-age butcher sawing pig sides and aging steaks right in the bustle of Arcadia.

Of all the many improbable, beautiful, soul-stirring sights a person can see in Phoenix, the fish case at Nelson's might be the most consistently fantastic. When it comes to the art of sourcing marine life, Chris Nelson has powers somewhere between Harry Houdini and Pablo Escobar. Like magic, an iced rainbow of fish appears in the case every morning the shop opens. Glistening purple octopus. Halibut like vanilla ice cream. Salmon more orange than a magic marker. Oysters that glisten like living creatures in their blue shells and slide over your tongue with a hypnotic rush of brine. Scallops that hit you like a sweet sea wave. Sure, you have to fork over some serious change for the specimens that Nelson overnights to his shop from across the globe. But dropping the ocean into the desert is well worth the splurge.

Lauren Cusimano

It's true that a good burger starts with fresh, high-quality beef. But for us, what makes or breaks the burger are the toppings, the extras that turn that simplest of handheld foods into a memorable dining experience. Aioli Gourmet Burgers never disappoints on that score; its lineup of options includes the New Mexico (cheddar cheese, Hatch green chile, and green chile aioli), the Fresh Prince (provolone, shaved rib-eye, pepperoncini, caramelized onion, tomato, and garlic aioli), and a rotating monthly special. We love pretty much everything else on Aioli's menu, too, from the pretzel bites with cheese sauce to the caprese salad to the meal-capping milkshakes. Add in the bright, cheerful dining room and friendly service, and you've got a neighborhood eatery we come back to again and again.

"Perfect" is not a word we throw around often, so believe us when we say that Pane Bianco's mozzarella, tomato, and basil sandwich is pretty much perfect. From the freshly baked bread and the thick slab of mozzarella to the crisp tomato slice and fragrant basil, this is a sandwich we can't help but order over and over again, despite the fact that every sandwich on Pane Bianco's menu is consistently good. In the event you feel like exploring more of the options, Francesca's meatball sandwich is filling without being heavy, and we love the albacore tuna salad sandwich with red onion, celery, raisins, olives, and arugula for being a lighter, but still delicious, option.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

The Seventh Avenue home of Short Leash Hotdogs & Rollover Doughnuts is housed in a building that was an Italian joint, grilled cheese shop, and well-known hamburger spot. But hopefully, now, the Melrose District address will long be home to a hot dog restaurant. And not just hot dogs, but also doughnuts, beer, and some pretty fantastic cheese curds. Why are we so crazy about hot dogs? Short Leash offers upscale dogs, if we may, ranging from special-occasion orders like The Bear to an everyday lunch dish like The Lady. Start by choosing your meat — bratwurst, regular hot dog, all-beef, spicy beer hot, chicken, or vegetarian. Then, your dog is topped with with chipotle cream cheese, sauteed onion, and fried pickle, and wrapped in naan. You'll get a savory, textured, irresistible result.

Brined for 24 hours and sizzled in cast iron, the fried chicken at Christian Buze's north Scottsdale soul-food restaurant can hang with the most famous version of the dish in town — that of his grandmother, Elizabeth White of Golden Rule Cafe fame. The breast is hot and juicy. Darker cuts ripple with a robust, Thanksgiving-conjuring depth. Breading has the texture and detail of a landscape, though all of its grooves and intricacies fall swiftly to your big, eager bites. The meat, too, is uncommonly well seasoned. Buze deploys an 11-spice blend, embellishing the flavor of the bird but not enough to drown out its goodness. Not long after getting your plate, you'll be staring down at gnawed-clean bones and red-checked paper smudged with grease, thinking about your next visit.

Heather Hoch

When you see a restaurant with duck fat fries on the menu, you're probably going to take out your smartphone to Google if Guy Fieri has ever visited the establishment. To our knowledge, the Food Network star has yet to claim Arizona Wilderness as a province of his Flavortown empire, which means he's missing out on the best fried potatoes in the state. Flavored with rosemary, thyme, and garlic aioli, this zesty side dish almost overshadows the burgers and brews that put this pub on the map. (Rumor has it duck fat is a little healthier for you, too, but we're not nutritionists.) In fact, you can get the fries covered with pulled pork, cheese, or bacon, and forget the entree altogether. Let's hope Fieri never discovers the brewery, so there are more fries for the locals.

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