The newly opened Izzy's Pantry will be cooking street food in Phoenix. Global street food. With no restrictions on place. We're talking specialties from Mexico and Vietnam and Sicily. The menu will change from time to time as Izzy, chef Israel Medina, wants to bring in new street-focused preparations.
"It's international street-style food," says Medina. "I've always been a huge fan of all these different cool street-style comfort foods. Street corns. Tacos. Udon noodles"
Medina has cooked in many familiar kitchens since moving to the state at the century's beginning. He cooked at North Italia, Olive and Ivy, and Greenhouse. He cooked at Kelly's at Southbridge in Old Town and Spiga in North Scottsdale. He helped open a Loco Patron location.
Now, he churns out street eats from a tiny space in DeSoto Central Market.
The menu is rife with favorites: street corn, tacos, ceviche, a host of salads, chorizo poutine, five sandwiches ranching from Cubano to banh mi, and sweets like churros and zeppole (Italian doughnuts).
The many years Medina spent at North Italia show. Not counting Mexico, Italy has the most real estate on the menu right now. The highlight of the Italian offerings are arancini, fried rice balls.
"In Italy, these arancini balls are awesome," Medina says. "I love risotto. Why not have it fried?"
Medina took over the stoves and fryers of The Provisionary a few months ago. He was given the opportunity to revamp the space, and he gladly stepped up to the plate.
As befits a man who taught himself to cook in a beachfront grill on Lake Tahoe, Medina plans on having fun with the menu. He plans on bringing some cool street food to DeSoto. "It's almost improvisational because we're able to do what we want," he says.
Izzy's Pantry. 915 North Central Avenue; 602-680-7747.
Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.