Chow Bella

Dear Santa: All We Want for Christmas Are These 17 Phoenix Food Wishes

Dear Santa,

We've been good this year — we promise! We gobbled up our roasted cauliflower and over-tipped the server. We've eaten local, composted, Ubered at happy hour. So what are we getting for Christmas? Here are few items on our wish list. We're not asking for much. We're not saying you have to bring us an Eataly, but more kombucha on tap and a Korean barbecue restaurant downtown would be nice. Maybe a DIY Slappy Cakes pancake shop, like we ate at last time in Portland? Here are a few more ideas, too. Love to Mrs. Claus. And yes, we'll be sure to leave out your favorite macarons from Essence Bakery, you picky old guy.

Arizona's Own Style of Barbecue

It’s undeniable that Phoenix now has great barbecue. No, really great barbecue. And while we will happily wait in line for Little Miss BBQ’s Texan-smoked meats and chow down on Bobby Q’s St. Louis ribs, we’re craving something a little more homegrown. Our desert landscape has plenty to work with, so can someone please develop a barbecue style unique to Arizona?

More Cold Sesame Noodles

It’s hot here. So how come we don’t have more places where we can pick up cold sesame noodles? Sesame paste and peanut butter with chile oil.


Small, independent groceries that cater to the particular needs of a neighborhood. Bonus if they have a resident cat, prepared sandwiches, and ethnic specialties.

More Rosé Served in Different Ways, All Year 'Round

In our opinion, rosé is Goldilocks’ ideal choice in the wine world. Call us basic, but we could drink this pink wine with any meal, in any season. And we would like to. Plus, can we please get some more rosé-based cocktails? We’re not sure if you’ve heard of it, but Frosé (a frozen mixture of rosé and lemonade) is an excellent starter for any happy hour. Actually, we could go for a glass right now.

Chinese Delivery in Downtown/Central Phoenix

We love the convenience of food delivery apps like UberEats and Postmates, but the rise of these has highlighted a major flaw in central and downtown Phoenix: There are no (or at least far too few) good Chinese restaurants that deliver. How does one of the largest cities in the country not have an abundance of options for Chinese delivery?

A Biscuit-centric Brunch Spot

Brunch isn’t going anywhere, and honestly, we don’t want it to. Booze and breakfast foods? It’s a match made in lazy weekend morning heaven. But after a recent trip to Austin, we’re longing for a biscuit-only brunch somewhere in Phoenix like the one at Irene’s. No need to get fancy. All we ask for is a solid biscuit that we then choose to use as the base for a breakfast sandwich, smother in sausage gravy, or complement with some fruity preserves. The closest thing we have right now is by the skillful hands at Welcome Diner, but we’re looking for something even simpler.
Down-to-Earth Ice Cream Joints

Why aren't there more places where you can get an affordable scoop of ice cream? The gourmet stuff is great, but sometimes we just want a scoop from Baskin-Robbins — which is getting harder and harder to find.

Decent Water!

Damn it, we wish this city had better tap water. You can always tell when it's not filtered. And we hate getting funky tasting water in a restaurant. Hate it.

A Place Like the Catbird Seat in Nashville

We love this restaurant, which reminds us of chef Ludo's place in LA: We want a limited-seating, open-kitchen, dinner-only restaurant with ticketed, timed dinner reservations and nightly or weekly changing tasting menus. It's okay if it's pretentious, as long as it's good.

Headhunter IPA from Fat Head's Brewery

This brewery is just seven years old, yet they are making a name for themselves worldwide. The star of the show is Headhunter IPA, a "West Coast"-style IPA (meaning that it is just loaded with aggressive West Coast hops). This 7.5 percent ABV beer is the two-time defending silver medalist at the World Beer Cup and also a two-time medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival. These are the two most prestigious beer competitions in the world, and they have been dominating both. The beer is a hop showcase, aggressive and uncivilized, and exactly what Clevelanders need to fight the bitter cold winters. Phoenix residents could also benefit from this hop assault as we battle our 116-degree temperatures in the heart of the summer.

Cozier Coffee Shops

We’re not asking for more coffee shops in Phoenix or better coffee in Phoenix. We’re good on both fronts. What we want are cozier coffee shops. We’ve done the minimalist, bare-bones places with pristine white walls and Instagrammable tabletops. Now, we just want some comfy chairs and couches near outlets to curl up in with our latte and work the afternoon away.

A Late-Night Food Truck Mall in Downtown Phoenix

How downtown Phoenix does not have a designated spot for multiple food trucks to gather late night on the weekends is beyond us. It seems like a no-brainer. Sure, we appreciate the variety and proliferation of the daytime trucks. But when we’re out and about downtown past midnight, we’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is food out of a truck.

A National Trend in Food That Originates in Arizona

This has been on our wish list for years, and until we get it, we’re going to keep asking. We don’t care if it’s a baked good, an innovative cooking technique, some dope cocktail, or a new restaurant that other spots around the country start mimicking. We just want something to happen in Arizona.

See, Santa? That's not so much to ask. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.


The Chow Bella Staff