Chow Bella

10 Best Things I Ate and Drank in September

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See also: 10 Best Things I Ate and Drank in August

Fried Chicken and Cheddar Pancakes from Crudo

If you were lucky enough to have eaten at Crudo on Sunday, September 14, then chances are you tried this dish. On that date chef Cullen Campbell served fried chicken over a buttermilk cheddar pancake as a brunch special -- and special it was. Campbell's complicated process of making this dish (hint: there may have been some confit-ing involved) resulted in a juicy on the inside, crunchy on the outside piece of chicken that struck a perfect balance between salty and sweet when smothered in syrup. The fluffy, almost tangy buttermilk and cheddar pancake was a perfect counterbalance. I've got my fingers crossed Campbell will offer this dish again soon.

Sultani from Taylor's Place

This month a new, but slightly familiar restaurant joined the extremely crowded dining scene at the intersection of 44th Street and Camelback. Like many of its neighbors Taylor's Place is stylish and somewhat heath-driven, but what makes it stand out from the crowd is its dinner menu of Persian and Lebanese cuisines. The Sultani is a good place to start if you've never tried either type of food. The dish gives you a taste of filet mignon barg -- basically, marinated and grilled steak -- as well as koobideh -- a strip of spiced ground beef that's reminiscent of a meatball. With a generous side of saffron dusted rice and a plump grilled tomato it's a filling meal with lots of flavor.

See also: Taylor's Place in Arcadia Serves Persian and Lebanese Specialties at Night

Tomato and Fennel Soup from The Local

The Local's Arizona Restaurant Week menu featured this creative take on the classic combination of tomato soup and grilled cheese. A touch of fennel and cumin oil elevated the soup to a level above the pantry staple, as did chef Chris McKinley's cheese toast, a crisp piece of bread draped in melted cheese and dressed with basil pesto. Our only complaint is that we wanted more -- which is why I was happy to hear the chef will be putting the soup on The Local's soon-to-launch lunch menu. And this time he's planning to do a full size grilled cheese.

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria