Tonkotsu Ramen at T.Spot
This re-named restaurant (formerly Tien Wong) in Chandler from chef Johnny Chu now includes ramen and Asian teas along with its popular hot pots. On the ramen side, you'll want the satisfying tonkotsu ($6.95), a milky, shimmering broth of boiled-for-hours pork bones thoughtfully prepared with toppings like quail egg, sliced pork, pickled ginger, enoki, and black sesame with excellent bouncy thin noodles. Totally slurp-worthy.
Nutella & Banana Empanada at República Empanada
Temper your intake of the savory empanadas at this cheery spot of Latin American comfort food in downtown Mesa if you want to make room for some of the dessert kind -- like the Nutella and banana creation. Its flaky fried casing serves as a delectable crunchy crust. And adding on the optional vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce pretty much goes without saying. ($6.20)
Braunschweiger Pate at Renegade by MOD:
Are you a diner of the adventurous sort? If so, you'll want to pay a visit to ex-Kai chef Michael O'Dowd's risk-taking North Scottsdale restaurant and order up the braunschweiger pate ($12). The cutting-edge dish comes in the form of two discs of dense, black rye bread layered with full-flavored braunschweiger (liverwurst), kale, kimchi, and bits of crisp cured forcemeat topped with a perfectly poached egg. As original as it is intense, this small plate is about as good as it gets.
Detroit Coney Dog at Detroit Coney Grill:
You'll want a Detroit Coney -- make that two -- at this new Motor City-centric joint in Tempe. The best I've had in the Valley so far, they feature a decent all-beef natural-casing dog with a good snap as well as a top-notch signature chili sauce -- made with seasonings and spices such as chili powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic -- with a rich, mildly spiced, and meaty taste reminiscent of Detroit's famous Lafayette Coney Island.