This year we're marking the hundred-day countdown to Best of Phoenix 2015 by sharing some of our favorite dishes at restaurants all over the Valley. Have a suggestion for a dish you'd like us to try? Leave it in the comments section or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
86. Date Shake at Couscous Express
The name of the little Moroccan restaurant on the south side of McDowell might be Couscous Express, but I have to admit it's the date shakes that stand out in my mind. In part, it's because it's the date shakes owner Abdul serves so generously to his customers. You can pretty much guarantee that if you dine at Couscous Express, Abdul will bring you one of these shakes during your meal. More likely than not, it will be more than one.
Whether or not you like dates, they're easy to enjoy. Abdul prides himself on the fact that he doesn't use ice cream as a base, but rather relies on the sugars in the fruit to provide sweetness. He also uses peanut butter in them, which does add sugar, but more important is the fact that it adds a nice thickness and nuttiness to the mix. A light sprinkling of nutmeg finishes off the treat.
The fact that the date shakes stand out in my memory doesn't mean the couscous isn't amazing. The truth is it's the best I've ever had. Couscous Express coaxes maximum flavor out of each grain; it's fluffy, nutty, and slightly sweet. Whether you order it alone or topped with broth and flavorful meats, you can bet it makes a good pairing for a mint tea. And a date shake.
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The 100 Favorite Dishes so far...
100. Waffle at Matt's Big Breakfast
99. Pacific White Fish Taco at La Santisima
98. Beef Roll at Taiwan Food Express
97. Zinc Burger at Zinc Bistro
96. Goat Biryani at Khyber Halal
95. Key Lime Doughnut at Welcome Chicken + Donuts
94. Chicharrón Prensado Quesadilla at La Merced
93. Moist Succulent Pork Chop at Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe
92. Deep Fried Squid with Salt and Pepper from Nee House Chinese Cuisine
91. Coconut Raspberry Brownie at Karl's Quality Bakery
90. Fried Chicken at Phoenix Public Market Cafe
89. The Tyler at Cheese 'N Stuff
88. Hurricane Popcorn at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour