This year, restaurants offered a nice selection of breakfast foods -- a smart move since doors open at 10:30 a.m. for VIP attendees -- and a lot of dishes featuring seafood and duck. We were also impressed with the number of restaurants that handed out dishes with upscale ingredients -- including lobster, foie gras, and oysters -- a clear indication as to why this has become the favorite food event of the year.
One of the most memorable offerings of the day came from Nocawich, the fast-casual sandwich-centric concept from Noca owner Elliot Wexler. Though we enjoyed both of the restaurant's sandwiches, we preferred the Wilbur with Kurobutta porchetta, chili aioli, shaved fennel, and pickled red onion of perfectly crispy faccacia bread. The Daffy -- featuring duck confit, duck cracklin, and foie love -- was a close second.
Another stand out was the plate from Tonto Bar and Grill, the rustic restaurant in Cave Creek. Tonto served up small but satisfying bites of Meyer lemon butter poached lobster tail with black trumpet huitlacoche puree, and pickled Fresno chiles that made for a surprisingly fancy feeling sample.
See also: 10 Best Culinary Events in Metro Phoenix
We were surprised by how much we liked the options from Sam Fox's Little Cleo's Seafood Legend. The restaurant's Bacon and Eggs was a fun take on a breakfast classic with housemade sturgeon bacon, crème fraiche, and a fried egg over toast. Early in the day, they also handed out oysters on the half shell with a choice of two accompanying sauces.