October is a good month in the metro Phoenix food calendar. Farmers' markets come back to life, restaurant patios fill, and food festivals begin in force. This weekend looks especially promising, with three food events aligning. If your taste buds can swing it, check out all three.
The Arizona State Fair
The roster of crazy shit to eat at the fair would challenge the mind and stomach of any eater. We're talking an enormous pork leg that looks like a weapon, cheese fries smothered in a red blizzard of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, and, oh yes, deep-fried butter. The fair has more innocuous eats — such as great fresh juices and classic walk-around street foods like the humble taco. But, come a warm fall day at the fair, the strange and the deep-fried have our hearts. Don't miss the Pop Rocks doughnut. It's actually good. (Read our full fair review.)
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Arizona Taco Festival
Fifty vendors will converge on Salt River Fields this weekend to craft tacos for the hungry masses. At last year's event, around 30,000 people ate more than 100,000 tacos. This year's taco vendors will be vying for supremacy in four main categories: best chicken taco, best pork taco, best beef taco, and best seafood taco. There will be three subcategories: veggie taco, dessert taco, and an open-ended taco in which "anything goes." Two standout taco wizards will be crowned grand champions. The real winner: you.
Best of Phoenix A'Fare
The 18th annual Best of Phoenix A'fare is going down this Saturday night at the Arizona Biltmore. The party starts at 8 p.m. and will roll until 11. There will be more than 40 vendors from local restaurants. For $45, the price of entry, you get limitless samples of food. Plus 12 drink vouchers (12!). Entertainment will be on the superstitious side in keeping with this year's Best of Phoenix theme: tarot card readers, psychics, and clairvoyants. A DJ will be energizing the dance floor with tunes. Come hungry.