From now 'til we publish the 2012 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times and Chow Bella present 100 Tastemakers -- Valley residents who make the cut in our culinary scene. Some you'll know; for others, it'll be a first introduction (but likely not the last). While you're here, check out our 100 Creatives on Jackalope Ranch.
Today: A guy who makes it easy to be green in this town.
Tastemaker 37: Damon Brasch
Damon Brasch is a Chicago native and Valley resident for the past 20 years. Although he wasn't born into vegetarianism/veganism, he has owned and operated several meat-free restaurants in the Phoenix area. His current concepts, green New American Vegetarian and nami Soft Serve and Coffee -- both housed in renovated homes in the historic Los Olivos neighborhood -- are a hit with veg-heads and omnivores alike.
I arrived in Phoenix with... "A banjo on my knee!"
If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... Arty the Aqua Boy, Olympia the albino dwarf, the twins Electra and Iphigenia (though they would need only one chair as they are conjoined twins) and Fortunato the Chick.
One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... CIBO in Central Phoenix is great. Simple, rustic, refined and always perfect. Guido, the chef, always makes accommodations for us and is truly one of the most authentic chefs in the Valley.
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One menu item this city could do without is... foie gras. It's absurd that this is still a popular ingredient in this country. I'll admit, the fact that I eat a vegan diet chose to give foie gras as the answer to this question is pretty formulaic, I also concede that people aren't clamoring for loads of this vascular organ meat in the streets. But the few, GROSS, people who do serve it, eat it, and even celebrate it, need to do a little homework on modern animal culture and stop acting like a bunch of middle-class twats.
My last meal in Phoenix would be... something simple, maybe some good olives from Queen Creek.
The Tastemakers so far: 100: Tracy Dempsey 99: Craig DeMarco 98: Lara Mulchay 97: M.J. Coe 96: Betty Alatorre de Hong 95: Eric Schaefer 94: Hanna Gabrielsson 93: Shinji Kurita 92: Silvana Salcido Esparza 91: Mike Pitt 90: Christina Barrueta 89: Christopher Gross 88: Jan Wichayanuparp and Helen Yung 87: DJ Fernandes 86: Cullen Campbell 85: Chris Lee 84. Gwen Ashley Walters 83: Tony Morales 82: Lylah Ledner 81: Andrea White 80: Lori Hashimoto 79. Mrs. White 78: Eugenia Theodosopolous 77: Lou & Lovey Borenstein 76: Anthony Patafio 75: Carl Seacat 74: Sacha Levine 73: Sharon Salomon 72: Johnny Chu 71: Susie Timm 70: Jason Silberschlag 69: Gina Miller 68: Cindy Gentry 67: Amy Binkley 66: Dave Anderson 65: Mark Tarbell 64: Marianne Belardi 63: Audrey Lasalle 62: Brandon Gauthier 61: Brad and Kat Moore 60: Denise Clayton 59: Nobuo Fukuda 58: Richie Moe 57: Robin Trick 56: Alberto Della Casa and Letizia de Lucia 55: Farah Khalid 54: Dave Andrea 53: Vincent Guerithault 52: Danielle Leoni 51: Stan Zawatski 50: Maya Dailey 49: Duc Liao 48: Lisa Reinhardt 47: Isam Saed 46: Greg Peterson 45: Marco Bianco 44: Mark Fratu 43: Wendell Crow 42. Barb Harris 41: Michael Perry 40: Jeff Kraus 39: Ryan Avery 38: Charleen Badman