Looking back at the best bites of last month makes me confident in saying that 2015 should be quite a delicious year. Two of my most memorable dishes from January come from collaborations between local chefs, and I have a feeling that the trend of kitchen collaborations isn't going anywhere any time soon. Other favorites come from longtime favorite spots, with one being a farewell drink from a now-closed restaurant.
I hope you get to try some of it for yourself.
Costilla Adobada from Barrio Urbano
Early last month chef Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Cafe introduced her most recent restaurant concept, Barrio Urbano at The Yard in Phoenix. The new restaurant opened with breakfast, and has since expanded to add a dinner menu. On my first visit I tried this special dish, which featured a fork tender short rib in a wonderful vinegary sauce. With an egg on top and perfectly roasted garlic to add richness, the balance of flavor was just perfect. Even better, Esparza had verdolagas to use in the dish that day giving the dish an even more authentic flavor.
Foie Stuffed Quail from Blank Space at Crudo
January's Blank Space dinner at Crudo brought together chef Kelly Fletcher of the Revival and Crudo's Cullen Campbell for a foie-filled night entitled "Foie Habit." The six-course dinner had many high points (including a tiny foie gras and jelly-type sandwich) with one of the most memorably bites being the foie stuffed quail served with dates, truffles, and quince. Not only were the tiny birds quite adorable, but also a lovely balance of richness and sweetness.
Bloody Michelada from Gallo Blanco
Judging by how busy Gallo Blanco was when I swung through last week, I wasn't the only one with a plan to enjoy a last meal before the restaurant shut down. While I'll miss several dishes (R.I.P. Naco Torta and guacamole), what I'll miss the most is the restaurant's Bloody Michelada. With a spicy salt rim and the restaurant's dill-heavy Bloody Mary mix, Gallo Blanco transformed a regular can of Modelo into something wonderful. Hangovers will never be the same without you, Bloody Michelada.
Grand Prix Donut from Welcome Chicken + Donuts
I was lucky enough to grab the very last Grand Prix donut last week when Jeff Kraus of Crepe Bar in Tempe teamed up with Welcome Chicken + Donuts. Though the combination of "smoked pork jowl, crispy crepe, maple glaze, cured egg yolk, and coffee custard" didn't sound immediately appealing, the final product could not have been more enjoyable. The mixture of coffee, maple, and smoky pork blended together seamlessly, perhaps even more coherently than in the case of the original dish for which the donut was named.
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Perogies from A Touch of European Cafe
You'll find this charming little spot just off the beaten path that is the main drag of downtown Glendale. It's BYOB and also serves excellent Polish fare. For proof, you need look no further than a plate of perogies. The doughy little pillows can be stuffed with potatoes or saurkraut and both are excellent options. Boiled and then pan-fried in butter, they come with a side of sour cream for dipping. While you're there, be sure to ask about the daily selection of soups. The restaurant rotates though dozens of recipes, ranging from classic noodle soups to the more unique -- think pickle and chili peanut.
See also: 5 Best Restaurants in Glendale Right Now