Cupcakes are out. Poke is in. One day, kale will be just another leaf. (And may that day come soon.) The food fad cycles are constantly spinning, bringing an endless stream of newfangled trends to the plates and minds of eaters. Comfort food, though, is eternal. It will never go out of style. Burgers grilled to beautiful brownness and fries blanketed with sauce so heavy they bend the potato strings will be popular forever. So will all of these other comfort foods, ranging from Mexico City to Vietnam, cookie dough to peanut-butter-and-jelly doughnuts. Here is a list of new comfort foods, eats that will hit the spot whenever.
Scottsdale Burger Bar
23535 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Scottsdale Burger Bar captures that old-school all-American throwback burger joint experience. The menu is refreshingly pedestrian. You can get burgers, single or double patty. You can get loaded fries, onion rings, milkshakes, and hot dogs. The whole anatomy of your burger can be customized here except the bun. Patties are beef or turkey. Cheese options abound. Some possible toppings are generic (tomato, onion); some take a half-step from expectations (grilled mushrooms, grilled jalapeños). All said, this is a retro-style, middle-priced burger worth eating. If you dig funky potatoes, check out the loaded fries. These fries are long and blocky and hot in the middle, ideal for the gooey mess on top.
9204 North Seventh Street, #6
A new storefront in north Phoenix is serving raspados, Mexican cups of shaved ice, fruit, and other sweet and spicy additions. Owner Alejandra Matias says her raspados, a snack widely popular in Mexico, have a Mexico City bent. The Mangonada raspado contains mango sliced and puree, shaved ice, Tajin, lime juice, and Chamoy. This raspado is sweet, tart on two or three levels, a smidgen hot, and icy from those tiny shaved chips of frozen H20. Bites of fresh mango lend more of the cool levity that makes a raspado what it is in the first place. The Chamoyada is similar but with more of Tajin and chile prickling through. It also brings crunch from Japanese peanuts and Chamoy-spiked candy. Raspados Solaris also serves ice cream and a few savory dishes.
7350 East Stetson Drive, Suite C101, Scottsdale
A new bake shop in Old Town Scottsdale, sweetDee's is churning out some of the more innovative pastries in metro Phoenix. You might be surprised by a long-risen creme brulee doughnut, a peanut butter and jelly doughnut coated with a fuchsia dusting of freeze-dried raspberries, or a bourbon-plum-chai-latte-orange-blossom "cruffin" — a croissant-muffin hybrid. Owner Danielle O’Day, a self-taught baker, "always" has cream puffs, macarons, croissants, doughnuts, cookies, and various small cakes in her front display. Some of these sweets keep things more classic; some veer more into the new. “It’s heavily French-inspired,” she says of her style. “We wanted to do heavily French with a modern twist.” Roughly 50 percent are gluten-free, including almond flour doughnuts, and some sweets are vegan.
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2015 North Dobson Road #9, Chandler
Urbanh Cafe is now open at the intersection of Dobson and Warner roads in Chandler. Urbanh brings plenty of originality, including eight kinds of banh mi — the #B4 Pork Belly and #B6 Sunny Side Up, with a fried egg, are two of the most intriguing and popular choices. The drinks and desserts at Urbanh are so picturesque they’ve filled a gallery wall with images of them. Choose from 10 kinds of colorful “che,” sweet Vietnamese beverages, such as the #6 Che Thai with jellies and tropical fruit in coconut milk, or get that avocado fix with the #7 Che Bo which also has red and green tapioca. There are also fruit smoothies, juices, and coffees. Urbanh’s Vietnamese iced coffee is mouth-puckering in a good way, with its sharply bitter dark roast and sugary rush of sweetened condensed milk. Occasionally, Urbanh does sell out of banh mi, so go earlier in the day for the best chances of trying the sandwiches.
3712 North Scottsdale Road, Building A, #101, Scottsdale
Metro Phoenix’s first brick-and-mortar shop selling edible cookie dough has landed. Specialties at Unbaked include classic chocolate chip (and a vegan version), sugar cookie, gluten-free peanut butter, brownie batter, and four more varieties, as well as seasonal rotations. Unbaked uses heat-treated flour to avoid the bacteria that normally makes raw cookie dough unsafe to eat. Most flavors don’t have eggs in them. Since eggs function as a binding agent in traditional dough recipes, the chefs at Unbaked achieve a similar result by partially melting butter and whipping it with sugar. Unbaked's chefs are experimenting with new recipes that have pasteurized eggs, still okay to eat raw but with the extra benefit of being bakeable. The idea is for guests to get a pint to go, take it home, and eat some dough while their cookies are in the oven.