There are certain foods and drinks that are Phoenician to their cores. Some were born here, some contain unusual desert ingredients only found here, and others simply have some long-standing history with the Valley. All of them make for idyllic weekend meals, whether leisurely sipped at the picturesque Biltmore or eaten out of hand while strolling through Scottsdale.
Rosa Pizza at Pizzeria Bianco
The pie that feels unique to Pizzeria Bianco, and to Phoenix in general, is the Rosa, which brings together the old forno al legna pizza-making traditions with the sun-deluged flavors of Arizona. The Rosa is missing most of the usual things that make the average pizza pie so alluring — the dense layer of soft cheese melded onto tomato sauce, and the salty punch of cured meats. This is a different kind of pizza, the kind that crackles a little mysteriously with flavor and texture, and which might take a few bites before you fully surrender to everything that makes it great.
Mesquite Cookies at Super Chunk
Super Chunk, operated by culinary power couple Sergio and Country Veldador, has been open for more than three years, establishing itself fairly quickly as one of the Valley's leading purveyors of all things sweet, sticky, crunchy, chocolatey, and chewy. And the shop is constantly concocting new treats, so no matter how many times you visit, chances are there will be a new reason to ruin your diet, perhaps the most beloved of which is a dense, vaguely crunchy, halfway chewy, gorgeously sweet chocolate chip cookie that more than likely you'll only find in Arizona.
Mesquite Tart at Weft & Warp
The dishes at Weft & Warp often weave local flavors and ingredients into the traditional canvas of high-end resort cooking. The results are less self-conscious, and often more delightful, than you might imagine. This small, artfully named hotel restaurant located at the new Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, as it turns out, is one of the most interesting and satisfying new restaurants to open in the Valley thus far this year. Adam Sheff previously cooked at the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C., among other properties, and he seems to have taken to the dramatic change in scenery, his menu embracing and playing with desert ingredients and flavors in a way that rarely feels contrived.
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Ribeye Carne Asada at Taquería El Chino
In the 1920s, our city was home to the Tovrea Stockyards, the world’s largest feedlot. And, long before that, the area in which we live belonged to the Mexican state of Sonora, where cattle and ranching were the main economic drivers for centuries. So, it's really no wonder that carne asada is an essential staple at nearly all independently owned Mexican restaurants in the Valley. At Taquería El Chino, the owner breaks from tradition by using ribeye in place of flank steak. "Good meat doesn’t need marinade. Just salt," he says. "Charcoal. Salt. Meat.”
Tequila Sunrise at the Arizona Biltmore
As the legend goes, Arizona Biltmore barman Gene Sulit created the foundation for the now-classic American cocktail, the Tequila Sunrise, in the 1930s after a guest requested a tequila-based drink that was refreshing enough to drink poolside.