Chow Bella

92: Silvana Salcido Esparza

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, all hail the queen.

Tastemaker 92: Silvana Salcido Esparza

From tableside guacamole to mole to caramel-dipped churros, Silvana Salcido Esparza's taken what this town thought it knew about Mexican food, soaked it in tequila and -- well, the rest of the story sticks happily to our waistlines. It wasn't enough to conquer Phoenix, she's moved on to Scottsdale with Barrio Queen. And we can't wait to see what's next.

I arrived in Phoenix with... a suitcase full of dreams and a broken heart (my mother had just passed).

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... Jorge Negrete; Moctezuma; Diego Rivera; my father, Agustîn; and Bill Clinton -- we would smoke cigars and play poker.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... can I say Barrio effing Cafe? Okay, how about my favorite: Los Reyes de las Tortas.

One menu item this city could do without is... chimichangas.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... The Wiseguy at Pizzeria Bianco. I mean, really!

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

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chow Bella