Chow Bella

Aaron Johnson, What Are You Eating?

Aaron Johnson

The local poet hosts First Friday Ignite at The Firehouse this Friday, April 2.

What'd you eat for dinner last night? All-you-can-eat sushi at Koi Sushi Bar and Grill (4372 West Olive Ave., Glendale).

Favorite food: Anything with green chile, or good seafood.

Least favorite food: Jello, or bad seafood.

Favorite dessert:
When I discovered chocolate dipped honeycomb, I wanted to try cocaine and beehives to see if I liked to live dangerously. Nowadays, I safely get my chocolate dipped honeycomb at Sprouts Farmers Market.

Favorite local restaurant and meal to order there: My favorite fill is the Gringo Starr and Chocolate/Almond Butter Shake at That's a Wrap! At That's a Wrap!, they know how to use the healthiest ingredients to get the best-tasting mouthgasms. The Gringo Starr is a wrap loaded with grilled chicken or steak, black beans, rice, guacamole and sour cream with lime. Everything on their creative menu is delicious.

I also love Matt's Big Breakfast. I don't mind the wait. I'll read a book in the sun and watch the pigeons get fat. I love that moment when my name is called and I get that first smell of breakfast-y goodness. If it's hot outside, I order the honey lemonade. If it's cold, I get coffee. I ask what flavor the jam is before I choose what kind of bread I want for toast. But most of the time, I will recommend the special, which is usually a scramble with a different kind of sausage, cheese and a special ingredient every day.

Favorite local bar and cocktail to order there: This spring, I am certain I will be drinking the mojitos at Carly's Bistro. They use mango vodka and fresh mint, which leads to chewing ice cubes until that sad moment when the bartender takes the empty tumbler from your hand. For added sadness, order another drink and keep all of the straws for flavor-savoring in the cab.

Favorite memory involving food: When I think about traveling and touring, I always think about what food I will eat when I am away from Phoenix. If I am driving through Albuquerque, N.M., I'll be stopping at Frontier Restaurant for some New Mexican carne adovada and a green chile fix. Cheese is always better in Madison, Wis. Long Beach has the best waffles at Roscoe's. If I'm going to Florida, I'll be itching for Cuban barbecue and Yerba Mate soda, since I can't find that anywhere in Phoenix. Vancouver, Canada has poutine (French fries with gravy and fresh cheese curds) and a sandwich called the East Coast Benny (salmon, egg and hollandaise on an English muffin with onions and capers) that are fantastic after an all-nighter. I'll never be able to recreate Austin, Texas in my kitchen, no matter how many times I try to make fried okra or mac n' cheese. I suppose these memories are like edible postcards.

Favorite thing to cook at home: Avocado and crab-stuffed green chile enchiladas.

Recipe or food tip to share: Got some cheap red wine as a gift that you just can't stomach? Try mixing it with cola and serve it on ice.

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.
Nicki Escudero
Contact: Nicki Escudero