Chow Bella

If Arizona Had a State Food, What Would It Be?

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail [email protected] Miss a question? Go here.

A few weeks ago, we were alerted to the fact that Macayo's, the locally owned chain of Mexican restaurants in Arizona, had started an advertising campaign and petition drive to make the chimichanga the official state food. That got us to thinking about other edible candidates, so we created a list and took a vote to decide the winners. (Look for the final showdown poll tomorrow.)

What did Valley chefs and restaurateurs have to say about the subject? Here are some of their answers:

Michael Monti Owner, Monti's La Casa Vieja

We've had a long history with ostriches in the state for about 100 years. Originally, their feathers were used as plumage for women's hats when it was common in the fashion world. So let's bring ostrich and serve it up on the table -- or nopalitos, or cactus -- because we have a lot of it. It's really juicy and green bean-y.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld