Pam Swartz's Perfect Food Day

Photo courtesy Pam Swartz

​You have probably seen the flashy purple and red dining guide at bookstores under the local section titled, Dine Out Phoenix. It's the creation of Pam Swartz, who had been a travel and wedding writer for years but got so many requests for food recommendations, that she decided to write a book about all the delicious destinations in town.

"I've been eating my way through the Valley ever since the late 70s" after moving here from Buffalo, NY. This "culinary concierge" has also created some of the noted food event around town including Dine Out with the Chefs at Scottsdale's Performing Arts Center and she also acts as the Cultural Arts Director of the Artist in Residence Dinner Series at Lon's at the Hermosa Inn. She's also a blogger.

We wanted to know what the perfect food day would look like for someone who lives and breathes food. She also got a hold of the recipe for one of her perfect breakfasts just right for a holiday morning with loads of hungry family members. Here is Pam Swartz' perfect food day:

As author of Dine Out Phoenix, eating out is one of my favorite past times! Choosing where to go on any given day varies because there really are so many fabulous places to eat in the Valley. Lucky for me! A perfect food day would include sharing meals with friends and family throughout the day.

Breakfast: Sitting on Lon's sprawling patio, with a gorgeous shot of color from the gardens filled with blooms, surrounded by large shade trees, crackling fireplaces, and stunning views of Camelback Mountain, eating lemon ricotta pancakes with huckleberry compote topped off with lemon whipped cream is a great way to set the stage for the beginnings of a perfect food day! (author's note: The Lon's Lemon Ricotta Pancake Recipe is at the end of article. Don't forget to snag a copy)

If it's Saturday, I'll head to Old Town Farmer's Market where I'll sample the local cheeses, baked goods, fresh fruit, watch any cooking demos taking place, and leave with a bag of Chef Country Velador's (Cowboy Ciao) Super Chunk Treats.

I may need my caffeine fix by now, so a quick drive down Camelback to Carmel's Coffee will take care of this. To accompany my latte, I may just have to grab a baked brown butter scone to go - they are simply too good to pass up.

Lunch: For lunch, this would be a toss up. Do I head to Aloha Kitchen (quick, inexpensive, tiny casual counter-service) for their 'Saturday Only' special for the insanely delicious Laulau Plate (pork laulau, lomi salmon and chicken long rice) or do I go to Windsor for a yummy crab cake BLT. Bringing my granddaughter is a must because right next door is Churn where you feel as if you are stepping back in time at this old-fashioned ice-cream parlor that makes you feel like a kid all over again.

To work off the calories and make room for dinner, hiking North Mountain is going to be essential. If there's time for a longer hike, Pinnacle Peak always wins my heart with its dramatic views of the desert.

For dinner, a dine-around is in order. Let's start with catching up with friends at Citizen Public House for a glass of wine and some sophisticated pub grub. I can't leave here without at least one person in my group ordering the 'tender belly' pork belly pastrami, made with rye spaetzle with Brussels sprout sauerkraut.

From here, we'd walk over to FnB for our entrée. Of course, we'd have our reservations made ahead of time. I'd wait till I arrived to decide what to order. But I can never go wrong with Chef Charleen Badman's roast jidori chicken.

Dessert: For dessert, we'd head to Beckett's Table for chocolate dipped bacon s'mores made with caramel, housemade marshmallow, whipped peanut butter, and graham cracker. A decadently delicious, satisfying perfect food day!

As an added bonus, Chef Jeremy Pacheco/Lon's shared his recipe for Lon's Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.

LON's Batch Recipe for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Ingredients (in order):
Cake Flour, 4 cup
AP Flour, 1/2 cup
Baking Powder, 2 T.
Salt, 2 t.
Nutmeg, 1 t.
Lemon Zest - chopped, 10 each
Ricotta Cheese, 3 cup
Buttermilk, 2 cup
Melted Butter, 3/4 cup
Lemon Juice, 1 cup
Sugar, 3/4 cup
Vanilla Extract, 1 T.
Egg Yolks, 10 each
Egg White, 10 each

Cooking procedure:
Combine first six ingredients in large mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, combine buttermilk, ricotta, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolks and mix well. Slowly whisk in melted butter. Slowly add this mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Whip egg white to stiff peaks. Gently fold egg whites into the rest of the mixture. Do not over mix, there should be some white streaks of egg whites left in the batter. Place a non stick pan on medium high heat and coat with butter. For pancakes, place a small - 1 oz. circle of batter in the pan and allow to slowly cook. Batter should stiffen up enough in pan to flip pancake after about 3 minutes, you will begin to see bubbles appear in the top of the pancake. Flip and allow pancake to cook for 2 more minutes.

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Jennifer Woods
Contact: Jennifer Woods