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Now Open: Global Street Food at Izzy's Pantry in Phoenix

Elotes from Izzy's Pantry
Elotes from Izzy's Pantry Chris Malloy
The newly opened Izzy's Pantry will be cooking street food in Phoenix. Global street food. With no restrictions on place. We're talking specialties from Mexico and Vietnam and Sicily. The menu will change from time to time as Izzy, chef Israel Medina, wants to bring in new street-focused preparations.

"It's international street-style food," says Medina. "I've always been a huge fan of all these different cool street-style comfort foods. Street corns. Tacos. Udon noodles"

Medina has cooked in many familiar kitchens since moving to the state at the century's beginning. He cooked at North Italia, Olive and Ivy, and Greenhouse. He cooked at Kelly's at Southbridge in Old Town and Spiga in North Scottsdale. He helped open a Loco Patron location.

Now, he churns out street eats from a tiny space in DeSoto Central Market.

click to enlarge Banh mi with house-made chips. - CHRIS MALLOY
Banh mi with house-made chips.
Chris Malloy

The menu is rife with favorites: street corn, tacos, ceviche, a host of salads, chorizo poutine, five sandwiches ranching from Cubano to banh mi, and sweets like churros and zeppole (Italian doughnuts).

The many years Medina spent at North Italia show. Not counting Mexico, Italy has the most real estate on the menu right now. The highlight of the Italian offerings are arancini, fried rice balls.

"In Italy, these arancini balls are awesome," Medina says. "I love risotto. Why not have it fried?"
click to enlarge Zeppole (Italian doughnuts) with strawberries and cream. - CHRIS MALLOY
Zeppole (Italian doughnuts) with strawberries and cream.
Chris Malloy
Medina took over the stoves and fryers of The Provisionary a few months ago. He was given the opportunity to revamp the space, and he gladly stepped up to the plate.

As befits a man who taught himself to cook in a beachfront grill on Lake Tahoe, Medina plans on having fun with the menu. He plans on bringing some cool street food to DeSoto. "It's almost improvisational because we're able to do what we want," he says.

click to enlarge The chalkboard menu and Izzy's storefront. - CHRIS MALLOY
The chalkboard menu and Izzy's storefront.
Chris Malloy
Izzy's Pantry. 915 North Central Avenue; 602-680-7747.
Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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Chris Malloy, former food editor and current food critic at Phoenix New Times, has written for various local and national outlets. He has scrubbed pots in a restaurant kitchen, earned graduate credit for a class about cheese, harvested garlic in Le Marche, and rolled pastas like cappellacci stuffed with chicken liver. He writes reviews but also narrative stories on the food world's margins.
Contact: Chris Malloy