From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious. Oh, and while you're here, be sure to check out our list of 100 Creatives.
32. Tony Chanthavong of Snoh Ice Shavery
These days you can find Taiwanese-style shave ice at a handful of shops around metro Phoenix, but back in 2013, you'd have been hard-pressed to find anyone around here who even know what the stuff was. That changed thanks to Tony Chanthavong, who opened Snoh Ice Shavery in Phoenix about three years ago. The former radiologist came to Arizona from southern California more than a decade ago, and came up with the idea to open a Taiwanese shave ice shop in 2012.
These days, Chanthavong's Snoh Ice Shavery is still one of the most popular dessert destinations in central Phoenix — thanks in no small part to the menu of creamy-but-light shaved ice, which comes in flavors such as mango, green tea, and taro. Earlier this year, Chanthavong announced plans to open a second location in downtown Phoenix, next door to the popular Cobra Arcade Bar. The second shop will be even larger than the first, and in addition to the menu of shaved ice and boba drinks, diners can look forward to an expanded menu with some savory snacks.
Today, Chanthavong dishes on his go-to place for Thai food and his culinary guilty pleasure.
My go-to place for Thai food in Phoenix is Thai E-San on Seventh Avenue and Indian School Road. The lady owner there has been serving Asian dishes in the Valley for the past 30 years. Her flavoring and spices are legit! My fam and friends approve.
The best-kept secret in Phoenix is Niccoli's Italian Grocery & Deli. Small Italian market with imported goods ran by two old loving couples with an East Coast Italian vibe. The breads baked there in the mornings are amazing, go great with all their selections of Italian cheese and meats, and if you have a hard time making a decision, just ask the lady ... she'll help break your tastes and interests down.
I'm totally obsessed with calamari and mussels right now, and totally over shrimp.
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My culinary guilty pleasure is Taco Tuesdays at Los Taquitos — $1 pastor tacos.
My favorite food city is my hometown neighborhood — I was raised up back in Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley area — because that's where you'll find the best authentic Asian dishes in the States — inexpensive, too.
The 2016 Tastemakers so far:
100. Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
98. Debby Wolvos of DW Photography
97. Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant
96. Bo Mostow of Uptown Farmers Market
95. Julian Wright of Pedal Haus Brewery
94. Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta
93. Eric Glomski of Page Spring Cellars
92. Richard Bock of Giuseppe's on 28th
91. Walter Sterling of Ocotillo
90. Daniel Sevilla of Angry Crab Shack
89. Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco and Otro Cafe
88. LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market
87. Jason Calhoon of The Shop Beer Co. and Side Kick Cold Brew
86. Tim and Kim Cobb of United Lunchadores Street Gourmet
85. Micah Olson of Bar Crudo and Okra Cookhouse and Cocktails
84. Paola Embry of Christopher's + Crush and The Wrigley Mansion
83. Jared Porter of The Clever Koi
82. Diane Corieri of Evening Entertainment Group
81. Erich Schultz of Steadfast Farm
80. Jeff and Leah Huss of Huss Brewing Company
79. Aaron Pool of Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup
78. Diana Santospago of The Maine Lobster Lady food truck
77. Gio Osso of Virtu Honest Craft and Nico Heirloom Kitchen
76. Lauren Bailey of Upward Projects
75. Rodney Hu of Arizona Distilling Company and Yucca Tap Room
74. Jacob Cutino of Homeboy's Hot Sauce
73. Country and Sergio Velador of Super Chunk Sweets and Treats
72. Dean Thomas of Cornish Pasty Co.
71. Jennifer Caraway of The Joy Bus
70. Scott Holmes of Little Miss BBQ
69. Jared Allen of Proof Artisan Breads
68. Steve McFate of McFate Brewing Company
67. Mel Mecinas of Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
66. Jessa and Dan Koppenhofer of Gilbert Farmers Market
65. Todd and Kelly Bostock of Dos Cabezas WineWorks
64. Ryan Probst of Odelay Bagel Co.
63. Diana Brandt of AZFoodie
62. Benjamin Butler of Hayden Flour Mills
61. Jim and Maureen Elitzak of Zak's Chocolate
60. Michael Babcock of Welcome Diner and Welcome Chicken + Donuts
59. Nick Ambeliotis of Mediterra Bakehouse
58. Peter Kasperski of Cowboy Ciao and Kazimierz World Wine Bar
57. Kimber Stonehouse of LGO Hospitality
56. David Tyda of EATERAZ and Arizona Taco Festival
55. Pavle Milic of FnB
54. Pat Christofolo of Santa Barbara Catering Company and The Farm at South Mountain
53. Brandon Casey of The Ostrich
52. Jonathan Buford of Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
51. Sasha Raj of 24 Carrots
50. Rob Fullmer of Arizona Craft Brewers Guild
49. Bill and Lillian Buitenhuys of AZ Bitters Lab
48. Ramona Button of Ramona Farms
47. Justin Piazza of La Piazza Al Forno and La Piazza PHX
46. Andrew Gooi of Food Talkies
45. Jason Raducha of Noble Bread and Noble Eatery
44. Ty Largo of Awe Collective
43. Christopher Gross of Christopher's and Crush Lounge
42. Heidi Lee of Into The Soup
41. ET Rivera of Tres Leches Cafe
40. Monika Woolsey of Hip Veggies
39. Bobby Kramer of The Brickyard
38. Jenna Reeves of Press Coffee Roasters
37. Sarah Chisholm of Phoenix Public Market Cafe
36. Bill Kennedy of Futuro
35. Jan Bracamonte of J. Lauren PR & Marketing
34. Erin Romanoff of the uprooted kitchen
33. Baker Mandy Bublitz