Thousands of growling bellies will descend on the Arizona Center this weekend for downtown's most delicious event of the year -- West of Western Culinary Festival -- and they're all sure to leave sated.
Where else can you get a taste of the talents of 48 of the Valley's best chefs over the course of two days? You could try to hit up that many restaurants on your own, but take it from me -- that's a lot of driving.
Better to park it at 5th Street and Van Buren, spend a leisurely Saturday and Sunday mingling with chefs, fellow foodies, cookbook authors, and representatives from various local food-centric non-profit groups. The price of your pass ($57 in advance, $67 at the gate) lets you sample all the goodies you can handle, and if you shell out a few extra bucks for the food and wine pass ($65 in advance, $75 at the gate), you can bend it like Bacchus in the wine tent, where dozens of exhibitors will let the vino flow. Two-day passes are also available.
It all happens from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25. Check out the West of Western homepage for the full skinny, but not before you ogle this list of all the heavy hitters who'll be on hand for the shindig:
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Brian Archibald, Tuscany, J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Paul "P.T." Barnum, 56 East & 98 South Kevin Binkley, Binkley's Matt Carter, Zinc Bistro Dennis Christenson, The Phoenician Resort Tammie Coe, Tammie Coe Cakes MJ Coe, MJ Bread Christopher Cristiano, Bloom & Sauce Brandon Crouser, Atlas Bistro Payton Curry, Digestif Urban Enoteca Chris Curtiss, Circa 1900 Tracy Dempsey, Cowboy Ciao Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Cafe Kelley Fletcher, House of Tricks Ivan Flowers, Different Pointe of View Lionel Geuskens, Trente-Cinq 35 Lisa Giungo, Lisa G Cafe & Wine Bar Marc Hennessy, Meritage, J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Lee Hillson, T. Cooks, Royal Palms Resort and Spa Bernie Kantak, Kazimierz Troy Knapp, Compass Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Phoenix Deborah Knight, Mosaic Jason Kramer, Patsy Grimaldi's Pizzeria Mark LaBella, Cafe LaBella Greg LaPrad, Quiessence Ryan Leslie, Sundial Danielle Librera, The Sweet Pea Wendy Little, Latilla, The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa Beau MacMillan, elements, Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Carlos Manriquez, Twisted Aaron May, Sol y Sombra Mel Mecinas, Acacia, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Matthew McLinn, Methode Bistro Robert McGrath, Pischke's Paradise Michael O'Dowd, Kai, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Gio Osso, Oscar Taylor Judy Palmer, Ganache This Anthony Patafio, Acacia, Four Seasons Resort, Scottsdale Michel Pieton, Latilla, The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa James Porter, Tapino Kitchen Michael Stebner, The Greene House Vukadin Stevanovic, Stanley's Homemade Sausage Company Stephen Stromberg, Latitude 30� Jack Strong, Kai, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Chad Withycombe, Mucho Gusto Claudio Urciuoli, Taggia, Caleo Resort Jeffery Yankellow, Simply Bread Kurt Zuger, Wigwam Resort & Golf Club