Each month, we of the PHOENIX Magazine creative team ask ourselves a different question about our favorite dining and drinking experiences in the Valley. Our picks are usually hidden in the back of the magazine among our Dining Guide restaurant listings. Not any more. Our picks are going digital! Feel free to follow us on social media (at least, those of us who tweet) and be sure to tag us (@PhoenixMagazine on Twitter and @PHXMagazine on Instagram) on pics of your favorite picks.
Flu season is upon us, which means constant reminders to get a flu shot and copious amounts of Kleenex and chicken noodle soup. Although fixing yourself yet another cup of Theraflu isn't a bad idea, sometimes at-home remedies just don’t cut it. For those who have gone through too many cups of tea, here are some alternate solutions to sooth your cold and boost your immune system.
Local coffee shops are renovating their weeknight offerings as they embrace the full meaning of the term “coffee bar.” Whether it’s an evening client meeting or an attempt to test the dating pool waters, these dynamic coffee bars have you covered from Americano to Desert Pale Ale.
Pan de muerto – in English, that's bread of the dead or, spookier yet, dead bread – is a traditional Mexican soft and sweet bun baked to commemorate Día de los Muertos on November 1 (All Souls Day) and November 2 (Day of the Dead). Both celebrations can be traced to pre-colonial times and were established to honor lost friends and family. Typically, the celebrations include an altar de muertos, or altar for the dead, that function as a guide for the muertos, or spirits, to come back and hang with the living for a day. Pan de muerto is typically shared on these altars as an offering. The delicious round loaf is usually decorated with strips of dough that resemble skeleton’s bones and sprinkled with sugar or sesame seeds. The taste is similar to a piece of plain sweet bread, but with a subtle orange flavor and a dash of cinnamon.
You can usually find the bread at Food City or Ranch Market during the last few weeks of October and the first week of November. But, if you prefer your pan with a little bit of soul, brush up on your Spanish and try one of these five authentic Mexican panaderías for all your dead bread needs. You and your dearly departed are both sure to love 'em.
As the rest of the country breaks out the pumpkin spice lattes and wool-lined leggings, we Arizonans are still basking in the last vestiges of the summer sun. But with the temperatures dropping any day now, and the bikini trend with them, now is the perfect time to try summer’s best desert: the ice cream sandwich. And these aren't your garden variety, freezer section sammies with humdrum vanilla between vaguely-chocolatey wafers we're talking 'bout...
Some go for the naseau/adrenaline-inducing rides. Some go for the chance to win a massive Scooby Doo. Others go to pet the cows and llamas. Everyone goes for the food. The Arizona State Fair is in its first full week and crazy-food lovers won't be disappointed by this year's concessions offerings. There's the normal fare of funnel cakes and fry bread of course, but for the more daring, there's plenty to give your tastebuds their very own ride on the whirligig. Read on for a rundown of the sweetest, messiest and whackiest grub at the fair.
Pringles Pumpkin Pie Spice potato chips: These limited edition crisps debuted in 2012, were quickly discontinued, and are now much sought-after (and probably very stale) on sites like eBay and amazon.com.
#1: SunUp Brewing Co. Oktoberfest
The only Oktoberfest beer on this list tops it by virtue of its perfect balance of crisp hops and lightly toasted malts. A medium-bodied, effervescent, eminently drinkable amber. 6.2% ABV. sunup.beer
#2: Perch Brewery Rosemary IPA
This golden IPA has a frothy head and a slightly hoppy nose but no bitter finish whatsoever. There’s a slightly spicy rosemary bite at the back of the palate, but so gentle it’s more like a nibble. 6% ABV. perchpubbrewery.com
The 3rd Annual Garlic Fest takes place at Queen Creek Olive Mill this weekend, September 24 and 25, and in anticipation of this fragrant and flavorful festival – and in celebration of this diverse bulb used widely in both cooking and natural medicine – we present five fun facts about garlic. It doesn’t just keep vampires away.
#1: You can make glue with garlic. Crush the cloves, and it’s sticky city. The adhesive agent works especially well for small projects involving fragile material.
It’s Taco Tuesday! Chances are, your Facebook feed is filled with memes celebrating this unofficial but extremely well-observed holiday. Few culinary cultural appropriations are more beloved than tacos (except maybe pizza – maybe). Not only do tacos get their own day of the week, but they get feted in festivals perhaps more than any other food. There are three taco fests in the Valley in the next month alone. In the East Valley this Saturday, September 17, the Rockin’ Taco Street Fest hits Dr. A.J. Chandler Park; the Tequila, Taco and Cerveza Festival rides into Rawhide Western Town on October 1; and the biggest taco party, the Arizona Taco Festival , takes over Salt River Fields on October 15 and 16.
Why do we love tacos so much? What is it about these tortillas rolled around fillings that makes them so irresistible? We’ll leave the real pondering to the food psychologists (yes, that’s a thing), but here’s a handful of hypotheses:
#1: Tacos are completely customizable.
Want fries with that? Seriously, you could put your fries in that. Or you could go with ingredients llike crumbled beef, carne asada steak, fish, shrimp, pork or veggies. You can choose from hard- or soft-shell tacos, flour or corn tortillas, and tons of topping options – lettuce, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, onions, a plethora of peppers, etc. There’s pretty much nothing you can’t do to a taco. It’s the most accommodating and friendliest of foods.
Eat and drink your way through the Valley with our delectable daily dispatches on everything from craft cocktail bars to mom-and-pop neighborhood spots. To get food-and-bev news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our Eat Beat newsletter.