You’ve probably had the experience of cupping a steaming mug of apple cider in your hands on a cold night. But have you ever had hot pumpkin cider? At Cider Corps, a spanking new, veteran-owned craft cidery in downtown Mesa, brothers Jason and Josh Duren usually make hard cider, but in an effort to make something kid-friendly, they came up with non-alcoholic pumpkin cider.
Josh says that lots of folks make pumpkin beer, but it’s never really about the pumpkin. “It’s always just about the spices,” he says. “Pumpkin has a real earthiness. It’s a unique flavor.”
The brothers started Cider Corps after Jason (Sgt. USMC, Ret.) returned from a tour in Afghanistan with two traumatic brain injuries from IED blasts. What started as a hobby for the brothers, and a therapeutic outlet for Jason, has turned into a thriving business.
Chef Lisa Dahl says there’s something about a good soup that can put you in a trance. We completely agree. Whether you slurp it in a restaurant or make a steaming batch at home, soup is the ultimate fall/winter comfort food. Dahl, owner of Sedona’s Cucina Rustica, Dahl Ristorante Italiano, Mariposa and Pisa Lisa, says she finds joy in making and serving soup to her customers. “Soup has a magical healing quality.”
Tis the season... to be eating your own weight in green bean casserole, turkey and pumpkin pie and regretting it in the morning (but not really). Not a fan of typical turkey or want something more high-end? Or perhaps you're sick of being stuck in the kitchen rather than participating in the super fun familial political arguments. In Phoenix, there's something for everyone this Thanksgiving.
When preparing the short ribs, Pacheco advises seasoning the meat generously so that it penetrates the beef. “It’s a fairly thick cut of meat and you can’t season the inside,” he says. Another tip: Be sure to use a hot pan to initially sear the meat because that will help seal in the flavor.
Until recently, Pacheco served the short ribs with creamy polenta, but this year he’s offering a cheddar polenta cake, which he says adds a nice texture. “You cut into the polenta and the cheese curds just ooze out once it’s cooked.”
You had us at cheese curds. Actually, you had us at braised meat.
Josh Garcia, vice president of the family-owned Miracle Mile Deli in Central Phoenix, settles an age-old deli debate: Is corned beef more popular than pastrami? Pastrami wins by a lot, Garcia says. “We sell over 5,000 pounds of pastrami a month.”
But for the record, Miracle Mile also sells anywhere from 3,000-3,500 pounds of corned beef each month, which is not exactly small potatoes. And speaking of potatoes, Garcia has graciously shared the restaurant’s number one breakfast item: pastrami hash loaded with red potatoes.
Garcia likes the eggs to be cooked over medium because “they get a little crisp around the edge” and add texture to the dish. Most restaurants offer corn beef hash, but Garcia thinks Miracle Mile is the only restaurant locally to offer a pastrami hash. “It’s really phenomenal.”
When you bring meatballs to the office potluck or neighborhood gathering, people always make a beeline to the Crockpot armed with wooden toothpicks for jabbing. Sometimes you have to jockey for position and the competition can be fierce. The ever-popular meatball has many preparations and some are better than others.
If you’re ready to up your meatball game, Paul Millist, executive chef of Lincoln Restaurant and Bar 1936 at JW Marriott Camelback Inn, has the recipe for you. The best news of all? It’s made with bacon, a food that Millist quips is “America’s favorite vegetable.”
Each month, we of the PHOENIX magazine editorial 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.
Happy November! As we mend our elastic waistbands in preparation of stuffing ourselves on everyone's favorite fall holiday, we're asking ourselves, "What are your favorite Thanksgiving-y dishes in the Valley?
If you’re looking for a new way to get your marshmallow fluff fix, Fairytale Brownies co-owner Eileen Spitalny offers up Moonfetti Pie, a sweet concoction that marries a dreamy combination of chocolate, marshmallow fluff, caramel sauce and sprinkles – kind of like a whoopie pie meets brownie sundae. The recipe is the result of a collaboration between Fairytale Brownies and local candy maven Tracy Dempsey of Tracy Dempsey Originals.
When you melt chocolate in the microwave, be careful not to overcook because it will burn, Spitalny says. You can also melt the chocolate over a double boiler: “Just make sure you stir, stir, stir. That’s the key to melting chocolate.”
You can find Fairytale Brownies at AJ’s Fine Foods and Duck and Decanter or order them at brownies.com.
According to Bradley, who is trained in Chinese nutritional therapy, soup is a good way to nourish the body and warm up the digestive system. “I was raised to think that there’s nothing better for you than a big, cold, raw salad and a big, cold smoothie, but in Chinese theory, cold foods impair digestion,” she says.
If you’ve never heard of kabocha squash, you’re not alone. It’s also known as Japanese squash and is available at most local grocery stores. “Kabocha is unique because you can eat the skin, so you don’t have to peel it,” Bradley says. “You scoop out the seeds and cook as is, throw in the blender and you have a nice soup within about 30 minutes.”
Today (Oct. 13) is World Egg Day and to celebrate, Sharman Hickman of local Hickman’s Family Farms is sharing a recipe that’s easy to make and jam-packed with essential nutrients. “Eggs are nature’s vitamin bottle,” she says.
The recipe is easily amended and tailored to your preference, Hickman says. “If you don’t want it to have meat, you can substitute spinach or kale. And if you don’t want ham, you can use turkey. Our recipes are designed for whatever you have available in your refrigerator.”
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.