Arizona Restaurant Week is back! Its fall iteration takes place Sept. 16-25, with more than 100 restaurants participating across the state. Restaurants will offer three-course menus at $33 and $44 per person (excluding tax, gratuity and beverages, unless otherwise indicated).
There’s a new chef in the kitchen at Market Street. After honing his culinary skills in Chicago at the original Weber Grill and the Four Seasons (and following Phoenix stints in the kitchens of Sam Fox’s Bloom Restaurant and Roy’s at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge), Michael Hunn took the helm of Market Street Kitchen last month. The Chi-town native nudges the restaurant’s rustic American cuisine (pastas, soups, salads, slow-cooked and wood-fired meats) up a notch with his focus on farm-to-table fare; according to a press release, “Chef Hunn’s favorite part of each day is talking shop with his fishmongers, produce farmers and his meat dude.”
Every chef should have a “meat dude.” And if the thick and smoky bacon in my grilled cheese sandwich was any indication, Hunn’s got a pretty keen one.
Americans have a knack for “happy accidents,” especially when it comes to junk and novelty foods. While Europeans try to build a better beet salad, many Yanks yearn for all manner of deviant dishes. Hot dog-hamburgers. Taco pizza. Deep-fried Twinkies. Triple-stacked and double-wrapped everything with two sides of ranch dressing. And all of that on purpose. But accidents happen, too, and sometimes, delightful dishes like the five below result, proving that it pays off to drop things on occasion.
#1. The chimichanga: Arizona’s own contribution to the world of glorious culinary mishaps, this deep-fried burrito has disputed origins. One source says the chimichanga was born at El Charro restaurant in Tucson in 1922 when the owner accidentally dropped a pastry in the deep fryer, but the founder of the Macayo’s chain claims he came up with it in 1946 after experimenting. Whatever the case, the taste of this happy accident lasts almost as long as the invention debate.
Recipes for Hoppin’ John, an American Southern rice and pea dish, can be spotted in cookbooks dating back to the 1840s. But most every country and nationality has a rice and pea dish, according to Chef Stephen Jones of the larder + the delta at DeSoto Central Market.
No one seems to know the true origin of Taco Tuesday. Some culinarians attribute the moniker to Taco John’s restaurant chain back in the '80s, while others see it as a current marketing gimmick to attract customers with bargain prices.
To celebrate National Sandwich Month, Miracle Mile Deli has been offering a $9 special each week on a different deli sandwich. From Aug. 22-31, customers can order “The Straw,” which features a stack of hot pastrami and tangy sauerkraut topped with melted Swiss cheese on a couple of slices of fresh rye bread alongside a pile of crisp French fries and a pickle spear.
Chef Mel Mecinas is working his communal culinary magic again this year. The executive chef of Talavera at the Four Seasons Scottsdale first cooked up his “Monthly Mashup” dinner series last year, bringing fellow notable chefs like Silvana Salcido Esparza into his kitchen to collaborate on four-course epicurean adventures. This year, Mecinas brought a whole new crew into his kitchen to share the duties of producing deliciousness.
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