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Feature | 9 Things You Don’t Know About the Scottsdale Food Scene But Should

Posted on: November 5th, 2018 by Taryn Jeffries No Comments

Long known only as the “West’s Most Western Town”, conjuring up ideas of cowboys gathered around a campfire, Scottsdale may have given travelers the wrong impression. In recent years Scottsdale has been recognized for its bold culinary scene. While Scottsdale celebrates its Western roots, it’s important to recognize all the quirks that set us apart from other Western cities.

We Seldom Follow the Rules

110518 Diego Pops Brussels Sprout Nachos
Photo Credit | Diego Pops

Diego Pops
When you think about nachos is not likely that your first thought is Brussels sprouts, but if you lived in Scottsdale it definitely would be and there’s only one spot to go to get them. Diego Pops took a southwestern staple and twisted every rule you could think of. The base of Brussels is just the start. They add in a little elote, pickled red onion, Fresno chiles, roasted garlic, beet crema and then top it off with a delightful fried egg. The colors and flavors explode in a feast for your eyes and palate.

We Know How to Get Things Lit

110518 Mowry & Cotton S'more
Photo Credit | Mowry & Cotton

Mowry and Cotton
While you could strategically place all the ingredients for a s’more on your car’s dashboard at the start of your workday and be greeted by a perfectly melted treat at the end of the day, Scottsdale residents know that would be a lot to clean up. We leave the melty masterpiece to the professionals. Summer camping isn’t always an option in Arizona but when that campfire s’more craving hits locals head to Mowry and Cotton for that familiar ooey gooey decadence all in air-conditioned comfort.

We Take Our Desserts Seriously in the Desert

110518 Showstopper Shake at ZuZu
Photo Credit | ZuZu

Scottsdale summers are out of control and last far longer than necessary, so locals look for creative ways to cool down. What better way than an epic milkshake? Now, this is not our average milkshake; it’s an out of control, over-the-top milkshake to make all other milkshakes jealous. The outrageous sweet treat flavors are changed up every month and some of the flavor creations have been banana cream pie, strawberry shortcake and mint chocolate madness. Topped with cake slices, popsicles, chocolate balls, cupcakes, cotton candy and cookies these shakes will stop you in your tracks!

We Do Brunch Bloody Big

110518 Hash Kitchen Bloody Mary Bar
Photo Credit | Hash Kitchen

Hash Kitchen
Hash Kitchen is home to an amazing brunch spread with items like corned beef hash, various Benedicts and even a sweet and savory brunch bruschetta board. If we’re being honest, folks are flocking to this breakfast treasure for the largest bloody Mary bar in the valley. There are over 50 add-ons to make your Mary remarkable. You can select a variety of flavored vodka bases and then add in all sorts of accoutrements from fried ravioli, jerky sticks, salami, cheese, sliders, onion rings and pretty much anything that you can think of. If you think about it, the food dishes are really just a side for your perfect breakfast beverage.

Tableside Service Guacs Our World

110518 The Mission Tableside Guacamole
Photo Credit | The Mission

The Mission
Guacamole goes well with just about everything and you’ll find that everyone around town puts their own special spin on this coveted condiment. There is something to be said for table-side preparation and no one in Scottsdale does it better than The Mission. Maybe it’s the pepitas or the fresh cotija cheese; whatever it is, it keeps locals coming back for more again and again. The perfect pairing for your guac? An aguacate margarita; that’s right…more avocado!

We Have a Resident Veggie Whisperer

110518 FnB
Photo Credit | FnB

This James Beard Award nominate restaurant celebrates all things Arizona, focusing on local farmers and purveyors. They are lauded for their all Arizona wine selection and Chef Charlene is known as the “veggie whisperer” to locals. Their menu rotates monthly to ensure that only the best, in-season ingredients are highlighted regularly. If you happen to pop in when the braised leeks are on the menu, no matter what you do, do not pass them up. If you need to be convinced just search #leekapalooza.

Local Love is Everything

110518 Craft 64 Brews
Photo Credit | Craft 64

Craft 64
Arizonans are a proud bunch and will gravitate towards local purveyors before national brands. Craft 64 lovingly creates their own brews, from IPA to Amber, Tripel to Blonde. While proud of their own creations they are not afraid to shine a light on other local breweries. The brewery and restaurant celebrates the flavors and creations throughout the state, sharing the craft brew love from every corner of the state.

We Find Comfort in Heat

110518 Roaring Fork Green Chile Mac
Photo Credit | Roaring Fork

Roaring Fork
You’ve heard it said before, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” When the temperatures start to rise, residents don’t shirk away from the heat, they embrace it. The perfect example of that is Roaring Fork’s green chile mac n’ cheese. Bright green and incredibly bold, this pepped up comfort food brings a palatable level of heat that really represents that feeling that you can only get when you wander this close to the sun.

We’re Anything But Traditional

110518 Fat Ox Seasonal Lumache Pasta
Photo Credit | Fat Ox

Fat Ox
Fat Ox is where locals go for an out-of-the-box pasta dishes. With all of the traditional Italian chain restaurants to choose from, this local favorite is doing all it can to separate themselves from the pack. Not married to one particular region, Fat Ox takes classical dishes and adds a little flair in every nook and cranny. Pastas are made fresh every day and range from simple to ridiculous. You can ease yourself into the experience with the garganelli or go full out with the 25 layer lasagna. No matter your craving or intention you’ll embrace bold, intentional flavors with Italian roots but Arizona attitude.

Do you have a favorite spot in Scottsdale that I didn’t mention? Let me know and I’ll try to work them into an upcoming feature.

About the Author - Taryn Jeffries

Editor and Chief Eating Officer of PhoenixBites, 2017 Food Writer of the Year (Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame) Taryn grew up in a small town in Illinois with a doting Grandmother who taught her the way around a kitchen and that food is representative of love. Her current quest is to find the love in local dishes and the chefs behind them. In addition to running all things PhoenixBites, Taryn is also a freelance writer, sharing her insight on the best dishes and where to get them each and every month.

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