If Arizona Had a State Food, What Would It Be?

Categories: Chow Bella

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com. Miss a question? Go here.

Deborah McMillion Nering
A few weeks ago, we were alerted to the fact that Macayo's, the locally owned chain of Mexican restaurants in Arizona, had started an advertising campaign and petition drive to make the chimichanga the official state food. That got us to thinking about other edible candidates, so we created a list and took a vote to decide the winners. (Look for the final showdown poll tomorrow.)

What did Valley chefs and restaurateurs have to say about the subject? Here are some of their answers:

Michael Monti
Owner, Monti's La Casa Vieja

We've had a long history with ostriches in the state for about 100 years. Originally, their feathers were used as plumage for women's hats when it was common in the fashion world. So let's bring ostrich and serve it up on the table -- or nopalitos, or cactus -- because we have a lot of it. It's really juicy and green bean-y.

Chef Jason Alford
Roka Akor

I just asked one of my tables sitting in front of me what they thought. We decided on prickly pear.

Thumbnail image for Eric Flatt, Owner Tonto Bar & Grill & Cartwrights Sonoran Ranch House.jpg
Eric Flatt
Co-owner, Tonto Bar & Grill and Cartwright's Sonoran Ranch House

The state food should definitely be prickly pear.

Justin Beckett
Chef and Owner, Beckett's Table

When we do figure it out, I hope it doesn't include prickly pear.

Josh Hebert
Chef and Owner, Posh

The state food should be some kind of taco, but a hybrid taco mixing traditional with modern ingredients.

Meggie Miller
Marketing Manager for Twin Peaks

Do the 49ers count? :)

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