10 Best Things I Ate in September
Oh, hey, hi there! September's officially in the books. Which means it's a perfect time to look back on all the great food I ate and share some of my favorites. There's a little of everything here -- new restaurants, reviewed restaurants, and places I've popped into just because. It's not a countdown, it's a collection. And I hope it inspires. Enjoy.
Photos by Laura Hahnefeld Focaccia di recco with local honeycomb at Davanti Enoteca.
Focaccia di Recco at Davanti Enoteca
My server was right when he said, "You're going to have fun eating this dish. It's already good, but the honeycomb triples the dish's flavor." A must-try at this new Italian restaurant in Scottsdale headed up by chef Peter DeRuvo, the focaccia di recco features thin, crispy bread filled with lusciously soft cow cheese and the option (you want this) of an accompanying melting honeycomb to spread on top. At $18, its price may seem a bit startling, but, like most of the dishes here, it's worth every cent.
Chana Chatpata at the Dhaba Cafe
For a wallet-friendly pick-me-up, South Asian style, you can't do much better than the $5 Punjabi chaats, or street snacks, at the Dhaba's new next-door cafe in Tempe. The chana chatpata, made with ingredients like chickpeas, tomatoes, garlic, and Indian spices, is especially good. Fresh, tangy, and wonderfully spicy, it goes nicely with a cup of masala chai, or Indian spiced tea, included with the price.
Paella Valenciana at Mimita's Cuban Cafe
If you've got the time and a few hungry friends, order up the paella valenciana at this Cuban restaurant in Chandler. A version of the classic Spanish rice dish, this comforting concoction of ingredients (think Spanish chorizo, saffron rice, shrimp, peppers, and baked chicken) requires a two-hour wait time (Hint: Call it in before arriving.) The price says $62 for two people, but it easily feeds four. More friends than you knew you had? Get the full size portion for $109.
Spam Musubi at Island Grill
Like a piece of sushi gone super-sized, this inventive treat -- a cross between traditional Japanese and local Hawaiian cuisine -- features a slice of good ol' grilled Spam layered atop a block of rice with a dash or two of Teriyaki sauce and then wrapped together with dried seaweed. Why's it so good? The rice and sweetness of the sauce balances the saltiness of the Spam. Plus they're crazy-cheap, around $1.50 each, at most Hawaiian eateries, including this one in Glendale.
6316 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ
1872 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ
1950 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, AZ
8024 N. 51st Ave., Glendale, AZ
6335 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ
6008 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ
7210 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale, AZ
425 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ
96 W. Boston St., Chandler, AZ
10637 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix, AZ
66 S. Dobson Road, Mesa, AZ
1515 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ