The 10 Best Things I Ate in 2012

Categories: Top Lists

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Laura Hahnefeld
Focaccia di Recco from Davanti Enoteca

Worth every penny of its $18 price, this dish, courtesy of chef Peter DeRuvo, is just one of the standouts at this Italian restaurant in Scottsdale owned by Chicago-based Francesca's Restaurants Group. A wooden board of thin and crispy baked bread, golden brown, bubbly, and filled with lusciously soft cow cheese arrives with an accompanying melting honeycomb. The sweet spread onto the savory amplifies the flavor and makes this dish one for the memory books.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Com Hen from Hue Gourmet

If you're going to take the time to indulge in the cuisine of the ancient citadel of Vietnam, you'll want to start with this one-of-a-kind dish at this counter-service eatery in Mekong Plaza, the Asian mall in Mesa. Clam broth poured over a textural potpourri of ingredients -- rice, peanuts, taro stems, pork belly, minced banana flowers, Vietnamese sesame rice crackers, and slices of green apple - makes for a complex medley of flavors with a taste as addictively peculiar as it is intense.

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Laura Hahnefeld
First Time Crepe from Crêpe Bar

If everyone's first time were as memorable as the First Time Crepe from Jeff Kraus, chef and owner of this top-notch creperie in Tempe, our lives might all be a bit sweeter because of it. A brûléed banana gets tucked inside a griddled, slightly sweetened crepe smeared with Nutella. The crepe is then sliced, brûléed, placed atop a smear of more Nutella, and artfully surrounded by more torched banana, sliced strawberries, and spiced walnuts. For a first time, this one's pretty much perfect.

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Crudo
Escolar with Salsa Verde, Tomatoes, and Honey from Crudo

This year, chef Cullen Campbell moved his home of modern Italian fare to the back of a shopping center in East Phoenix. And although it's tricky to find, the payoff is worth a few go-arounds in the parking lot - especially when it comes to the grilled escolar. Firm, remarkably rich, and deftly prepared, the thick chunk of fish is coated in a superb signature salsa verde made with carrot greens, basil, and lemon and resting atop tomatoes and honey for a stunning array of flavors Campbell orchestrates effortlessly.

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Location Info

ShinBay

7001 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Dolce Vita Italian Grocer

5251 E. Brown Rd, Mesa, AZ

Category: General

Café Ga Hyang

4362 W. Olive Ave., Glendale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

The House

6936 E. Main St., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Old Dixie's Southern Kitchen

924 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

New Hong Kong Restaurant

2328 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Davanti Enoteca - CLOSED

6316 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Hue Gourmet

66 S. Dobson Road, Mesa, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Crepe Bar

7520 S. Rural Road, Tempe, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Crudo

3603 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant


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7 comments
rickyleepotts
rickyleepotts

I am always looking for new places to eat. Thanks for recommending some one picture at a time!

Helen Yung
Helen Yung

Btw, had the Walnut Shrimp last night - something I would not usually order and only because my friend craved it - large plump shrimp beautifully fried with a light crunchy batter and sauce that was not too thick or sweet. Delicious!

Chow Bella
Chow Bella

Thank you, Helen -- much appreciated!

Helen Yung
Helen Yung

What a diverse list! I love all ten of these places. Was just in New HK last night. They said they've never been so busy - probably thanks to you!

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