10 Best Things I Ate in January
Samosa Chaat at New India Bazaar & Cuisine
Samosa Chaat at New India.
Thanks to top-notch chaat (Indian street food) and vegetarian dishes, this hidden, Punjabi-minded eatery in the back of an Indian grocery in Central Phoenix may not stay a secret much longer. In particular, the samosa chaat ($3.99), a crispy pastry broken into pieces and topped with garbanzo beans, yogurt, onions, tamarind and mint chutney, and a handful of chili powder, is a must-order -- an exotic version of a savory pie.
PB & J de Puerco at Milagro Grill
Milagro Grill PB & J de Puerco
A new take on Macayo's from a new generation of Johnsons, the family who's been running the Arizona-based chain of Mexican eats since 1945, this stylish Arcadia restaurant may be experiencing some growing pains, but the PB & J de Puerco ($10) isn't one of them. Served as a sandwich, two halves of thick, downy bread are layered with luscious slices of pork belly, tomato jam, peanuts, arugula, and chiltepin peppers for a salty, spicy, and smoky flavor highlighted with sweet notes. Delicious.
Bánh Xéo at Pho 43
Báhn Xéo at Pho 43 Express
At this unassuming Vietnamese restaurant with a quick-service slant on the city's west side, I received some good advice on how to best enjoy a bánh xéo ($4.35), or Vietnamese savory crepe: Wrap pieces of the crispy, fried creation -- made of rice flour and filled with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts -- in lettuce and top with a bit of the dipping sauce nuac cham for a sweet, sour, salty, and spicy kick in each bite.