9 Things That Make Phoenix a Better Food (and Drink) Town than New York City
I've done it. I've committed to living in Phoenix again after spending years in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I was a student at NYU in a self-constructed program of Food and Environmental Studies, sourcing from personal experiences of discussing, working with and (mostly) consuming food in New York. I tromped around that town for a few years, spending the majority of my time succumbing to all the foodie stereotypes and enhancing my academics through experience that "only New York City can offer" . . . and now I'm back in Phoenix. And, yes, it is by choice. So to all those people who feel the need to ask (all the time) "Why would you move to Phoenix from Brooklyn?" may this list help you to ponder no longer.
Somehow, there is this idea that anything from New York is automatically spectacular -- an unfortunately untrue concept, especially when searching for a particular item inspired by growing up here in the Valley. There are some things that are simply, wonderfully, and quintessentially Phoenix -- and New York doesn't have them.
The sunshine, visible horizon, and mountains were just a few of the things that made me homesick while I was away and lured me back to Phoenix. But let's face it: It wasn't just about scenery. I was hungry for this town when I returned. These are nine edible perks of Phoenix that beat out NYC.
Pita Jungle's Taboule
Generally, the first stop home from the airport was at Pita Jungle to sit in the sun and enjoy a plate of their cilantro-jalapeño hummus with taboule, accompanied by a few Greek pitas. The freshness and sheer quantity of food on this plate would make any college student happy, especially one who is used to spending the same amount of money on a midday snack.
I know margaritas are everywhere, but to find one like AZ88's is very hard, especially at that price ($7.50). A perfectly tangy and sweet combination with a pleasant alcoholic finish, this fine cocktail is something you could easily pay double for in NYC and it wouldn't be half as tasty. Sitting on that sunny patio with this drink in hand could inspire many people to stay here.
Prickly Pear Fruit
Jerri Parness Photography
I mean, how fun is it to drink a tasty tea flavored by a cactus? Or have local honey spun with a bit of this subtle fruit? Beyond these classic ways of eating the purple "pear," chefs around the Valley are taking advantage of this unique fruit and adding a true taste of our beautiful desert to their menus. Take that, NYC!