Timo Wine Bar vs. Humble Pie: Butternut Squash Soup Square Off

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Chloe Nordquist
Humble Pie's butternut squash soup.
We aren't quite done with winter eats yet, and butternut squash is a classic ingredient for some popular seasonal dishes -- including butternut squash soup. While soup season is still in full swing, we decided to try out two local butternut squash options and see which one wins our battle.

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Deer Garden Signature vs. Slanted Rice: Clay Pot Clash

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Kristy Westgard
Crispy rice at Deer Garden.
There are two kinds of people in this world -- those who eat the crust, and those who don't. We're not just talking about sandwich and pizza crust. In this case the crust in question is that of the traditional Chinese clay pot rice dish.

In a cuisine full of quick-to-prepare (and even quicker to consume) dishes, crispy clay pot rice requires a bit more labor. Rice is typically soaked in water for an hour before it's put in a clay pot alongside some form of fat, soy sauce, and a touch of oil. After 10 minutes of low heat, and 5 minutes of high heat cooking, the rice forms a crunchy, slightly burnt crust all around the bottom of the pot.

Here at Chow Bella, more often than not, crust is a must. So, with spoon in hand, we set off to try two local restaurants to get to the bottom of the clay pot -- and then proceed to scrape it off.

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The Gladly v. The Mission: Bread Pudding Blow Out

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Natalie Miranda
We can't get over that marshmallow sliding down the side of the s'mores bread pudding.

They say the proof is in the pudding -- and here at Chow Bella we say it's in the bread pudding, a dessert that's hard to pull off. We hit up two favorites, The Gladly in Phoenix and The Mission in Scottsdale, to see which local restaurant does it best.

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Phoenix Public Market Cafe v. Ollie Vaughn's: Breakfast Sandwich Battle

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Natalie Miranda
Wake up and eat your heart out.

If your idea of the perfect breakfast sandwich is a Sausage McMuffin from McDonald's, we're here to tell you to rethink your choices. Whether you prefer yours on a croissant or biscuit, there are options out there for you. We put Phoenix Public Market Cafe and Ollie Vaughn's sandwiches agains one another to see which one is the better breakfast choice in Phoenix.

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Cibo vs. Marina's Cafe at The Village Coffee Shop: Crepe Clash

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Hayden Harrison
Crepe at Cibo

In the highly quotable 2006 film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Rick Bobby, French Formula One driver Jean Girard tries to force Ricky Bobby into saying that he loves crepes or else he'll break his arm.

His response: "Wait, are those the really thin pancakes? Oh my God, I love them." Of course, he ends up refusing to say it and gets his arm broken.

We love crepes. There, we said it -- especially the sweet dessert kind. Since we are dreaming of grabbing a warm one in France, we decided to pay a visit to Cibo Urban Wine Bar & Pizzeria and Marina's Cafe at The Village Coffee Shop to find a spot for the best strawberry crepe.

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Over Easy vs. Texaz Grill: Chicken Fried Steak Showdown

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Josh Chesler
Over Easy's chicken fried steak means serious business. Somehow, the breading stays perfectly crunchy.

Is it a breakfast food or a dinner entree? Some questions about chicken fried steak will really never be answered, but there's one thing a lot of people agree on: It's delicious. From the texture of the creamy gravy hitting the crunchy breading to the blend of spices that hit your tongue on each bite, a well-done chicken fried steak can be a thing of beauty.

With several Valley spots offering the dish, we selected two of our favorites to duke it out for deep-fried beef supremacy. One spot is known for its chicken fried steak while the other serves a wide variety of delicious meals. One location only serves breakfast, the other doesn't even open until lunch. Which does it better? Find out below.


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Battle of the Big, Fake Cronut: Dunkin' Donuts vs. Jack in the Box

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JK Grence

Few food trends I've seen have developed such mass appeal as the cronut. While the true Cronut is a registered trademark of Dominique Ansel Bakery, imitations with other names have sprung up around the world.

See also: Cronutâ„¢ Battle: Herb Box vs. Karl's Quality Bakery

The croissant/doughnut hybrid has managed to trickle all the way down to the mass-market drive-thru lane in record time. Not one but two different establishments now serve their own versions of the deep-fried laminated pastry. Whose is better? Let's eat.


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Battle of the 2014 Arizona State Fair Corn Dogs

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JK Grence

In my humble (but correct) opinion, the quintessential carnival food is the corn dog. I know I can get a (barely passable) corn dog from a number of outlets around town, but there's nothing like savoring a hand-dipped corn dog while basking in the lurid lights of the Arizona State Fair midway.

Some State Fair food vendors give the venerable carnival snack an over-the-top twist in an attempt to get people talking about their specific product. Two different vendors have spicy variations on the corn dog. But, only one can be this year's Arizona State Fair corn dog champion.


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Angry Crab Shack vs. Welcome Diner: Hurricane Matchup

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Hayden Harrison
Hurricane and fries at Angry Crab in Mesa

New Orleans is known for its hurricanes -- yes, the scary rain ones, but also the cocktail. Pat O'Briens is the usual place to grab one, but when it's about 1,500 miles away, it's best to find a spot close by that makes them well.

A typical hurricane is a mixture of rums, passion fruit juice, ice and a little grenadine to give it the sweet edge. It's an easy cocktail to suck down, which can really knock you on your butt if you don't watch it.

We headed out to Angry Crab Shack in Mesa and Welcome Diner in downtown Phoenix to see who stirs up the best hurricane.

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Flan Battle: Puerto Rican Latin Bar and Grill vs. Los Burritos

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Natalie Miranda
A little mountain of Puerto Rican flan.

It only takes five ingredients to make flan, and the round custard with a rich caramel flavoring is usually all that is needed to polish off any fine Mexican dinner. Occasionally, custard isn't everyone's dessert of choice, but when prepared right, the texture can be the best part.

We headed out to see if Puerto Rican Latin Bar and Grill or Los Burritos has the best flan.

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