5 Vegetarian-Friendly Vendors to Check Out at Downtown Phoenix Public Market

Categories: Chow Bella

Zaida Dedolph
Golo Family Organic Farms' gorgeous pink grapefruit caught our eye. We loved them even more when we heard their story.

While most of the nation is buried under snow and ice, we Phoenicians are finally able to enjoy the simple things, like wearing socks and being outdoors without fear of frying.

One thing many of us take for granted is our ability to get great local fruits and vegetables during our mild winter months. In the Great White North (as we like to think of anything north of Prescott) farmers markets are forced into hibernation during the winter -- but in Phoenix, they thrive. Here's a list of great local folks to check out next time you're at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market.

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5 Metro Phoenix Restaurants That Your Vegetarian Friends Won't Hate

Categories: Chow Bella

Jackie Mercandetti
Phoenix Public Market Cafe offers a variety of dishes that are both satisfying and vegetarian.

We've all been there: You are trying to figure out a place to meet your friends for food, but you get stuck trying to please both the carnivores and the herbivores in your crowd. The meat-eaters have choked down tempeh at all the usual vegan haunts, the vegetarians have spent countless nights consuming iceberg lettuce salads and French fries at your favorite steakhouse, and it's hard to convince the crowd to go to Pita Jungle again.

No need to fight, we can all get along! Here are five great Phoenix restaurants that can meet everyone's needs -- and that serve well-crafted vegetarian dishes that are way more interesting than that boring ol' Boca Burger. Each of these restaurants offers multiple veg-friendly main dishes, so everybody gets options. Bonus: Almost all of them have awesome patios, so you can kick back and enjoy each other's company (even if you don't enjoy each other's dietary decisions).

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Meet the Jackfruit

Categories: Chow Bella

Zaida Dedolph
Young jackfruit, in and out of the can.

I don't eat meat. I also don't eat fake meat. I also don't expect you to care about what I eat, or to change your own diet because of what I have to say. But I will note that the meat-free market largely lends itself to the development of super fake foodstuffs -- oddly textured, unnaturally formed, and artificially flavored, of course. These foods have never struck me as being particularly healthy, nor conceptually vegetarian, nor even a little bit appetizing.

But! When real, whole, minimally processed foods are adapted into recipes in place of meat (read as: not isolated currently trendy protein or hydrolyzed whatever), I'm willing to be a bit more open.

A few weeks ago I fell in love with the Nopales Like Home sandwich at Braggs Factory Diner. The sandwich, which features smokey barbacoa-style jackfruit, was my first introduction to this strange-yet-delightful fruit-cum-meat substitute. Since then, I have seen the item pop up on a few other local restaurants' menus, which makes me think we'll be seeing a lot more of it in coming months.

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Free Tamale-Making Classes at All Ranch Market Locations

Categories: Chow Bella, Events

Lucianvenutian - Flickr Creative Commons
Ever think it was impossible to learn to make tamales? Think again.

Every year you probably say to yourself, "I'm going to learn to make tamales for the next holiday season." Then the just before that year is up, you conclude that it's too much of a task and you're not sure where to even begin.

Now, none of that matters, thanks to the Ranch Markets around the Valley. Starting this Friday, Nov. 7, classes will begin at the Roosevelt Street location in Central Phoenix. The best part: The classes are completely free.

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Turn Up the Heat with Go Lb. Salt's Sriracha Bacon and Locally Made Sriracha Sauce

Categories: Chow Bella

go lb. salt
Sriracha Bacon
Considering that you can already buy Sriracha Pringles and Lay's and even green Midori Sriracha, we guess we shouldn't be that surprised to hear that some of our local food producers are also turning to the famous hot sauce for inspiration. After all, we've already written about how you can use the red rooster sauce to spice up the cheapest of foods.

Now you can leave the spice infusion to the pros. Starting on Saturday, October 25, you'll be able to buy Sriracha Bacon made locally by go lb. salt, and on Saturday mornings at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, you also can find Siri Sriracha Sauce, a brand of locally made condiments.

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Tres Leches Cake Turned Into a Shake...But Only Until Sunday

Categories: Chow Bella

Hungry Dudes (Flickr Creative Commons)
Tres leches cake is soaked with three milks, and we can't get enough of it.

Hopdoddy, the fast-casual burger restaurant and bar in Scottsdale has taken two things we love, the milk shake and tres leches cake, blended them together and presented heaven in a cup. If you would like a serving of your own, be sure to get there by Sunday before their drink special ends.

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Meet Phoenix's 2014 Barista Competitors

Categories: Chow Bella, Grind

Perry Czopp
Chow Bella's own Heather Hoch watches barista Michelle Johnson pour a cappuccino at a recent practice runthrough.

Each year, thousands of coffee professionals around the world congregate to crown a new Barista Champion. This year three fantastic individuals from Phoenix will be traveling to Rancho Mirage, California for a chance to be crowned the Southwest's Best Barista. This event feeds into the United States Barista Competition, which in turn feeds into the World Barista Championship.

Take a moment to laugh at the notion of competitive coffee making; I know you're thinking about it. Now regroup, and focus on what I'm about to tell you: the Specialty Coffee industry takes this very seriously. Winning the World Barista Championship (or even just the United States competition) means fortune and glory; in addition to a hefty cash prize, winners are provided with expensive equipment, travel opportunities, and are essentially guaranteed lucrative employment in some aspect of the coffee industry for the rest of their lives.

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5 Reasons to Get Excited About the Phoenix Coffee Scene That Have Nothing to Do with Pumpkin Spice

Categories: Chow Bella, Grind

Zaida Dedolph
Crepe Bar's new fall signature coffee drink features local heritage grains and local dates.

In the mushy-yet-magical coulee that is my imagination, Pumpkin Spice exists as a rejected sixth Spice Girl. Yoga-pantsed, Ugg-booted, and sexy-baby-voiced, poor P.S. just literally can't even function as a flavor.

Pumpkins are a thing. Pumpkin Pie Spice is a thing. But "Pumpkin Spice" is a myth that we seem to have collectively accepted as fact. What defines this imaginary Spice of Pumpkin that has infiltrated my Facebook feed? Aside from being a sensationalized marketing scheme for something that is realistically an amalgamation of artificial flavors, colors, and additives, what actually is it? And more importantly, why do we continue to care about it when there are so many other very real things going on in the world (and in Phoenix!)

I am willing to accept the PSL as a bizarre cultural totem and harbinger of fall festivities, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Here is a list of five things that I do like, that are happening soon, and that support our great local food and coffee folk.

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Lo-Fi Coffee Brings Electricity-Free "Eco-Bar" to Downtown Mesa Event Scene

Categories: Chow Bella, Grind

Zaida Dedolph
Sam Clark smiles behind the bar at Lo-Fi Coffee.

I never thought I'd say this, but -- there's something kinda cool happening in Mesa.

Seemingly ceaseless light rail construction has provided Mesa shop owners with a creative challenge: How do small businesses stay competitive in an area dominated by road closures, jackhammering, and snorting digging machines?

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How to Brew a Chemex the Cartel Coffee Way

Categories: Chow Bella, Grind

Zaida Dedolph
Jenny Vaughn adds coffee to the Chemex.

A Chemex is a way of brewing coffee that is one part art, one part science, two parts swank. The hand-blown glass brewer was invented in the early 1940s by a chemist who wanted to create a method for making coffee that was both sleek and effective. At first glance, you might think this was a flower vase.

But the Chemex's thick paper filter and Jessica Rabbit-esque figure are designed to brew a clean, articulate cup of coffee. In recent years, specialty coffee folk have rediscovered this beautiful brewer. Its functional beauty has allowed it to stand the test of time; it serves as a visual representation of transparency and cleanliness of both cafe and coffee.

Bonus story: legend has it that Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, the likely mad scientist slash total baller who invented the device, drove a Cadillac with a little gold Chemex hood ornament.

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