Nopales for the Masses: A Mission to Bring Cactus to Valley Diners

Categories: Chow Bella

File5_DSC_0138.JPG
Natalie Miranda
Cactus paddles are healthy and good for the environment -- why haven't they caught on as the next superfood?
Monika Woolsey is on a mission to get Phoenicians to eat more cactus. As the proprietor of Hip Veggies, a business in the process of becoming a nonprofit, she is Arizona's most vocal nopales advocate, making it her goal to introduce people from all walks of life to the cactus food and reintroducing some Latinos and Native Americans to a food linked to their cultural histories.

If you've lived in Metro Phoenix for any amount of time, chances are good that you've seen nopales. They're the flat pads on the prickly pear cactus, a fixture in the desert landscape -- but unlike kale and other superfoods, they rarely are seen on menus or advertised in grocery stores. The fruit of the same cactus, the prickly pear ("tuna" in Spanish) is commonly used in desserts and drinks.

More »

Flour Power: Phoenix Emerges as a New Capital of Artisan Bread-Making

Categories: Chow Bella

Feature1-1.jpg
Evie Carpenter
In a world of gluten-intolerance, is bread toast?
Since man first learned to harness the power of fire, humans have been using it to cook food. It started with an ostentatious show of roasting whole animals over an open flame -- an unabashed demonstration of how humans now possessed power over both nature and the rest of the animal kingdom.

As we developed increasingly complex cultures, we sought more sophisticated ways of using fire to make food.

We began to bake.

Unlike cooking meat over fire or boiling plants in a pot, baking constitutes a transformation of nature into an entirely new form, something good to eat -- bread. Ever since the advent of the art, baking has remained a fundamental skill in cultures around the world.

More »

How to Order Coffee Without Sounding Like a Tool

Categories: Chow Bella, Grind

Portola.jpg
Zaida Dedolph
Cortado? Macchiato? Learning the language can be a huge barrier to new coffee drinkers.

I worked in the specialty coffee world for almost a decade before retiring to the blogosphere. If there's one thing I learned during that time, it's that there is a massive language barrier between cafes and coffee drinkers. As with any other industry, coffee comes with its own vocabulary of terms -- many of which have been modified or mangled as the industry itself has changed. Here's a brief introduction for the bewildered.

More »

5 Things I Will Never Eat or Drink Again

sushi-never-again.jpg
[puamelia] via Flickr
For every year that my palate matures, two more bad experiences come to my plate. Though most of us would not claim to be picky eaters, we have to admit we've all suffered some form of culinary trauma. Like any sour encounter of my life, my best is not to forgive but to forget. But until I reach the ripe old age where my taste buds and sense of smell start to diminish, these five foods (and drinks) will remain on my black list.


More »

I Drank Something Called "Dank-Dank" at Songbird Coffee and It Was Even Awesomer Than It Sounds

Categories: Chow Bella, Grind


DankDank.jpg
Zaida Dedolph
The Dank-Dank; fun to say, fun to drink.

For this week's Grind column, I decided to walk into a coffee shop I had never been to, ask for a recommendation, and review it. This was clearly the best decision I have ever made, because it led me to discover the Dank-Dank (pronounced Daynk-Uh-Daynk). This secret off-menu gem is a Songbird Coffee original that is sure to delight coffee snobs and novices alike.


More »

Helpings Cafe in Phoenix Serves Good Food and Opportunities

Categories: Chow Bella

helpings-cafe-sign-miranda.JPG
Natalie Miranda
Helpings Cafe teaches job skills to homeless individuals.

Since April, Valley residents have been eating for a good cause at Arizona's largest homeless shelter.

Helpings Cafe is located at UMOM New Day Centers on Van Buren Street, where trainees from the shelter go through a six- or nine-week training program to gain work experience.


More »

Is Manta Ray the New White Meat?

Categories: Chow Bella

birrieria-obregon-cahuamanta-taco-miranda.jpg
Natalie Miranda
The cahuamanta taco came loaded with seafood and a strong ocean scent.

You've handled street tacos, maybe even Sonoran hot dogs from a cart in the parking lot of a random business. Menudo, pozole, we've all been there and done that. A feeling of accomplishment might set in knowing that you've tackled these "foreign" dishes from Mexico.

Well, the beauty of this "foreign" cuisine is that Mexican food will never get a yawn out of you because of the vastness and variety. Enter cahuamanta. Our first thought was, "How do you even pronounce that properly?" and then, "What?" Trying exotic dishes is always a thrill coupled with uncertainty, so we braced ourselves.

More »

The Arizona Burrito: We Found It in California

Categories: Chow Bella

arizona-burrito.jpg
Katie Johnson
French fries, carne asada -- the Arizona burrito has it all.
Look, we'll be the first to admit that filling a burrito with french fries could hardly be described as avant-garde or gourmet. In truth, it holds about as much culinary merit as the cronut, the quesarito, or the ramen burger. Still, we couldn't help but get slightly giddy at the summer discovery of a potato-packed concoction known as the Arizona burrito.

More »

5 Best Places in Metro Phoenix for Shaved Ice

Categories: Chow Bella

bahamas-bucks-brm-miranda.jpg
Natalie Miranda
The BRM from Bahama Buck's is good and cold.

Banana splits and sundaes are so last year. Now it's all about the shaved ice. Choosing one or more flavors for whatever mood you may be in, topped with a splash of cream couldn't be sweeter. Go for the fruit flavors if you're craving that refreshing taste, or birthday cake or cotton candy flavors if the sweet tooth kicks in.

And if you can't release your grip on that pint of ice cream, add a scoop of ice cream to your shaved ice. Here are our five favorite places to score a heap of shaved ice in metro Phoenix.


More »

10 Signs Your Server Doesn't Suck

Categories: Chow Bella

superserver1-wheeler.jpg
Carrie Wheeler
Your server doesn't need superpowers to give great service.
Anyone who has dined in a restaurant has some notion of what good service is, and many of us have horror stories that illustrate what it definitely isn't. Whether you're having drinks at your favorite dive bar or dining at a five-star restaurant, here are ten easy ways to tell your server cares.

More »
Loading...