Taliesin West is Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural masterpiece in Scottsdale.
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Learn about 10 places you should eat and drink in Phoenix, Arizona’s largest city, along with neighboring Scottsdale, based on a visit to end 2015 and start 2016, listed in alphabetical order, not in order of preference.
Scottsdale Farmers Market
From fall through spring, after the summer sun fades, a destination farmers market convenes on Saturday mornings in the Parking Corral in Old Town Scottsdale. I received guidance from veteran farmer Bob McClendon from McClendon’s Select and Noble Bread owner Jason Raducha, who helped me navigate the sea of produce stalls, cheese vendors, honey producers, seafood and meat purveyors, and of course bakers. Noble Bread, which operates near Arizona State University, produces delectable bread loaves along with some tantalizing pastries. I was particularly enamored with their chocolate chip scone and “black bottom,” a steamed chocolate muffin with sweet cream cheese center.
MUST ORDER: Produce, Noble Bread Black Bottom, Noble Bread Chocolate Chip Scone
Chef Shinji Kurita presides over a deluxe sushi experience. Their 4-course omakase included sake steamed clams with garlic butter and five types of Japanese mushrooms; A5 Wagyu rib-eye cap seared on a tobinyaki (ceramic grill); and nigiri crafted with slightly warm rice, Shiriguku vinegar and fish like sayori (Japanese halfbeak), silky shiru ebi (silver shrimp) and fatty kampachi (yellowtail) belly.
MUST ORDER: Omakase
Sip Coffee & Beer Lounge
This Phoenix dual threat is the second Sip outpost from Travis Radevski and wife Tida, which debuted in November 2015. Roll-up garage doors give way to wood tables and orange chairs, and a big back patio with communal wood seating. The coffee program runs on Cartel Coffee Lab beans, a pair of two-group La Marzocco espresso machines, and flavored Monin syrups. A bar features 24 rotating taps of craft beer. At night, you’ll typically be able to experience live music. I didn’t partake in food, but their menu basically breaks down to gastropub, with egg-centric burritos and sandwiches for breakfast, sandwiches, salads and sides later in the day.
MUST ORDER: Espresso Drinks, Craft Beer
D.J. Fernandes and business partner Jessica Ruiz opened in 2012, with Vovomeena referring to what Fernandes called his grandma in Portuguese. A patio is good for warmer weather, meaning most of the time. Inside, a reclaimed wood “fence” traverses blue walls. Ropes divide the dining room from counter and open kitchen, which is where you order. Grab a seat under exposed rafters. Vovomeena goes big for breakfast. B.M.O.C. combines a boneless pork chop with airy waffle, two eggs, and Portuguese donut. Johnnycakes top two corn and chile cakes with sweet rice dressed with cinnamon and sultanas, prickly pear maple syrup, and choice of meat (pork or turkey sausage, bacon) or spuds. Fernandes is from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where johnnycakes are popular. Coffee is also a focus, with five towers assigned to produce Japanese cold brew, aka “mornin’ moonshine.”
MUST ORDER: B.M.O.C., Johnnycakes, Mornin’ Moonshine
ZuZu is a Googie paradise inside Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho, complete with a poolside patio, white tables, orange chairs and blue umbrellas. Breakfast is a big draw. Carrot and ginger pancakes land on the sweet end of the spectrum, but the trio is craveworthy thanks to a fluffy texture, dollop of whipped cream cheese, maple pecan butter, and dusting of powdered sugar. Later in the day, I’d recommend “giant” shrimp cocktail, which lives up to the name and comes with cocktail sauce. Tuscan kale salad teams hearty lacinato kale with Pecorino Romano, julienne pear, pan-roasted bread crumbs, pine nuts, oven-roasted tomato, and lemon dressing. It’s unclear whether The Famous ZuZu Burger has a big reputation beyond Hotel Valley’ Ho’s footprint, but I enjoy the combination of Virginia bacon, balsamic onions, Maytag blue cheese, and side of twice-cooked fries.
MUST ORDER: Carrot and Ginger Pancakes, Giant Shrimp Cocktail, The Famous ZuZu Burger, Tuscan Kale Salad