Though he worked as a chef in Europe and on the East Coast, Cafe at Desert Ridge owner Mario Kuja embraced the flavors and flair of Southwestern cuisine upon moving to Arizona. Guided by his 22 years of culinary experience, he infuses many of his dishes with classic Southwestern spices, including the Sonoran burrito and the Southwest chicken salad. However, like a rare pottery collector or a mom who's obsessed with cleaning everything in the world, he doesn't neglect American and European dishes. Mario prepares these in the form of burgers, Mediterranean paninis, and meatball pappardelle.
When Tryst Cafe opened in December 2010, Phoenix Magazine took notice, putting it on their Best New Restaurants list. Part of what got their attention—and what continues to draw in customers—is the restaurant's inventive menu. Their dishes, made with organic, local, and natural foods, range from roasted beet salads to barbecue bacon burgers to cornish hen with a cornbread grit cake, and many can be modified to be gluten- and kryptonite-free. Guests can take a bit of an adventure by ordering from the supplementary Tryst Around the World menu, which focuses on a different geographic region each month, or by grabbing a table on an outdoor patio soundtracked by world music.
Benedict's Catering and Cafe’s owner draws from more than 20 years of experience planning events for Estée Lauder. She leads a team of servers, bartenders, chefs, and baristas during catering services for events large and small. At her intimate French bistro, she turns the reins over to an American Culinary Federation–certified pastry chef, who bakes sweet pastries full of chocolate and pecans, and crafts a range of savory brunch and lunch dishes made from locally sourced eggs, dairy, and vegetables. Diners can complement their meals with mugs of custom-blended dark roast coffee and glasses of mango iced tea. The pasty chef also showcases her techniques in small-size cooking classes, which cover culinary styles such as Greek, Italian, and Spanish and cooking methods such as grilling and poaching. Once done with a class or two, students are ready to host their own dinner parties or test whether a grilled steak can really be thrown further than a raw one.
No matter the time of day, servers at Country Boys Restaurant fill their pads of paper with scribbled orders for breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. From the kitchen window, they grab plates brimming with chicken strips and chili cheese fries. For breakfast, fluffy pieces of french toast arrive piled with strawberries and whipped cream, and later in the day, burgers and sandwiches bring happiness between two pillowy buns or slices of bread.
The time-tested lamb, chicken, and seafood dishes served at the Persian Room all jump from the pages of traditional recipes perfected over centuries. Dried lime, cardamom, basil, turmeric, and a range of spices add zest to grilled and marinated meats, which can be accompanied by bread from a clay oven and helpings of saffron-scented basmati rice.
Sniff and swirl today's Groupon, which gets you $40 worth of drinks and food for $20 at Uncorked: The Unpretentious Wine Bar in Scottsdale. Uncorked's wine menu boasts 50 unique wines by the glass and bottle, and offers close to 20 different flights in three 3-ounce pours.Step 1: You must believe in the wine. Envision the empty glass as a soulless, unguided universe on a slow and senseless collision with a wall of futility represented by the implosion of spacetime. Now picture some wine in it.