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Jan 28, 2008 11:43 AM

HELP! What are typical foods served in Arizona?

I am trying to delve into typical or native foods served in Arizona. What are standard and what are must-haves, etc. Thanks!

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  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Arizona has a reasonably complex cultural history, so what qualifies as "native" or "typical" depends, to some extent, on what time period, region, and culture(s) you are interested in. To me, "standard" and "must-haves" are even fuzzier concepts.

      Maybe if you clue us in as to what your ultimate goal is, we can point you in useful directions.

      5 Replies
      1. re: hohokam

        regional or native. Items that are classic Arizona...sorry

        1. re: meldrom

          Okay, AZhotdish and hohokan are right - this isn't an easy answer. If you really ARE looking for "native," Kai is a four- (or five?) star restaurant at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass resort - and it specializes in native foods,many of which are grown on the surrounding reservation. If you are looking for later cultural influence, you will, indeed, want to try both the food court and the "tablecloth" restaurant at Ranch Market (16th St./Roosevelt in Phoenix). Other restaurants you may wish to include might be Los Sombreros, Barrio Cafe, and/or Los Dos Molinos. We are a melting pot of regional America, and the cuisine reflects this (good grief, we have a Hoosier Cafe and a butcher called Midwestern Meats). That said - also look for locally PRODUCED foods (and even wine). You might want to schedule a visit to the Queen Creek Olive Mill - local olives and olive oil. There's citrus (everywhere, until sometime in April), there are pecans. There's honey (look for mesquite honey from Patagonia Honey or from hives near Flagstaff). There are jams (peach with habanero!), salsas, and relishes. (One convenient stop for these would be the Guadalupe Farmers Market - Guadalupe Rd. and Avenida del Yacqui - coinceidentally right across the street from SanDiego Bay - a dandy Mexican seafood place). Classic Arizona? Hmmmm....might be a well done burger. Okay - I'm sorry - it would be a steak. Which reminds me that there is a CLASSIC Arizona restaurant called the Stockyards (5009 E. Washington, Phoenix) in which you may order steak or a burger - and Rocky Mountain oysters, too.

          1. re: meldrom

            OK. Let me try this again.

            What is the purpose behind the list? Are you planning a visit? Are you hoping to mail-order Arizona-specific food items? Are you planning a "traditional Arizona" meal for a homesick friend? Are you writing a report?

            Are you looking for foods that one can currently find in restaurants and markets? Are you looking for foods that are "only in Arizona" items? Are you wondering what foods indigenous peoples traditionally ate? Are you interested in foodways other than those of indigenous groups?

            Maybe illustrative examples would help. What would you consider to be regional/native/classic/traditional/typical New York (exclusive of NYC) foods?

            I apologize for being so persnickety, but I'm still not clear on what you're after.

            1. re: hohokam

              If one looks up New Mexico cuisine. It's clearly green chili everything. There are Chicago style pizza and New York style pizza. California pizza. Baja style food. Tex-Mex and Texas barbeque, etc. What is unique style in Arizona? Or are Arizonans not inventive enough.

              1. re: tlgeros

                Well, there IS Pizzeria Bianco, and with the international culinary awards, that should lead one to believe that there is creativity here.

                There are not too many cities in the world, where one can dine with a James Beard winner, doing a fusion of Southwestern and classical French cuisine.

                Now, other than Chef Vincent's SW influence, neither of those has indigenous AZ cuisine, but has been said, which era does one wish to experience?

                To the OP, add Fry Bread House into the mix, and do NOT miss Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass.



                Pizzeria Bianco
                623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

                Fry Bread House
                4140 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013

        2. hi there,

          here's a link to some info from the slow food phoenix web site.

          there are links to several organizations that teach/develop/produce traditional and indigenous food, from mesquite ground for flower, to tepary beans, to cacti.

          hope that helps :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: winedubar

            Oooo..thanks! I didn't even think about checking Slow Food :)

            1. re: meldrom

              np meldrom :) i just noticed i spelled flour as 'flower' ...oops...thats what happens when i work in my tiny garden :D lol

              1. re: winedubar

                Now, I thought that you meant edible "flowers... " [Grin]


          2. Fry Bread -- found in many states but strongly linked to Native American populations in Arizona

            Chimichangas -- deep-fried burritos; purported to be invented in Arizona

            1. The original comment has been removed