Roundups on the Run
One of my favorite foods is sandwiches. I know, it's pretty broad, but that aren't many sandwiches I don't like. It's one of the greatest foods. You can put any combination of your favorite foods between two pieces of bread, and you have a Favorite Foods Sandwich. I tend to veer away from overly complicated sandwiches and instead take comfort in simple pleasures, from egg salad to fried bologna--no kidding! Fried bologna sandwiches are great. There's something about hot, gooey sandwiches. If I had to rank sandwich types, in fact, I'd say hot, gooey sandwiches top them all. This month, I was able to visit Croques in Phoenix (5060 N. 40th St., #110 Phoenix), a really tasty lunchtime place that specializes in baked sandwiches. They serve them on little cutting boards, hot and with a happily crunchy crust. I ordered the Monsier, which is ham, mushrooms, tomato, mozzarella, and lettuce, on whole wheat bread. I also ordered their sole dessert, an XXL chocolate chip cookie. I always feel the need to try a cookie I've never had. It was okay.
Dagwood's (2999 N. 44th St., Suite 150, in Phoenix, for breakfast and lunch on weekdays) is my fallback sandwich shop when I don't have a brown bag lunch and can't stray too far from my office. If you get there when nobody's around, you can get your sandwich in a timely manner, but if you don't, there will be a wait. I stick to my favorites: the breakfast burrito, which is eggs, cheese, and meat (sausage!), all grilled on a panini grill, or a grilled Reuben. Ooey gooey goodness.
October roundup: Asian
A co-worker friend blindfolded a couple of us and drove us to Top Secret Restaurant X where I finally got to try a restaurant version of honey walnut shrimp. Oh man, it was good. There were a lot of walnuts, and a really good balance of broccoli. I was hoping for more shrimp, but at least it was tasty!
I also got to try Thai Basil (03 W. University Drive, Tempe, M-F: 11-3; Sa: 11-4; Su-Th: 5-9; F and Sa: 5-9:30), and I really enjoyed it. My friends and I split the chicken satay, which was served on a bed of shredded cabbage with a couple of generous servings of sauces (regular sweet and sour, and peanut, from what I could tell). My friends got the peanut curry chicken and the Pad Thai. I tried the Pad Thai, and it was pretty tasty--not mushy or gummy--but it was sort of shy on the peanuts. My green curry chicken was quite good! I also tried the Thai Sticky Rice, which I knew would hold flavors that I grew up with in my Filipino household. I love the taste of sweet, custard-laced rice, and the white and purple rice combination had both a familiar and new and refreshing taste.
Sushi Mishima (5534 E Thomas Rd, Phoenix; M-F: 11:30-2:30, M-Sa: 5:30-10:30, closed Su) was a pleasant surprise. I remember walking by their with my Hun, peering in, and wondering what sort of sushi place could be in a shady little strip mall. It looked so humble and diner-esque. Yet it stayed open, and had clearly been around awhile. I remembered one of my favorite scenes from "Kill Bill" and remembered that some of the best food comes from the most obscure holes in the wall. I found reviews on Chowhoud, azcentral.com, and the Phoenix New Times, and based on mostly good reviews (with a few neutral and a few bad ones), I snuck out at lunch to try it out. I decided to grab the bull by the horns and order the sashimi lunch--striaght, raw fish. I sat outside for a few minutes before it opened, and was startled, then intrigued by the owner's wife/waitress/hostess was all smiles and energy as she bounded out to her car to cart in bags of fresh oranges. When the "Open" sign came on, I walked inside, and the chef/owner and his wife came out, greeting me enthusiastically. I sat at the bar, in front of the fish case, and ordered my lunch special--six kinds of fish for about $10. I was surprised when she brought me a disposable oshibori as soon as I was seated. I've eaten in quite a few sushi joints, and some of them pricier than I would've liked, but none had ever offered the traditional moist towel you would use to wipe your hands before eating your sushi, which is traditionally eaten as finger food. I was brought a cup of yummy miso soup and a salad with a creamy house dressing, then the chef passed over a beautiful plate of sashimi. It was all delicious--two kinds of maguro, yellowtail, salmon, mackeral, clam. Afterward, the chef sliced up some fresh fruit and passed it over. It was a lovely ending to a delicious meal.
October roundup: Arizona State Fair
My not-so-secret favorite nyum-nyums: festival food. The necessities include corn dogs (I wish more of the c.d. vendors would carry grainy mustard). And if I'm lucky, as I am when I attend the Arizona State Fair, I also revel in Piggly Wiggly's fried zucchini. My friend who went with me wanted onion rings, so we got the combo platter, which lets you pick two different veg items. It's not cheap at $8, but you get what you pay for! She washed it down with a tall glass of freshly squeezed lemonade.
Photo collage format inspired by the ever-awesome Claude LeMonde.