Local Food and Drink Favorites

If you’re local in Arizona, here’s a list for you!  I’ve compiled our favorite local restaurants, old and new, and why we love them.

If you’re not local, I challenge you to compile and share a list of your favorite food and drink spots in  your area!

Budgeting can be difficult when there’s so much good food around! Here they are in no particular order…

af8a39668d7e24ecae40b58a3525aeda1. Mangos– Mangos is located in downtown Mesa on Main Street. It’s right next to Milano’s Music store. I’ve been going there for almost 15 years now and I love it every time. When Josh and I first started dating, I brought him there and it instantly became one of his favorites too. They have the BEST salsa and chips which they bring to your table right after you order. (Any Mexican restaurant that doesn’t give free chips and salsa makes me sad. It’s only the best part.) Back in my meat eating days the shredded chicken tacos were so delicious, and you can never go wrong with a plain old bean and cheese burrito wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. From the Killer Burrito to the fish tacos, you shouldn’t be disappointed!

 

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2. So Cal Fish Tacos– Do you see a theme? Mexican food? We can’t help it. Arizona has Mexican food like nowhere else.  We probably have some sort of burritos, tacos, or quesadillas at least half of the nights in a week. Our quesadilla maker hardly leaves our counter top. But back to So Cal…located in downtown Gilbert, So Cal has not only great food, but the best atmosphere. A laid back, calming, Southern California surf themed restaurant that makes you feel like you’re a mile from the beach, not in the middle of the desert. They even have a great patio in the back. We liked the feel of the restaurant so much, its what we based M’s room on when we moved into our new house. If you go, you have to try the Mexicali Shrimp Cocktail. Tomatoes, onion, cucumber, jalapeño with delicious shrimp served with tortilla chips. Mmmmm.

 

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3. Postino– Postino is a wine cafe and has more than one location. We go to the one in downtown Gilbert, just steps away from So Cal.  Postino is famous for their bruschetta boards. You get to pick four different types of bruschetta and they make up your board. It is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. My favorites are the warm artichoke, white bean hummus, traditional tomato, basil, and mozzarella, ricotta with pistachios and dates, and the brie with apples and fig. I’ve also heard good things about the one with salami and the prosciutto one too. Josh was hesitant the first time we went thinking it was going to be food that he wouldn’t care for based on what I had told him. He ended up loving it and now we spend quite a few date nights there. Just thinking about it makes me want to get in the car and drive there right now. But the sleeping baby and toddler with no pants on tells me otherwise.

 

EhsxLQrS4. The Soda Shop– This one is brand new and has become an instant crowd pleaser. The Soda Shop is located in Milbert (the border of Mesa and Gilbert) at Greenfield and Baseline. It’s in the same plaza as the new Fat Cats amusement center. They have all sorts of sodas, flavors, fruit purees, etc. that are mixed into the most wonderful creations. The last one I got was the Life’s a Peach- I think it had Dr. Pepper, mango, peach, and half and half. And you can make your own! They also sell heavenly cookies which I hear are from the Sweet Tooth Fairy Bake Shop, also located in the same plaza. Such a great place to go for a date, after school treat, or just whenever! Oh, and they also have a drive thru which makes me love them a hundred times more because no one has to get out of their car seats! Yessssss!

 

6. Burgerfi5. Burger-Fi– First of all, you can order their fries in a size called a bucket or whatever they call it and you can order them either limp (soft) or crispy, and you can get them with cheese. They also offer other toppings for fries like salt & vinegar, parmesan & herb, cajun, and chili. The fries are all I really need, but since their veggie burger (made with vegetables and quinoa) is amazing, of course, I get that too. Burger-Fi has become one of my favorite places over the last year or so. The first time I went I thought, “Yeah, it was good.” The next time I thought, “Wow, that was even better than last time.” and by the third and fourth times, I was so looking forward to it and it just kept getting better. Their “Fi-sauce” is full of flavor and is one of the best parts. I even get extra on the side to dunk my cheese fries in. They also have hot dogs and dreamy custard shakes and treats. There’s 75 locations, but only one in Arizona located in Mesa on Val Vista right across from Dana Park.

 

0906407c-8659-4eb2-89d8-c17507cb3a92.jpg6. Salsa Cabana– Again, Mexican food. Sorry, not sorry. Salsa Cabana is one of those small, hidden gems with the BEST burritos. They are well priced and portions are huge. I’ve never heard anything other than great reviews about their food and some of our favorites are their breakfast burritos, the Burrito Mexicano, the fish tacos, and the taco salad. My favorite is the Burrito Mexicano. You can call in your order and pick it up right on your way home. Or even if it’s not on your way home like me, you just go get it anyway. Located on Greenfield and Brown.

There you have a few of our favorite places to eat. Have you tried any of them before? What’s your favorite things to order?

If you’ve never been to these places, maybe it’s time you try something new! Let me know how you love them!

Mangos photo from mangosmexicancafe.com

So Cal photo from @dished_out on instagram

Postino photo from East Valley Tribune

Salsa Cabana photo from ezlocal.com

Sticky Biscuits

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So in the middle of all the noodle recipes I’m trying out, I decided to give a sweet one a try. You may have seen this recipe floating around on Facebook or Pinterest. I found it on Pinterest from a great little blog called The Jones Way. You can read about their recipe here, but I’ll tell you the real deal on how it tasted and how I made it.

Before I begin, you should know that this recipe was PURE HEAVEN. Since it’s similar to monkey bread (but a thousand times better), we started out calling it monkey biscuits. I think the name “sticky biscuits” fits best. It pretty much tasted like candy. Seriously…candy that you get to make and eat for breakfast! It doesn’t get much better than that. Maybe we should call them candy biscuits…ok, the name is still up for debate.

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Here’s what you need:

2 tubes of grands buttermilk biscuits (these are the big ones) – You’ll only use 1 and a half tubes, just wing it on how much fits best in your pan.

4 or 5 tablespoons of butter (melted) – I love butter so I used about 5

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup maple syrup

Melt the butter and whisk the maple syrup into it. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick spray and pour  about half of the butter/syrup mixture in the bottom. (I used a spoon so I didn’t pour too much).

Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle about half of that on top of the butter/syrup in the pan.

Lay your biscuits around the pan standing up so they lay on each other just a little. It should look a little bit like a wreath as you can see in my photos.

Pour the remaining butter/syrup mixture over the biscuits and then top with the rest of the brown sugar/cinnamon.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Maybe 30 minutes depending on your oven. You want it golden brown.

When it comes out, let it sit for a minute and then flip it onto a plate. It will be glazed with the most delicious caramel-y, sweet, sticky coating. I was expecting for it to taste really maple flavored, but it didn’t at all.

Like I said, it was like a caramel or toffee type of flavor. Amazing.

The original recipe says you can include 1/3 cup chopped almonds or pecans to the brown sugar/cinnamon, but we’re not all about nuts in our baked goods. If you are, go for it.

Also, this is SO sticky and gooey when it comes out, but it hardened fairly quickly.  You’d definitely want to call everyone to the table before you flip it onto a plate so it can be eaten right away. After about 15 minutes of sitting out, the glaze was hard (like a candy apple) and I don’t think it would have been the same to eat it then.

These sticky biscuits were so much better than any tube of cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. Josh is a crazy lover of cinnamon rolls and he even said these were amazing.

Now that you’re probably planning on making them, because let’s be honest, how could you not!? I want you to know that they are extremely sweet. After loving them so much, I decided that they really can’t be something to just make every weekend. Not for us, anyway. I’m thinking maybe Christmas morning and just a handful of other times throughout the year.

Don’t deprive yourself and your family of these, they’re THAT good.

Let me know how you like them!