This is a very delayed post, but (as I was reminded by my good friend Ana) I have forgotten to mention the last adventure in Arizona. Ana came to visit me there in the beginning of May before we drove to LA (where I flew to the UK, and she flew back to NY). We didn’t have too much time to explore, so we decided Scottsdale was the main area she needed to see.
We started off in Chandler and took some back routes up through the Arcadia area and ended up by the Scottsdale Waterfront. We were getting a little hungry, so we decided to stop for a ‘snack’ at The Culinary Dropout. We needed to kill some time before we attempted to hike up Camelback Mountain and give ourselves a little fuel as well. We ended up sharing a light salad and some ridiculous pork ribs. I’m really sad we didn’t have the time/appetite to stay for a full meal because this place did not disappoint. Culinary Dropout is actually one of the new concepts started by the Fox Restaurant Group. It’s the first gastropub in Arizona whose food scene is slowly becoming more well known. There’s even a celebrity chef on Food Network who is an executive chef in Arizona! (Beau MacMillan, co-judge on Worst Cooks in America, Exec Chef at Elements at the Sanctuary in Scottsdale)
But back to the food! We started with the Artichoke Salad with asparagus, endive and parmesan. This salad turned out to be one of the most refreshing salads I have ever had. As you can see in the photo, it included artichoke hearts, frisee, a little radicchio, zucchini/courgette shavings, chives, parmesan and it was dressed in a very light lemon vinaigrette. Of course, this salad was especially perfect sitting in the hot Arizona sun. But I recreated a version of it here in England and it was just as refreshing. When I did my version, I blanched some fresh (in season) asparagus, made courgette shavings (super easy with a veg peeler) and served it on a bed of mixed greens. For the dressing, I just mixed fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and finished it all off with fresh parmesan. You will LOVE this salad I promise!
The funny thing is I just remembered a Giada (Food Network) episode I saw once where she made zucchini shavings, and I’ve just found the recipe. And guess what – it’s almost exactly what you see/read above. Here’s the recipe link anyway!
Now the ribs… So as you’ve read before, my Dad is quite the grill master/cook. He’s also in love with his giant smoker. Not only are my Dad’s steaks amazing, but his ribs.. mmm.. crispy, moist, tangy. As much as I love my Dad’s ribs, the ribs at Culinary Dropout were THE best I have.ever.had. They even beat what I had at the BBQ Festival! Maybe it was the jalapeno, molasses marinade/sauce. Or maybe they just cooked it for longer. All I know is that this meat not only fell off the bone instantly but was also flaky and moist. The flavor was the perfect balance of sweetness, spicy-ness, tangy-ness. Now I am no girly-girl when it comes to eating ribs. I have no shame in getting in there and licking my fingers throughout. But the meat was SO tender on these, it all came off in one bite! Mmm I can’t think about them for too long because I’m pretty certain I won’t be able to find anything like that in the UK. That means it will be a very long time before I get ribs like these again. But here’s a photo for you to enjoy!
I have some serious backlog of posts I have to sort, so stay tuned for lots more to come!