Phoenix food connoisseurs whether healthy or not, came out in record numbers to sample food and wine from some of the best culinary curators and purveyors in Arizona. The 5th Annual Devoured Food and Wine Classic (Devoured Phoenix) is the region’s premier annual culinary event hosted by the Phoenix Art Museum, Local First Arizona and Devour Phoenix was recently held at the Phoenix Art Museum. This culinary affair is like heaven for all Foodies, including the healthy, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free and artificial free Foodies like myself! I was astounded by how much the restaurants and their team amped up their creativity strategy this year. From the beautifully styled table arrangements to the delicious and unique combinations of a variety of foods, Devoured Phoenix was indeed a delectable, memorable experience making it one of the must-attend-soirees of the year!
I welcomed being surrounded by food and healthy beverages in all directions! Though I could not consume everything due to my restrictive dietary requirements, there were still a lot of delicious offerings that I could sample, especially Windsor’s perfectly grilled salmon served over lentils and Joyride’s Cucumber Mint Aqua Fresca! I was equally impressed by the number of restaurants that offered local, free range meat options including grass-fed beef. There were also many fabulous vegan options available, including Barrio’s Cafe delicious guacamole topped with pomegranate seeds and District American Kitchen’s beautifully dressed garden salad with candied olives and house-made almond crunch! One thing that I noticed was that Foie Gras (duck liver) must be the food of choice for many restaurants because it was everywhere including pork!
There were over 80 restaurants present with demonstrations and samples throughout the weekend. Though some of the restaurants may not have served gluten free, dairy free, soy free items during the event, their on-site team indicated that the restaurants do offer many allergy friendly foods. I recommend that you call ahead or ask the servers before ordering if you can speak with someone who is knowledgeable about the preparation of the food. Below are a few restaurants that offered gluten free, dairy free and soy free samples.
- District American Kitchen & Wine Bar
- Barrio’s Café
- Sage Kitchen (formerly called Chakra for Vegetarian Restaurant)
- Different Pointe of View
- Kai Restaurant at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass
- House of Tricks Restaurant
- Posh Improvisational Cuisine
- The Farm at South Mountain
- Fez Restaurant
- Relish Burger Bistro at The Phoenician (can request lettuce instead of the bun)
For a full listing of all of the restaurants that participated please visit the website http://www.devouredphoenix.com/participants/.
In addition to being wowed by the taste of all the food, as a scientist and recipe developer, I also enjoyed talking with a few of the rock star chefs about their ingenuity behind their creations! I spent a little time chatting with 2nd Place Winner of Food Network’s Chopped and Executive Chef, Judson Branch of ICON at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. I was definitely intrigued and inspired by his interesting dish called Scrapple. Chef Judson braised Arizona grass fed beef short ribs for a very long time, and then processed the meat until it was in broken down into small pieces. He then added bread crumbs and spices to the meat, pressed it into small rectangular molds and placed the molds into the refrigerator. After chilling for a couple of hours, he removed the meat from the molds and seared over high heat. Once done, the masterpiece was created and beautifully plated!
Ever since I’ve left Devoured Phoenix, I can’t stop thinking about each delicious dish that I experienced and I want more! So, I guess I’ll start making restaurant reservations so that I can have more of those delicious healthy, delights; otherwise, I would have to wait twelve months for the next Devoured Phoenix!
Stay tuned for my future review of these restaurants and be sure to like my Facebook page /RhondasCookingPage and follow me on Twitter @RhondasCooking.