Every March something magical happens in the Valley, something I look forward to all year long, an event that brings joy to my heart and contentment (gluttony) to my belly – The Devour Culinary Classic.
The Devour Culinary Classic is the two-day crown jewel in a week long celebration of local dining. Dozens of Arizona’s best restaurants, from fine dining to food trucks gather to set up shop and sample the gastro-delights to the gleeful attendees. And these pros aren’t just handing out tiny bites in plastic cups, they are dishing out some tasty works of art, a feast for the eyes and the taste buds. I love everything about the Culinary Classic, the food, the drinks, the happy people, the opportunity to try something you’ve never dreamed of eating before, the chance to chat with the people behind the deliciousness, the belly-busting FUN!
The two days of the classic are entirely unique, each day showcases different chefs, restaurants and vendors; so take heed for next year and purchase tickets for each day. This year I attended the event for Sunday’s festivities and while it is pretty much impossible to taste everything, I did my best. Here is a smattering of some of my favorites.
Sweet Corn Risotto from Federal Pizza
Creamy, savory and kissed with a little sweetness from the corn. The risotto was perfectly cooked and the squash blossom garnish was a beautifully tasty finish.
Coconut Flan from Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill, Sedona
I’m not the biggest fan of flan but Chef Lisa Dhal has made a believer out of me. This flan was velvety smooth and luscious. The sweet liquid caramel sauce at the bottom had a depth of flavor that cut through the sweetness and the toasted coconut shavings added a fun texture. I am always so impressed with Chef Dahl and this time was no exception.
Poutine from Frites Street
I’ll be honest, I was going to pass these up. Potatoes are so filling and there was so much more to eat. I am so glad I indulged. These are no ordinary French fried potatoes. They were thick-cut, piping hot and perfectly seasoned. The crisp exterior and soft interior was incredible. The tang of the cheese curds, the savory gravy and the pink pickled onions added all the right notes. Never pass up Frites Streets. Lesson learned.
Chocolate Dipped Bacon S’Mores from Beckett’s Table
You really can’t get better than a s’more, unless you add bacon. And not just any bacon, chocolate dipped bacon. That’s what Beckett’s Table did with their offering. Salty, smokey, crunchy, sweet, sticky, rich and oh, so decadent!
Tenderloin Beef Taco from CRUjiente Tacos
I’m always a sucker for tacos and they really are the perfect food for a food festival. Small, portable and packed with flavor. CRUjiente nailed it with theirs. Tender sliced tenderloin tucked inside a warmed, soft corn tortilla embellished with rated garlic-horseradish puree, a spicy mustard and soy pickled mushrooms. There was lots going on in that tortilla and it was a lot of deliciousness.
Grilled Cheese with Smoked Tomato Soup and Herb Oil from House of Tricks
House of Tricks took the idea of comfort food and ran. These super cheesey grilled cheese mammies were the talk of the entire festival, and for great reason. They were perfectly grilled on buttery Noble bread and full of local artisan cheeses and made ideal dippers for that smokey tangy tomato soup.
Smoked Pineapple Margarita from Che Ah Chi @ Enchantment Resort, Sedona
I love a good margarita and this was a GREAT margarita. It was perfectly balanced and the sweet pineapple offered just a whisper of smoke, just enough to elevate the drink to extraordinary. This drink alone will have me making a trek up North to visit this Sedona resort.
Foie Gras Parfait from District American Kitchen & Wine Bar
I can’t even begin to describe how incredible this parfait was. It had everything, perfect mis of smooth and creamy with crunch from the macron almond crumble. Sweet and tart with plum and cherry preserves. It hit all the right notes in perfect harmony.
Seared Spring Lamb Noisette from Different Pointe of View
I don’t know how they did it but the culinary geniuses led by Chef Anthony DeMuro managed to cook lamb medallions to perfection…at a food festival! The lamb was amazing tender, so juicy and masterfully seasoned. It was accompanied with golden lentil parmesan puree, olive tapenade, pea tendrils and a crispy garlic chip garnish. Fine dining to say the least and a true representation of why DPOV is one of my favorite restaurants.
Wagyu Short Ribs from Litchfield’s at The Wigwam
Who knew blackberry goat cheese polenta could be so delicious? It is! And it was the perfect accompaniment to Litchfield’s melt-in-you-mouth tender braised short ribs. This was another stellar example of the fine dining in AZ. Every element in this dish was incredible! I may have went back for another taste…or two.
Well, there you have it folks, a smattering of my favorite delights from Sunday’s Devour Culinary Classic. Everything I tasted was incredible and as usual my bucket list of restaurants has lengthened. I am so proud to live in a place that celebrates its culinary scene with such fantastic events.
Next year the Devour Culinary Classic will switch venues to the Desert Botanical Gardens to allow for even more restaurants to participate. I can’t wait and should probably start fasting now to make room in my belly!
Stay tuned to Yay Baby! blog for details on next year’s Devour events!
Disclaimer: I received complimentary passes to attend Devour Culinary Classic as part of the media. All opinions within this post are entirely my own.