As we all know, the best thing made with tequila is tequila... but just occasionally, an enterprising Zonie chef will sneak it into a dish so good that for a brief moment, you consider eating all your blue agave spirit henceforth. These are those dishes.
Timothy DeLaGhetto and David So Hit Up the Taste of Little Italy Food Festival
Spotted Donkey Cantina (address and info) Carefree It’s a tower. It’s a cake. It’s the Jalisco Tower Cake. Tequila is kind of a big deal at the Spotted Donkey, so, the talented kitchen crew decided to infuse one of its desserts with the distilled beverage. The 11-layer chocolate cake is made with Patron XO coffee tequila. It’s covered with coffee beans, served with whipped cream, and drizzled with red chili-spiced caramel. One slice is big enough for a table of four... but you won’t want to share.
The Margarita burger
Paradise Valley Burger Company (address and info) Paradise Valley Paradise Valley Burger Company’s latest belly bomb special, appropriately named the “Margarita,” features two beef patties (no, one is not enough...) loaded with a tequila marinade, piled high with sliced avocado, a lime-infused sour cream, pomegranate, cilantro, and a single fried jalapeño. And it’s all stacked on a salt-crusted brioche bun.
Doc’s tequila popsicles
Doc’s Artisan Ice Creams (address and info) South Tempe These brightly colored, boozy popsicles are made with organic, all-natural ingredients sourced directly from local vendors. Freshly squeezed OJ, tequila, and triple sec blend nicely to create the Tequila Sunrise Sorbet. Doc’s makes us melt with other flavors, too -- especially the Prickly Pear and Strawberry Champagne.
Old Town Tortilla Factory (address and info) Old Town Scottsdale Old Town -- the kitschy part of the city where you can find more turquoise shops and khaki-clad tourists embracing the cowboy culture than you could imagine -- is surprisingly home to some decent watering holes. Old Town Tortilla Factory’s got a couple dishes on the menu that have just a hint of tequila mixed in. Its tequila-lime salad, with field greens, pico de gallo, lime wedges, and cherry tomatoes, is tossed in a sweet-flavored tequila-lime dressing.
Sandbar Mexican Grill (address and info) Chandler & Desert Ridge Leave it to the party people from Sandbar Mexican Grill to put tequila in a taco. The spiked tacos are made with mahi-mahi that’s been marinated in a ancho chile-lime sauce and a crisp slaw that’s drizzled with a Patron-lime aioli. Olé!
The Baked Equation (address and info) North Phoenix Arizona has this really cool thing called cottage law, which means that, in Arizona, you can be licensed by the state to make and sell food out of your own house. Food blogger/baker, Melissa Barbakoff, operates one of these cottage law bakeries out of her Phoenix home. She spends her days whipping up gourmet, sugar-filled treats, including her made-from-scratch margarita cupcakes. These little slices of awesomeness are topped with a tequila-lime buttercream frosting that needs to be eaten to be believed.
Salsa de Cangrejo y Nopales
Distrito (address and info) Old Town Scottsdale James Beard Award-winning Chef Jose Garces has more than 100 varieties of tequila to choose from behind his bar -- but Distrito puts a splash of tequila in more than its drinks. Light and oh-so delicious, the Salsa de Cangrejo y Nopales features a jumbo crab cake that's covered in cactus salsa and splashed with a bit of tequila and lime before it’s served.
Tequila pecan pie
Los Sombreros (address and info) Scottsdale & North Scottsdale Los Sombreros subtly showed us that we’ve been making pies wrong all this time. Undeniably sweet, its tequila pecan pie pairs all of the traditional ingredients of your grandmother’s pecan pie with an unconventional ingredient -- blanco tequila. It’s finished with a caramel drizzle, whipped cream, and strawberries, and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (but that’ll cost you extra).
HOTLIX candy (address and info) Everywhere Maybe not the “best” tequila-infused thing to ever be found in Phoenix, these tequila pops with the worm preserved inside by the California candy maker, HOTLIX, can be found almost anywhere, from the gas station to the grocery store -- not to mention every single tourist trap in Old Town. Which makes you think... who buys these things?
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