No-fuss, utensil-free snacking needn’t be a tasteless affair. Wander through the Valley of the Sun and into northern and southern Arizona to put your hands on some amazing little morsels.
- A hill of raw tuna, cilantro and corn is accompanied by wonton chips and nicknamed “tuna tartare nachos” at Eddie’s House in downtown Scottsdale.
- Local Bistro in north Scottsdale richly reinvents day-old bread by soaking it in white wine and baking it under a blanket of Gruyère.
- Charred baby leeks—sweet, with just a hint of sting—can be dipped into a romesco sauce at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at Hotel Palomar in downtown Phoenix.
- Tarbell’s Tavern, related in name and location to Tarbell’s restaurant in mid-Phoenix, is one of the rare places to find caviar these days, and it’s presented in a classic style: with shallots, smoked salmon, crème fraîche and buckwheat pancakes.
- Corn-on-the-cob done at Hillside Spot in Ahwatukee (a South Mountain foothills district of Phoenix) gets dusted with cotija cheese and smoked paprika for an effect that’s exotic yet nostalgic.
- At the Elephant Bar in the West Valley city of Peoria, customers can load their own lettuce wraps by spooning a house blend of chicken, water chestnuts, coconut and cashews into crisp leaves.
- What else would a self-respecting brewery do to pickles than cloak them in beer batter, deep fry them, and serve them with ranch dressing? Order ’em with a house beer at Oak Creek Brewery & Grill in Sedona.
- HiFalutin Rapid Fire Western Grill in Tucson treats green beans like french fries. Whether to count them as a vegetable or a splurge is buyer’s choice.