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10 Signs You’re an Arizona Foodie

10 Signs You're an Arizona Foodie
Chef Charleen Badman / Credit: Jill Richards

1. You prefer your scrambled eggs rolled in a tortilla with chorizo and salsa.

In Arizona, the breakfast burrito is as ubiquitous as sunshine. And unlike in other cities, it's not a fancy-schmancy trend with 17 different options. A properly made breakfast burrito is a beautiful thing—a lightly grilled tortilla wrapped snugly around soft scrambled eggs, cooked potatoes, a bit of cheese and a flavorful meat.

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2. You think every restaurant should have a bottle of Cholula or Tapatio on the table alongside the salt, pepper and ketchup.

Bonus points if a place has Cholula's Chili Lime version on hand.

3. You've been to Dateland and know it has nothing to do with dinner and a movie.

We're talking about the chewy fruit from the date palm tree. Dateland, Arizona, grows eight varieties of dates, including the famous Medjool date. Visit the farm and nursery along Interstate 8 between Yuma and Gila Bend to sample date treats (did someone say date shake?) and shop for goodies.

4. You have a clear stance on this point: Pizzeria Bianco—best pizza in the country or most overrated pie in town?

Even The New York Times and Oprah have weighed in on this debate. Despite its near-universal appeal, or maybe because of it, pizza rouses the emotions of even the most mild-mannered. Opened in 1994, Pizzeria Bianco has earned both accolades and complaints for its streamlined menu, small restaurant (and thus, long wait times) and crispy-chewy crust. Not sure where you stand? Only one way to find out.

5. You know the difference between pico de gallo and salsa. And you have an opinion about it.

Pico de gallo is actually a type of salsa. It's a fresh, uncooked blend of chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, fresh chiles and lime juice. Unlike salsa, which can morph into several versions (mango salsa, for one), the ingredients in pico de gallo don't vary greatly and are always fresh. Traditional salsa has a liquid consistency, too, while pico is chunky. Now for the real question: Which one to serve with tortilla chips?

6. Forget holiday parties in December. You look forward to your friend's grandma's tamale-rolling party.

It goes by the name of tamalada, a celebratory social event and holiday tradition in Mexico and the Southwest. Friends, family and neighbors gather together to prepare for the Christmas feast—and to catch up on gossip—with a gathering to make tamales, those tidy (and delicious) bundles of corn masa, meat, cheese and chiles.

7. You've been to at least three of the 20-plus Arizona restaurants featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives."

Guy Fieri has visited Arizona a lot, sampling Navajo Tacos at Salsa Brava in Flagstaff, Ahi Tuna Burgers at Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert and BBQ at Tom's Thumb in North Scottsdale, just to name a few.

8. Funnel cake? Never heard of it. But Indian fry bread? Yes, please!

Also known as Navajo fry bread, this oh-so-Arizona delicacy can be found nearly everywhere: high-brow restaurants, low-brow dives, both off and on tribal lands, even at the state fair. Picture this: Soft dough, deep-fried and piled high with beans, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. Or get it drizzled in honey and sprinkled with sugar. However you like your fry bread, there’s no judgment here.

9. You can name at least five Arizona chefs who've been nominated for the coveted culinary honor of a James Beard Award.

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10. You've waited two hours for a tray of smoked meat at Little Miss BBQ or a breakfast burrito at MartAnne’s—and it was worth every minute.

Accepting a sample of fatty brisket from the latex-gloved hand of Little Miss BBQ chef/owner Scott Holmes after standing in the sunshine all morning is akin to receiving a blessing from a holy man at the end of an arduous pilgrimage. And, after a morning hike in Flagstaff, there are plenty of quicker breakfast options than MartAnne's, but none of them end in a plateful of Anne Martinez's chilaquiles. So you wait. Because breakfast at noon is somehow even better than breakfast at 10 a.m.

About the Author: Arizona Office of Tourism

Occasionally staff from the Arizona Office of Tourism and its partners in tourism contribute articles to this site. These are identified as having AOT listed as the author.

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