The French call it “terroir,” an un-translatable word about the taste of the land being present in the food. While the term may be hard to put your non-French finger on, it’s now showing up in wine, cheese and numerous other dishes all across Phoenix. From pistachios to heirloom tomatoes, chefs downtown are putting the flavors of Arizona front and center. Lucky for us, getting a sample requires no more than a reservation or a stop at a food truck. Here’s where to start: District American Kitchen The herbs at the District don’t travel far – just four floors down from the rooftop garden at the Downtown Sheraton – before seasoning the classic American dishes this place does so well. This restaurant even works with a local farmer to turn culinary scraps into compost, which in turn, nurtures the produce used in future dishes. Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar
A bastion of all that is locally farmed, raised and produced in Arizona, this market not only sells local goods like Meat Shop pork and Queen Creek olive oil, it also serves them in craveable soups, salads and sandwiches at their Market Café. Fair Trade Café Organic, fair-trade coffee roasted in Goodyear joins with tea from Scottsdale-based China Mist to make this spot the go-to for a locally inspired caffeine fix. Province Spanish and South American cuisine are the inspiration here and the seasonal, local ingredients pair perfectly with the Arizona wines on the menu. Nobou at Teeter House While the food at this exceptional Japanese tea house/ izakaya (tavern) doesn’t come from the seas of Arizona – the fish is flown in straight from Japan – local ingredients are a big part of the menu. Use this as an excuse to stop by and try out the heavenly Small Bites. Pizzeria Bianco One of the most celebrated pizzerias in the country, this is the place to sample locally grown pistachios and house-made mozzarella, among other local gems. Yes, the wait can be more than three hours. Yes, it’s worth it. ICON A modern space with a bevy of cocktails, ICON Lounge in the Wyndham serves up plenty of tasty tapas featuring seasonal, local ingredients. Start your evening here with a cocktail and tapas spread before hitting the town. Bowl of Greens Local, organic produce fills the wraps and salads at this quick lunch spot. Typically frequented by students, the meals are plentiful, affordable, and, better yet, healthy. Short Leash Hot Dogs While this food truck isn’t always parked downtown, you can find it at the Phoenix Public Market for Food Truck Friday and Wednesday markets and, on occasion, Saturday markets. The ‘dogs come from Schreiner’s – a Valley institution for homemade sausage – and much of the produce comes from local purveyors. Grab one of the unique hotdogs, but, be warned, they’re liable to start an addiction.