This guest post was written by Michael Moramarco, an Ambassador of Local First Arizona (ALFA) and small business owner.
For the fourth year in a row, my wife and I set out on the greatest culinary journey in Phoenix. Each year we’ve honed our ability to balance eating food from 30 some odd restaurants and drinking alcohol from yet another 30 wineries, distilleries, and breweries. It is no easy feat to be sure. One must prepare physically and mentally for the marathon that is the Devoured Culinary Classic.
Major planning began on Saturday when we got the map and official list of restaurants that would be participating in Sunday’s event. I wrote out the list on a few pages of notepad paper so I could be sure to record everything we ate the next day. We figured out that trick the year before – taking a moment to write it all down it paced us well. Looking at the map we knew where we wanted to start and finish. We went to bed early, fasted a little, and dreamed of the delicious food to come .
We arrived at the magnificent Phoenix Art Museum and as we entered the courtyard, the plan went right out the window. It was, as usual, packed with people. We decided immediately to hit the places we knew would have gigantic lines later in the day – Hana and Kai.
From there we followed no set path . We trekked from restaurant to restaurant and winery to winery outside – photographing and documenting it all as best we could . Some places, such as Hana put out as many as six items! That made things rather difficult, as they all begin to blur together rather quickly.
We made it through though, and tried everything. Everything. 34 restaurants . It was a whirlwind tour of Arizona culinary delights. For my money though, I couldn’t get enough of the delicious Flamin’ Hot Cheetos™ Spicy Wonton from Bitter & Twisted and the incredible Fried Donut Monte Cristo at Short Leash. I was quite disheartened to learn that neither dish was a staple on their respective menus, but that won’t stop me from going there anyways. Everyone, as usual, pulled out all the stops for the event. This year had some new themes – cauliflower, kimchi, and lamb – which were all very welcome. Most notedly for me in this camp was the cauliflower panna cotta from Elements at the Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain Resort.
Having volunteered for Local First Arizona all day at the event on Saturday, the weekend saw us hit 16 miles walked around the event. It’s a weekend we look forward to every year. We get to work with some of the greatest organizations in the state and celebrate the unique and diverse culinary mastery that has evolved here and continues to thrive. No one could come to this event and say that Arizona isn’t right up there as one of the greatest culinary destinations in the country. It’s all over for now, but I should probably start planning and training for next year already.
Micheal volunteers as an Ambassador of Local First Arizona (ALFA). Volunteers are one of the most powerful ways to mobilize local communities across the state. The time and passion dedicated from volunteers aid in supporting our work while creating dynamic ways to empower individuals to ‘go local’! There are a lot of ways to volunteer and support LFA such as attending events like Devoured Culinary Classic and the Certified Local Fall Festival, share our award-winning Small Wonders maps statewide, and get behind the scenes in the LFA office. It takes a collection of skill-sets to form a vibrant community and if you are interested in getting involved, please see more information here.