Devoured: Arizona's Culinary Marathon
This guest post was written by ALFA & Localist Michael Moramarco about the 2015 Devoured Culinary Classic: That was me and my wife Mandy on Sunday after the first 14 restaurants. At that point we hadn’t realized what the weekend was all about. We didn’t understand that it’s called the Devoured Culinary “Classic,” because like the Arizona Desert “Classic,” it’s a marathon. It rapidly devolved into this:
Barely able to walk to the next booth, let alone shovel another bite into my mouth.
The weekend started with day-long volunteer shifts on Saturday. The amount of behind-the-scenes work that goes on to make the event run is incredible. They’ve created a well-oiled machine of staff and volunteers to ensure all the details are taken care of. I spent most of the day making sure the drinks stayed cool with fresh ice, and that restaurants didn’t run out of utensils, plates, and napkins. However, on our breaks, we got some good intel on where to go.
We started with the cauldron of bright green liquid that Sierra Bonita had sitting out. Good choice. The green chile pork pozole and the pork belly with polenta were killer – our favorite of the day. Unfortunately they didn’t win any peoples’ choice awards. Our next stop did though – Roka Akor. Their bone marrow over squid ink toast won the day. There was cold octopus salad, rabbit, oysters, scallops, steak, you name it. However, after walking 16.3 miles while volunteering (thanks, Jawbone™) we knew we needed to rest up for Sunday.
Forty-one restaurants. We tried everything. It would not have been possible without my partner in crime. That was key. No one could do it alone. Together, we sampled everything that was thrown at us – rare venison steak, Kumomoto oysters, buffalo tartare, meatballs, shrimp and grits, duck quesadillas, fruit loop macarons, elote, egg curry, octopus dumplings – everything. That’s not to mention all of the cocktails and beer that went along with it. I wrote down everything I tasted:
This also helped slow us down. In previous years, we made a mad dash and devoured everything we saw immediately. We lasted about 2 hours before we couldn’t go on any longer. This year though, we were determined to try it all, remember it all, and not feel like absolute crap afterwards. We did it.
The Devoured Culinary Classic is nothing short of glorious – two days of the finest food and drink this magnificent state has to offer. It’s a place to be adventurous and try new things, both for patrons and chefs. I would never voluntarily order raw buffalo, but at Devoured, where Citizen Public House is offering a small plate of it, how can I not at least try it? It was delicious, and makes me want to head over there to try their pork osso buco. It’s a place to discover! I walked up to a booth and saw some corn sitting in a basket with a tortilla chip. When I took a bite, I was stopped in my tracks. This wasn’t just corn in a basket. This was elote – from Elote. I had never had anything like it, and my taste buds loved it. They won the peoples’ choice award for best dish, and deserved it. See how they celebrated, drinking from their trophy:
They’re in Sedona though, so without Devoured, I might never have known to look for them there. That’s what it’s about – getting the word out about all of the wonderful culinary delights Arizona has to offer. Devoured is a celebration of the best of the Arizona culinary scene, and that’s really damned good.