Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine: Around the World in Phoenix

Monday, November 19, 2007

Around the World in Phoenix

This past Saturday, with nothing on our schedule, my husband and I set out for a round the world culinary adventure in Phoenix. It seemed like the perfect way to check out some new places and get some quality ingredients.

Our first stop was Vincent’s Saturday Market located in the parking lot of Vincent’s restaurant. The market, only opened on Saturdays from 9-1, has a definite French flare. Although there wasn’t much fresh produce to pick from there was an abundance of food to enjoy. There were made to order omelet, crepe, and Panini stations. Also available were things like lamb chops and paella. Prices seemed to be reasonable and portions large. We had a mozzarella and tomato crepe and a ham and mozzarella omelet. Both were $8 each. There were other vendors at the market selling fresh honey, cookie mix, jewelry and pottery.

Our next destination was the Old Heidelberg German Bakery. If you like German food I would definitely recommend a trip to Old Heidelberg for their selection of breads, pastries, brats and German grocery items. We bought some pretzels and pretzel rolls both of which were just as good as what we had in Germany. I'm planning a trip back around Christmas to try some of their homemade stollen with marzipan ($14).

The Middle Eastern Bakery and Deli was our next stop. Entering this small grocery/restaurant is like stepping into another world. There is a mural of Bethlehem on the wall and Middle Eastern music playing over the speakers. One of my favorite things about this store is the Feta cheese. They not only carry the Greek variety but also the French and Bulgarian; all of which have distinctively different tastes. They also make homemade pita every morning that you can purchase. The dining area is small, about 10 tables. Menu items include such things as kebabs, humus, baba ganoush and baklava.

We headed next to the Phoenix Ranch Market, an Hispanic grocery and prepared food market. With Thanksgiving just around the corner I was hoping to stock up on some ingredients for my dinner. Although what I needed was not Hispanic I knew from previous visits that I would be able to find some good quality, cheap produce and the odd chicken parts I needed to make stock. For those of you that have never been to the market it is a very large grocery store with tons of produce, a bakery, a butcher and a fish monger. There’s also a tortilla factory and a small food court (for lack of a better description).

We ended up at Niccoli's Italian Deli cheese, also for Thanksgiving. were we purchased some ricotta, provolone and pecorino. Their ricotta cheese is a much better quality than what you get in the grocery store and it really makes a difference when cooking. We've been going to Niccoli's for about 5 years now and Joe and Peppy are like family. They know their products and have always given us good advice about our purchases. Looking for something sweet to end our day we got some fresh filled cannoli's. The ricotta filling, all homemade, was so creamy and delicious. A perfect ending to a perfect day.


  1. This sounds like a wonderful way to spend a Saturday! My kind of day thats for sure! I'll have to make sure to hit some of these spots very soon.

  2. What a circuit! I've been to the Vincent's market, which is really more like an open-air brunch than a farmer's market. Middle Eastern Bakery and the Ranch Market are regular favorites. Old Heidelberg and Niccoli's are new adventures that I look forward to trying.