Near-perfect weather and the arrival of some of the Valley’s most buzzworthy restaurants drew an even larger crowd to Sunday’s finale of the two-day Devour culinary festival at Phoenix Art Museum.
About half of the restaurants from Saturday’s lineup returned, but Sunday’s newcomers stole the show, particularly the four East Valley participants – Kai, Caffe Boa, SanTan Brewing and Udder Delights.
Because I covered Saturday’s restaurants in my Day 1 report, I focused on the new ones Sunday.
I started the day by running into Caffe Boa chef Payton Curry, who brought a special friend for his cooking demonstration later in the day.
In the meantime, Caffe Boa was handing out pork rillettes with Maya’s Farm micro-arugula, heirloom carrots, house-cured pickles and a mustard-horseradish cream. It also sampled Curry’s hand-pulled mozzarella.
Irony of the day: Caffe Boa, which has locations in Tempe and Mesa, was paired with vegetarian eatery Green in a corner of the museum’s scultpure garden.
Owner Casey Stechnij and chef Jennifer Johnson were manning the Udder Delights tent, where they were showcasing cheese curds, farm-fresh butter, lime-coconut ricotta cookies and several kinds of ice cream, including apple pie and lemon bar …
… but the Gilbert ice cream shop’s showcase item was called “Rockin’ Beets,” a three-layer terrine. A yellow beet/mango layer was separated from a red beet/raspberry layer by white chocolate. It was sprinkled with Pop Rocks candy and doused with port. Definitely one of the day’s highlights.
Chefs Cullen Campbell and Brandon Crouser teamed up at the tent of their Scottsdale restaurant Crudo …
… and had some fun with a dish they called “School of Fish.” It consisted of small pieces of butterfish, tuna and yellowtail with olive oil and a vinaigrette.
SanTan Brewing partner Aaron Sanchez was passing out samples of the Chandler brewery’s Epicenter Ale and Hefeweizen …
… the latter of which was paired with chef Dennis Martinez‘s outstanding achiote-scented pork pibil sopes with lime-marinated red onion slices.
Executive chef Michael Dowd explains the offerings from Kai, the award-winning Wild Horse Pass Resort restaurant just outside of Chandler.
Kai’s dishes included Red Inca quinoa with caramelized pineapple, avocado and chipotle aioli and a chia seed fig bread with goat’s meat and wild game machaca. The resort restaurant also made a Native seeds granola and its own version of Ding Dongs filled with Fair Trade coffee cream.
But Kai’s most popular item seemed to be its hibiscus-flavored push-ups.
Honey Moon Sweets brought a quartet of desserts, including chocolate almond pudding tarts, a blackberry whipped cream puree with a honey tuile and fresh tarragon strawberry shortcake. Not pictured: honey lollipops with lemon oil.
Phoenix’s Tuck Shop served chorizo-stuffed date on arugula.
James Porter, chef-owner of French restaurant Petite Maison in Scottsdale, was pushing his classic Beef Wellington.
Scottsdale’s Cowboy Ciao was typically playful with house-made Frosted Flakes ice cream with Frosted Flakes brittle and a malted oatmeal cookie …
… a dessert that the restaurant’s “schmooze diva” Marianne Markogianis dubbed the “Cereal Killer.”
Host extraordinaire Pavle Milic was manning the tent for his Scottsdale hangout FnB, which …
… impressed with a Double Check Ranch grass-fed beef meatball with fennel, arugula and radish from local farms on crostini from Tempe’s Jonathan Robins Bakery. Dessert was butterscotch pudding with grated nutmeg.
Anthony Canecchia, brewmaster at SanTan Brewing, and Josh Hebert, chef-owner of Posh in Scottsdale.
Phoenix’s Barrio Cafe also participated on Saturday, but brought a new item Sunday: Oaxacan-style mole negro.
The Breadfruit, a Jamaican eatery in Phoenix, tempted with a Red Stripe shrimp curry and sweet potato pudding.
Estate House chef Gio Osso presented shaved beef with pecorino, baby fennel, pea shoots, black olive oil and chile oil.
Former Cowboy Ciao chef Bernie Kantak, who’s working on opening his own restaurant, showed up with shrimp curry and smoked coconut.
Lola Tapas dished out shrimp-and-chorizo paella with black beans.
Patrick Bol, chef at Il Vinaio in Mesa, was checking out the Caffe Boa tent.
Different Pointe of View nicely dressed up the ubiquitous seared scallop with sweet English pea parmesan risotto and a peppadew pepper sauce.
Talavera chef Mel Mecinas arranged small dishes of basil-and-burrata panna cotta …
… but the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale restaurant also did lamb chops with a spring pea puree and herb spaetzle.
Phoenix Asian restaurant Nine/05 offered its festival usual: chicken vindaloo.
I ran into Valley food enthusiasts Rhonni Boss-Moffitt and Christina Barrueta. You can find them on Twitter at @AZVinesAndWines and @Rubee100, respectively.
It was finally time for Payton Curry to demonstrate how to butcher that pig. He drew the biggest crowd of the entire festival before returning to the Caffe Boa tent to grill the meat.
Sweet Republic co-owner Jan Wichayanuparp chats with a festival-goer from the window of the Scottsdale artisan ice cream shop’s 1959 Chevy van. Ice cream flavors included white truffle oil, bacon and salted butter caramel swirl.
Valley food blogger Ty Largo (www.juxtapalate.com) enjoyed a dessert as the festival neared its end.