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Prescott's Best Bites

Growing up in this seemingly inconspicuous town, our Editor in Chief, Clare Hancock, was exposed to many different types of authentic cuisines including Indian, Thai, Italian, German, Mexican, Spanish, all-American, and more. Believe it or not, Prescott is a haven for good food and the competition grows more fierce every year. These are the most delicious bites of Prescott we’ve found during our travels.  

Coffee and Breakfast

Pangaea Bakery

Need something quick and delicious? Pangaea Bakery has been serving fresh baked pastries, breads, sweet treats and sandwiches for as long as Clare can remember and their fresh roasted coffee is impossible to ignore. Locals across Prescott visit weekly for a coffee and a loaf of Pangaea’s famous bread. From San Francisco sourdough to asiago cheese and roasted red pepper to cinnamon raisin oatmeal to roasted garlic to fig walnut, every loaf of bread is made with love and top-notch ingredients. Hungry for a sandwich? Try a grilled brie and fig sandwich, Southwest ham and cheese or the Baba Gone Vegan (baba ghanoush, roasted red peppers, oven roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, lettuce, and goat cheese). Whether you are in the mood for something sweet or you are more of a savory kind of person, you really can’t go wrong at Pangaea.

 

Cuppers

Need a coffee house that can accommodate a big group of friends? Want to sit outside with a cup of coffee and your pup? Looking for a place that will keep the kids entertained while you chat with friends? Cuppers has everything you are looking for as well as good coffee and tea and a variety of tasty snacks. This deceptively large coffee house has an outdoor patio, several tables inside and a room where groups can convene. Cuppers is low-key, very casual and is a favorite local hangout. If you are staying at the Hotel Vendome next door, Cuppers is the optimal place to get a quick bite or enjoy a few leisurely hours.

Brunch and Lunch

Bistro St. Michael

St. Michael’s has always had a special place in the hearts of many Prescottonians. As one of the oldest buildings on Whiskey Row, it has seen hundreds of thousands of visitors go through its hotel and bistro doors. When Clare first moved to Prescott with her parents, the first place they stayed was Hotel St. Michael. The beds were small and lumpy and Clare managed to roll off the mattress a few times during the first night. However, memories of the historic building and the numerous breakfasts shared in the bistro over the years were some of the best memories of her childhood. The bistro is a beautiful place to enjoy breakfast. If you are an eggs benedict fan, this is where you need to go, as we haven’t had anything quite as good anywhere else. Look for the bullet holes in the brick walls that were made by rowdy cowboys back in the day.

Bill’s Pizza

After an exciting morning of combing through art booths stationed around Prescott’s courthouse and perusing the different antique shops nearby, one of the best places to satisfy a hungry stomach is Bill’s Pizza. With an extensive menu and several unique topping combinations, Bill’s has something for everyone. You can grab a quick pre-made slice if you are in a hurry, or sit down for a fresh-out-of-the-oven pie. If you’re looking for a lighter lunch, a medium pizza is the perfect size to share with friends. Or, if those antiques really stirred up your appetite, you can demolish it all on your own. A few of our favorite combinations are T-lo’s Pizza (olive oil and garlic sauce, mozzarella cheese, hot Italian sausage, onions, bell peppers, pine nuts, roasted garlic, and fresh basil), Christine’s Rocker (oil and garlic, mozzarella cheese, sicilian sausage, caramelized onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, and black olive), and Blue Moon (olive oil and garlic sauce, blue cheese, caramelized onions, toasted walnuts, and mozzarella cheese).

Prescott Brewing Company

The Prescott Brewing Company, known around town as PBC, is one of those places that every visitor has to try and inevitably fall in love with. Clare has been eating their fish and chips, black bean avocado burgers, steamed blue mussels, brew poo platters, and apple crisp ala modes since the impressionable age of six and she can say with certainty that there is something for every palate. There is even a beer for every palate and you can find your favorite with PBC’s sampler.

If you are an IPA fan, check out the Prescott Pale Ale and the Ponderosa IPA, which kicks you in the mouth and leaves a bitter finish. More of a light beer drinker? Their Pinon Light was the first to earn a thumbs up from us (dark beer drinkers). It’s smooth, refreshing, flavorful, easy to drink, and pairs wonderfully with peppery beer-battered fried pickles. Other pale ales to try are Lodgepole Light and Liquid Amber (delightful alongside PBC’s rich and creamy macaroni and cheese). Ordering the Settler’s Pot Pie? You’ll need a Petrified Porter to accompany that masterpiece. If you’re up for an adventure, try the Funkendunkel, a cardamom spice infused light beer that is quite funky, but in a good way. Still hungry for dessert? The Achocolypse is an experience all itself. Oatmeal, chocolate, espresso, delicious. However, if a liquid dessert isn’t going to quite cut it, have everyone at the table indulge in a Bodacious Brownie Sundae, a warm chocolate pecan brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate whiskey sauce.

Dinner

Bin 239

If you are a wine and cheese connoisseur, head to Bin 239 where the wine is plentiful and the dishes are divine. The atmosphere is comfortable yet stylish with places to sit at the wine bar (where you can watch the firing of brick oven pizzas), the dining area, couches situated around a warm fire, or you can dine outside in their beautiful outdoor garden during the summer. Start your experience with the baked brie, a healthy circle of brie baked in the brick oven in a cast iron skillet amidst honeyed pecans. Served with warm bread and thinly sliced apples, this dish is always the best way to start the night. Anything else you order from there will satisfy your need for something delicious and memorable. Bin 239 has been the go-to place for holidays and special events for several years and they have never faltered.

El Gato Azul

When you are in the mood for something light and colorful El Gato Azul is sure to satisfy your cravings. Inspired by the Spanish tradition of pairing tapas with alcoholic drinks, the chefs at El Gato Azul work to create fresh new seasonal dishes designed to accompany cocktails such as prickly pear mojitos and red wine sangrias. Tapas are always better when shared with friends and family, that’s why El Gato serves them on small plates in the center of the table. Between three of us we enjoyed ceviche, cucumber salad, fried goat cheese, marinated mushrooms, chickpeas and chorizo, posole, and jammin’ chicken, just a small sampling of the extensive menu. Sharing stories over live jazz music, we devoured each plate. When seated outside in El Gato’s shade garden next to Oak Creek live music can easily be enjoyed. Inside, the open kitchen will send whiffs of garlic, saffron, honey, and seared meats through the dining area. The restaurant is small, so be sure to reserve a table.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal. Just typing the name makes our stomachs growl and our mouths water. For several years, this authentic Indian restaurant was located outside of town, but in recent years, the owners were able to move to a prime location, just a few steps from Whiskey Row. Now, locals and travelers alike can walk to the Taj Mahal and sample exotic cocktails, naan, grilled meats, vindaloo, saag, masala, and much more while listening to live music both inside and out (dogs are allowed on the outside dining patios, so be sure not to leave your puppy behind). Every dish is a traditional recipe passed down through generations and everything on the menu is free of gluten and MSG.

The best way to introduce yourself to the Taj Mahal is to go on a Wednesday night, vegetarian buffet night. A dozen mouthwatering dishes are put on display and vanish within minutes as everyone clamors to get a heaping spoonful of each. Don’t worry, the chef rarely lets a tray sit empty. Start the meal off with a mind-blasting beverage like a mango lassi (non-alcoholic mango and yogurt drink), The Peacock (Tuaca liqueur, lime, ginger ale. Like a dark and stormy with a kick) or the Royal Honey (lots of honey, whiskey, and amaretto. All kinds of yum). Garlic naan is our favorite kind of naan especially when ginger sauce, mint chutney, plum sauce, and pumpkin chutney are involved. If you don’t know what your favorite naan is, order a naan sampler that includes cheese, garlic and onion versions. The tandoori mixed grill is also a must-try. With fish, lamb, chicken, jumbo shrimp, pork, onions, and peppers grilled together with spices in an authentic tandoori oven, this dish is guaranteed to make everyone at the table swoon. If you can’t make it on a Wednesday, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. During our last visit, we ordered the chicken vindaloo (tangy dark orange sauce poured over cooked potatoes and chicken) and saag paneer (cooked spinach mixed with an incredible blend of spices and pieces of spongy farmer’s cheese. it might not sound appetizing but this is one of our favorite items on the menu). End the night with a scoop of mango ice cream, fried dough balls covered in honey or vanilla bean rice pudding.   

Dessert

Goodies Sweet Shop

Believe it or not, handmade ice cream is not easy to find in this little town. In recent years, Prescott has gotten a few self-serve frozen yogurt shops, but Goodies Sweet Shop in downtown Prescott has always come through for us. This last visit, we tried the hazelnut and salted caramel flavors and they satisfied our hankering for something rich and creamy.

Judging from other online reviews, it looks like Goodies hasn’t always been a favorite. Just know that ice cream is their specialty and their small space doesn’t allow for long visits. We suggest filling a cone with one of their delicious flavors and enjoying it while walking around Prescott’s beautiful courthouse across the street.

If ice cream isn’t your dessert of choice, walk into The Raven, Prescott Brewing Company, Gurley Street Grill, or Firehouse Kitchen and ask for a dessert menu. You won’t be disappointed.

Anytime

The Raven

Cold watermelon soup with cucumber and dill. That was what was on the menu the last time we visited The Raven. Every vibrant spoonful was a delightful reward for trying something new. If you are looking for freshly roasted coffee, a calm atmosphere, free WiFi, tasty food made with fresh, local, organic ingredients, live entertainment, creative cocktails, local artwork, or a space to socialize, The Raven is where you want to be. With their neo-rustic decor, comfortable furniture and a large collection of paintings and sculptures from Prescott artists, The Raven has a great setting to stay and enjoy dishes from their varied menu. This community favorite is known for its creative and thoughtful menu items. One of the first times Clare ate here, she ordered a slice of amaretto bread pudding with fresh raspberry puree. “It was as if the taste buds on my tongue had found the love of their life. The chatter from friends faded to the background and every bit of my attention was focused on the artwork in front of me.” Warm spongy layers of bread soaked in amaretto turned to silk on her tongue and each bite finished with a whisp of raspberry tang and sweetness.

Side Trip

Spice Traveler

The Spice Traveler is by far our favorite place to shop in downtown. Located on the second floor of Bashford Courts, this little haven of spices is where you will find anyone who loves to cook. Smoked black pepper. Harissa spice. Green whole cardamom. Fresh lavender. Whole anise stars. Galangal root. Black truffle sea salt. Egyptian basil. Specialty rubs and spice mixtures for every style of cuisine. You will find just about any spice you want and if the shop doesn’t have it, they will find it and order it for you. Each kind of spice has its own open jar that is free for everyone to smell and salivate over. Apart from a spice market in Kerala, India, it doesn’t get much more fresh than this. Treat your inner chef and stop by The Spice Traveler.

Next Visit

Soldi Back Alley Bistro

We didn’t get a chance to try this little food cart, but we heard wonderful things about it. Fresh food made from seasonal organic ingredients. Each dish that has been tried has been raved about. We can’t wait to taste-test this little bistro on our next trip to Prescott.

 
October 25, 2016

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