Comfort Food Favorites in Scottsdale

By local contributor
JoAnne Zeterberg

It’s tradition. When cooler weather arrives in the Sonoran Desert and the holidays are lurking right around the corner, locals celebrate by busting out our stretchy pants and diving into our favorite comfort foods. Because no matter how delicious salads are, after a summer of chilled greens we’re ready for some decadently hearty fare. So, put on your elastic-waisted “big” pants and join us in savoring these Scottsdale comfort food favorites.


Pork Shoulder Tacos at The Mission

Designed to serve two, this favorite at The Mission features succulent pork shoulder that’s been smoked and slow-braised for 12 hours, then topped with a zippy pineapple-habañero glaze. The Mission also is renowned for its 12-ingredient tableside guacamole – be sure to order it with a side of handmade flour tortillas, which come served on a hot Himalayan salt brick. For dessert? Sweet, crispy churros and an Ibarra chocolate milkshake. You’re welcome.


Bavarian Pretzels & a “Big Weenie” at Brat Haüs

It’s Oktoberfest all day, every day at Old Town’s Brat Haüs. Start with a hot, chewy Bavarian pretzel dipped in beer cheese fondue. Next up? The “Big Weenie” – a foot-long Haüs brat smothered in sauerkraut, dijonaise and relish. Wash it all down with a stein of Warsteiner Premium Dunkel, a dark, smooth German pilsner with a slightly sweet aftertaste.


Aji Pizza at Craft 64

Old Town’s Craft 64 is a local favorite known for their farm-to-table cuisine, house-made mozzarella and carefully curated craft beer and wine lists. Enjoy the day’s Farmers Market salad – an artful blend of the season’s best local produce – while your Aji Pizza bakes to bubbly perfection in the 900-degree, wood-fired oven. This pie’s mix of mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, fennel sausage, sautéed onions, ricotta and spicy Aji jalapeño sauce is a pizza-lover’s dream. Try it with a frosty glass of Crafty Blonde ale.


Roasted Squash Flatbread at Mowry & Cotton

The Phoenician’s Chef Tandy Peterson puts a tasty fall twist on the classic flatbread. Fresh flatbread dough is slathered with house-made creamed walnut “sauce,” topped with roasted squash and smooth  Jersey cow ricotta, then browned gently to toasted perfection. If you’ve saved room for dessert, try the warm S’mores Pie, a decadent layering of grahams, dark chocolate and burnt marshmallow.


Starlite Can Can Pork Steak at Starlite Barbecue

Comfort food abounds at this Old Town gem. We’re talking hot fried chicken, smoked and grilled meatloaf, and the Starlite Can Can Pork Steak, which comes with your choice of two sides like grilled mashed potatoes or jalapeño grits. While you’re waiting for dinner, order up a plate of Porky Fries – crispy shoestring potatoes topped with pulled pork, jalapeños, and both cheese and barbeque sauces. 


Jalapeno Ranch Burger at Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse

This two-fisted burger is made from 100 percent Arizona born and raised, grass-fed and -finished beef. The juicy patty is crowned with with melty swiss cheese, jalapeño slaw and sriracha ranch sauce. The panko-crusted Ranch Dusted Onion Rings are the perfect side. Still have room? Go for the Salted Caramel Butter Cake adorned with slow-roasted peaches and locally made vanilla ice cream.


Short Ribs & Hash at The Vig McDowell Mountain

Enjoy The Vig’s stellar McDowell Mountain views before your order of Short Ribs & Hash arrives, because once it does, you’ll have eyes for nothing else. This savory blend of red wine-braised short ribs, sweet potato hash and cauliflower puree with a demi-glace shine will satisfy even the heartiest appetites. Top it off with the Butterscotch Bread Pudding, which comes topped with butterscotch chips and a whiskey-maple glaze.


Old Fashioned Broaster Chicken at El Chorro

Request a fireside table on El Chorro’s spacious patio and soak up some of the best Camelback Mountain and sunset views in the city. For the ultimate-comfort food feast, order the Old Fashioned Broaster Chicken, which comes with comfy sides of French green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy. Whatever you do, don’t pass up El Chorro’s famous sticky buns – these soft, gooey delights are served warm from the oven and bathed in a finger-licking-good brown sugar glaze.