I’ve been in Arizona this week to watch spring training baseball, and in between innings I plotted my food adventures for after the game.
On Wednesday after sitting through nine innings of the Oakland A’s and Dodgers game that ended in a tie (such is spring training where nothing counts), I went to check out the nearby Phoenix Public Market.
This gathering for local farmers opens later on Wednesday for the after-work crowd, and luckily on this particular night it coincided with a casual food truck festival, Food Truck Mania. I love to check out farmers markets and street food whenever I travel, so this combination in one spot was a gift from the baseball gods.
Joining me were my friends Debbie and Craig from Sacramento, who just watched the Giants game in Scottsdale. We explored the farm stands for a bit, looking at the lovely root vegetables and home-made guacamole and tamale. But there weren’t a lot of stands, and we weren’t in the mood to cook back at our hotels.
So we zoomed into the food trucks, with about a dozen parked in the perimeter of the public market. There were a lot of unusual trucks, like Japanese-Mexican, Caribbean and Filipino, and a lot of deep-fried foods. I was actually hoping Debbie or Craig would try the fry breads, which seems particular to the area, but they filled themselves up with fried chicken, fried frog legs and tacos so they filled up and gave up on the fry bread.
But we all saved room for a hot dog from Short Leash Hot Dogs, which I had read about before coming to Phoenix and which had the longest line of all the trucks. Short Leash makes artisan hot dogs and sausages and create combinations of toppings from mango chutney to fried pickles.
I ended up just making my own combination, topping a chicken sausage with sauerkraut, ketchup and chipotle cream cheese. Instead of a bun, the hot dog comes in a flat bread, which I actually found harder to eat.
The sausage was good, but nothing I can’t get back in the Bay Area. I did like the chipotle cream cheese, which was warm and creamy. While nothing spectacular, the hot dog was a good value at $5. (I actually think Short Leash is probably more known for its deep fried jalapeno poppers that look like corn dogs.)
The public market also has a store attached to it called the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar, which sells a variety of produce and specialty items as well as sandwiches and pastries in its deli section. The tiny shop with the funky décor reminded me of Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco’s Mission District.
We left filled and satisfied, especially since I also ate a chicken jambalaya bowl and ginger pork carnitas taco along with the hot dog. Despite the unusually cold weather in the Valley of the Sun, it looked like local Phoenix residents are big supporters of food trucks and local artisan food, and that’s always a good thing to learn about new cities you’re visiting.
Phoenix Public Market, 721 N. Central, Phoenix. Open-air markets on Wednesday and Saturday. Web site.
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