Local Food Experts Bring Spring to the Table

The taste of spring ranges from home-grown mint in drinks to squash blossoms cut up into eggs to a house-made lemon curd on a light pancake. Check out what delights these three foodinistas and what they want to feed you this time of year.

Chef John Panza

As winter comes to an end and spring arrives, with it comes new growth and opportunity; young, bright flavors provide a colorful and much needed change from the heavy roasting and braising of winter ingredients. 

This spring at BiGA, we are using fresh berries and garden grown herbs in our seasonal artisan cocktails. We are excited to be featuring drinks like our delicious Strawberry Basil Margarita, a berry-forward version of a classic French 75 cocktail we are calling a “Spring 75,” as well as a Vodka Garden Gimlet. YUM! 

We are currently working with a local gardening guru named Janet who is helping us bring our herb garden into warmer weather — so note that any time you order a drink with mint in it, like a mojito or a Moscow mule, the mint is coming from our very own garden. We can’t wait to see what else we can grow!

Tony Burris
Director of Culinary Operations
Vivili Hospitality Group
(Rosa’s Pizzeria, The Barley Hound, The County Seat, La Planchada, Taco Don’s and Hawk & Hound Catering and Events)

I remember growing up hating beets until I tried one that was like freshly grown. And as bad of a rap as they get, sometimes I think beets are really diverse in their prep and ways to prepare them. And asparagus, just fresh-cut and grilled with salt, pepper, and butter. Like there’s, I don’t think there’s much that could be compared to that kind of, that flavor of, of asparagus. Another one I work with is local carrots. 

Probably one of my favorite, most delicate products to work with during this spring, are the squash blossoms and doing different things with them. I learned years ago, one of the great ways you can use them is you kind of just gently chop them up and throw them in with some scrambled eggs. Um, I personally like that heavy dose of black pepper and some sour cream on the top and it is delicious.

Heather Bapst
Kitchen Manager
The Local

The Dutch cake is a unique and delicious pancake styled after the Dutch Baby originally from Germany and Holland. This pancake is light and fluffy, almost bowl-like in shape, with its main ingredient our cage-free eggs, making it a more protein-filled cake than your usual breakfast fare, with the added bonus of no added sugar.  

To make it even more special, instead of using maple syrup, this comes with our fresh, house-made lemon curd. This delicious lemon curd has just the right amount of sugar, and again more eggs adding a slight pie-like impression with the perfect balance of tang and sweet.

Our Southwest Sunrise, previously featured in People magazine as one of Arizona’s best breakfasts, is an exceptional combination of flavors, all organically sourced. Starting from the bottom up, this open-faced style breakfast sandwich begins with our must-try, mouthwatering, homemade English muffins.

Next, we slather it in our — you guessed it — also house made ginger aioli. This sauce then acts to hold crisp, green arugula in place before a fresh slice of tomato is added, then topped with a beautifully prepared cage-free sunny side up egg and cheddar cheese, and finally a splay of healthy avocado. Meat can also be added to amplify the complexity of flavors and textures.