The best things Andi Berlin ate in metro Phoenix the week of July 31

The best things Andi Berlin ate in metro Phoenix the week of July 31

With the weather wondrously rainy last weekend, I ended up enjoying some heartier meals. I ate my way through plates of beans and rice at many of the city’s Cuban restaurants. I enjoyed a massive Korean barbecue feast and experienced a show-stopping meal of new Arizonan cuisine at Valentine, where the cucumber and squash salad was a good omen for what can be done with the wild world of Arizona produce. And then, I figuratively flew to Colombia for a platter of bandeja paisa, the country’s national dish.  

As always, the dishes that follow were simply too good not to share.

Squash and cucumber salad with queso fresco at Valentine

Squash and cucumber, squash-toast crouton, queso fresco and wolfberry harissa at Valentine.

Operating from the front of vintage furniture showroom Modern Manor, Valentine presents a modern take on Arizona cuisine. The light cucumber salad, $14, effortlessly combined local squash and cucumbers with Middle Eastern and Mexican ingredients, like a sweet wolfberry harissa and a sprinkle of queso fresco. The creativity of the seemingly simple appetizer got me really excited for the stunning meal to come, and it turned out to be one of my favorite bites of the evening.

Details: 4130 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix. 602-612-2961,

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