Someone at Cowboy Ciao in Phoenix must have a hook-up with Amy Farges -aka- Aux Delices Des Bois and therefore went absolutely bananas with the grocery list when they concocted this mushroom infested dish. None-the-less my psychologically-induced decision to beeline to their take-out counter from my terminal inevitably cost me $26 as opposed to what should’ve been $3 for a bottle of water. I had every intention of grabbing a Fiji or Pellegrino from a nearby newsstand and heading straight to the gate since I still harbored all the shame and guilt from Thanksgiving. Unfortunately my food obsession clouded all airport judgement and rationale, and therefore my sound reasoning was destroyed within seconds.
Minutes later I found myself drawn to this “Addams Family Meets Old West Bordello” restaurant and was completely engulfed in their menu. Or at least that’s how one of their guests described it. Interestingly enough, out of all the considerably decent menu selections, yours truly landed on the one menu item that had about a hundred different types of mushrooms in it. The Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry…
It consisted of a perfect blend (or entirely overwhelming, depending on your level of obsession) of cremini, button, oyster, cepe, lobster, black trumpet, shiitake, morel, and yellow foot mushrooms in ancho cream over double-cooked polenta, topped with grilled portabellini, avocado, Roma tomato and cotija cheese. Lucky for me, I have a vast appreciation for mushrooms. Seriously. I do.
The words that I would use to describe the sauteed mushrooms would probably segue into a link to another type of site where you would probably be forced to click on your birthdate… I’ll just play it safe and say it was Napa Valley on a plate for mushroom lovers and enthusiasts. It was truly a mushroom lover’s fairytale.
Initially my unwillingness to negotiate the pairing of anything else with this fungi extravaganza made me skeptical. Tomatoes, avocado and cheese? Will it be loose polenta or formed? And exactly how much of this triangular polenta will be swimming at the bottom of this sea of caps? These are the questions that bounced around in my head as I looked once and then twice over the menu, ultimately knowing in the back of my mind that it would boomerang directly back to the shroom dish.
So approximately 2.5 minutes later I placed my order. Within 7 minutes my Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry came out, in addition to the bottle of Fiji water that was supposed to be my meal. And just to keep the “why stop here” caloric party going I had the lovely cashier throw in a slice of their famous Birthday Cake cake to satisfy an imaginary sweet tooth that I somehow developed in the midst of my mushroom excitement. The exotic mushroom dish was expectedly bold in flavor due to all the various shrooms, the garnishes were surprisingly complimenting, and the polenta definitely added a bit of texture for a fitting balance overall to the entree. The Birthday Cake left me feeling shameful and guilty, however stimulated in all the right foodie areas. I quickly washed down all the evidence with my bottle of Fiji water and headed to my gate for my next adventure.
So there you have it folks, Old West Bordello and an exotic mushroom carnival at an airport terminal near you (Terminal B of Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport more specifically). If you are a lover of mushrooms and all things unexpected yet good, you should probably come here.