Saturday, September 8, 2007

Fry Bread House - Phoenix

Growing up in Maine, we always looked forward to fall and the many fairs that popped up in the various counties and towns. It was a tradition to go to the Topsham Fair from as far back as I can remember and later in my teens, we'd go to the Fryeburg Fair in far western Maine. The two foods I looked forward to were cotton candy and doughboys. Doughboys are round thin pieces of dough that are fried in a deep fryer. I like mine with cinnamon, butter, and powdered sugar. A fair wasn't a fair if I didn't get one or both.

My first summer in Arizona back on '04, Tara and I went to the Arizona State Fair with her friend Leslie. It was here that I was introduced to Navaho fry bread. Not having heard of this before, I was pleasantly surprised to discover it's basically identical to a doughboy, but with the ones we got at the fair had lettuce, cheese, refried beans, and seasoned meat. Messy, greasy, but oh so good. Later that fall, the Phoenix New Times came out with their Best Of Phoenix issue, and The Fry Bread House won for some category that I forget. Having enjoyed the one at the fair, we gave it a try and have been back many times for their outstanding food.

Located on the west side of 7th Ave just north of Indian School Road, FBH is set back from the road and very easy to miss the first time. The usually full parking lot holds twelve or so cars and it's fun watching the mess when large trucks try to back out without taking out any over vehicles. The restaurant itself is not very big, with maybe twelve tables and booths in the L-shaped space. You order at the counter and they call your name to pick up your order when it's ready. Unlike some places (Palatte comes to mind) the traffic flow is natural, albeit usually somewhat crowded.

We arrived today around 2pm, and it was a mostly full house. The menu consists of fry bread tacos, stews, and burros, along with some dessert fry bread. Meat is ground beef, plain or seasoned with red or green chiles, spicy chorizo, and plain. I usually get a combo with chorizo, lettuce, refried beans, and cheese. Today both Tara and I opted for a ground beef combo. I got a large iced tea (free refills according to the sign behind the counter) and Tara got a coke (nothing about refills was noted). We got a booth and waited for my name to be called.

After a few minutes of waiting and Tara playing with a cute two-year-old girl in the next booth, our order was up. The two 12-inch pieces of fry bread were folded in half, with the ingredients in the middle. Butcher paper was loosely wrapped around each one and tied together, so it wouldn't fall apart. Each sat on top of a paper plate with a napkin, knife, and fork. A bottle of hot sauce was put onto the tray as well.

The bread was freshly fried and piping hot. While not as good as the chorizo one, I still really enjoyed the taco. I devoured mine in short order and Tara finished only slightly behind me. Not even remotely healthy, but sometimes you need to clog your arteries. After we finished, we decided to split a dessert fry bread with cinnamon, powdered sugar, and butter. Except for being prepared with regular sugar, it was divine. Liberally sprinkled with the cinnamon and sugar, it was a nice contrast to the main meal.

Full and with noticeably slower heart beats, we left very satisfied. We don't go often, but when we do, it's never disappointed. FBH is definitely a unique Arizona restaurant. There are a few other places that serve fry bread, but the one in Mesa that tried wasn't on the same level. I got a red chile fry bread there and it had no spice. So we will stick with FBH. They are closed on Sundays.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I grew up in New York and had no idea of what fry bread was until going to the Arizona State Fair in 1990. Since then, fry bread has been a wonderful occasional treat, and the best interpretation of it can be found at FBH year-round in the heart of Phoenix.