Last week I had a wonderful belated birthday lunch with my lovely friend, Cheryl, who suggested that we should try lunch at the Arizona Culinary Institute. I didn’t realize that the culinary institute served lunch, and that it was right down the street at 114th St and Shea. Cheryl, a gifted chef in her own right, has worked with world renown chef, Suzanne Goin, in Los Angeles before moving to Fountain Hills with her family. So I could not wait to experience this with her.
Gourmet Lunch on a Budget
Arizona Culinary Institute offers a three course lunch (from $13-18 total) Monday thru Friday starting at 11:30. It is an incredible deal for the execution and quality of food. The menu changes daily.
After promptly being seated in a beautiful, formal dining room with a view of one of the cooking classes, we were served five varieties of delicious freshly made breads.
This was followed by an amuse bouche of duck liver with lingonberry jam atop a challah crostini with apple cider glaze and microgreens.
A variety of imported beers and wines that are reasonably priced at $3, as well as non-alcoholic beverages to choose from.
For appetizers, Cheryl and I both chose the pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon with apple chutney and balsamic glaze.
Cheryl chose the sole with salmon mousse with grilled polenta and roasted grapes.
I ordered the lobster bucatini, which was cooked perfectly. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of lobster in this dish.
Both dishes were beautifully presented and well-executed.
On to my favorite….dessert. We ordered the pumpkin creme brulee and the marscapone cheesecake with chocolate, strawberry, and passion fruit glaze. Both were incredible, but I preferred the lightness (if that’s possible) of the cheesecake.
So be sure to treat yourself to an incredible lunch at an affordable price at Arizona Culinary Institute. They also are serving their last dinners for October on the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. Check their website for more information. Reservations are required.
Note: Since this is a learning experience for culinary students, you will be asked to fill out a survey about the food and service at the end of your meal.