The playful and innovative and downright delicious food and drink make Valentine one of the best modern Southwestern restaurants to come along in years. Steal these inventive dishes from the chefs.

Elote Spaghetti
Elote Spaghetti combines the flavors of Italy and the Southwest. Photo by Thomas J. Story.

The Hatch margarita at Valentine in Phoenix is a metaphor for the new restaurant in a boot-shaped glass. St. George green chile vodka simultaneously spices up and tempers joven mezcal, a house-made lemonade contains roasted Hatch chile juice, while cumin and sugar and bell pepper powder spike the salted rim. It’s playful, smart, considered, and a little fussy, but the kitschy boot and the fact that it all goes down waaaay easy make it just plain fun. 

Like that seriously fun but still serious margarita, Valentine is just about the most ambitious, unpredictable, but wholly zeitgeisty restaurant to hit Phoenix in, well, forever. Owners Blaise Faber and Chadwick Price almost opened it as a bar, but thankfully it’s become so much more: By day it’s a coffee shop with mid-century modern diner vibes and baristas slinging fancy espressos and dishing up exquisite pastries. It’s also a restaurant, serving food by chef Donald Hawk that could easily grace the plates of a restaurant where you’d never dare break out your laptop for a little “working from coffee shop” session, but Valentine somehow makes both feel okay.

Hiramasa Crudo Yellowtail with Charred Raisins
Hiramasa Crudo Yellowtail with Charred Raisins

Thomas J. Story

Instead of the kind of upgraded diner food they could’ve done, we’re talking house-made taglierini with Asiago, crispy corn, chile de árbol, and white Sonoran wheat pretzel with Arizona honeycomb. Plus it’s a cocktail bar, where you can get said Hatch margarita in a boot-shaped glass, but also a cactus martini made with a house-made vermouth infused with dehydrated cactus paddles and squash and palo santo (yes, the rare wood that’s become the aromatic signifier of hipster Southwest). Here are two recipes that just begin to help define the definition-defying Valentine. 

Search All of Sunset’s Recipes

Read the Current Issue Here!

Get one year of Sunset—and all kinds of bonuses—for just $24.95. Subscribe now!