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Restaurants & Bars

What the Jester Had for Dinner: PB Loco, Scottsdale, AZ

JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester) | Mar 1, 200602:21 AM     1

I started to notice some years ago that old-fashioned comfort foods were starting to get popular. Suddenly, new flavors of mashed potatoes sprang up on menus, the very comforting side dish of risotto became popular, and pot roast suddenly became vogue. It's rather nice in quite a few ways; if you've had a rough day and Mom is nowhere around to cook for you (or, if you're like me, mom isn't a good cook), no-nonsense, wholesome food is just around the corner. This movement has taken a couple of interesting turns. One that I have yet to try is Cereality, a place hidden in the Memorial Union on campus that lets you mix cold cereal with various topping to create your dream bowl of cereal. I'll let you know how that place is some time in the near future, if I ever remember it's there while they are open. Another funky comfort food shop is the relatively new PB Loco, located inside Scottsdale Fashion Square, on the top floor close to Nordstrom. As you may surmise by the name, PB Loco specializes in gourmet peanut butter. Many people are content with somply crunchy or smooth peanut butter; PB Loco does 10 other flavors, including things you may have already mixed with peanut butter like chocolate or bananas, to things you never would have guessed would go so well in peanut butter, like curry spices or sun-dried tomatoes. To get even more creative, PB Loco offers up a selection of 12 sandwiches, plus the opportunity to create your own masterpiece. Some friends decided to sample a bunch of different sandwiches, and so we descended on the place like the peanut butter crazed fools that we are. We tried six different choices. First up was the Cinny Nilla, with cinnamon-raisin peanut butter, apple slices, caramel, and vanilla cream cheese. Our next choice was the PBBLT, sun-dried tomato PB with lettuce, bacon bits, and cream cheese. Sandwich Number Three was the Latte Da, with mocha peanut butter, pretzels, and marshmallow fluff. We had another sweet choice with the Loco Coco, with dark chocolate PB, raspberry jam, and coconut flakes. We had a bit of a hard time selecting the last two, so we went out on a limb and got the Curry Spice (curry PB with cucumbers and pineapple bits) and the infamous Wacko (the same curry PB, but this time with pickles, coconut, and potato chips). All of the sandwiches come on decent bread (it wouldn't suprose me if they got it from Willo Bakery since that's where they get the peanut butter dog biscuits they sell at the register), and are grilled on a panini press, definitely a nice touch. The PBBLT and Cinny Nilla were expected favorites, as the peanut butter/apple and peanut butter/bacon combinations are already established favorites among more than a few people. The surprise favorite was the Curry Spice, with a nice blend of flavors and textures. The Wacko was the least favored (as you can expect); it was still quite good, but nowhere near the peanut buttery euphoria that came from all the other sandwiches. To top off the comfort vibe, each sandwich comes with a handful of animal crackers. My one quibble with PB Loco is that it ain't cheap by any stretch of the mind. It's really, REALLY good PB, but six bucks for a jazzed-up peanut butter sandwich? Ouch. But still, it's worth it for when you get a weird craving for peanut butter and just nothing but the wierdly addictive PBBLT or Curry Spice sammich will do. Of course, you could always get a jar of their peanut butter and take it home with you...

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