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Best Bread Creations

Arizona Bagel & Deli
117 N. Church Ave.
994 E. University Blvd.
4485 N. First Ave.

STAFF PICK: We were out looking for new bagel possibilities one day, when we stopped into the Arizona Bagel & Deli shop, on the northwest corner of North First Avenue and East Wetmore Road. The bagels were quite good, but that's another story. We were taken most with a huge reptile in one of the glass cases, all horned on top, with a thick, curved tail--made entirely of bread. We inquired, what gives with this guy? "Sure, we can probably make just about any shape you'd want in bread." The challenge was issued. We soon returned and asked for a sunflower--something, anything, that resembled the overgrown daisy--for a party we were throwing for a new little seedling. A few days later we got a call, "Would you like Brie?" Sure, why not a bit of cheese on the side, right? What a surprise we had when we went to fetch our flower: a blossom and stem close to three feet long. But the best part was that the baker had used a lovely brown bread in the center of the flower's petals. And when one lifted the variegated "seed center" from the flower, a bread bowl full of Brie was neatly tucked beneath. In an era when so much food is served up like so many widgets by rigid counter staff ("Corporate says we can't serve it that way") Arizona Bagel's creativity and culinary aplomb are to be applauded.

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