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Phoenix/Scottsdale recommendations?

Phoenix/Scottsdale recommendations?
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  • Post #31 - May 10th, 2013, 12:43 pm
    Post #31 - May 10th, 2013, 12:43 pm Post #31 - May 10th, 2013, 12:43 pm
    I'm recently back from a short trip to Phoenix during which I was able to try some new places and some familiar places (a few of which I plan to report on here). One of my Phoenix friends thought I would appreciate Crepe Bar, which is a fairly new brick and mortar restaurant from chef/owner Jeff Kraus, who parlayed his success with the Truckin' Good Food truck into this permanent spot. It opened in July of 2012. My friend was right. We had a bunch of items and I thought it was some excellent food. My friend paid the tab but I'm fairly certain a few small items were sent out for us, as my friend and Jeff Kraus are friends . . .

    Image
    Crepe Bar - 7250 S. Rural Rd, Tempe, AZ


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    Scone
    Pretty sure it was chocolate and raisin. Even though I'm not a huge fan of pastry at breakfast, I thought this scone was excellent, with a slightly crusty, tender texture and great depth of flavor.


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    House-Made Granola
    This was just out of this world, with a great variety of flavors and textures. It was served with almond milk, which took it to a whole other level.


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    Bruleed Banana Bite
    I'm pretty sure this tasty little one-biter was sent out for us.


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    Breakfast Burrito | chipotle crepe, eggs, bacon, queso jack, avocado salsa
    Damn! Great stuff here. I love this type of breakfast item and the execution here made the burrito immensely satisfying. The chipotle crepe was truly inspired.


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    Breakfast Burrito (inside)
    Another look.


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    Papa K | local ham, scrambled eggs (add-on), mushroom ragout, pepperjack, dressed greens
    Another great savory, breakfast crepe that really scratched the itch.


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    Pork Belly & Eggs
    I think this was just an "off-menu" improvisation but it was awesome, with tender, succulent belly and perfectly cooked eggs.


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    Vanilla Bean Custard Crepe | strawberries, caramel, candied nuts
    I think this item may have showed off chef Kraus' skill and palate more than any of the others. Again, I'm not normally a fan of sweet at breakfast but this crepe completely nailed it. It was sweet but not overly so, and very satisfying, with some great flavors and textures. The judicous use of salt here really elevated the dish to another level.

    The bottom line is that the crepe batter here is sensational. It, in combination with the kitchen's creativity and skill, made everything we ate special. Having been to France a couple of times in the past few years, I'd put these crepes up against any I ate there. And while I haven't done extensive crepe-ing in France, I've yet to eat a crepe in France that was as good as the crepes I had a Crepe Bar. The batter really is that special.

    From what I understand, Crepe Bar is open Tuesday through Sunday until 3 pm but I think they're now also serving dinner a couple days a week (Friday and Saturday, iirc). Next time I'm in Phoenix, it'll be a must-stop for me.

    =R=

    Crepe Bar (http://www.crepe-bar.com/)
    7520 S Rural Rd
    Tempe, AZ 85283
    (480) 247-8012
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #32 - May 13th, 2013, 4:51 pm
    Post #32 - May 13th, 2013, 4:51 pm Post #32 - May 13th, 2013, 4:51 pm
    Another great stop during my recent trip to Phoenix was at Andreoli Italian Grocer, where a couple of local friends, including Dmnkly, treated me to a delicious lunch . . .

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    Andreoli Italian Grocer - 8880 E Vía Linda, Scottsdale, AZ


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    Cozy Space


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    Cases and counters bursting with treats


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    Sfogliatelle
    Still kicking myself for not ordering one of these.


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    Menu (sorry about the glare)


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    Daily Specials
    As you can see, a supremely difficult decision was at hand.


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    Rigatoni with Sausage and Peas
    Great, al dente noodles and a very fine sausage. Comfort food of the highest order.


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    Fried Potatoes and Leeks (aka Italian french fries)
    Served with Giovanni style tartar sauce.


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    Fusilli with Fresh Ricotta and Cherry Tomato
    Again, the noodles were cooked perfectly but my favorite part of this dish was the satisfying contrast between the rich, sweet and creamy ricotta and the tart cherry tomatoes.


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    Pizza
    I thought the crispiness of the bottom of the crust and the tenderness above it were great. I loved that the cheese here was nice and pungent.


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    Bread
    Just a textbook example of hearty and hearty loaf -- crusty on the outside, elastic on the inside, a beautiful, uneven crumb and depth of flavor all the way through. I'm told this bread is so popular that during the holidays, customers are limited to 2 loaves each. Phenomenal stuff.


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    Fresh Calf Liver sauteed with Onion and Pinto Grigio
    Other than the glorious bread, this was my favorite part of the meal. The liver was tender and flavorful, and the onions, with their earthy sweetness, complemented it perfectly.

    =R=

    Andreoli Italian Grocer
    8880 E Vía Linda
    Scottsdale, AZ 85258
    (480) 614-1980
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #33 - July 28th, 2013, 8:27 pm
    Post #33 - July 28th, 2013, 8:27 pm Post #33 - July 28th, 2013, 8:27 pm
    nocawichmenu.jpg

    Hey, Ronnie... you have a namesake :-)
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #34 - July 29th, 2013, 2:22 pm
    Post #34 - July 29th, 2013, 2:22 pm Post #34 - July 29th, 2013, 2:22 pm
    Dmnkly wrote:Hey, Ronnie... you have a namesake :-)

    And it looks pretty damned delicious . . .

    noca.13.0727.ronnie.jpg
    The Ronnie Suburban @ Nocawich

    I'm told I received this honor because it's my pastrami recipe they make at Nocawich but being a minor investor there probably didn't hurt. :wink:

    Did you order it, Dom?

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #35 - July 30th, 2013, 1:00 am
    Post #35 - July 30th, 2013, 1:00 am Post #35 - July 30th, 2013, 1:00 am
    Nah, wasn't there. Just saw the photo go up on their Facebook page. But I'll definitely give it a try when we cross paths :-)
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #36 - October 15th, 2013, 12:46 pm
    Post #36 - October 15th, 2013, 12:46 pm Post #36 - October 15th, 2013, 12:46 pm
    My husband and I just returned from a long weekend in Scottsdale, so I thought I'd build on this thread. We didn't stray far from the immediate area, so we undoubtedly missed some great choices that would have been available had we ventured into Phoenix. By far our favorite meal -- and it was terrific -- was at FnB. We shared lots of "small" plates (wish I'd followed Fast Eddie's advice above, as we waaaay over ordered) including the Lamb Manti, some beautifully dressed Romano Beans with a roasted mushroom I didn't recognize, Butternut Squash with Pecorino & Mint, and Roasted Carrots with (IIRC) Israeli Couscous and Olives. Just a great example of showcasing local produce with simple preparations.

    We also had a lovely brunch at Lon's at the Hermosa; I had a great chopped salad that was loaded with vegetables, and my husband had mesquite pancakes that he loved.

    Our big disappointment was Citizen Public House. We'd found this place to be highly recommended on the great resource PHX Food Nerds (thanks, Dmnkly -- other than this miss we found the site a solid guide for us) and did enjoy our cocktails -- mine a Sazarac, my husband's a barrel-aged Negroni that he declared his best ever. Unfortunately, none of our food matched the expectations set by the drinks. We started with "Rosemary Roasted Nuts" with the idea of nibbling with cocktails, but they turned out to be not savory but pralined; not what we expected and not (to my mind) a great accompaniment for the drinks. We then shared crab cakes that were fine but pretty pedestrian, and both had the Fernet Steak Salad. The beef in this dish was so sweet to make it almost inedible. The salad greens were fine (mizuna & kale) but the overall impression was marred by the addition of the same overly sweet "spiced" nuts we had rejected with cocktails. Service was enthusiastic, but we came away baffled as to why the praise for this place went beyond the drinks. I'd love to chalk it up to bad menu choices and if we lived in the area would give it another try, but if you're only there a few days I'm not sure I'd recommend taking the risk.

    Next time we'll definitely broaden our scope so that we can take in some of the other recommendations here. In particular, we wanted to try Noca but it wasn't open for dinner while we were there.
    "There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk, which is water that’s lying about being milk."
    - Ron Swanson
  • Post #37 - October 15th, 2013, 1:36 pm
    Post #37 - October 15th, 2013, 1:36 pm Post #37 - October 15th, 2013, 1:36 pm
    Ah, too bad about CPH. My experience has been less positive than the rest of the crowd, and I think they're not what they were when they opened.

    I'm glad to hear Lon's was good! They just went through a chef change with a couple months of limbo, and you're the first I've heard from since the new fellow got settled a couple of weeks ago. It sounds like things were a little rough there during the transition, so glad to hear that first good report.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #38 - December 4th, 2013, 1:27 pm
    Post #38 - December 4th, 2013, 1:27 pm Post #38 - December 4th, 2013, 1:27 pm
    I'll be in Phoenix tomorrow for business, and my client has specifically requested Tex-Mex (as opposed to traditional Mexican food or New Mexican). Does anyone have any recommendations? I'm looking for tasty, well done versions of Tex-Mex staples like cheese enchiladas, re-fried beans and flour tortillas (I'm well aware that some people would say there is no such thing as good Tex-Mex, but work with me here).

    Barring any Tex-Mex recommendations, is Los Dos Molinos still the consensus pick for best New Mexican?

    Thanks in advance for any tips!
  • Post #39 - December 4th, 2013, 4:32 pm
    Post #39 - December 4th, 2013, 4:32 pm Post #39 - December 4th, 2013, 4:32 pm
    This site has lots of great info (including TexMex)...

    PHX Food Nerds
    "There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk, which is water that’s lying about being milk."
    - Ron Swanson
  • Post #40 - December 4th, 2013, 5:56 pm
    Post #40 - December 4th, 2013, 5:56 pm Post #40 - December 4th, 2013, 5:56 pm
    bfolds wrote:This site has lots of great info (including TexMex)...

    PHX Food Nerds

    Yes! Started and run by our own Dmnkly. :D

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #41 - December 4th, 2013, 7:01 pm
    Post #41 - December 4th, 2013, 7:01 pm Post #41 - December 4th, 2013, 7:01 pm
    Thanks, you guys :-)

    DJH, Sonoran/Arizona Mex is an awfully close relative of Tex-Mex, so I suspect your client would be happy with it. There's an awful lot of it, and a lot of it is awful, but I've had a couple of really good meals at El Bravo in Sunnyslope. I think it might be a good middle-ground place. There's enough goopy stuff to please Tex-Mex sensibilities -- all of the burros (they're "burros" here) can be served enchilada-style -- but you get into stuff like the machaca and green corn tamales, and you've got some delicious local foods leaning more towards the Mex end of the spectrum as well. It's a humble little family joint, but it's cozy and well-maintained. Photos should be easy to come by if you want to get a sense of the food or the room. (edit: Yeah, there are photos on their website, below, as well as the menu.)

    As for New Mexican, my friends from New Mexico are dramatically split on Los Dos, but consensus seems to be that everybody prefers Richardson's (to varying degrees). Can't speak to it personally, but that's kind of the local standard-bearer. The only negative things I've heard about it have to do with the owner (working with him, not eating at his restaurants).

    El Bravo
    elbravoaz.wordpress.com
    8338 North 7th Street
    Phoenix, AZ 85020
    (602) 943-9753
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #42 - December 4th, 2013, 7:03 pm
    Post #42 - December 4th, 2013, 7:03 pm Post #42 - December 4th, 2013, 7:03 pm
    If you want to try something different, there's a peanut butter and bacon hot dog nestled in a Twinkie available at Pittsburgh Willy's in Chandler. Look for the Twilly. It's $3 and, in my opinion, surprisingly good, although one of those is enough.

    I can't inline it for some reason, but here you go:

    https://scontent-b-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hph ... 0587_n.jpg

    Pittsburgh Willy's
    1509 N Arizona Ave
    Chandler, AZ 85225
  • Post #43 - December 18th, 2013, 6:54 am
    Post #43 - December 18th, 2013, 6:54 am Post #43 - December 18th, 2013, 6:54 am
    Binko wrote:If you want to try something different, there's a peanut butter and bacon hot dog nestled in a Twinkie available at Pittsburgh Willy's in Chandler. Look for the Twilly. It's $3 and, in my opinion, surprisingly good, although one of those is enough.


    Behold the Guber Dog!

    Thanks for posting this, Binko. I'd be curious if any condiments are offered.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #44 - February 22nd, 2014, 12:19 am
    Post #44 - February 22nd, 2014, 12:19 am Post #44 - February 22nd, 2014, 12:19 am
    Ever so happily had to go to Scottsdale for a business conference at the Montelucia Resort this week. Mostly tied up with work on-site so - not a bad thing since the Montelucia is wonderful and has a nice range of food options itself including an interesting range of tapas options in the Mbar where I really enjoyed both the whole artichoke and the prosciutto and bread since the bread was superb. Their main restaurant Prada was also good though I did not enjoy the artichoke salad (not trimmed properly sadly) and I really enjoyed the casual Centro for lunch and burgers and drinks.

    But the food highlight was thanks to a colleague who recommended Evo which is a fun Italian spot that makes their own super good pastas - really a fantastic treat I wish I could repeat often. Also really good bread with olive oil for dipping that had a nice range of herbs and touch of chili - and my waiter offered a small salad with balsamic as I did not want something larger and it was so simple and so perfect in flavor. My pasta was a pappardele with bolognese and meatballs and was wonderfully meaty and bright. Nice sized serving - a touch more than I could eat but not too much. The staff were friendly and did a good job - it was really an enjoyable meal.

    Evo
    4175 N Goldwater
    Scottsdale
    408-265-9814
    http://evoscottsdale.com/
  • Post #45 - February 25th, 2014, 11:20 am
    Post #45 - February 25th, 2014, 11:20 am Post #45 - February 25th, 2014, 11:20 am
    Good news about Evo - they are now open for lunch! We dined there a couple days ago and were wowed. Excellent wine and draft beer selection, IMO, and a varied menu featuring something for everyone. I really liked the Evo salad of flashfried brussel sprout leaves, kale, goat cheese, pine nuts and greens. Lightly dressed with balsamic it was a fulfilling salad luncheon.
    Arancini app solid but could have been served hotter in temperature, IMO.

    Also - found a solid local pub grub option farther north on 44th Street but still a short drive from the airport: Wally's American Pub and Grill. In a strip mall (like most other places in PHX!) there is a small outdoor dining section that makes for a nice atmosphere. Very good burgers at decent prices, good list of craft beers on tap and several mac n cheese entrees served in a hot skilley. Oh yeah!

    Wally's American Pub and Grill
    5029 N 44th St
    Scottsdale, AZ
    602-954-2040
    www.wallyspub.com
    Life is a garden, Dude - DIG IT!
    -- anonymous Colorado snowboarder whizzing past me March 2010
  • Post #46 - March 3rd, 2014, 11:51 am
    Post #46 - March 3rd, 2014, 11:51 am Post #46 - March 3rd, 2014, 11:51 am
    Just got back from a long weekend in Scottsdale, got in at least a few days sun before winter storm Titan brought the wrath of the gods down from the heavens.

    Couple food highlights were The Mission in Old Scottsdale. Tried getting in here last year but it was booked solid, they were kind enough to squeeze us in this time at a 5:45 seating but being day one my stomach said it was dinner time and the place was packed already so it didn't feel like we were shuffling in on white loafers for an early bird special.

    They describe themselves as modern Latin cuisine, but other than one or two Peruvian dishes the menu was Mexican. Fine with me bring it on! Very popular place, all the beautiful people of Scottsdale were well represented. The waitresses and hostesses were all model pretty. There's an outdoor seating area in front and also in back, and a dark woody interior room. For some reason they feel the need to keep the interior as dark as a tomb, most of the pix didn't turn out because of the lack of light. We had a roast corn gordita and the grilled street corn for starters, both were delicious - excellent corn was used. Brooklynites would be proud to see that kale was represented, this salad was very good if maybe a tad too acidic:
    Image

    For the main course we had the pork shoulder tacos. This is a serving for two, the generous chunk of shoulder is more than enough food for at least three or four. I liked this, but I'm more of a traditionalist and prefer the crunch and texture of carnitas to this soft braised version. This is more like a pork barbacoa. Served with some of the habanero/pineapple glaze on the side, very sweet and I found it unnecessary. The cilantro, onion and lime were better accompaniments to cut the richness. The house made corn tortillas were excellent:
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    My favorite meal was lunch at Sol Mexican Cocina, located in a high end shopping mall near our hotel in North Scottsdale. Even though it's in a mall, they've really done a nice job with the design and it has an entire open wall that integrates the interior and exterior seating spaces. The busy bar divides the two seating areas, and seemed to be the popular place for the locals to sit and take their work lunch. The outdoor area is nicely landscaped, you kinda forgot you're in a mall halfway into your margarita:
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    So many things on the menu looked good making it hard to decide, so of course I way over-ordered just to try as much as possible. Gratis chips and very good salsas and bean dip came out with the cocktails, and we also started with a couple cheese panuchos (buried under the iceberg lettuce, but still very tasty - excellent beans):
    Image

    One thing I noticed on this trip is how health conscious people seem to be here - especially compared to the midwest ha. Lots of reference to super foods and various salubrious qualities to foodstuffs and juices on our hotel menus, likewise at the restaurants. Apparently if you're not walking around in 8 layers of clothes you tend to be a bit more conscientious about your body's appearance. Must be the LA immigrants rubbing off on the locals, you don't see this in Florida. But anyway, lots of interesting salad options on the menus that we saw. When in Rome...this was a beet, watermelon and arugula salad, very good - and good for you too!
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    Saw lots of reference to "street" tacos on menus. How does a street taco different from a taco taco you ask? Got me. We got an assortment of chicken, carnita and steak tacos which were all delicious. And I couldn't pass up the fish tacos, since the proprietors say they're all about the Baja CA thing:
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    Good food in Phoenix man! We've eaten very well the last few trips here.
  • Post #47 - March 3rd, 2014, 6:13 pm
    Post #47 - March 3rd, 2014, 6:13 pm Post #47 - March 3rd, 2014, 6:13 pm
    Funny you mention Kale since I was struck by the number of Kale offerings in the restaurants at Montelucia in Scottsdale - and they promote their kale as being much tastier than most because they marinate it? Now I had a taste and it was fine - just not a kale fanatic here so perhaps unable to judge.
  • Post #48 - March 4th, 2014, 1:54 am
    Post #48 - March 4th, 2014, 1:54 am Post #48 - March 4th, 2014, 1:54 am
    Fast Eddie wrote:My favorite meal was lunch at Sol Mexican Cocina, located in a high end shopping mall near our hotel in North Scottsdale ... One thing I noticed on this trip is how health conscious people seem to be here - especially compared to the midwest ha.

    In North Scottsdale? Yes. Yes they are :-)
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #49 - March 4th, 2014, 10:14 am
    Post #49 - March 4th, 2014, 10:14 am Post #49 - March 4th, 2014, 10:14 am
    Dmnkly wrote:
    Fast Eddie wrote:My favorite meal was lunch at Sol Mexican Cocina, located in a high end shopping mall near our hotel in North Scottsdale ... One thing I noticed on this trip is how health conscious people seem to be here - especially compared to the midwest ha.

    In North Scottsdale? Yes. Yes they are :-)


    Yes, I forgot to mention definitely wear your mirrored sunglasses if you're up here with your wife.
  • Post #50 - March 6th, 2014, 12:12 am
    Post #50 - March 6th, 2014, 12:12 am Post #50 - March 6th, 2014, 12:12 am
    Going to be with a bunch of very very non-foodies the next 3 days...in Gilbert! Potentially slightly (very slightly) mobile - maybe late etc.
    Given those constraints...anything can't miss near Gilbert? Preferably something bbqish, or just locally much better than in Chicago, and 10-20 buck range?

    (For group meals...some vegetarians present, a few Indians and Pakistanis. Anything remotely good, or best of mediocre, even, in terms of Indian or Pakistani food in this area? Grilled kabobs, that sort of thing?)

    Any help appreciated! Thanks!

    c8w
  • Post #51 - March 6th, 2014, 2:29 am
    Post #51 - March 6th, 2014, 2:29 am Post #51 - March 6th, 2014, 2:29 am
    Gilbert is a little ways out there, and the pickings are kind of slim, but there's some good stuff that isn't too far.

    One of my favorites down there -- across the border into Chandler -- is Chou's Kitchen, which has some really interesting and delicious Dongbei dishes. The "Beef Pies" are not to be missed, and the Spicy Cold Noodle with Cucumber, Tiger Salad, potatoes with eggplant and chiles, Meatball hot pot, pork neck bones, etc. are all favorites. There's also a complement of typical Americanized stuff, so the non-adventurous should be able to find things that satisfy. And nobody -- NOBODY -- doesn't love those beef pies.

    Paletas Betty in downtown Chandler is a great stop for some frozen sweets.

    If you're looking for BBQ in Gilbert, you'll probably be seduced by Joe's Real BBQ... which is fine. It's huge, suuuuuuuuuuper clean-cut and family friendly, doesn't serve anything that's going to get a 'cue nerd hot and bothered, and the sauce is a goopy sugar bomb, but taking the smoked meat on its own, they do some okay stuff. BBQ on the order of Chicago's South Side shrines doesn't exist in this city, no matter what the infamous Check Please lady may think. Joe, incidentally, also owns Joe's Farm Grill, Liberty Market, and seemingly 87% of Gilbert, and is a swell fellow, though his restaurants -- by his own admission -- aim squarely at the apex of the bell curve. It's all very safe, but it's all very ably prepared. So if you're looking for a place that isn't going to freak out non-food people but where you can get a solid if unexciting meal, well, that's kind of the Joe's empire all over.

    If you can stretch a little further, go to Mekong Plaza in Mesa. Though it's a mall, that's basically our amalgamated "Asian neighborhood." And the food court in back is home to one of my favorite places in the entire city, Hue Gourmet, which specializes in Hue cuisine. Killer Central Vietnamese soups of all kinds here -- fabulous bun bo hue (request spicy, and ask for some shrimp paste on the side -- she does it by request since the non-Viet community discovered her), banh canh cua, delicate and delicious bun vit xao mang, and some other cool Central Vietnamese dishes you don't see as often like mi quang and com hen. Her banh beo are also unusually good, and depending on what bulk orders she's doing that week, there will usually be some really unusual cold snacks available, wrapped in banana leaf, encased in gelatinous rice/tapioca, etc. Love that place. That'll freak out somebody who isn't a food geek, though. You can send them to the sanitized Viet joint, UnPhoGettable (pho : restaurant names :: ska : band names), at the front of the mall while you sneak out to the food court in back.

    PIGMON mentioned a couple of years back that he had some really good pozole at Lulu's in Gilbert (though I believe he said that was the only good thing he had there), but it's been languishing on my to-do list since then.

    Indo/Pak is not a strength in this town. And what little I'm fond of so far is at least half an hour from Gilbert. Similarly, "Gilbert" and "late" doesn't compute. The place is a tomb by 8:00. The only relatively late night place I know down there is Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co., and I thought it was a pretty mediocre burger joint.

    BTW, it's a bit of a drive, and I don't know if you're working, but about a dozen of the local food geeks are checking out a new BBQ joint with promise this Friday around 11:00, 11:30, if you're jonesing for some meat.

    If your range increases, let me know and I can sling some other thoughts in your direction. That isn't the best part of town for a Chicago visitor to find compelling eats.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #52 - August 17th, 2014, 11:20 am
    Post #52 - August 17th, 2014, 11:20 am Post #52 - August 17th, 2014, 11:20 am
    Back in Scottsdale for a business meeting this past Friday and decided to take advantage of the crazy cheap hotel room rates at the Fairmont Princess for the weekend. Given that it was 100 degrees last night at 9PM when they do their fireworks display, and given that I am pretty poor in the heat, I've stuck to the resort except for a return visit to Evo Thursday night with a colleague. (I'm also really confused by how big "Scottsdale" is - plan accordingly!

    Evo was wonderful again and we both had a super meal of pasta and such. I was less impressed with their gelato but very happy overall.

    While I prefer local, independent spots for food, sticking to the resort meant otherwise. Friday night I tried La Hacienda - Richard Sandoval's spot. I enjoyed it for the ceviche which had a really good kick and the guacamole with pomegranite, apple, mango and pistachio - super tasty but found the tacos asada meh. Mojito also did not stand out. Still enjoyable meal, reasonable pricing and nice setting.

    Last night I went to Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak. I had been to another of his outposts at what used to be the Fairmont at Turnberry Isle (changed ownership, not sure on the restaurant) with a colleague several years ago and had probably the best steakhouse dinner I've ever had - classic, simple, perfection.

    The Bourbon Steak in Scottsdale was so wonderful I wish I could stay another few days to eat there a bunch more times. The room itself is so pretty in a spare yet warm way - nice wood tables, rather FLW type lighting, etc. The service was impeccable in a way I have not experienced since ... many years and I sure wish a few Chicago spots (Next for example!) would learn from them. Friendly, engaged, so personal yet so elegantly gracious. While I was thinking steak, they were doing a Riesling promotion so I did a Riesling with the manager, Andrew, making perfect suggestions from their list - including one that was the perfect match for the chilled corn soup with chorizo that I had as a starter. Instead of bringing bread, they serve a trio of duck fat fries, each with different spices and dips - too good!

    Went with Salmon for entree - not a big salmon fan but it was again so simple yet so perfect I loved it. Finished with three small tastes of house sorbets - lemon rosemary, strawberry ginger and horchata with cinnamon and a glass of a lovely icewine. It was a perfect meal ... still smiling.
  • Post #53 - August 18th, 2014, 12:53 am
    Post #53 - August 18th, 2014, 12:53 am Post #53 - August 18th, 2014, 12:53 am
    Siun wrote:Last night I went to Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak. I had been to another of his outposts at what used to be the Fairmont at Turnberry Isle (changed ownership, not sure on the restaurant) with a colleague several years ago and had probably the best steakhouse dinner I've ever had - classic, simple, perfection.

    It's technically a Michael Mina spot, but that kitchen's under Chris Curtiss, who ran the kitchen at Noca when it opened, and he's a total rock star. Whenever you go back, give them a few days' notice and tell them you want whatever Chris wants to make. You will be very, very happy with the results. I kind of hate that he's stuck in a steakhouse, but as long as I can get his food by request, I'm a happy camper.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #54 - August 18th, 2014, 1:00 am
    Post #54 - August 18th, 2014, 1:00 am Post #54 - August 18th, 2014, 1:00 am
    Dmnkly wrote:BBQ on the order of Chicago's South Side shrines doesn't exist in this city, no matter what the infamous Check Please lady may think.

    BTW, I need to amend this. There is now an oustanding BBQ joint in Phoenix.

    littlemissbbq.jpg

    Little Miss BBQ is starting to get national press, and I'm shocked by how many people are driving in from Texas to check it out. Near the airport, industrial part of town, under a billboard, etc. In a town where people bitch about having to wait, or parking, or not the right kind of seating, or in the wrong part of town, etc., they've at times had 90 minute waits in 110 degree heat on Saturdays. Doors open at 11, and they're usually sold out by 1:00. The brisket's the thing. It's seriously outstanding. The sausage (in-house) is also really damn good, as is everything else, but those two are the biggest stars. Tuesdays still aren't too bad. Get there about 20 minutes before 11:00, and you'll probably be within the first ten or so in line. We've been kind of watching a phenomenon unfold before our eyes for the past few months. It's really exciting.

    Little Miss BBQ
    www.littlemissbbq.com
    4301 E. University Dr.
    Phoenix, AZ 85034
    602.437.1177
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #55 - August 25th, 2014, 5:37 am
    Post #55 - August 25th, 2014, 5:37 am Post #55 - August 25th, 2014, 5:37 am
    Dmnkly wrote:...


    Dmnkly has started what is quite possibly the finest food board ever encountered after LTH--phxfoodnerds.com

    It's the source, complete with google map containing 1) all the the 'Phoenix Food Nerd Approved' restaurants and 2) all other eating places with PFN threads. Each google map pin contains the relevant PFN discussion link.

    During my recent last minute two day trip, it made this stranger's job of locating chow near my Sheraton seamless. Kudos to Dmnkly.

    IMHO--phoenixfoodnerds.com should be pinned at the top of this board.
    Chicago is my spiritual chow home
  • Post #56 - March 1st, 2015, 1:45 pm
    Post #56 - March 1st, 2015, 1:45 pm Post #56 - March 1st, 2015, 1:45 pm
    I had a short getaway to Scottsdale last month. Well-timed in that I missed some of the super cold days, but I did travel with a head cold. Some real vitamin D helped. After searching through the most excellent PHXfoodnerds site and getting some personal recommendations from dmnkly, I had a few spots targeted.

    My first dinner was at FnB. I dined early (5:30ish) as I didn't feel great. I sat at the bar and perused the menu will enjoying their riff on a Manhattan. Probably not the wisest thing to have while on different cold medications, but damn it, I was on vacation! As Fast Eddie noted above, the starters are sizeable. The server indicated that I might be able to order half portions of some of the vegetable dishes, which she confirmed with the kitchen. I still took leftovers with me! I ordered half portions of the cauliflower (fish sauce sauce, peanuts, mint), bok choy (mushroom garlic broth, crispy i’itoi noodle, ginger sauce) and the braised leeks (mozzarella, fried egg, mustard bread crumbs). Service both nights was excellent.

    Image

    Everything was quite good, but I adored the bok choy. I did everything I could to get everything out of the bowl short of sticking my face in it. It was so good, I went back two nights later to have it again as a full portion. I had dessert on this second visit. The exact description escapes me: grapefruit cake, green tea ice cream. It was good, but didn’t haunt me like the bok choy dish did. ;-)

    Image

    Another great dinner the next night was at Andreoli Italian Grocer. I definitely felt constrained as a solo diner – so much sounded great! I went with the mushroom ravioli. Simple but decadent.

    Image

    I followed that up later with dessert at Virtu Honest Craft. A chocolate, ancho chili (I think) tart with a chocolate/pistachio biscotti. Fantastic.

    Image

    I stayed at the Bespoke Inn, which was really nice. Perfect location to access everything in Old Town Scottsdale, but far enough away from tourist central. Daily brunch at Virtu was included. I was able to try the peperonata & potato hash (olives, capers, eggs, calabrese chile butter), the ham and cheese crepe, and another egg dish that I can’t remember. The hash was delicious.

    Image

    I hope I make it back down to Scottsdale to return to FnB and try some of the other recommendations from our friends at PHXfoodnerds!

    FnB
    7125 east 5th avenue ste 31.
    Scottsdale, AZ 85251
    480-284-4777
    http://fnbrestaurant.com

    Andreoli Italian Grocer
    8880 E Vía Linda
    Scottsdale, AZ 85258
    480-614-1980
    http://andreoli-grocer.com/

    Virtu Honest Craft
    480.946.3477
    3701 N Marshall Way
    Scottsdale, AZ 85251
    http://virtuscottsdale.com/menu/
    -Mary
  • Post #57 - March 5th, 2015, 9:19 am
    Post #57 - March 5th, 2015, 9:19 am Post #57 - March 5th, 2015, 9:19 am
    The Chow Poodle and I recently had to escape the winter chill, so we headed to Phoenix or a few days. We hadn’t visited Phoenix in a few years, but honestly, our impetus for the trip was that the National Weather Service said that Phoenix was among the warmest places in the country at the moment, and plane tickets were available at semi-reasonable rates for a last minute getaway. Although our trip was short, we still managed to get in some good eating while we were explored the Valley of the Sun.

    We landed at Sky Harbor Airport already hungry, so as soon as we picked up our rental car, we beelined it to Matt’s Big Breakfast, a place I found on Dmnkly’s great Phoenix Food Nerds site; the Phoenix equivalent of LTH Forum.

    Matt’s is located on the immediate outskirts of Phoenix’s downtown proper in a pretty nondescript building.

    Matt’s Big Breakfast
    Image

    We got there partway thought the noon rush, and I was torn between ordering breakfast or lunch. After a quick consult with our waitress (“breakfast or reuben?” “The reuben is my favorite item on the menu.”), I ordered the classic reuben.

    Matt’s Classic Reuben
    Image

    I guess Phoenix isn’t a reuben town, because, this sandwich was nothing to write home about. Since Matt’s prides itself on being a restaurant where everything is scratch made using sustainably sourced local ingredients, I had visions of some nice, thick-cut housemade corned beef ala Edgebrook Diner. Instead, what I got was a thin layer of nondescript corned beef (could have been industrial Vienna product) and a much too generous layer of kraut on some pretty good marbled bread. I should have stuck with breakfast like the Chow Poodle.

    Matt’s Hog & Chick
    Image

    Her “Hog & Chick” (Two eggs, choice of thick-cut bacon or country sausage) was excellent. My next trip to Matt’s will be for breakfast, no matter what time of the day it is.

    As luck would have it, we were in Phoenix Just in time for the Chinese New Year Festival (who knew Phoenix had such a thing?).

    Phoenix Chinese New Year Festival
    Image

    Image

    This was a nice little community event held in a local park. There weren’t a lot of food options, but there were a couple interesting things to check out.

    Island Noodle Company Soba Noodles
    Image

    These folks were serving wok fried soba noodles as quickly as they could fry them.

    Hao Bao Food Truck
    Image

    Unlike the soba noodle stand, which didn’t employ a single Chinese person, the Hao Bao truck was run by a Chinese-American couple serving up dumplings, cold noodle salad and chicken along with freshly brewed iced green tea.

    Hao Bao Dumplings
    Image

    These pot stickers were pretty good and were a nice snack. Unfortunately, these two offerings were it in terms of Chinese food. There may have been a couple of other food stands serving typical carny stuff, but I ignored them. At least Miss Chinese Phoenix was there holding court.

    Image

    What do you do with a dragon boat in the middle of the desert? You put it on a trailer and let people gawk at it.

    Image

    This is an annual event, so it might be worth checking out in years to come.

    Texaz Grill
    Not having found much to eat at the Chinese Fest, I made a stop at the Ronnie Suburban recommended Texaz Grill on the way back to my hotel. Though they are known for her chicken fried steaks, I opted for the RS recommended smoked prime rib sandwich. Smoked Prime Rib is another of their house specials, and they only make a limited amount and usually run out early. In fact, I was served the last order of the day. My server (the bartendress) was very friendly and offered up several suggestions on places to eat. Unfortunately, my time in Phoenix was limited and most of her suggestions will have to wait for a return visit.

    The lighting at the bar was provided by a variety of neon signs, so my pictures are not so great. Don’t let the odd color of these shots dissuade you from visiting the Texaz Grill! It’s a great place. Next time, it’s chicken fried steak for me.

    Texaz Grill Bar
    Image

    Here you can see what I was up against. This was the lighting (and the lovely bartendress), that was available to take pictures.

    Texaz Grill Smoked Prime Rib Sandwich
    Image

    Roy’s Restaurant
    Dinner that night was nothing special. We decided to take advantage of the amenities at our hotel, the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. There is a Roy’s Restaurant on the property, so we made reservations to eat dinner there. I left my camera in the room and instead used my cell phone for these pictures, so, like the ones from Texaz Grill, you’ll have to forgive the quality.

    Roy’s at the JW Marriott
    Image

    We started out with an order of their Szechuan Spiced Pork Ribs.

    Roy’s Szechuan Spiced Pork Ribs
    Smoked and Glazed in Roy’s Original Mongolian Sauce
    Image

    As expected, these were as sweet as sugar candy, but they were perfectly cooked and pretty good.

    For our mains, we stuck with a couple of their classic fish preparations.

    Roy’s Misoyaki “Butterfish”
    Alaskan Black Cod - Baby Bok Choy - Furikake Rice
    Image

    Other than the overarching theme of sweetness, this was a pretty good dish. The fish was indeed “buttery” and the rice and bok choi were good accompaniments.

    Roy’s Roasted Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi
    Lobster Cream Sauce
    Image

    Although the fish was a little overcooked, the Chow Poodle still devoured it all.

    For hotel dining, you could do worse than Roy’s, but you can easily do better if you get in the car and go almost anywhere else.

    Andreoli
    The next day, we met up with Dmnkly and a few of his Phoenix Food Nerds friends at Andreoli. Not only was it nice to see Dom, but Andreoli was easily the food highlight of the trip.

    Dmnkly at Andreoli
    Image

    Andreoli reminded me very much of the late lamented Panozzo’s deli on S. Michigan Ave. There is a counter/display case where you order, and then the food is brought to your table. Everything is made from scratch by the owner who hails from Italy and was trained in the old school ways. He scratch makes nearly everything, from the bread and cheese to the prosciutto and desserts. Andreoli had just been featured on DDD a couple of days before we arrived, so the Phoenix Food Nerd contingent was lamenting the fact that massive hordes of people were soon to descend on what had been their little secret. It reminded me of when the DDD episode featuring Cemitas Puebla first aired. I’m glad we got there when we did, because everything was still pretty laid back and the food was excellent.

    The Counter at Andreoli
    Image

    Andreoli Bocca di Rossa
    eggplant, mozzarella, tomato sauce and parmigiana
    Image

    Wow, wow, wow. What a sandwich. Everything about it was wonderful; from the house baked bread to the stewed eggplant and house made mozzarella. This sandwich achieved a perfect balance of ingredients.

    Andreoli House Made Burrata
    Image

    Fresh, creamy excellent.

    Andreoli Ribollita
    Image

    This was also very good, but I kept thinking of the ribolitta served at PQM and how I prefer that version over this. That’s not to say that this version wasn’t very good, it’s just that we are lucky to have PQM turning out their version.

    Andreoli Bollito de Manzo e Dagnetto Verdi
    boiled grass fed beef, boiled new potato and green sauce
    Image

    This reminded me of what Italian Beef would be like if it were served in a chunk with some juice. It was a little on the bland side until one added the accompanying pesto-like green sauce. That elevated the dish. I really enjoyed this a lot.

    Andreoli Fries
    Image

    Dmnkly tells the story of how the owner’s daughter implored him to order the fries for the longest time. He never did because he didn’t want to give up valuable stomach space on something as mundane as fries. Eventually he ordered them and out came this delicious plate of fresh cut fries. He’s never skipped ordering them again. I agree with that decision. These are some great fries and I loved the strips of leek that come with them. Although I could pass on the accompanying “special sauce”, I wouldn’t hesitate to order these again.

    Even though we were stuffed by this point (there were a couple of pasta courses served as well), we had to try some of the house made desserts. Thery were also great across the board.

    Andreoli Baba au Rhum
    Image

    More correctly, these could be called Rhum au Baba because these beauties were packed with rum. Eating one of them was like dong a shot. I was probably over the legal limit by the time we left.

    Andreoli Sfogliatelle
    Image

    Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. What’s not to like?

    Andreoli Apricot Cookies
    Image

    Simple and delicious.

    If you’re going to Phoenix in the near future, you should get to Andreoli before it’s too late (if it isn’t too late already).

    LAMP Wood Oven Pizza

    To make up for a horrendous pizza experience we had on our first night in Phoenix at a place that I will not name (dinner with the CP’s aunt at their favorite place in Gilbert), we headed to the Phoenix Food Nerd recommended LAMP Pizza in North Scottsdale. LAMP Pizza is the real deal, cooking in a wood fired oven reminiscent of the one at Forno Rosso. (Again, these pictures will suffer because they were shot with my cell phone.)

    LAMP Pizza Oven
    Image

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    We started out with an appetizer of eggplant parmigiana.

    LAMP Pizza Eggplant Parmigiana
    Image

    The verdict? Skip it.

    LAMP Pizza Mignulata
    Sicilian Stuffed Bread with LAMP Sicilian Sausage, Pecorino & Cauliflower
    Image

    As pedestrian as the eggplant dish was, this was the polar opposite. A great, unique way to start off your meal.

    LAMP Pizza “The Gem”
    LAMP Sicilian Sausage, Natural Casing Pepperoni, Ricotta, Garlic & Oregano
    Image

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    Although this pizza suffered from too much stuff on top, the taste was great. I’d like to see a lighter hand with the toppings, but otherwise, this was a pretty decent pizza.

    In-N-Out

    On our way out of town, we stopped at an In-N-Out close to the airport for the Chow Poodle’s first In-N-Out experience.
    Image

    We had a couple double doubles and some fries.

    In-N-Out Double Double
    Image

    It is what it is. Not being that big of a fast food chain fan, I found the burger somewhat disappointing when compared to the “facsimile” being served at Redhot Ranch on Ashland. Of course, if you want to compare chain against chain, I still think the In-N-Out burger plays second fiddle to Culver’s, where at least you get some nice lacy edges on the burger.

    I don’t get to In-N-Out all that often, but I seem to remember their burgers being much better than the ones we were served at this particular location in Tempe. I know In-N-Out has its fans. All I can say is YMMV.

    Matt’s Big Breakfast
    825 North 1st Street
    Phoenix, AZ 85004
    (602) 254-1074

    Phoenix Chinese New Year Celebration
    Margaret T. Hance Park (East)
    1202 N. 3rd Street
    Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Texaz Grill
    6003 N. 16th St
    Phoenix, AZ 85016
    (602) 248-7827

    Roy’s Restaurant
    JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
    5350 East Marriott Drive
    Phoenix, AZ 85054
    (480) 419-7697

    Andreoli
    8880 E Vía Linda
    Scottsdale, AZ 85258
    (480) 614-1980

    LAMP Wood Oven Pizza
    8900 E Pinnacle Peak Rd
    Scottsdale, AZ 85255
    (480) 292-8773

    In-N-Out Burger
    920 East Playa Del Norte Drive
    Tempe, Arizona 85281
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #58 - March 5th, 2015, 9:30 am
    Post #58 - March 5th, 2015, 9:30 am Post #58 - March 5th, 2015, 9:30 am
    Steve-

    I followed you and Chow Poodle into Scottsdale. My visit to Andreoli was on Ash Wednesday and wasn't over-crowded. I suspect the DDD crowds might come with the onset of spring training fans. Next time you're there, I highly recommend FnB. I'm *still* thinking about the bok choy dish...
    -Mary
  • Post #59 - March 5th, 2015, 10:55 am
    Post #59 - March 5th, 2015, 10:55 am Post #59 - March 5th, 2015, 10:55 am
    The GP wrote:Steve-

    I followed you and Chow Poodle into Scottsdale. My visit to Andreoli was on Ash Wednesday and wasn't over-crowded. I suspect the DDD crowds might come with the onset of spring training fans. Next time you're there, I highly recommend FnB. I'm *still* thinking about the bok choy dish...


    We definitely planned on hitting FnB. We just ran out of time.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #60 - March 5th, 2015, 8:41 pm
    Post #60 - March 5th, 2015, 8:41 pm Post #60 - March 5th, 2015, 8:41 pm
    I was just in Scottsdale for a conference which this year was held at the J W Marriott in Scottsdale and have to say the evening food service at the patio restaurant was dreadful ... the food not much better. Breakfast was fine. i ordered a salad, burger and Mojito ... after having to go looking for someone to seat me then having a waitress question why I was seated where I was then waiting some mpre for a menu and water ... wait again and get a green salad that was iceburg and barely anything else ... still no cocktail ... finally got cocktail then my burger - ordered med rare with just a slice of tomato came out smothered in cheese, bacon, sauces, no idea what else. They were busy but not surprisingly so ... it was just so unpleasant. Last year the conference was across the street at the Omni Montelucia and I missed it so much ... esp the food!

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