Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Modern Grove

Takes a page from the LGO/Liberty Market blueprint for creating the neighborhood friendly market/bar that seems to be ever popular these days. While the flavors might not sing like the other two the price points keep them in the game.

The 'Must Try'- Strawberry Chicken Salad

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

A solid burger offering to be sure but at this stage in the game it is given 'also ran' status as it fails to distinguish itself from the ever growing $7+ gourmet burger field.  Also feels more FoxRC and less Austin which is kind of disappointing considering that Scottsdale would be well served by giving up some of its rhino-plasticized pretense in favor of a willingness to 'keep it weird'.

The' Must Try'- The Goodnight Burger, winner of the 2014 Scottsdale Culinary Festival Burger Battle

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Flavors of Louisiana

Sure it is way out in the west Valley but the drive is much shorter then a flight to Baton Rouge for those who want prime Cajun flavor.  The ingredients of the shrimp Po Boy blend together like the sweet sounds of Dixeland jazz and the offering here is akin to listening to that jazz performed by Louie Armstrong.

The 'Must Try'- Shrimp Po Boy but don't let that be the only thing you order

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SaBai Modern Thai

You enter and you are a little disoriented.  There are no customary photos of the Thai royal family and you pause to ask yourself if anything good come out of a building that once housed a Wendy's. But the service is efficient, the ambiance surprisingly charming, and the food on par with the better Thai spots in the area.

The 'Must Try'- Avocado Curry with Chicken (Something off the beaten path)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Desert Jade

We need to send a modern day Marco Polo back to the Orient because Chinese food in Phoenix is seriously lacking.  Like many we want dependable Chinese in the area and we want this to be the spot.  Most nights, however, we have to get the itch scratched with PeiWei.

The' Must Try'- Wor Wonton Soup

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Phoenix 'Bakers' Dozen

With bread being the 'staff of life' and all we felt it was important to highlight the best spots in Phoenix to get this timeless staple.  Since it is has played a critical role in the development of nearly every culture on the planet we have opted for a list that highlights the many interpretations of how the power and taste of grain can be harnessed.

Whether you need something to end table your meats or you just want something lightly buttered here is our list of the best spots in Phoenix.

  1. Pane Bianco- With a devotion to the old crafts, grain varieties, and recipes from an era that predates General Mills, Chris and Marco Bianco have opened our eyes to what bread should taste like.  While the bread is perfectly sublime on its own we prefer to enjoy ours in the form of a caprese sandwich.
  2. Wildflower- While technically a chain it still manages to maintain the charm and connection of something locally entrenched in the community.  They have have about 17 breads served daily and most accompany the other dishes in one form or another.
  3. La Purisima- A morning visit to sample some Pan Dulce, Encocado, or Pina Empanadas is all you need to realize why the neighborhood Mexican bakery is a flurry of activity every morning. La Purisima and its sister La Promesa have long been serving Central Phoenix with these south of the border staples.
  4. Middle Eastern Bakery- Let's take the party to the cradle of civilization.  The menu is straight from the Cedars of Lebanon but there are also items from as far west as Greece. Their pita lightly warmed on a skillet with some olive oil is a revelation into why this is considered a staple for an entire region.
  5. Chompies- From Jerusalem to New York to Phoenix comes the Jewish deli with the widest reach.  They have an expansive menu that covers all of the bases while also making room to get creative with Southwestern inspired ingredients.
  6. Essence Bakery- From the humble origins of Middle-Eastern and Jewish baked goods we move to the haute world inhabited by the French.  The macaroons are the reason you make the trip but the  counter is full of items that satisfy the taste buds.
  7. Whole Grain Natural Bread- This place will remind you of the fresh scents that used to come out of Grandma's kitchen.  Great bread but spectacular oatmeal cookies.
  8. MJ Bread- The other half of the Tammie Coe baked goods empire.  You will find their treats at LGO and many other spots throughout town.  This is where you go when you want to make an impact when you host your next soiree.
  9. Old Heidleburg German Bakery- While we may never understand our Bavarian friends affection for Hasselhoff we trust them implicitly when it comes to things that require precision, such as baking. Great pretzel rolls and some of the best rye bread in the Valley.
  10. Kneaders- This place is the favorite aunt who will not let you leave until you have sufficiently gorged yourself in her kitchen.  Come here on a Saturday morning for their unlimited french toast and you will know what I mean.  You might be leaving full but make sure you take a loaf of ciabatta for later.
  11. AJ's- They pride themselves of being the purveyors of fine foods and their bakery certainly makes the cut. We visit their boulangerie after dinner because in most cases it is cheaper and better then what was offered at the restaurant.
  12. Karsh's- We mourn with the rest of Phoenix at the passing of this long time Kosher gem.  This was the place you went on the weekend for some of the city's best danishes. 
  13. We are leaving #13 up to you.  What is another Phoenix bakery that deserves recognition?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Grassroots kitchen & tap

The place has definitely created an atmosphere that fits the neighborhood. The menu ventures beyond most neighborhood comfort staples and that merits an extra visit or two. The place has a polish and creativity that reflects the varied experience of ownership.

 The 'Must Try'- Roots BBQ Brisket

Thursday, March 20, 2014

LAMP Pizzeria

While not quite in the same league as heavy weights Pomo, Pizzeria Bianco, or Cibo it offers the best pie North of Shea.  Makes for a great end of a day exploring the lush desert foothills of far North Scottsdale.

The 'Must Try'- The Gem

Monday, March 17, 2014


I sure hope the brave Ulysses ate this well when he was wondering around the Mediterranean.  A great menu that fuses the freshest seafood with the finest Italian culinary traditions. A no-brainer for any happy hour short list.

The 'Must Try'- The Adriatic Stew

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Paradise Valley Burger Company

The creativity of this ambitious menu helps PV Burger stand out in the difficult terrain between the fast food and gourmet burger price point. A slight upgrade in their ingredients and this place will quickly outgrow the strip mall in which it resides and move to the upper echelon of the Phoenix burger scene.

The 'Must Try'- The Beach House Burger