Monday, March 23, 2015

La Torretta Ristorante


Fits the old-school Italian stereotype to a T, down to the Sinatra in the background and Godfather poster on the wall.  All of the classic dishes are present as well as the all of the traditional cliches. Still, friendly service and a good place to get comfortable with some Veal Parmesan.

The 'Must Try'- Veal Scaloppini alla Parmigiana



La Torretta Ristorante And Italian Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 13, 2015

Joyride Tacos


The hipsters at Upward Projects have stolen Nana's old family recipes, awesomely re-purposed another Phoenix building, and given us another reason to head up Central Ave for a Friday happy hour.

The 'Must Try'- Pick a Plate of Tacos





Joyride Taco House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 11, 2015




Well A's fan, 2014 was pretty good but I imagine expectations are inching higher.  The road back to the playoffs this year all starts at Spring Training and Phoenix welcomes you with open arms.  We want to do you a solid and provide you with the insiders guide to the best eats that are close to your "Muni".  Whether you like to pull a "Billy Beane" and are in search of an undervalued gem or you want to splurge while you are down here we've got you covered.  All of these are close by so you have no reason to travel far.

Here are our favorites.


The Most Important Meal
You don't be driving to the game with some serious hunger pangs.  You want to be happy and not subject to hunger driven extortion that comes in the form of a $7 hot dogs come lunch. Here are few spots close by that will start your day right.

  1. Essence Bakery-A great chance to got a great French inspired breakfast without dealing with the European snobbery.  Take your pick from the menu but don't leave with getting a few macaroons for
    the road. 
  2. Over Easy- A great throw back to the breakfast you remember having as a kid.  Sit back, enjoy the local hospitality, and do yourself a favor by ordering some waffle dogs. Don't ask, just order.
  3. Farm at South Mountain- This place is a world away from the Phoenix urban desert.  The kind of place you take the kids to on a Saturday morning before the game to get some fresh food, kill some time, and take in some crisp air.
  4. Crêpe Bar- Sure this place has crepe's in all their traditional glory but step off the beaten path for one of their regionally inspired offerings like the breakfast burrito crepe.  After all we are just north of the border.
Lunch Time
While you can't argue with action on the diamond most ball park food is beyond suspect.  Save your digestive track and your wallet a little pain by taking in a few of these places prior to the opening pitch.
  1. Rehab Burger- A triple threat that will give you a spot to wet your whistle, mellow out, and enjoy Old Town's best hamburger.  Who says you need to be by the beach in order to have a cheeseburger in paradise.
  2. Defalco's Italian EateryCraving some Italian Sausage?  Look no further then the closest thing that Scottsdale has to something that could survive in North Beach.. This long time staple has a deep menu and enough options to make multiple visits.
  3.  America's Taco's- We are just a few hours from old Mexico so we can claim some authenticity.  Straight from Sinaloa this place serves up some of the best Carne Asada and Al Pastor in Phoenix.. Complete the meal with some Mexican corn on the cob or elote.
  4. Rula Bula- Brussels Sprouts never tasted so good.  The place is tops for ambiance and good Irish comfort food.  The perfect place when you want to visit Mill Ave but don't want to deal with the college debauchery.

Dinner
Dinner is the best time to cut loose and open up the wallet.  You are centrally located to some of best options in the Valley.  Here are a few that are all close to the ball park action.
  1. Gertrude's- Not only are you minutes away and in the most lush desert setting in the Southwest you will also be treated to the culinary wizardry of some of the best minds in the business. This place brings the best Arizona has to offer by utilizing fresh ingredients directly from the farm and pasture to the plate
    Gertrude’s brings the best Arizona has to offer by utilizing fresh ingredients directly from the farm and pasture to the plate. - See more at: http://www.gertrudesrestaurant.net/about/#sthash.LRhjmM68.dpuf
  2. Caffe Boa- Chances are that you will want to head back down to Mill Avenue to take in the buzz generated by Arizona State University.  Boa offers perfect melding of Italian and American offerings.
  3. Stockyards- Touted as the 'Original Arizona Steakhouse' this is a great place to experience our western heritage.  A completely red blooded experience.
  4. A Mexican Double- We couldn't select just one great spot for Mexican in the area.  Here are two of our favorites. The Mission is Mexican 2.0.  But the menu goes far south of old Mexico and offers a fresh take on many of the core dishes that define Latin cuisine.  Also, the Barrio Queen, the latest offering from local legend Silvana Esparza, has the area's best and widest selection of tacos.

We could go on and on but we figure that this should tide you over during your desert stay.  Any more suggestions and you might have to take up a more permanent residency.  Feel free to visit Bitesizedphoenix.com for a list of more approved suggestions that cover the entire Valley of the Sun.
We want to a reward your "Green Collar" baseball with a red carpet Spring Training experience.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Make it at home: The Osso Bucco & Spaetzle at Beckett's Table

Beckett's Table is one of the destination restaurants in the greater Arcadia Area.  Want the flavor but not the crowds?    This recipe is one of our favorites.

At Beckett's Table they use a 3" tall piece of center cut pork shank.  This cut of meat is perfect for cooking confit style until it is "fall off the bone" tender.  Before they confit the pork we brine it in a dry rub of sugar, salt, fresh thyme & bay leaves, spices, shallots & garlic overnight to add a very tasty flavor into the dish. This tender and flavorful piece of pork is perfect on top of spaetzel and sautéed veggies.



Spaetzle Recipe: (serves 4)
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1 pinch nutmeg
dash white pepper
oil for sauteing
butter to finish
mix together all the ingredients except the butter & oil
using a whisk, stir until the batter has a very thick pancake like consistency
let the batter sit in the fridge for up to an hour before cooking
to cook use a double boiler with a perforated pan on top
pour some of the batter onto the perforated pan & push it through with a flat  rubber spatula
once the batter has been pushed through, lift the perforated pan & gently stir the noodle like pieces in the boiling water
strain the noodles out & place into ice water
once cool through remove from water, drain well and place onto a cookie sheet or flat surface

place salad oil in saute pan
once oil starts to smoke, add in the spaetzle
stir around immediately so the spaetzle does not stick
once it starts to brown, flip the spaetzle
add some whole butter, herbs, salt & pepper & serve hot

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Chicago Cubs 2015 Spring Training Dining Guide



A warm welcome to our dear friends from the Windy City.  Chances are you've either been to the Valley before or you have a random Uncle who now resides in one of those fancy retirement communities that dot our landscape.  While you might be familiar with what the greater Phoenix area has to offer we are confident in our ability to introduce you to some new gems during your stay.  And the great thing is they are all moments from your beloved ball park.

Let's get started...

A Hearty Way to Start Your Day
The East Valley is home to many long time transplants from the Midwest so there are plenty of hearty 'corn fed' options that will start your day on the right foot.  Here's a few we like.

1.     Over Easy- A beloved recent addition to the breakfast landscape that offers the from scratch cooking, throw back décor and Midwestern hospitality. Sit back, enjoy the local hospitality, and do yourself a favor by ordering some waffle dogs. Don't ask, just order.
2.     Cracker and Co- Another destination that will serve a full day sustaining breakfast.  Your dishes will be swimming in creams and calories but don't worry, you're on vacation.
3.      Liberty Market- The crown jewel of historic Gilbert.  Owner Joe Johnston has done a marvelous job creating a menu and atmosphere that captures the farming roots of the area in a modern bistro setting.

Loving Lunch
 While you may be spending most of your afternoons at the diamond you don't need to waste all of your calories and food budget there as well.  There are numerous places close by that can provide you with a memorable lunch.

1.     Cornish Pasty- The folks at the Cornish Pasty Company have transformed this simple staple into a family of sweet and savory meat pockets that have a flavor to satisfy most appetites.
2.     Empanada Republic- How about a meaty or sweet pocket with a Latin flare?  The Republica has the best empanada options from virtually every nation south of Mexico. 
3.     Rancho de Tia Rosa- This place is spacious and decorated ceiling to floor with some of the most kitschy Mexican decor  but don't let that distract you from the best Mole and salmon tacos in town. The location in North Mesa has since closed, head to the other spot in Gilbert.
4.     The Queen Creek Olive Oil Mill- As it is a good 20 miles southeast of the stadium this is best enjoyed as a half day excursion. Come to tour the working olive mill and stay to enjoy the myriad culinary delights that are enhanced by this timeless oil. 

Supper Time
Pass up the temptation to drive into Scottsdale or Phoenix and savor the up and coming East Valley scene.  There are plenty of options to suit most tastes and here are a few of the most distinguished.

1.     Beaver Choice- You walk in and it looks like Ikea, You look around at the patrons and you swear you are at a Bingo night in Duluth. Enjoy the Prairie Home Companion vibe of this place and sit back for an evening enjoying the best Scandinavian and Canadian food in all of Phoenix.
2.     Joe's Farm House- The farm is a wee bit of a drive but the journey is easily rewarded upon your first bite of a fontina burger.  The artfully renovated mid century farm house has been re-purposed into something called 'agritopia' and it will open your eyes to what it means to eat farm fresh.  Cap off your visit with one of their date shakes.
3.     Backyard Taco- With all of the hipster joints turning a small taco into $5 affairs it is nice to find the old dives that serve them up right.... sizzling hot and cheap.  A solid spot that provides a great authentic street taco experience.

We could go on and on but we figure that this should tide you over during your desert stay.  Any more suggestions and you might have to take up a more permanent residency.  Feel free to visit Bitesizedphoenix.com for a list of more approved suggestions that cover the entire Valley of the Sun. Remember, just because you might be spending your afternoons at the diamond doesn't mean you have to tolerate its food.


And remember Cubs fans...this is the year!



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Steak 44



The good folk behind the masterful Mastro's have created a steakhouse for the next generation.  Yes, the meat is all expertly executed but the real treats come when you explore the supporting cast which are a clear step above the traditional steakhouse sides.


The 'Must Try'- The Crispy Shrimp


Steak 44 on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 19, 2015



Third Annual Eight’s Check, Please! ArizonaFestival
Set for Sun., March 22, 2015, 11am-3pm
Show-Inspired Event Delivers Eclectic Collection of Independents all in one place

Phoenix, Ariz. (Feb. 18, 2015) – While the Emmy Award-winning television hit, Eight’s, Check, Please! Arizona continues unabated, its culinary cousin, Eight’s Check, Please! Arizona Festival continues on its own glorious path for a third straight year of pleasing fans of local, independent eateries, celebrated once again, Sun., March 22, 2015, 11am-3pm at CityScape in downtown Phoenix.

Check, Please! Arizona is one of the most popular locally produced programs on Eight, Arizona PBS. And Eight will again transform CityScape into a haven for food adventurists, a one-stop exploration of Arizona’s independent restaurant collective that ranges from every-day hamburger haunts to five-star gourmet establishments.

In its third year, the event is crowned with a gathering of Arizona’s James Beard Foundation award-winners, among them, Emmy Award-winning host of Eight’s Check, Please! Arizona Robert McGrath, plus Christopher Gross, Chris Bianco, and Nobuo Fukuda.

In addition, as Arizona’s culinary scene continues to advance in global sophistication, the 2015 version of the event will also showcase overlays by Arizona’s chef talent, including a second panel of top Valley chefs, in addition to a lineup of cooking demonstrations by local chefs on two stages, provided by SubZero/Wolf, and a tour of favorite wines by Chef Christopher Gross, including tastings and tips for food pairings.

The festival also will be adding several new restaurants to the lineup this year from Check, Please! Arizona’s five seasons on-air, as well as featuring many returning favorites, to date including:

Switch Restaurant & Wine Bar
The Wild Thaiger
Salerno’s
Haus Murphy’s
Frasher’s Steakhouse & Lounge
The Salt Cellar
Flavors of Louisiana
Rancho Pinot
Cowboy Ciao
Jewel of the Crown
Cucina Tagliani
Tarbell’s
San Tan Brewing Company
Thee Pitts “Again”
Hob Nob
Phoenix City Grille
Red, White and Brew
Betty’s Nosh
Avanti Restaurant
MacAlpine’s Restaurant & Soda Fountain
TEXAZ Grill

TICKETS. Tickets are available at www.azpbs.org/checkplease/festival. General admission in advance is $79; at the door tickets are $89. Tickets include food, wine and beer sampling as well as panel discussions, cooking demonstrations and guest lectures. NOTE: Last year, the event sold out.

For more information on sponsorship and participation opportunities with Eight’s Check, Please! Arizona Festival, please contact Chelsea Fox at R Entertainment Co., 480.657.7333 ext.15 or email Chelsea@r-entertainment.com.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The San Francisco Giants 2015 Spring Training Dining Guide




First off, congratulations are in order to Giants and their faithful following! We expect that you will be descending upon Scottsdale in droves full of pride and super high expectations.   Once again the good people of Bitesized Phoenix are here to ensure that you are satisfactorily nourished during your stay in the Valley.  We would hate for you waste your dinner budget on the 2 for $19.99 special at Applebee's. Below are some options that are all within 10 minutes from the stadium.  You might even "say hey" I can get a pretty darn good meal in this town.

The Breakfast Beat
You Giants fans have it lucky.  Your home base is in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale.  This little Western nook has some of the Valley's best breakfast spots with each location catering to your varied tastes.  While it's a shame that we recently lost one of your gems, Dottie's, there still are options a plenty.  Here are just a few.

Huevos con Masa at Breakfast Club
1.     Light and Healthy- The Chop Shop packs the perfect punch of green and tasty.  This is a great way to start your day if you anticipate eating 3 hotdogs at the game and you need to alleviate some guilt. The fresh juice selection is definitely worth the trip. They also have some great lunch options.

2.     Heavy and Hearty- Disregard the fact that this is the go-to place for feared rival Bryce Harper and come by to fill up your tank at the Breakfast Club. Go the distance and get their eggs Benedict. You might want to share it with a friend.

3.     A Border Delight- We are just a few hours from old Mexico so we can claim some authenticity.  Sinaloa inspired America's Taco's has Scottsdale's best breakfast burrito.  And remember it doesn't count if it doesn't contain chorizo. The carne asada is also a favorite for lunch or dinner.

4.     Something Nostalgic- Over Easy is a great throw back to the breakfast you remember having as a kid.  Sit back, enjoy the local hospitality, and do yourself a favor by ordering some waffle dogs. Don't ask, just order.

The Lunch Hour Primer
While most of your games will be played in the afternoon, you don't want to be stuck relying on a $6 dog day-in and day-out.  We recommend satisfying your appetite at a few of these spots.

1.      Jimmy Buffett Lite- Rehab Burger is a triple threat that will give you a spot to wet your whistle, mellow out, and enjoy Old Town's best sandwich.  Who says you need to be by the beach in order to have a cheeseburger in paradise.

Cornish Pasty Co.
   2.     Little Italy- Craving some Italian Sausage?  Look no further then the closest thing that Scottsdale has to something that could survive in North Beach, Defalco's Italian Eatery. This long time staple has a deep menu and enough options to make multiple visits.

   3.     Sonoran Style- You can't leave Arizona without a nice big plate of the old school Mexican food that helped define this region.  Stop by El Molino and pick a few items from the menu. It contains all of the old standards ranging from tacos to tostadas to enchiladas.   
4.     Eat Like a 14th Century English Miner- The hipsters at the  Cornish Pasty Company have transformed this simple staple into a family of sweet and savory meat pockets that have a flavor to satisfy most appetites. These things are so tasty that you might feel a bit like Buster Posey as you jealously guard your plate.

Dinner in Style
The evening will present you with the best opportunity to stretch your wallet and splurge with some of our better options.  The list of options in the area is large but here are some of our favorites.

1.      Latin Fusion- The Mission is Mexican 2.0.  But the menu goes far south of old Mexico and offers a fresh take on many of the core dishes that define Latin cuisine.  Also, the Barrio Queen, the latest offering from local legend Silvana Esparza, has the area's best and widest selection of tacos. Feeling guilty that you haven't had your veggies this trip?  Drop by Diego Pops and sample their down right delectable Brussels Sprout Nachos en route to an tacos and tequila. 

2.   \  Preferred Local Watering Holes- Old Town has many spots that have won favor with locals, here are two of the best.  Citizen Public House offers a contemptory and upscale version of the traditional public house. While there are many items on the menu worth your time, do not leave with having the chopped salad.  Eddie's House features a menu as varied and eccentric as owner and local figure, Eddie Matney.

3.     Upscale Italian- There are enough great  trattoria's in Scottsdale that you could swear that the Appian way led you here.The two that stand out are Marcellino's and Franco's. Both have impressive old world pedigrees. Want some pizza?  Head up the road to Pomo, home of the only pizza on the east side of town worthy of the Vera Pizza Napoletana certificate of authenticity. 

Binkley's
4.     Feeling Red Blooded?-  This town has no shortage of joints that cater to the carnivore.  Mastro's City Hall and Don & Charlie's both have a long and tasty history in Scottsdale.  Ben & Jack's is a recent newcomer to the area and it has its  'dry aged' roots firmly planted in famed Brooklyn steakhouse, Peter Luger. Are you a Spring Training purist?  Then the only place for you is the Pink Pony.  Steeped in history it has been a long time staple for our baseball loving visitors.

5.     Couldn't Get Into the French Laundry Back Home?- You don't have to worry about a months long waiting list at Binkley's.  French Laundry alum, Kevin Binkley, is putting his training to good use and he has three locations across the Valley so that you can sample his genius with relative ease. We recommend making the drive up north to Cave Creek to spend an evening at Binkley's.


We could go on and on but we figure that this should tide you over during your desert stay.  Any more suggestions and you might have to take up a more permanent residency.  Feel free to visit Bitesizedphoenix.com for a list of more approved suggestions that cover the entire Valley of the Sun. Remember, just because you might be spending your afternoons at the diamond doesn't mean you have to tolerate its food.

Go Giants!








Saturday, February 7, 2015

Streets of New York Pizza


For those moments when you don't need VPN certified, can't tolerate Dominoes, and just need something good and cheap for the family on a weekday night.

The 'Must Try'- Have the kids in tow?  Stick with standard pepporoni



Streets of New York on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 2, 2015

Canyon Cafe



The former Sam's Cafe was one of the first places in town to introduce the tasty melodies that can be produced when you blend Spanish, Southwestern, and Mexican culinary traditions. Still worth the wait should you be down town.

The 'Must Try'- The Salmon Flauta





Canyon Cafe on Urbanspoon