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

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Herb Box

While often considered an 'also-ran' in a corridor that showcases Marcellino, Cowboy Ciao, Barrio Queen, and Citizen Public house The Herb Box offers a solid menu that excels at providing healthy options you can actually enjoy. 

The 'Must Try'- Start off the meal with Crispy Falafel Bites

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Straight out Brooklyn, Mission District, or even Austin comes the preferred home of the Phoenix hipster.  A very solid menu, patio and ambiance.  Conversely the parking situation and service leave a little to be desired.

The 'Must Try'- Crab Cake Eggs Benedict

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Oakland A's Spring Training Dining Guide for Phoenix

Well A's fan, 2013 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 Eatery- Craving 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 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.