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Archive for the 'Restaurant Review' Category

Nourish

Posted on Aug. 5th 2011 No Comments »

Yummy Breakfast!

Ever want to go out for a meal but worry about what exactly you will end up eating? Do you have food allergies or prefer organic/ humane sources of produce and protein?  Nourish in Scottsdale has provided a haven for those dining out that have concerns about preparation and sourcing of ingredients.  The owner, Kirstin Carey, has Celiac disease which is the inability of the body to process gluten and leads to serious complications if a gluten free diet is not adhered to.  Unwilling to sacrifice her favorite foods, Nourish was developed out of her love of food and recreating dishes to be allergen free.  Wheat/Gluten Intolerance is not the only allergy to be considered. Corn, Dairy, Soy, Egg, Nut, and Vegan preparations are all taken in stride.

Taking a look at menu can be a very liberating experience for someone who has been limited in dining out options.  The menu clearly labels the dishes with what allergens they are free of.  It really takes the guess work out of making a decision!  If you are dining with others who have no allergy concerns, regular bread/pita options are available.  The kitchen follows a strict no-cross contamination policy when handling non-gluten items.

I was excited to have breakfast at Nourish and was thrilled to be ordering a waffle that was Dairy, Egg, Gluten/Wheat Free!  It was a healthy, delicious waffle that was made with chia seeds and cocoa powder. It arrived warm and fluffy.  Served with Agave syrup it was a real treat. The air crisped sweet potato fries were a perfect side dish.  My lunch date had an egg breakfast sandwich served with regular bread and the sweet potato hash.  He heartily dove in and was staring longingly at my waffle, which I happily shared.

The menu has so many appetizing choices, it can definitely make you want to come back for more.  The Nourish Healthy Colorful Mac & Cheese sounds delicious!  The gluten free pizzas would make a perfect casual lunch with friends.  A gluten free, organic wine and beer list also available. Do not miss the opportunity with dessert at Nourish.  They offer the Lemon Island Cheesecake by Innocent Indulgence that is just divine.  Nourish has also partnered with other local bakeries to provide other allergen free goodies.

Nourish will be hosting a Gluten Free Expo on August 13, 2011 and more information and tickets on this exciting event can be purchased here

The Mission

Posted on Jul. 19th 2011 No Comments »

Sometimes you just want to step off the beaten path and in busy Old Town Scottsdale that can be a challenge at times.  The Mission provides a culinary refuge tucked next to a small historic church in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale.  It boasts a swanky bar that is softly lit by a wall built with warm colored, salt bricks and the posh dining room is reminiscent of the quietly elegant charm of the 1920’s.  Whether you are in the mood for a killer margarita or some delicious, Latin inspired cuisine, The Mission is sure to delight.

 If you choose to dine in the bar area, you have the option of the common table to casually seat yourself or sit at the bar for a top notch view of all your tequila options.  The bar features premium cocktails and margaritas that are created with organic and hand pressed juices.  They are famous for their Red or White Sangria that isn’t too sweet but full of fruity flavor. Don’t forget to order their fresh, fabulous guacamole and house made chips while you decide on your entrée.  The bowl will be gone before you know it!
The Mission is perfect for sharing.  The appetizers can be ordered and shared because they are all so unique.  With options like Crispy Cola Pork ($12) (pork belly + cola + lime + chiltepin + peanut + pickled red onion + gem lettuce) or the Roast Corn Gordita  ($9) (squash + zucchini + gordita + huitlacoche + crema) it can be hard to choose, but they definitely get you inspired for your entrée.

A variety of boutique style tacos are offered with options from Mahi Mahi ($12-14) to sizzling skirt steak.  Fresh toppings and corn tortillas round out this dish.  If you are feeling a bit more culinary adventurous, try the Chorizo Porchetta ($24) (pork shoulder + chorizo + rosemary + cotija + white bean puree + sweet garlic crema).  On a date?  Why not share the Pork Shoulder ($ 32 serves two) pork shoulder + pineapple glaze + cilantro + red onions + 10 hand made corn tortillas make having a good time easy!
My favorite items on the menu have to be the white bean puree and the Espresso Churros.  I always order a side of the white bean puree with their smoky hint of cumin.  The Espresso Churros are delightful and served with an Espresso milkshake, perfect for dipping or sipping, which ever you prefer.

Please visit their website for lunch, dinner and brunch hours.

Bon Appetit!

Posted by Caroline | in Restaurant Review

Indulge Burgers and a Whole Lot More

Posted on Jun. 29th 2011 No Comments »

Giant Chocolate Chip Pancake!

 

Feel the need to indulge?  Indulge Burgers & More has you covered for every meal of the day.  Specializing in dishing out classic dishes with modern twists, Indulge Burgers & More is the perfect place to please your palate. From fried pickles to a just for kids menu, they make it accessible for everyone to indulge.  Gluten Intolerant patrons will love their GF menu because it doesn’t just take out the bread and leave you with the protein and veggies.  Instead, Indulge provides gluten free bread options such as English muffins for breakfast along with hot dog and hamburger buns.  Indulge also only serves meat that is Certified Humane.

The interior of Indulge is like a modern diner complete with an open kitchen window so you can see your order pop up.  Outside is a shaded and misted patio where you can enjoy Yappy Hour with your pooch in season.  Breakfast is served on Saturdays and Sundays only and that’s a breakfast you can look forward too.  You can order their giant pancakes filled with chocolate chip or smothered in cinnamon apples topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or try their different versions of Eggs Benedict, with choices like lobster, smoked salmon or veggies to name a few.  Their menu can turn into your own creation when you check off your selections for a build-your-own- omelet or burger.

Not feeling a burger?  Indulge offers appetizing salad and sandwich options, like the Indulge Salmon Salad or the Grilled Pesto Veggie Sandwich.  Indulge has a full cocktail bar for drinks and Happy Hour (3:30 to 6:30 p.m.) every day.   What has to be the most decadent item on menu though, even surpassing the Cinnamon Roll and Chocolate Croissant are their adult milkshakes.  Yummy milkshakes are created with your favorite liquors like Kahlua and Bourbon.  Imagine one of those milkshakes along with your favorite burger!

Indulge is open Sunday 9- 9 pm Saturday 9- 10 pm and Monday thru Friday 11- 10 pm

They are located in Scottsdale, on the Southwest corner of Shea and Scottsdale Rd.

http://www.indulgeburgers.com/index.html

Posted by Caroline | in Restaurant Review

Tempting Tempe Dining- Donna’s Bakery Cafe

Posted on Jun. 15th 2011 No Comments »

I recently had a conference to attend in Tempe and I was looking forward to trying out a new local place.  Not having had time to research prior, I found myself driving around at lunch time and finding my choices were limited to chains.  Even though some of those chains now use sea salt and have brown rice, it wasn’t what I wanted.  Lucky for me, in between the Panda and the roller skating hamburger, I spotted Donna’s Bakery Café

Nothing makes me happier than seeing a bakery sign, except actually walking into a bakery filled with the smell of baking bread.   Donna’s Bakery Café bakes all their own bread and they’re even a local supplier of baked goods to Asian supermarkets in town.  Pulling myself away from the all the tempting baked goods, I focused on ordering lunch to start.  They offer a daily $3.99 combo that includes a sandwich, chips and a fountain drink.  I ordered the combo of the day which was a turkey and cheese with crisp lettuce, tomato, red onion on soft, fresh baked wheat bread.  This was a generous sandwich and normally I would save half for later, but it was gone in a matter of minutes.  My co-worker ordered up the pulled BBQ pork sandwich on a fresh sandwich bun that he raved about.  I almost went to get a fork just so I could try it, but he took that sandwich out in 2 minutes flat. 

Choosing a dessert to go is very difficult.  Everything looks delicious.  Since Donna’s Bakery Café is Asian, European and American influenced, there are so many options.  BBQ Pork Buns, Chocolate Mousse Cake, Cheese Danishes, it’s all there waiting for you to decide.  My co-worker and I both picked up a loaf of bread and I also picked up a Cheese Danish and a Coconut Bun.  I also noticed a book with beautiful fresh fruit cakes and pastries that are available for catering and special events.

So if you find yourself near the NW corner of Kyrene and Elliot in Tempe, make sure you drop into this little gem.  They serve breakfast starting at 6:00 a.m. Monday thru Friday and 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  They are open until 7 p.m. Monday thru Saturday and until 5 p.m. on Saturday, so you have plenty of time to stock up on all that fresh bread.

http://www.donnasbakerycafe.com/index.html

Posted by Caroline | in Restaurant Review

The Greene House

Posted on May. 31st 2011 No Comments »

Roasted Salmon Salad

Craving the California coast but don’t see yourself landing in LAX anytime soon?  The tastes of California are closer than you think at The Greene House Kierland Commons.  The artful, seasonal menu follows the vibe of the California coast scene.  From the warm, cheery bungalow style décor to the delightful patio just perfect for sipping a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, its perfect setting for lunch with the girls or for entertaining the out of town friends.

On a recent trip to The Green House, I decided on the Roasted Salmon Salad ($16).  I have no problem ordering fish when I am actually in California, but always hesitate in Arizona.  It must be the lack of the ocean that causes the second thought. There is no need to worry as the fish is always fresh as well as their farm, fresh veggies.  The salmon was roasted with a crispy outside and tender, flaky on the inside.  It was served with cold, boiled fingerling potatoes and crisp butter lettuce.  The mustard, caper vinaigrette was delicious and I am actually still thinking about.  I want to put it on everything.  My foodie date had the Twin Kobe Beef Burgers ($13) served with crispy fingerlings.  Topped with aged cheddar and 1000 Island dressing it is a favorite of the man-crowd and burger lovers alike.

There is something to please everyone on the menu from vegetarian options to the standard meat and potatoes fare served with coastal California charm.  On Sundays bottles of wine are 50% and when there is al fresco weather the coveted patio can be quite full so reservations are recommended during peak times.

Posted by Caroline | in Restaurant Review, Vegetables

Native American Eats

Posted on May. 4th 2011 No Comments »

Chef Harrison Watchman

The Lexington Phoenix Hotel in downtown Phoenix has a convenient light rail station across the street and it also has a new, unconventional restaurant perfectly named Cycle.  Cycle is a pop up- catch it while you can restaurant that features the best of talented local chefs each week.  Ever changing local chefs take over each week to feature an innovative menu that reflects their passion.  Your servers for the evening all come from local, non profits and the tips they receive are turned into donations for their charities. 

An upcoming Cycle Pop Up experience that you will not want to miss is with Chef Harrison Watchman of Black Rock Foods. The menu will feature local indigenous foods that Chef Harrison Watchman of the Navajo Indian Nation has personally selected.  He will bring contemporary Native American cuisine to Cycle and your plate!  Seating is very limited so make your reservations now!

Black Rock Foods
May 13th-14th, 6:30pm-9:30pm. Reservations must be made online- space is limited

Follow Chef Harrison on Twitter: @hwatchman92
Prix fixe: $30 per person (Menu subject to change upon availability of products)

“You Bet Your Tacos”

First:

Mini Corncakes and sweet chili lime compound butter

Second (your choice of:)

Braised/Smoked Pulled Pork
3 Soft Corn Tortilla topped w/ Grapefruit Salsa, plopped on top of 3 sisters
Served with:
Grapefruit and Fennel on Mixed Greens w/ Parmesan and Shallot Vinaigrette

or

Grilled Chili-Lime Shrimp
3 Soft Corn Tortillas garnished w/ Avacado, Cilantro topped w/ goat/cotija cheese crema, pickled onions & Jalapenos
Served with:
Wild Rice and Quinoa w/ Cranberries w/ a citrus vinaigrette

Dessert:

Lemon Corn Meal Cake w/ Berries and Navajo Tea.  Served w/ a dollop of vanilla ice cream

Purveyors: Native Seeds Search, Red Lake Nations Foods

Posted by Caroline | in Restaurant Review

Royal Tea

Posted on Apr. 19th 2011 No Comments »

Rose Tea at the English Rose Tea Room in Carefree, Arizona

With the William and Kate’s wedding coming up in less than two weeks, it is time to get yourself ready for the festivities.  Take a leisurely drive up to the English Rose Tea Room in Carefree, Arizona and do spend a delightful hour or two drinking tea and nibbling on scones.  The English Rose Tea Room is a piece of England tucked into the shops on Easy Street in Carefree.  The tea room is elegant, quaint and brimming with all things tea from vintage teapots to the shabby chic furniture.  A lovely menu featuring English fare and all the trimmings for tea are offered.  I chose the The Duchess of Bedford’s Afternoon Tea ($24.95) which comes served on a three tiered platter of decadence.  The bottom tier has crustless tea sandwiches, my favorite being the Smoked Salmon & Creme Cheese with Lemon.  The second tier features just baked vanilla scones and the best tier is the top which features adorable mini eclairs, lavender shortbread cookies and petit fours just to name a few delights.  Your tea choice (the Rose tea is heavenly) is steeped loose leaf in your very own vintage style tea pot.  A silver tea strainer is placed over your teacup to catch the leaves when you pour.  The mismatched teapots and tea cups really give you the feeling you have gone back in time 100 yrs and you find yourself longing to wear a big, fancy hat.  The English Rose Tea Room has thought of everything, so if you really do want to wear a hat, feel free to borrow one out of their hat chest. 

If you are looking for a Royal Wedding Viewing Party look no further than the English Rose Tea Room.  On Friday,  April 29th look for the English Double Decker bus that will be parked out front.  Inside the Tea Room you can watch the recorded wedding and enjoy an English Tea complete with scones and wedding cake. Formal attire is required so ladies pull out that wedding dress or favorite gown and tiara and for the men a suit and tie is perfect.  This is a once in a lifetime celebration so make sure to have advance reservations. William and Kate wedding souvenirs are available for purchase. $50.00 per person not including tax or gratuity.  Please call 480-488-4812 for reservations.

Posted by Caroline | in Restaurant Review

The Art of Frozen Yogurt

Posted on Apr. 5th 2011 No Comments »

                                                                                                                          Sometimes it may seem a new Frozen Yogurt shop is opening up around the corner all over town, but only one brand has developed a sweet, cult-like following.  Yogurtology has broken the mold and coupled an impeccable, serenely vibrant interior and delicious frozen yogurt with taste that really delivers. 

Yogurtology has such a dedicated following that, even when things get chilly in Arizona, there is no shortage of patronage inside the bright, airy shop.  Upon arrival, you are greeted with a cheery hello and a friendly Yougurtologist will guide you while you create your very own froyo masterpiece.  Need an opportunity to sample before committing?  No problem, as you are offered the opportunity to sample away until you find your favorite flavor or combo.  Yogurtology offers daily flavors that are fat free, non-dairy and even some no sugar added options.  The best part is, whatever you choose, they are all low calorie!  Calories range between 78-179 for a four ounce serving, if you can defy the temptations of the topping bar. 

The flavors that Yogurtology have developed are incredible.  If the flavor signage reads Oatmeal Cookie, expect to be delighted when it tastes just like an Oatmeal Cookie.  The same is true for their Red Velvet, Lemon Meringue, Coconut and it goes on and on.  The all time customer favorite is Golden Cupcake Batter.  One taste and you will leave space for it in your roomy cup every time you come in.  Yogurtology pairs compatible flavors together in one machine so you can use the middle lever to swirl together a unique creation.  Chocolate Frosty swirled with Coconut becomes a delicious Mounds bar.   Root Beer and Classic Vanilla creates a refreshing Root Beer Float. 

Toppings are a delight to behold, and to cover your frozen yogurt with!  Feel like complementing your chosen flavors?  Add crushed graham cracker to your I Love NY Cheesecake or Coconut flakes to your Mounds combo swirl.  The toppings vary from the classic nut choices to the exotic like baklava or cream puffs.  Craving a jumbo pink marshmallow or dark chocolate Kit-Kats?  Yes, Yogurtology has that too!  The fruit options are always fresh, never from a can or frozen.  Top your creation off with a drizzle of chocolate syrup or the marshmallow crème that is cleverly disguised in a squeeze bottle labeled “Mayonnaise”.

Hard packs of your favorite flavors are available to keep your freezer stocked and your taste buds pleased at all times.  Yogurtology has become a regular gathering place because people find they leave happier and with a bounce in their step. Their friendly staff takes the time to chat and get to know you which is a rare find these days.  Yogurtology even welcomes Fidos with their Dogurt, Yogurtology’s frozen treat for your pooch.  The vision of Yogurtology extends beyond frozen yogurt and it has succeeded in creating a sense of community and a place to share with friends and loved ones.

Visit Yogurtology’s website for locations, coupon details, nutritional information and hours.  Yogurtology is also coming to Fashion Square soon!

Newest locations to visit:

Kierland Village Center (Next to Safeway) 6501 E. Greenway Pkwy #150 Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Scottsdale Store (Next to Safeway) 10749 N. Scottsdale Rd #103 Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Posted by Caroline | in Restaurant Review

Take time for Afternoon Tea

Posted on Mar. 21st 2011 No Comments »

Tea Pastries in their Natural Habitat

One of the highlights of having a Five Diamond resort in the Phoenix Valley is that there is a certain award winning tea that is hosted daily in its very own tea lobby court.  The Phoenician has been hosting a traditional English tea every afternoon in season for its guests.  Feel free to leave the oversized hat at home, but pearls are most welcome.  You’ll want to dress up a bit so you don’t feel like the china and silverware are stealing the show.

In true tea fashion, once you have picked your desired tea choice, it arrives in your very own personal tea pot.  Choices are varied from within the categories of  Herbal, Scented, Green and Black and the proverbial Decaffeinated.  Herbal boasts selections like Chamomile and Star Spangled Herbal- a blend of Hibiscus, Chamomile, Berries and

other complimentary herbs.  Classic Earl Grey and English Breakfast are standards on the menu.  Using your own silver tea strainer that perches on your cup, pour your custom blend through to fill your cup.  Cream and sugar are set on the table if you desire, along with wedges of lemon and honey.

Sandwiches make their introduction and are placed daintily on your plate.  They each have their own names like English Cucumber, Classic Egg Salad, Hickory Smoked Salmon, Crisp Asparagus & Garlic Herb Mousse and Phoenician’s Lemon & Thyme Chicken Salad. They are all served as finger sandwiches sans the crust.  Just as you finish your last sandwich, the tray appears again so you can delight again in your favorites.  I must say the Crisp Asparagus and Garlic Herb Mousse with its poached asparagus tips, aged parma ham and Bourin mousse on white loaf bread is afternoon tea perfection.

Fresh baked scones visit the table next.  Buttermilk and Cherry scones are served with Devonshire Cream, Lemon Curd and Fresh Strawberry Preserves.  Slather the scones with all the above and enjoy.  Don’t forget to sip your tea and carry on your conversations.   There is nothing rushed about having afternoon tea, especially if you are having the Grand Royale Tea which included unlimited sparkling wine.

The arrival of the tea pastries causes exclamations of ooo’s and ahh’s.  Miniature pastries are constructed with artistic presence.  There are so many different pastries that I will only list a few of my favorites: Raspberry Opera Cake, Paris Brest with its cap of caramel, Scottish Shortbread, Lemon Cream Cake, and the adorable Fruit Tarlet.  Each one is only a bite or two but each a delight.  When the tray comes again to visit,  its hard to pass but you are feeling pretty full by now.  It’s the perfect time to sit back in your cozy chair or loveseat and listen to classical melodies being played live on the Phoenician’s grand piano.

The Phoenician’s Afternoon Tea is served daily in season.  Reservations are required.  Afternoon Tea starts at $36 per person and $45 for the Grand Royale Tea.

Posted by Caroline | in Restaurant Review

Local Chef Dishes Out Gourmet Granola

Posted on Mar. 8th 2011 No Comments »

Laura's Gourmet Granola

 

Local Chef Laura Slama has been creatively fashioning artisan granola for the Phoenix Valley since 2004. She is the Executive Chef and owner of Celebrated Cuisine, which provides custom catering along with private and group cooking classes.  She launched Laura’s Gourmet Granola with her first signature flavor, Vanilla Almond Crunch and has since added three more flavors to keep up with the demand.

Laura’s Gourmet Granola uses all natural ingredients and no refined sugars.  It’s perfect for sprinkling on yogurt, enjoying with a bowl of milk or for anytime you need a snack.  Laura has created four flavors including Pumpkin Pecan Crunch, Honey Roasted Peanut Crunch and AppleLicious Crunch.  Take the time to savor each one and decide on your favorite.  Chef Laura welcomes recipes and commentary from granola fans and has monthly contests posted on her website to participate in.

You can order directly from Laura’s Gourmet Granola website or purchase locally at various retailers including AJ’s and Whole Foods. Chef Laura granola has also expanded to the East Coast and is now available on Amazon.com.

Posted by Caroline | in Restaurant Review

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