Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix food’

A little project I’ve been working on lately…

Monday, March 21st, 2011


“Let’s put beer on the dinner table”

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

My friend in food (and beer) Rob Fullmer has a passion/obsession for beer.

He also has a mission: Let’s put beer on the dinner table.

How can we help? Watch the video, follow him on Twitter and stay tuned here for some cheery beery news from me and other friends in the industry. Arizona beers and beverages are about to take a giant step forward very soon.

Also check out the beer blog/website

Alright bitches, the blogger is back.

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Yeah, yeah . . . I’ve been busy with work, but that’s no excuse for leave you hanging. Professional note: if there are any clients that get  annoyed with this post, you know I love you and these are things I’ve already said to you in person, so there.

On with the show!

Loving it:


Quiessence's barrel-aged cocktails.

Killer cocktails at Quiessence. Why do I love them so much? Maybe because helped put them together. Kick-ass cocktail consultant Bill Degroot made my dreams come true with his Farmhouse Cocktails and his 90-day aged Manhattans.

Yep. Barrel-aged cocktails are the shit. Huge thanks to Bill!

New restaurant openings: A few new spots that pique my interest: Jimmy Woo’s, Amaro Pizzeria & Vino Lounge and Vitamin T.

Nobuo at Teeter House

Nobuo-san, making my dreams come true with his omakase.

The return of adventurous dining: Thank god we’re getting over the “safety food” phase. Don’t get me wrong, “comfort food” will always have a place in our regular rotation (for obvious reasons), but dumbed down eats are just plain boring and over. Thanks to the food gods for bringing back spots like Nobuo At Teeter House and his omakase experience that made me quiver during my back-to-back visits within 7 days (reviewed here by local food blog god Dominic).

I’ve had the pork sweats before, but never the seafood sweats. ‘Nough said.

Luke warm about it:

Food trucks. Yep, I’m that asshole. Yet . . . I’m the biggest fan of the concept. So since I want to see this grow to greatness, I won’t name names. But event the ones I do like, I know you’ll keep getting better (I hope)!

My POV: Either do great food truck-y street eats, or do something chef driven and gourmet. No middle road. Drop the gimmicky menus and deliver, or simply feed me.

Let it die:

Bruschetta. I understand the market for it. You wanna feed the bottom feeders and hungry masses. (which often  includes me too!!!) Let’s all just own that truth and live with the shame. I sounded like Dr. Phil there for a moment.

Burger bonanza. Shut up with your crazy gourmet burgers made with wine, truffles and fired by coal, junk yard tires or cosmic nuclear energy. Quit it.

Annoying advertisers. Completely unrelated to this post, but god dammit quit calling me with every “hot new restaurant directory.”

Always end on a happy note:

Recent things/people I love: You make my life so awesome. I raise my glass of cheap wine (from Tops Liquor) to you! @olllllo, Luxardo, @TheWildLavender, “That waving-paper-thin-fish-pie thingy” (Okonomiyaki, as described by Lisa Polacheck), @StacyPearson, Carlyn Mumm, Rivers Cuomo Fancy Pants III, The Grits at @BeckettsTable, Crystal Light and of course . . .

Judge Judy. May your justice continue to lord over us all.

Grits for the gods.

I pledge allegiance to the grits. And justice.

Moment of honesty: Quiessence and Nobuo are clients of mine, but c’mon . . . But you already know they rock and everything I say about them is totally blog worthy. That’s why I work with them.

REVIEW: St. Francis in Phoenix

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Nope. St. Francis is not worthy of the James Beard nom it received this year. There, I said it. But that’s OK! We all know it’s true so let’s get over it and experience the place with some realistic expectations.

A read a comment from a reader of Chow Bella that sums my feelings on the restaurant’s recognition and overly-hyped press.

Leslie writes…”It’s kind of like when it was announced that Obama would receive the Peace Prize. Everyone thought it was ridiculous, because while Obama most certainly should be able to win one in his lifetime, it shouldn’t have been this past year.”

Is it a good restaurant? Yes. And perhaps the most beautifully-designed dining space in Phoenix.

And you thought this was going to be a rake job on the place. Wait for it…


Perfection: An icy Almond Margarita ($9) in your hand while sitting on the shaded patio. This is easily one of my favorite cocktails in the city. Don’t worry, those nuts won’t smack you in the face. If you didn’t read the drink’s name or ingredients, the subtle almond flavor would have you guessing “Hmmm… what is that?” It’s a refreshing new take on a classic.

Also check out their Dark & Stormy. (Or make your own w/ my previous post, Tornado Watch” my ass… Sip on this Mother Nature!)

Love the “Business Lunch” concept of in & out in 30 min. Too bad the dishes made me wish my stay was even shorter. Chicken Salad ($14) on flat bread was bland (needs acidic element?) and the French Onion Burger ($13) reminded me of the Sourdough Jack from Jack In The Box. (I know, vastly diff ingredients but similar taste, I swear!)

Things perk up at dinner time with a tasty Green Chile Stew ($12) that has everything you want in life, served in a skillet. Forbidden Rice is nice for the price ($15) starring fresh veggies and sweet dressing with spice.  (I could’ve been a rapper with dope rhymes like that).

Skip over the apps, including the flatbread everyone seems to be gaga about. A bad romance of what should be a simple yet winning combo of ingredients. My dining pals had no trouble reading my poker face on St. Francis’ starters.

Sadly, the Seafood Cioppino seems uninspired, especially for $25 bucks. Same goes for an under seasoned Pork Chop for $24.

Prime Hanger Steak ($23) saves the day with parsnip and braised greens. This was a favorite for the group. Get it soon, seasons are changing.


It’s tough to focus on the food when the atmosphere and architecture of St. Francis is such an attention whore (in a good way.) The space always makes me feel big-city chic with dramatic lighting, rhythmically spaced wood beams and a loft fit for foodnik birds who like to perch and eat.

Visit St. Francis for the views and drinks. Don’t let me my words steer you away from grazing. Figure out the food for yourself. *Putting away the unused rake*

If I’m in the area, I’ll gladly stop in for a cocktail and a nibble.

-Your food pal, JxP

St. Francis

St. Francis on Urbanspoon

Schmoozing with the cool kids.

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

"Fruits of the Sea" Chef's Spread at Quiessence Restaurant

Total perk of the job: Meeting the coolest folks in the national food media biz.

Little ‘ol me has been fortunate enough spend time with James Beard board members, Food & Wine editors, television producers and many other people who are simply way cooler than me.

A few days ago, The Sundance Channel sent a crew to Phoenix to interview one of my favorite people in the world, Arizona winemaker Sam Pillsbury. He was selected as a culture ambassador of Phoenix for a show airing in June. Sam shared the love with two of our clients (Quiessence Restaurant and FnB Restaurant) by picking them as his favorite places to eat in the Valley.

During the filming, I made dinner plans with the producer and videographer.

Over a veggie and seafood smorgasbord at Q, I made two new friends in the biz and look forward to meeting up with them in NYC in July. We talked about food, cocktails and life in AZ compared to life in New York. They shared stories of life on the road, eating exotic foods in other countries and upcoming adventures.

Sounds like a dream job.

Purpose of this post? None really. I’m just happy to meet some fuckin great people in this world.

Life is good.

P.S. – Sam, I’m still waiting for that ring.

January’s List of Fame (or Shame?)

Thursday, January 28th, 2010


For anyone doubting my waistline woes… here’s a new monthly list of restaurants that have made sure my digestive tract is… well, on track. For those counting, yes there are more listed than there are days in the month so far.

Sadly, this doesn’t even include any fast food slip ups. (probably not disclosed for fear of public shunning)

See any favorites? Share ‘em.

Did I forget any? Probably.

Questions on any? Ask!

5th & Wine
Caffe Boa
Classic Italian Pizza
Dave’s Electric Brew Pub
DelFalcos Deli
District American Kitchen
Don & Charlies
Essence Bakery Cafe
Estate House
Fred’s at Barney’s New York
Hana Japanese
Honey Moon Sweets Bakery
Hot Pot Caribbean
House of Tricks
Kazimierz World Wine Bar
Metro Brasserie & Bar
Modern Steak
Morning Glory Cafe
Quiessence Restaurant
Quik Wok
Rancho Pinot
Side Bar
St. Francis
The Mission
The Vig
Virgie’s Restaurant

UPDATE: Here are a few I forgot
The Lodge
Sweet Republic
Liberty Market
Cafe Lalibela

ADDITIONS: New to the list
Culinary Dropout
Daily Dose
Rula Bula
Five Guys Burgers & Fries