Famous Dave’s

The Valley of the Sun never ceases to amaze me.  According to a recent National Restaurant Association report, Arizona’s restaurant industry leads the rest of the country in growth, and is expected to do so for the next 10 years.  Restaurants are a driving force of Arizona’s economy, with over 9,300 establishments whose sales figures are projected to reach over $11.5 billion in 2016.*  There …

2017 Restaurant Bucket List

A Phoenix food writer, Dana Vollmer with cocktailsandcactus.com, encouraged a group of local food writers to come up with a restaurant “bucket list” for 2017.  These would include a list of places in AZ we would like to visit, whether they have been open for some time or are set to open.  I was up for the challenge, and had so much fun writing it, …

Explore Arizona: Sunrise Park and Navajo County

When Hubby and I were courting some 25-odd years ago, we spent many weekends exploring the beauty and diversity of this great state of Arizona.  It is not all cacti and desert.  With the exception of an ocean view, there is much to offer, from the dude ranches down south in Douglas, to the majesty of the Grand Canyon in the north near Flagstaff.  Recently, we …

It’s a Sunday Affair

During our Harvest Dinner (http://www.texaztaste.com/harvest-dinner/), Aaron Chamberlin, chef and owner of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market, and I hatched a plan to collaborate on a Sunday brunch.  We called up a few friends, designed a menu, and on a beautiful Arizona fall Sunday, pulled a table out in the sun, lit a fire in the outdoor fire pit, and rolled up the sleeves on …

Marcella Dreams of Uchi

With the closing of ShinBay in Scottsdale, I have been eagerly searching for sushi of the same caliber.  As luck would have it, we had plans to travel to Dallas for my college reunion, so I set about obtaining a coveted reservation at Uchi Dallas.  Success was in the form of a 5 pm reservation on a Saturday.  Five pm??  How old am I, right? …

Char Kitchen + Bar Scottsdale

Father/Son duo, Peter and Pal Micakaj, have taken over the space in Hilton Village vacated by Bink’s Kitchen +Bar.  Peter, Albanian by birth, immigrated to the US in the 60’s and has worked in the restaurant industry across the country, from New York City to Detroit and now Arizona.  His son, Pal, joins him in the kitchen, while sister, Pauline Martinez, who co-owns Perk in …

Harvest Dinner

I am constantly amazed by the fact that I cannot remember where I placed my coffee mug, yet I can remember the exact details from a meal of ratatouille I had with my parents at Chez Georges in Paris in 1992. I used to say that running after kids has zapped all my memory cells, but now that they are approaching their teens, that excuse doesn’t …

Fair Fare

I experienced a “first” last weekend…my “first State Fair”. And not just any State Fair, but the State Fair of Texas.  I cannot believe I went to college in Dallas and never took the time to partake in one of the most American of all traditions.  According to Wiki, the Texas State Fair is the largest, with over 3,000,000 people in attendance over the two-week long …

Santa Maria-Style Barbecue

You may recall in my post, Aspen Food & Wine Classic 2016 (http://www.texaztaste.com/aspen-food-wine-classic-2016/), I attended a class where Tyler Florence extolled the virtues of Santa Maria-style barbecue.  Santa Maria-style barbecue is the “fifth style of barbecue”, he said, after Texas, Memphis, Kansas City and Carolina.  He walked us through the preparation of a simple rub for tri-tip, smoked it, and served it with two complementary salsas.  What …

Entertaining in the Desert, Part Three

While I am adding the finishing touches to some longer posts, I will share with you photos from a dinner party I hosted over the weekend.  We were celebrating two milestone birthdays, one for 45 and the other for 90 years. I drew inspiration from a photo on my Pinterest page, and designed a Chinese table scape, for one because my mom, Frances, had oodles of Chinese …